My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New York

My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New YorkIt’s me Morgan, your geeky tech expert and as always I’ll discuss all things technology (which sometimes bores my girlfriend.) Anyway, I want to talk about a technology exhibit I attended in New York City called Gadgets For The Body And Mind. This exhibit lasted a good three weeks but I only attended the first two weeks since I had to return to my video production project that I’m working on for a new client for my freelance business. I saw a lot of geeks there but a few were actually posers because when I discussed technology topics with them, they looked clueless. Here are some highlights of that exhibit.

Someone’s Watching You With Gadgets

I embrace certain conspiracy theories and when I saw a line of popular spy gadgets that law enforcement officials and regular people use to spy on people, I was not too happy. For example, I heard about this super small surveillance camera that can be drilled inside any home appliance or even implanted in your purse or suitcase. In addition to this, an attendant showed me a few GPS systems that look like pocket calculators that can be installed in or underneath cars. I visited a seminar within the exhibit that showcased computer programs that allowed someone to monitor all computer activity and I was really upset when I learned about the latest gadgets in cell phone surveillance. Continue reading “My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New York” »

My Top 5 Music Bands

When I was in college I worked at the campus radio station and I had a blast there because I was given the late night classic rock show that was hosted by an older alumnus for a long time. I went in the stacks and found a lot of great classic rock albums from rare and established rock artists and it was during my time at the station that I developed a liking for all kinds of classic rock bands. Over the years I purchased albums from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Moody Blues, The Doors and Fifth Dimension. Altogether I have about thirty albums in my basement and I’m always on the lookout for unreleased material from legendary artists online or at local record stores. Here are my top 5 music: Continue reading “My Top 5 Music Bands” »

How to Keep Yourself Fit Using Latest Apps

How to Keep Yourself Fit Using Latest AppsHi guys! Today I’m going to write about how to keep fit with the help of different technological advancements and items. I’ve gained some weight recently, and I decided to get rid of it, and to bring myself in a bit better shape. Today’s society puts a lot of emphasis on keeping fit and having a good body. But for me, keeping fit is not about how nice I look (although I like being able to have a bit better self-esteem when I talk to the ladies 😉 but more about how good I feel and how healthy I am. I want to be healthy and feel good even when I get a bit older, and staying active is very important for this. That’s why I’m going to tell you about how technology helps me get or stay in shape.

We live in the golden age of technology, and one of the most convenient things to have, which will help you stay fit, are apps. Since everyone these days has a smartphone or some other type of mobile device, anyone can download and install some useful fitness apps.

One of the best ones is MyFitnessPal, which can keep a record of what you eat, count your calories, and track how many calories you burn. It also tells you if you have to make a change in your lifestyle and projects your weight in the future depending on your calorie burning and intake. I was surprised to learn there are apps for women which can be programmed to remind them when to take their protein supplements. There are also apps for extreme fitness freaks, like those which remind you when and how much you need to work out.

Other than apps, there are some lovely wearable gadgets which help you become or stay fit. A popular item in this category is the activity tracker. These are usually in the form of wristwatches, and they track how much you move. They also calculate how many calories you burn and how many steps you take. Some more advanced ones not only track how many steps you take, but also are you climbing with those steps or going down. They take that into account when calculating the total calories burned.

Another new and fun gadget is the smart scale – yes,  a smart SCALE! These scales not only measure your weight, but can also calculate your BMI, weight and even the air quality of your home. They can be connected to apps such as the one I mentioned before – MyFitnessPal, so you don’t have to enter your weight into the app, but the scale does this for you.

And the last thing on my list may seem a bit weird, but bear with me. The internet! This I think is the most important piece of technology for keeping fit, not only because it allows you to find out a lot of information on how to do it properly, but also because there are great support communities on there, and they will encourage you to work out and be as fit as a fiddle!

New technology in cars

New technology in carsHey everyone, I’m back! The car industry seems to be reeling under the impact of economic slowdown. With the dwindling sales in both used and new cars, you might think that there are no new advances taking place in the field. If so, you will be in for a surprise. Actually, I think this slowdown is more reason for the tech people to come up with something attention grabbing and new.

In fact, everyone who wants to buy a car looks at the additional features, or smart features. So as such, there is pressure on all sides for the car companies to keep producing something new. I’ve dived in and got some of the new technological advances that are creating a stir in the industry.

Backing up or parking sensors

Almost all new cars that are made now come with inbuilt sensors. While some of these have alerts that let you be aware of an object directly behind in the path of your vehicle, others come with rear cameras, which give you a clear view of what is behind your car. While reversing this is of great help. Sometimes, especially when you are driving fast on the highways, it is difficult to see what is in front of you with the glaring lights of oncoming cars and trucks. This is why I have the Whelen LED light bar fitted to my vehicle.

