Category Archives: Temple

LEGO: Lord Horrness

Best Personality Quiz

I’m an I’m an extrovert who is increasingly an introvert who needs to try new things to be happy.

Look at my art project…

“…It’s a masterpiece.” 

“And i used many scissors to open the box.”

Bigger, Higher Bed Move

Jasper, what’s it like now you’re in a big bed?

Jasper as of this evening moved out of his crib / bed where he’s slept all his life and moved into the lower bunk. The “bigger bed” he’s been wanting for awhile. 

Except being the nearly 4-year-old contrarian that he is he protested mightily that he didn’t want that bed. Jack did the same thing moving up from the bottom bunk to the top bunk.

“Ittttttttt’s like watching TV amd wrapping presents.”

Jasper then proceeded to act like he was on meth, speed, green bullets – any kind of stimulant or all kinds. He started singing jingle farts and then his butt provided the chorus.

Eddie is on the floor in a sleepimg bag at least one more night until we find the twin bed mattress. 

Love these kids.

Today Jack G pitched

Jack pitched his first inning in NYS baseball today. He was more in control than some of the pitchers we tried. 

But first coach said he was going to pitch in the third inning. Standing up there though he got intimidated and wouldn’t pitch. That’s alright. 

After they got off the field I told him that the first time doing ANYTHING is always hard and that whatever happened I’d be proud of him. Since he tends to get a little down on himself when it doesn’t go exactly according to his wishful thinking plans, I also told him that he is going to miss and he is going to get balls but he’ll also get strikes. I told him to just work with his catcher and have fun. 

Turns out that’s exactly what happened. His first pitch was a good one and someone got a little bloop hit; enough to get on first base. Later, after there was already  two outs, someone hit it up. And it was easily catchable. But being young kids and three people going for it at once nobody did. And then when someone had secured the ball and could have got the third out perhaps he just held onto the ball (which happens a lot).

But he was definitely having fun. I got a ton of pictures. Most important, it seemed, was that he went back out there and overcame those initial nerves. 

That was a blast and I got tons of photos, which I will add later. 

Rogue One Movie – The Pain With Carrie Fisher’s Last Line

Days after Carrie Fisher died at 60 of a heart attack her last line about hope can be taken several ways   But my first reaction was, hmm I guess not. 

It was poignant and incredibly sad to hear that, knowing both she and her mother died in the same week. As people contonually find out, sometimes “hope” just doesn’t carry the day – especially when that’s all that you’ve got.

I like movies with a lot of story so I really liked this one. I might watch Return of the Jedi sometime soon (this year), as well. It basically explains why there was such a massive flaw in the Death Star. And the body count of StormTroopers is high. Very high. 

We all saw the movie today with Mom at the Regal Cinema in Oceanside (screen 11, 3D) and enjoyed it.

Aaaaand Done Wrapping

It’s only 20:00 so that’s about 6 hours ahead of my normal Christmas present wrapping schedule.

Now stressing about what time to put out presents and Stock Aitken and Waterman’s. 

Tree Obtained: Harper’s Nursery

Other photos on regular camera. This is the disk from the bottom of our tree.

Update. It’s in our home and looks spectacular. 

Whew – Blog no longer broken

Now let’s see what I’m gonna do with it.






Preparing, Delivering for a Toastmasters Speech

Public speaking is a big deal for me. Standing up in front of a crowd. Not sure why, but I’ve always put it down to not having the ability to keep all that in my head at once. Except when reminded, I know that’s not true.

I was reminded, as part of the feedback after I made my 7-minute speech – 7m10s to be exact, though I meant to be exact at between 5 to 7 minutes. I was born at 7:10 am.

While up there, in the middle of the speech, my hands and my voice started trembling. I have no idea why as it was going decently by that time.

Here’s what I did wrong:
1 – I wrote the speech on the day I delivered it, though I had planned to get to it the night before.
2 – I did practice once within the hour. It came in at 9 minutes and a few flourishes that looked decent on paper rang copper when speaking.
3 – I didn’t practice speaking more.
4 – I didn’t work with a buddy, which was an option.