Multi direction cameras

If you thought cameras are only for rear view, these cameras will disabuse you of the notion. Some of the latest model cars boast of multi-direction cameras, which cover all sides of your car. These cameras in fact give you 360 degrees cover and alert you when an object or person is near the vehicle.

Parental control or GPS tracking devices

With teenagers badgering their parents to no end about driving cars, it is natural for parents to worry, especially if the car is a brand new one. Technology takes care of this issue too expertly. There are GPS tracking with parental control gadgets that limit the radio volume and speed and alert you, if you have not put your seatbelt on.

These features let you feel more assured about the safety of your teen and the car of course! Most cars made today have high beam and automatic light control. You can turn your car to automatic lighting, so it switches on the lights, when it is dark. The high beam control helps you to increase or lower the light of your car, while other cars pass you or approach you. I think this would go well with the LED light bar I mentioned before, which I purchased at Lighting is very important for driving and it is not safe to ignore it.

Controls for driver aptitude

Certainly, this system is needed for today’s reckless drivers. It remembers what the driver does regularly and if it finds any deviation from that, it would alert you. The speed of the driver, steering wheel angle and use of gas, brakes and other factors are taken into account to judge the pattern of the driver. If any of these features are detected as abnormal by the system, it will alert and this is very useful when you drive during nighttime or for long hours nonstop.

How to Increase Your Influence

How to Increase Your InfluenceYou notice how most of the words in that title up there are capitalized? That’s actually a nice little way to get people’s attention, to increase your influence over those who are reading your work. Capital letters begin sentences and start paragraphs; they’re things that most people find worth their attention. There are actually many ways to increase your influence and have more of an effect on the people around you. This magnetism that some people call charisma is instrumental in life because if you can influence people, you are much more likely to win arguments with them.

Eliciting a positive reaction (or negative, if that’s what you want) from another person is a powerful skill in the right hands. But that’s not the only reason you’d want to boost your ability to influence others. People can have some pretty strange hobbies, and even harder than finding something fun to do is finding other people who enjoy the same things as you. With a good deal of influence, you can talk other people into trying those strange and interesting things you enjoy, where normally a person would have great difficulty getting someone else to try something strange or unique.

That explains why having more influence is good. But how do you actually go about increasing your influence? There are a number of ways to enhance the way you affect people, and to be seen in a more (or less) positive way. Pay special attention to the way you dress and present yourself, as well as the way you talk and interact with the people around you. These factors can have a powerful effect on the way people perceive you, and perception is reality. What people see, hear, taste, smell and feel is what’s real to them, and that’s an important lesson to learn if you want to influence them in any way.

Since hobbies were mentioned, there are actually some hobbies which can also increase your influence. Speaking in public and caring for the elderly or inform might not sound like a lot of fun, but they are still hobbies for some people, especially those who are civil-minded or want to help people in general. Some hobbies bring us into contact with other influential people, and through those connections we ourselves gain a bit of their influence. That brings me to my next tip, which is finding other influential people to associate with.

Some people will call this sucking up I’m sure, but it’s no secret that successful people have always networked with other successful people. This is why social media like Facebook and LinkedIn is so powerful these days. It’s all about networking! I used several techniques for improving and increasing my influence with my latest work and while they weren’t super successful, I did manage to get the ears of a couple of the people I’ve been working with. They could be leads to more video production work in the near future, and I’m always looking for more work, so I count that as a success.

Ways to stream videos live

stream-videosHi folks! Recently I had been invited out on a hunting trip by some close friends. Given my background in video production, my friends who know all about hunting, animals and hunting tools, asked me to set up a live camera stream out in the woods.

As I went about setting up the live broadcast for them, it occurred to me that live broadcasting of videos can have a large number of applications and many users would like to stream their own videos live.

As such, I decided to compile a quick guide which will allow any user to stream and broadcast their videos live.

3 ways to easily stream live videos

Here, I will talk about 3 of the simplest ways for you to stream your videos live. While most of these methods make use of hosting services or websites, you do not require much additional hardware f software, other than a PC, a webcam and an active internet connection.

Here are the top 3 methods that can allow you to stream your videos with ease:

  • Making use of a webcam

If you have a webcam and an active internet connection, you can very easily stream live videos and share them with others. In order to do so, you will need to sign up with a host which offers the bandwidth to stream your videos.

Most of the streaming host services allow users to stream videos without having to bother about installing encoders. These services have a built-in program for broadcasting on the web, which allow users to easily stream their videos without making use of any additional software.

Some of the popular streaming host services include:

  • YouNow
  • Livestream
  • Ustream
  • Bambuser
  • Using Google+

Google+, along with YouTube can be used to stream live videos as well. After logging into your Google account, you can visit YouTube and create a live event. You can enter all the details and the schedule of the event and adjust advanced settings for streaming.

Once the details have been created, you need to launch Google Hangouts and you can broadcast your video to friends. You can also choose to manage the viewers of your broadcast and also share and embed it on the web.