Here’s what I did right:
1 – I didn’t obsess days over days. Not doing it the night before probably helped because I would have stayed up forever.
2 – I wrote the speech down and largely read from it. This isn’t necessarily a good thing because it’s not what you’re supposed to do, but it’s what I needed to do to “survive” this one speech.
3 – I noticed myself naturally including hand gestures and character and inflexion in my voice, all while maintaining a decent amount of contact.
4 – I kept to theme which was announced a week earlier.
5 – Minutes before I went into the room, I wrote: “It’s likely not going to be as good as I want it to be … but it also clearly wasn’t nearly as bad.”

There are other things I did right that I didn’t notice at the time. I only noticed two “ums” in my speech but the “ah counter” noted 10, but lumped them in with other verbal crutches.

The support and feedback after the speech was amazing and really helped. It was meant to be an organized speech, with a beginning, and a conclusion, with supporting reason and examples in the middle. I spoke too low, at times, but most people didn’t mention it. I was told there was no real “nail it” conclusion that brought it all together. The person who said that was my specific speech evaluator. I told him later that, that point might have been due to the fact that I had to end early and didn’t get to read my actual conclusion.

The reminder to practice was to go over it again and again in the car, more than once, practice over and over and get it done and get a feel for what you’re saying. I could feel that working because I know that it worked before. Once on a treadmill, I started telling myself a story and I would recite back the sentences. I think it ended up being about 1,000 words. Memorized enough where I could write it down afterwards.

I meant to record it but after I got up I forgot. Here’s the speech. Parts highlighted were not actually spoken. After the fold. (Below are written comments I was handed afterward, plus more about the evaluation which was good to see.)

Spoken intro to my speech:

“Temple joined Toastmaster’s because he was asked to. Volun-told. Attending these meetings is like bitter medicine – you know it’ll do you some good but you don’t want to take it. It has actually done some good, however. Many people struggle to talk in public and here, just as many people have a solid support system of fellow Vertical Toasters to fall back on.

His speech is titled, “Stop Worrying or How I Invented My Own Bliss.”


I may not have been the only one to think of this but the theme for today could also be used as my personal mantra for my speech today – Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t sweat … the small stuff.

It’s not as pithy as my usual mantra – Keep going. Nor does it lend itself to only one clear meaning.

Traditionally, it’s another way of saying, don’t worry, be happy. Don’t let your thoughts overcome action. Get past the idea that nothing’s easy.

Truly though, the way it depends on how you define Stuff, Small or Sweat. Here’s my attempt.

“Ask yourself the question, will this matter a year from now.”

In thinking about this part, I asked myself, does “sweat” mean “don’t worry” or “don’t pay attention.” I never really came to a conclusion. The best I came up with is, it’s about context and it can be both.

People get writer’s block. For real. It’s legendary. It ruins careers. It ruins lives. But when people examine it, it’s not usually about the act of writing it’s “all that other stuff” with “inaction” being the end result.

Think about this. If you get panicked or worry endlessly about the small things, what the hell are you going to do when the shit really hits the fan and you absolutely cannot be stuck – you have to act. I’m not talking about emergencies, where instinct kicks in. I’m talking about uncluttering your mind to find the right answer.

Don’t …. sweat the small stuff.

Action means pushing past everything you think might get in the way; you shouldn’t have to work or sweat harder to accomplish something – even if what you’re trying to accomplish is “just” trying to be happy. Unclutter your mind by figuring out what truly is important and jettison as much as you can. Only then can you achieve bigger things.

Now, if you still find yourself sweating, those MISSION cooling towels really come in handy. I will buy you one, just tell me what’s going on. Better, yet, people, not just friends, can be your towels to wipe away the sweat, the hard work by sharing the burden, mental or physical.

“Get outside. Watch the sunrise. Watch the sunset. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel big or tiny? Because there’s something good about feeling both.”

There’s this idea that people should think it’s all small. There’s a grand scheme and anything we do, truly, really should be thought of as small. That’s good and it sounds appealing – but some people aren’t wired that way. People feel both, often in an instant.

EXAMPLES: I read a blog article last week that makes sense: “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes By the Sink.” Don’t worry, I just found it somehow, my wife didn’t send it to me. It talked about the underlying reasons people have relationship difficulties. It’s not leaving the dish by the sink. It’s not whatever bad habit is under discussion. On the surface, it all seems like small stuff, and it’s the kind of thing men and women complain to their friends about all the time. But if all you’re doing is complaining to your friends, it’s probably a small thing.