  • Streaming video games

It is also possible to offer a live stream of video games, something which is widely used these days. In order to stream video games, you will need to sign up for a streaming service, which will host your video and provide you with the bandwidth to share it live with others.

You will need to download software to capture and stream the display of your computer before you seek out a streaming host service. FFSplit and Open Broadcaster are two excellent software packages which allow you to capture your screen.

Some popular streaming host services for video games include:

There are also many advanced methods that can be used to stream videos such as making use of an encoder or using high quality software. However, these processes are slightly cumbersome when compared to the methods mentioned in the article. The mentioned methods are definitely the simplest ways to stream videos live.

Well, to go back to my hunting trip – I’m still alive! Haha! Everything went great, we got some good footage and I got a reward for my work – I got to keep the boots my friend loaned me for the trip – Absolutely amazing!

I discovered a new passion – hiking!

dhikingHi everyone! I’m back and this time I will share with you one of my recent experiences. Many of you may be aware that I am a young professional living in New York, but a very few know that I take the time to try out new and exciting things once every often.

Last weekend, I had gone out on a hiking trip to the Anthony’s Nose, a famous hiking trail along the Hudson in Westchester. My friend told me it was all the rage, so I got my gear, looked at some great boots at HikingAddicts, and decided to go! An excellent trail for people who are just beginning hiking, Anthony’s Nose is the highest pear around the area, which overlooks the Bear Mountain Bridge as well as the Bear Mountain State Park.

About an hour’s drive away from Manhattan, any season is perfect to go hiking and trekking around Anthony’s Nose, except for the winters.

This hiking trip is approximately over 3.5 km and the peak stands at an elevation of about 900 feet. A couple of friends and I drove to Manhattan early in the day and we started off the hike at about 9 in the morning.

As we made our way across the trail, I was genuinely mesmerized by the vast sights and sounds that the area had to offer. Starting off close to the Hudson River, the trail quickly ascends, offering an ethereal view of the river and the parks below. As we reached the vantage point, I could do nothing but click photographs of the wonderful view that was offered to us.

The trail that we followed is a famous one and s known as the Appalachian Trail. There were many other adventure enthusiasts who were on the same trail as us. While our group covered the entire hike in just less than 3 hours, it is possible to cover the distance in about 2 hours. The peak, along with the mountains, forms an excellent ridge and is comprised of calcite and granite crystals, offering a rugged experience to hikers.

The hiking trip to Anthony’s Nose is one that I will definitely recommend to all people living around New York. It proves to be an excellent hike for people of all ages and for hikers of any level of experience. It is not too far away from the city and the entire hiking trip can easily be completed in a day’s time. Make sure to carry your camera, some snacks, some music and have some good company around when going for this hike. It will definitely be an experience worth remembering.

I have been on a couple of hiking trips earlier, but they were all when I was only a kid and was accompanied by adults. This time around though, my experience was much different, (probably because I am an adult and have more freedom) and I can definitely say that hiking is quickly growing on me.

I am already eagerly planning out more hiking trips for later. New York City has a number of hiking and trekking trails to offer around it and I will surely take advantage of this.

Creating Video Sets

Creating Video SetsWhile my influence on a video tends to end with recording or editing the work, there are many things which go into creating any sort of video. For starters you need a script, or something similar for the reader or readers to use when speaking during the video. You also need to create the set itself.

You might do this with a green screen and a computer program, but newer isn’t always necessarily better. Many production teams still create physical sets for recording videos, and there are few devices more useful when creating physical sets than the framing nailer.

Basically, a framing nailer is a handheld device which is used to join together large objects, usually pieces of wood. It works in a similar fashion to your everyday nail gun, except it uses much bigger, thicker nails and it drives these with reduced accuracy. This would be perilous if you were doing meticulous work, but nailing two support beams together isn’t exactly meticulous, is it? These nailers are useful for crafting stages and sets as well, since those are usually made mostly from wood. You can nail together walls, floors, ceilings and more with a framing nailer, so it’s versatile too.

Like other power tools, you will need a source of electricity for your framing nailer to work. In this way it is inferior to a simple hammer and nails, but since the device can hammer as many nails as a dozen people in the same amount of time or less, it has its positive side as well. Besides the wooden elements in a set, you must consider other additions like plants, glass panes, furniture and more. While a framing nailer could theoretically be used to nail together different pieces of wood in a couch, for example, this sort of wood work is typically too fine and precise for such a machine to do well.

The set you create for your video must be realistic and relevant to the video itself. If you’re trying to sell a floor cleaner, for example, your set must have floors of some kind. It would probably be good if they were composed of materials your cleaner is designed to clean, as well. Many points in creating sets seem like common sense to those viewing from the outside, but as has been said so many times in the past, hindsight is 20/20. When you’re in the thick of it and trying to create something on a strict timeline, some of these points might escape you.

Many other tools go into set creation as well. You’ll need saws, hammers, sanders and mops; brooms, brushes, paints and more. With the vast number of supplies necessary to craft a set, you will probably want to be positive of whatever set you want to make, before you start. Try drawing things out by hand and noting the materials you will need for each of these sketched sets before you start actual construction. This can save a lot of money and time, both of which are typically in short supply when making videos.

Using Modern Technology to Work Older Machines

Using Modern Technology to Work Older MachinesThere is often a painful contrast between the technology of today and those machines which people have grown accustomed to using over the previous decade (Or two, or three, or more). You’ve probably heard a pretty popular line once or twice in the past; “Why do we need x when we already have y?”

While new and improved technology is known to make lives easier and allow for doing more work in the same amount of time or less, using the same amount of resources or less, that isn’t where the benefits end. New technology can actually make it easier to use some of that old tech you’re enamored with.

One shining example that comes to my mind is cutting wood. The wood lathe is still popular and still used today when working with wood, making it one of the oldest tools still being used by modern society. There are computer programs which can help you to run simulations and figure out the best angles at which to cut the wood before you even buy a piece of wood to work with in the first place. If you’ve ever worked with CAD or similar drafting programs, you should already have an idea how computers can make cutting wood more accurate and cost effective.

Well, even if you haven’t, I can explain to you how it works. Simulate a piece of wood in your program which is the same length, width and size as the piece of wood you’re supposed to be working with when you’re cutting. Then simulate the cuts you want to make, watching the piece of imaginary wood change as you slice off piece after piece. If you don’t like what you see, you can always start over again – without needing a new piece of wood for each attempt. The benefits here should be simple enough to understand.

While I don’t have much occasion to work with a wood lathe in my line of work, that doesn’t mean other people don’t. Producing videos can be an extensive project depending on what needs to be recorded, and I would be lying if I said people haven’t used wood lathes in the past to make pieces of a stage or set. They are versatile tools and very popular when working with wood, since they give the user much more control over the finished product than would be possible with a simple clamp and saw combination.

Table tops (and table leg, for that matter), doors, floors, window molding and more can all be crafted using a wood lathe. The only problem with this is how expensive wood lathes tend to be. Even simplistic machines can cost several hundred dollars. If you want one of the more advanced ones, you should expect to pay ten times as much, or even more. It is possible to make a lathe right in your home too, though you shouldn’t expect much from something you make yourself unless you’re pretty handy at that sort of thing.

Keeping the Hands Busy

Keeping the Hands Busy-Hey everyone, time for another little post. I don’t make it any secret that I’m good with a yoyo. I’ve been playing with them and doing tricks with the things since I was a kid and while I’m not old just yet, I’m not really a young man anymore either. We’re talking nearly 20 years here, during which I learned a few other, more important things thanks to my simple hobby. Keeping your hands busy is important to good physical and mental health. This isn’t exactly breaking news or anything; it’s something people have known for a long time now. But is there a single best type of activity for this purpose?

Well in my case, I found the perfect way to keep busy, keep my mind and body working, while I maintain an income and live a lifestyle I enjoy. I’m talking about creating and editing videos, either for my own purposes or, more usually, for someone else who’s looking to advertise, or inform, or sell something. I understand not everyone is going to find this a viable option, too. It’s fortunate there are other ways to keep the hands busy. I’m just saying, this is how I do it. But lots of people use musical instruments.

Making music gets many different parts of the brain going – parts which are normally doing very little during your day to day life. It also gets your fingers moving, gets your muscle memory learning which holes on the flute to pin down when you blow, or which tabs on your favorite trumpet can be pushes together to make the sounds you’re looking to make. This is not something people can just pick up overnight; there’s a lot of time and work which goes into learning a musical instrument. However, learning how to play well and playing just to keep busy are two very different things.

What I mean is, there’s no need to be at the kind of level where you might get an invitation to play at Carnegie Hall, or anything like that. You could be a total amateur, with literally no past experience playing trumpet, and playing trumpet would still be very good for your body and mind. I keep mentioning horns because I’ve played trumpet a few times myself. If it sounds like a good time to you, then I recommend checking out to see all kinds of different trumpets.

However, do keep in mind that on top of the fact you don’t need to be good to get benefits from playing an instrument, your instrument also doesn’t need to be some top of the line, multi-thousand dollar piece of equipment. You could just as well pick up something from some secondhand or thrift shop, as long as all the parts were in working order, and start playing all the same. Perhaps some of my readers who currently play instruments can comment on this for the rest of us? If you’ve got something to share, please do, by all means.

Combat Dummy Promotion

Combat Dummy Promotion-I never really know what kind of order I’m going to get when it comes to video creation and editing. Usually it’s someone who wants to sell something though, so I’ve gotten pretty good at painting people, places and things in a positive light. Sometimes it’s not really necessary to stress how nice or useful or good something is – the benefits are immediately apparent, or the item in question is one a lot of people already have experience with, so they know how useful it can be. For instance, grappling dummies aren’t hard to sell. They have one real use and for that purpose, they’re most excellent.