Here’s another, slightly counter-intuitive example: I drove to my first ever job interview after college. I drove about 5 hours to Eastern Washington where I walked into the tiny offices of the Grand Coulee Star newspaper. Especially tiny considering the huge hydroelectric dam you could see from the windows. Big and small.

I only remember one question from that interview. It was, “If someone called you up and said the mayor was a child molester, how would you report it?”

My first thought was, “Is the mayor a child molester?” I told the newspaper publisher Scott Hunter that I would proceed cautiously, that claims like that can instantly ruin a person’s life that they’ll never get back. But if it was true, I would absolutely report it even as I was sick doing so.”

It was one question among a couple of dozen at least. I got the job. I was a reporter there across several communities, Grand Coulee, Elmer City, Electric City, the Town of Coulee Dam and the Colville Indian Reservation, which itself was home to 11 Indian nations.

They were all small towns. Even the reservation had that feel, even though it’s land mass was large and it’s the 16th biggest reservation in the United States. Named after a white settler.

It was the perfect place to learn the craft of reporting and balancing people’s agendas. It’s places like this where people come to understood one person’s small is another person’s end of the world. And I started to understand the thinking and the lives behind both points of view. Ultimately in reporting, there’s not a lot that everyone can agree is “small.” It’s a tough, amazing existence.

Shortly before I left to work in Gig Harbor, a call came to the paper – someone was saying a teacher was molesting their child. It turned out to be true and there was more than one.

Nothing about this situation or reporting this situation can be considered small. But I was prepared; there had been a lot of tough things happening. I pushed the clutter away, Scott allowed me to push other stuff away so I could focus on this big deal.

A few months after I left, a high school volleyball player I had interviewed often, who I liked, who seemed to be liked, killed her child.

About a year later, in Gig Harbor, I talked to a woman whose five-year-old was dying of cancer. I sat in their home at Christmas. I sat in their home on the day he died. They, the family, were so calm, it frightened me and to this day, I don’t understand what was happening with them. They made his life as amazing as they could and he was most definitely spoiled. But really, of course, he wasn’t.

Clearly that puts things in perspective. But, it’s complex because in both these situations, the people involved – and me, too – had to sweat certain small stuff – details of what happened, exact dosages. But as well, a lot of things that might have worried people every day quickly fell away to be unimportant stuff.

Here’s a final example, head lice. One tiny bug changed our plans last night. We washed everyone’s hair last night in a wild storm of lather, much squirming and tsunamis of water all over the floor. We had to make everyone stand there for 10 minutes and then combed out all the little bug corpses. So, about now you’re probably glad I worried about that small stuff.

“Humans are more complicated than it said in the pamphlet,” “Oh” the alien in Home.

There’s a whole out of stuff out there. People can get caught up worrying about the big stuff – elections, the environment. They worry about work, they worry about kids, or events or keeping up appearances or that glass by the kitchen sink or the type of car they have or not being funny or being too serious or. In the immortal words of Willy Wonka, etc., etc.

Hell, people can drown in worry – or in sweat to provide an even grosser visual. As comedian Greg Proops says on his podcast, “this is where the boring, preachy part comes in.”

So much of this “stuff” just really is not thinking clearly, and using distractions as excuses. Certainly not all of it. People do need clear goals, in life, not just at work, and they need to prioritize them. In reality, so much of sweating about the small stuff, is doing things you don’t actually want to do.

Of course, that’s going to happen – you have to adult every day – but a good way to deal with this is to have less stuff. Do fewer things you do not want to do, even though that’s hard because expectations are often, “stuff.”

First, ask yourself whether these are reasonable expectations. Then ask if your time could be better spent doing something with as much value. In other words, not better spent laying on the couch, but something of equal value.

In putting together this speech I found myself coming up with more “stuff” that worked against the idea of “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Atoms and DNA, they’re small and they’re important, right? The “small stuff” is what makes things interesting, right?

You have to think big so you don’t get stuck in the mire of small. Neil Armstrong is one of the few uniquely qualified to put things in perspective. Others can think beyond their experience but Armstrong can say this:

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, vey small.”

Ultimately what it can be useful to understand is blanket statements never …. ….. ….. …. ….. rarely work. Worry less, yes. Don’t be debilitated and paralyzed by all the stuff. But always be aware of context and whether something is no big deal, kind of a big deal or a life changing event. A lot of people put their concerns and worries into the category of life changing events. But they’re not. Thank you.

Instead find it within yourself to work on things people are meant to remember and don’t worry so much about things that people are not going to remember a year from now … maybe not even by the end of the day.

The funny thing about mantras is a lot of people only think to say them in difficult times. A true mantra should translate into how you live, not just what you say. Don’t sweat the small stuff. The true secret is to develop positive statements and apply them to yourself. In that way they become more than words, they become the uncluttered action that eventually gives you more confidence to think big, not small.


Some written comments from listeners:

“You had a great speech, it was well put together and had a lot of personal example I was enthralled.”

“Love the idea of having speech linked to them of the day. Braking [sic] the speech in 3 defined sections. Great use of stories. Sweat. Small. Stuff.”

“Love that your speech was on theme and included personal stories and experiences to explain the definition of ‘don’t sweat the small stuff.’ I would recommend trying to project your voice a bit more as I had trouble understanding parts of your speech.”

“Fantastic job of incorporating ‘small’ throughout the speech. Try not to use notes so much.”

“Loved your breakdown of Sweat, Small, and Stuff. Was moved by your personal stories. You speak softyl and trial off but your stories made me want to lean in to hear it.”


International Jazz Day 2015 – Pictures of the 2 Year Old

Here we have Jasper, now 2 years and 2 months and 15 days old.

This is the best way I know how to celebrate international Jazz Day. We also call him, Jazz though he calls himself Jappers.




— all photos taken February 2015, three on the same day celebrating his birthday.

Top 10 Books


Defining your own top 10 is a lifetime exercise.

Are you listing them because you enjoy them, because you learned from them, because you think you should read them again, because you’re nostalgic for them, because you admire the author, because you think they’ll impress others? All but the last are good, valid reasons for putting a list together.

My list is a combination of 85% enjoyment and 15% nostalgia. I read for enjoyment, for escape for stretching my brain on its imagination side. As a result, there are few non-fiction books or biographies because pure enjoyment is rarely there. I enjoy the learning and the discovery but both are included in more entertaining ways in my list. In the order I thought of them.

The entire DragonLance series (particularly the Time of the Twins, War of the Twins and Test of the Twins trilogy) – Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
Othello – William Shakespeare
Butcher’s Moon – Richard Stark
The Last Unicorn – Peter Beagle
The Rainbow Goblins – Ul De Rico
Xanth series – Piers Anthony (particularly the first 6)
Smoke Signals – Sherman Alexie
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (collection of stories) – Arthur Conan Doyle
The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury (this was the cover I had on the one I read when I was a pre-teen, used then)

Now having Bradbury last was just a complete oversight. He’s my favorite author. He’s very minimalistic in creating deep and complex landscapes, scenes and characters. This approach really let’s you, the reader, fill in a lot of gaps.

Butcher’s moon is a book, I believe I still have. I remember it very well, even though it was a throwaway read after I found it somewhere in a bookstore as a teenager.

The Rainbow Goblins saturates your mind (and belly?) with color, visually and I remember it when I was a kid and have now been able to read it to my kids.

The Last Unicorn is also a book from my childhood (I was a VERY early reader and read a lot) that has stayed with me. I believe my mom owned this and I picked it up one day and it was very sad. I believe my mom probably still has it. I was disappointed to know that the film version is not that great.

9: The Peacemaker

Enneagram Test

— your own interpretation goes … here —

Cider Tipples On Twitter

A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted:

I grew up in England. When I was legally able to drink, I turned to cider first. In earlier teen years, I had tippled other weird liquors from my parents cabinet and tried the occasional Heineken from my dad’s alcohol stash. But cider was what I’d drink in the pubs, which I visited more for the snooker than to pull birds or a pint.

Woodpecker and Blackthorn were the ones I drank; I think primarily because my dad had those, as well.