Recently I had a client ask me to make a video about such dummies, something that would help them to sell said dummies through an online website. So I started with the basics – that’s getting a good view on the subject, from many different angles, so people know exactly what it is they’re dealing with. This is easy enough to accomplish too, since all I really need to do is walk around the subject, a grappling dummy in this case, and take several different pictures while doing so. When I’m done with that, I’m ready to move onto more active shots.

Well, not shots exactly. Next I need to record people interacting with the grappling dummies in question. Unpacking them, setting them up, punching and kicking them are all good things to record like this. The process gives me materials to use for the video later, but more than that, it also gives me a degree of familiarity with the subject. I don’t know about other people who make and edit videos, but having a better understanding of just what it is I’m working with has always made it easier for me to produce higher quality work. Therefore, it’s something I’ve been doing regularly for a long time now.

Basically, what I’m doing is creating a kind of commercial for the product so people will know what it is they’re buying and want to buy it on top of that. Now, for other products, there’s a lot of glamour involved, so selling them is easier. Grappling dummies are big, ugly lumps of resilient material that are literally meant to be beaten upon, so there’s nothing too pretty or handsome about them. I figure I’m going to struggle with this aspect of the video, but there are usually small challenges and obstacles which come up with the jobs I take.

Thankfully, these dummies came in different colors and, on some, with special areas highlighted and colored differently than the rest of the body. They aren’t just those simple, orange torsos that look strangely like circus peanuts (and have a similar texture as well, you know the ones if you work with these dummies). I’ll be sure to let you all know how this project works out in the end, but until then, stay strong and keep busy; idle hands and all of that jazz.

My New Kayak

My New KayakI spent some time talking about what happened during my Christmas back in 2014, but I didn’t really get into the gifts I got as much as I covered the gifts I got for everyone else. If you can’t tell from the title here, one of the presents I received (and definitely the largest one for this Christmas holiday) was a brand-spanking new kayak. There’s a lot of water and water access here in New York City, so it was actually a bit more practical than I thought at the time. You can get a look here at the PERCEPTION kayak I got.

Honestly, I was surprised. This was an expensive piece of equipment, or so I think, at least from what I’ve seen after searching for the kayak online. I’m sure my folks got it on the cheap, but still – I think I spent something like $600 total to get gifts for my parents, siblings and a couple other people, and this little boat alone probably cost that much all by itself. I’m not really much for boating or kayaking, but after they spent so much on this tidy little vessel, I think it’s a sport I’m going to pick up.

I really don’t get out enough as it is. Maybe that’s what they’re really trying to tell me, huh? I don’t know about any of you, but my parents have been giving me gifts that have these little, silent notes that go along with them; like they’ll give me socks and it’ll be nice but what they’re really saying is the socks I have now are so full of holes they’re a little embarrassed I still wear them. I think lots of parents are like this when they give presents to their children, or at least I hope they are. Mine sure are.

Thankfully, New York has plenty of water running through it, even if it’s cold and full of snow this time of year. There are plenty of parks, streams, rivers and even some ocean access, if I feel like paddling out to the middle of nowhere. But I think I’ll save that last bit until I’ve got more experience kayaking. I’d sure hate for one of my first few trips to be my last one, you know? Plus, after looking around, I’ve noticed that my kayak doesn’t have a dry storage compartment, or a number of other things the high-end boats do. So I kind of want to stay away from potentially rough waters.

Well I’m awfully happy about my new kayak, even if I’ve never gone before and I have no experience doing such stuff. It’s small and light enough that I can lift it and maneuver it without any help, which is good, since it only has enough room for me to sit in it. With this new tool, I’ll be sure to get out and exercise more regularly, especially since it will be so much more exciting than just lifting weights, climbing stairs or running around the block endlessly.

Latest Video Production Work

Latest Video Production WorkWell hello again, faithful readers. Regardless of whether you’re here as a repeat visitor or you’re stopping in for the first time, thanks for showing up. With the holidays over, it’s back to work as usual, and I’m feeling it all right. I just made a video for some sort of pool company that specializes in heating pools – really interesting stuff. Anyhow, they needed something that showed the process of installing a heater and I needed the job, so we were just right for each other. If you don’t mind, I’d like to go on about this for a bit; not too long, I promise.

It’s actually a complicated process – even more complicated if the pool has already been installed and more still if it’s an in-ground pool, compared to above-ground pools. See, if a pool is in the ground and it’s already been built with no heating system, things have to get dug up, even destroyed, which then leads to higher costs because the pool needs to be repaired after getting smashed up to install the heater. There are many different price points and other differences to consider too and this is why I said it was interesting; it really is.

I never thought about it before, since I don’t own a pool and if I ever do want to go swimming, there are plenty of places to do it around here. I couldn’t very well kayak in a pool and I just got one of those for Christmas at the end of 2014, so I don’t see myself becoming more interested in pools anytime soon. At least the job paid well. I didn’t really have to use any complicated techniques or other tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years, either. The video required practically no editing, too.

As a side effect of filming that, I suddenly started wanting to go visit one of the many beaches here in New York; I swear there’s water in every direction except southwest and plenty of places where I could go and get my swimming fix. The only problem with that is it’s so cold right now I’d freeze right up if I took a dip. That said, I can kind of understand why some pool owners would want to heat their pools now. If they can’t use them just because it’s cold outside, that could get pretty frustrating pretty quickly I imagine.

So what’s next? Well, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe some more streaming, or maybe another business contacts me, looking for a promotional video to be made. There’s not a day that goes by I’m not thankful for the work I get, even if it can be somewhat irregular at times. I mean, I honestly never thought I’d make a video to help promote a pool heater business, but I did. Do any of you have strange jobs you never thought you’d find yourself doing, until you did? I’d sure like to hear about them – the stranger the better.

Christmas: One Month Later

Christmas One Month LaterIt seems a bit odd to be writing about it now, literally a month later, but I didn’t really have a lot of free time to cover Christmas back when the holiday was happening, you know? There were all the phone calls, the visits with friends and family, shopping for gifts, showing up to dinners; it’s one of the busiest times of the year if you ask me. I got a few nice things from my folks, but as the old adage goes, it’s better to give than to receive. I did a lot of giving, too. I don’t think I can remember it all now and it was just barely 30 days ago.

Well my mom, I’m always keeping her in mind. I guess you could call me a sort of mama’s boy, but I’d probably take offense if you actually did call me that to my face; I think some of the guys out there understand what I mean here. Anyhow, she’s always on my mind, so I got her a bunch of good stuff. Some fine Chanel perfume for one, because I know she’s a big fan of that. Even though she’s getting older, she likes to dance – clog dancing of all things. I actually picked up some clogs like these DANSKO ones I found, but I think she knew they were coming when she spied me checking her shoe size.

I can’t forget my old man, either. I can’t explain it but I do love to gift scents, so I got him some cologne too. His usual brand, stuff he’s been using for years and likes a lot; that made that gift pretty easy. Lately he’s been complaining about his feet too, so I looked hard for some orthopedic shoes in the same place where I found those clogs for my mom. I found a number of different pairs of shoes, along with reviews, and went shopping on the Internet once I had a better idea what it was I wanted, specifically. They were both happy with their gifts.

I’ve got a number of siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and other relatives too. While I didn’t pick up presents for literally every person in my family, I did get a few things for the closer ones. My older brother got a new wallet because he’s always wrecking his wallets somehow; I swear he’s a brute even if he doesn’t realize it. My little brother got some clothes, nothing special. He’s still in school and strapped for cash like practically every other college student in the USA, so it was an appropriate gift, I think.

That’s as far as I’ll go with this. Did any of you get something special this Christmas for the people in your family, or maybe your friends? I’d kind of like to hear about it. It’s always interesting to me what people gift to each other, especially in those cases where the gift was really poorly received. I don’t mean to make fun or anything, but I’m sure we’ve all gotten a gift and wondered just why the heck someone would buy it for us, am I right?

Sergers and Good Gifts

Sergers and Good GiftsSo, I like some strange things, yoyos and Swedish fish are not the least among them, but I do have to say that I am not the craftiest person on the face of the planet. Well, I do know some origami, but you know what I mean. The thing is that sometimes craft skills really do come in handy. This is something that both my mother and aunt impressed on me when I was young. They were amazing at everything from baking cakes to patching the holes in my socks to hemming my jeans. Of the two, my mom was always the one who loved sewing the most.

I mention this because Christmas is coming up. Well it’s actually not for a while, but it seems like the holiday shopping season starts very soon now. Maybe because the stores are already starting to put out holiday decoration, I have been thinking about what to buy mom for her present. To be honest, I am not that good at buying gifts for people. To be perfectly honest, most of the presents I give to people are met with an “Oh.” Instead of an “Oh!” For some reason, however, this year it seems like I should put in some extra effort in the gift-buying department when it comes to my relatives and the people in my life that I love dearly.

Since my mom is such a good sewer and she loves it so much, I wanted to get her something to help her with it. Since I am a bit of a techie, I wanted it to be something mechanical. Obviously, she already has a really nice sewing machine, but this meant that I didn’t know what to get her.  So, it took me a while to come up with what I wanted to buy since I don’t know really anything about sewing. After quite a bit of research, and learning a lot about sewing that I didn’t know, I settled on a really good serger.

Apparently sergers are kind of like sewing machines on steroids. Okay, I don’t really know anything about sergers, so they probably aren’t like that at all.  But, I did research the best ones really well, and one model claims to make 1500 stiches in a minute! I’m not crafty, but speed is right up my alley, so this seems as good as anything as far as I’m concerned. I’ve already bought it and it is sitting in my closet waiting for its giftwrap job in the sparkly Santa Claus and reindeer wrapping paper that I have left over from last year.  It’s pretty big, so I hope I have enough paper. I mean, I suppose I could fork out the $3 dollars for more, but I kind of like the sparkly Santas. I hope that she likes it. And, I also hope she doesn’t come over and end up getting into my closed before December 25th. Here’s hoping she likes it.

Boxing with a Buddy

Boxing with a BuddyHi all! I have been posting a bit about the things that I am interested in recently, and one of those things is keeping fit. Now, I fully admit that I am not the mos obvious choice as a buff fitness guy, but I am actually hoping to change that. That’s why I have decided to take up the quintessential tough guy sport—boxing. The whole reason that this came about is that my friend, Louis, wants to start learning, and he invited me to join him.

I really wasn’t expecting take this up before Louis mentioned it, but I actually think that learning to box will be the perfect complement to the things that I am already doing, which mostly consists of weight I lifting right now though I have also tried a couple of other things lately. I’ve read up on it a bit and really think that  is the perfect sport for not only gaining muscle and learning how to defend yourself, but also for increasing speed and agility. And, I think that it will be a ton of fun to at least try out.

I am starting to do everything that I need to in order to get started learning how to box. My friend already found a good club to join, so this really means tracking down the proper equipment, this includes everything from gloves to tape to mouth guards. One of the best resources I have found regarding the things I need has been in the form of this website. There are a lot of great, and very detailed,  product reviews as well as some other tips and insights that have been really useful to a newbie like me. I’ve already sent the link to Louis to look over.

I am actually pretty amazed a how quickly everything is coming together. I have even managed to whittle down my choices regarding the perfect boxing gloves to buy. I haven’t 100% decided yet, but I am pretty close. I know that I could probably rent or borrow a pair to begin with,but they are just so cool. I am even thinking about hanging them on my wall for decoration (though ‘m sure that my girlfriend would hate it). Even past the coolness factor, I think that buying a pair of gloves will help me mentally commit to boxing. They area major purchase, even though they are far less expensive than I expected them to be. I hope that what this will mean is that I will value the experience of boxing more by buying the gloves, and  I will practice it more regularly than I do most other things. Anything to keep me motivated to keep practicing!

It turns out that I’m pretty fired up about this new idea, and I hope that it helps me to become stronger, healthier and more quick witted and alert. It is such a strange thing to think about potentially stepping into the ring, even just for practice, but I think it will be exciting and a lot of fun try with Louis too.

My Recent Small Game Hunting Trip Experience

My Recent Small Game Hunting Trip ExperienceThe best place for game hunting is undoubtedly North America, so I thought. You can find quite a big variety of animals including elk, deer, mule deer and other hunting game in a quite picturesque background and stunning regions. Having said this, I think that it goes without saying that small game hunting is even easier here. I had gone on a hunting trip recently with my friend who’s a Finnish native. He’d invited me over to Finland for the hunting trip. Since I’d some time off and would have made the time anyway as I love hunting, I immediately accepted his offer.

In Finland the most commonly used hunting breed is the Finnish Spitz. It is the national breed in Finland and has been used to hunt game like Grouse and Capercaillie. The hunted game is usually used for feeding the family. But there are strict rules regarding the hunt here. You are allowed to hunt only a particular number of birds.

We were to hunt in the wilderness around Lapland. We had driven down to Lapland where we stayed for three whole days in a hunting lodge built on a lake’s edge.  My friend is a very good hunter as his father and grandfather had excelled at the sport and had taught him all they knew. The terrain had startling variations from moss enveloped boulders to plain raw marshland. Without hunting dogs for company, you can easily get lost here.

The dog scents the prey and gives a signal – a unique kind of bark- and at the same time keeps the bird under it spell by waving its tail. On the cue from the dog we approached the area without disturbing the bird. The hunter needs to be quite agile, sure footed and strong to accomplish this. We managed to have a good hunting. Though my friend used gunpowder I prefer using air rifles over gunpowder, as it offers better power, range and good shot placement.

Especially for hunting small game and some pests an air rifle is of great help. These rifles have evolved into serious and effective hunting tools today. While bow hunting is a more traditional form that can be used in areas where the firearms are banned, an air rifle too can be used in such situations. This has made the air rifles quite popular. There are several models available now and you can choose according to the power or accuracy you need for your hunting.

With air rifles you can hunt with precision and accuracy that was not possible in the past. Air rifle hunting is all about precision. Since the rifle has power restrictions, you need to check on the accuracy by testing the pellets before you use them and also how well you handle the air rifle. Doing a good amount of practice shooting at different ranges will help you to hunt game easily. I tried targets that resemble the actual size of small game that I want to hunt. When you shoot such target in field conditions, you can easily get the required practice.

Guide on How to Win Arguments

Guide on How to Win ArgumentsHey everyone! I’m back. Life’s good and bright as always. I had a big argument with my friend which is what egged me on to write this post. Being struck with a smart idea and not being able to make people accept it can be quite frustrating. The art of persuasion is definitely a skill you should master, as I found out to my chagrin! While I did not have geek freaks like me giving expert advice, as I did not know about it then, here I’m to enlighten you people on how to win an argument. I’m certain to use these tactics now, which comes a bit late as it is as I lost the argument to my friend.

What you should do?

  • Be unfazed even if you’re passionate about what you’re talking. Staying cool can win an argument easily. Why? Because you can control your emotions and not let them rule you.
  • Facts should be used to strengthen your position. No matter how solid the other party is hard facts cannot be refuted. So the best way is to use statistics, quotes, surveys etc. to support your argument. Trust me! This works like magic.
  • Logic is the next best tool you can use to oust your opponent
  • Ask pertinent questions. The right questions will give you an upper hand in the argument and leave the answering part, which is the most difficult one to your opponent.
  • Appealing to worthy motives and higher values always works effectively. Queries like ‘isn’t this what we would like for our children to have in future?’ will hit head on.
  • Listening is very important as this is when you can know about the weakness and faults in your opponent. And better still you can latch on to something useful and informative.
  • When you hear a good argument, you should concede to it, but not leave it as such. You need to use a stronger point that tips the scales in your favor.
  • Analyze your opponent and know what his values, beliefs, weaknesses and strengths are. This can help you build your argument in your favor.
  • You should be prepared for a neutral ending of the argument where both your views are accepted.

Things you should avoid

Direct attacks on your opponent personally like challenging his honesty, integrity or lifestyle should be avoided. The issue here is not your opponent, but the views he has. Stop maligning each other, so you can get to the root of the matter and solve it.

Sometimes a skilled opponent can distract you by some extraneous matters. But keep your mind focused on the task at hand. Be firm and refuse to be sidetracked.

Sneaky ways can also be used to win arguments like using punchy one liner, which can stagger your opponent and stop him in his tracks. Humiliating and ridiculing is also a good sneaky tactic. Provoking him is also a way to distract him and win the argument. Exaggerating the position taken by the opponent also helps to give you an upper hand.

Though these are better avoided, you can try them out when the other tips do not give you the result. I had to use services of mobile nail technician to paint my nails with flowers as a penalty for losing the argument. Now guys do you want to be in such a state. Take my advice to heart and win your argument. Best of luck!

Tips for Mountain Photography

Tips for Mountain PhotographyHiking is one of my favorite things to do. It’s good exercise, gets me out of the house and away from my computer; it gets me plenty of fresh air too, and that’s always nice. I went on a long trek recently and took many photos while I was out and about. That’s another major passion of mine – taking pictures of pretty much every interesting place I go. I wouldn’t say I’m really a professional photographer, but I’ve been doing it for so long that I’m more than confident in claiming I could pass on some good advice to others who wish to get the most out of their cameras.

In fact, I have a few solid tips for mountain photography, specifically. Not every mountain is the same, mind, but many of them are similar. Due to this what works well on one mountain will more than likely work just as well on another mountain. My biggest tip for amateurs and professionals alike is not to wait for that “golden hour” approaching sunset and following the sunrise. There are many opportunities to take extravagant pictures outside of these two hours or so in the other 22 hours of the day. Also, if contrast is causing you to take bad pictures, consider getting a graduated neutral density filter.

Besides beefing up your camera, you might also consider investing in other aspects which could play a part in determining the quality of your mountain photography. I don’t know about you, but I tend to take better pictures when I’m wearing comfortable clothes that don’t restrict my movement. I don’t mean baggy shirts and pants, because those can get caught on natural fixtures and cause you to trip or take a tumble. But I do wear the best foot protection boots to have a comfortable walk. I choose combat boots for men. They’re tough, durable, and they give me better support than many hiking boots I’ve owned. The best example of these would be a nice pair of tactical boots by Rocky, which I acquired recently.

If you can manage it, don’t go hiking with your digital gear. The added weight of a camera, tripod, screens and other equipment can turn a relatively pleasant uphill trek into something much more strenuous. Consider bringing along a wheeled cart and pulling it behind yourself, if the gradient of the hill you are climbing isn’t too steep for it. Remember, an expansive vista doesn’t always make a great picture; you could put a lot of effort into climbing up high, only to be faced with poor picture opportunities anyhow. I suggest a cursory hike first, without any gear, to see if it would be worthwhile to haul your equipment up too.

Last but certainly not least, when you are looking to take the perfect mountaintop photograph, remember that you must go very wide to get all the elements of the scene you see within the picture you are taking. The best landscape shots make the viewer feel as if they are standing there, where you were when you snapped the shot. If elements like the tops of trees or the sides of surrounding hills are cut off, then you’ve got a picture that isn’t as good as it could be.

« Older Entries