And then I came to America and pretty much forgot about them. And I was stuck for two years not “legally” being able to drink. I did not drink much of anything; then moved mostly toward Jack and coke and cocktails at the club – always willing to try something new or recommendations.

And in the last three years or so beer and particularly craft beers and developing my tastes has come to the forefront.

But obviously the idea of a good cider never dies. I guess I need to call it hard cider, but by this time, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve seen it more in the stores and one day I wanted something lighter than beer but not juice. So I picked up a Strongbow. In a can it’s just not as good. I had a (smaller American) pint of Strongbow at the George and Dragon pub in Phoenix a few years ago but that wasn’t as good as I remembered either.

So the other day I Tweeted out that I had found a cider contender. Redd had less sweet, more dry. Crispin and Angry Orchard just were too sickly sweet (for my tastes, obviously).

Micah Silke tweeted back that he had found a dry cider in Oregon while on honeymoon, called Citizen. Quite fortuitously the company that makes Citizen joined in on the conversation. Carlton Cyderworks first favorited and then RTed our brief conversation and then when I asked about availability in Arizona, joined in, saying, unfortunately no at the moment. but it was available in the Seattle area. I have family there so – score, there’s a chance.

I followed @carltoncyderworks. And then something quite wonderful happened. Twitter started recommending all these other cider companies. Sweet. Or rather, hopefully, not-sweet.

So I can and will put them in a Twitter list. i noticed they were almost exclusively in the Northwest (I later found Santa Sidra cider from New Mexico (so I should be able to find that in AZ, right? No according to the site :| ). Other than the easy availability of apples, I wondered why that was the case?

But these are the ones I followed and if you have any recommendations and experience with these, I’d love to hear them. (Include whether you prefer sweet or dry, if you can):

Tieton Cider Works – @tietoncider (bonus, their Twitter image has bottlecaps, which i collect).
Red Tank cider – @redtankcider
Cider Monger – @cidermonger (not a brand but cider news.)
Cider Riot! – @CiderRiot
2 Towns Ciderhouse – @2townscider
Anthem Cider – @anthemcider
Schilling Cider – @schillingcider
Whitewood Cider – @wwcider
Portland Cider Co. – @portlandcider
Rev Nat’s Hard Cider – @revnatscider
Alpenfire Cider – @alpenfirecider
Bull Run Cider – @bullrunciderllc
Bushwhacker Cider – @bushwhckr
Snowdrift Cider Co. – @snowdriftcider
Fox-Tail Cider – @foxtailcider

I made a Ciders Twitter list – Ciders – to keep track


The Center Of

luther-burbank-park luther-burbank-park-satellite-mp


There’s blackberry row, there’s Shakespeare in the park, Comedy of Errors / Alice in Wonderland, skipping stones, now sitting in the cool water with freezing kids, losing, searching and finding car keys, bouncing tennis ball on the slide, fire engine playground, free space.

I Saw You


Eddie sets himself up for working on his Pinewood Derby car. It was satisfying to get as far as we did in one night – the car is literally taking shape.

Buy Weather-Proofed Windows or Proof Them Yourself?

The sun – you can’t live with too much of it, you can’t live without it.

We wanted screens so we could open our windows and doors at night to let the cooler air in. A year later after we first thought of the idea, we did something about it. In Arizona it doesn’t get that cool at night in the summer. This is obviously an understatement.

At night, in Phoenix for at least two months of the summer the temperature doesn’t drop below 85 degrees. In Seattle that’s the almost panic-inducing high during the day. In London that’s a heatwave that tests the mad dogs.

Arizona is home to some of the hottest summer weather in the county – it’s like staring down the sun – and keeping homes protected from the heat and sunlight can be a bit challenging. But we were just looking to stay cool as it got cooler. So this summer we went to Ace Hardware and measured out a couple of cheap screens and frames. They do the job. The cats – and now dog – stay in at night and we get a welcome fresh air breeze.

But doing that got us – ok maybe just me – thinking of grander things we can do. Weather-proofing means keeping the house a comfortable temperature – whether beating back Jack Frost or keeping your foot on the throat of the pits of hell’s heat.

It starts with the window frames.

Every choice you’ll take on has its pluses and minuses. It’s not so difficult, just a lot of variables.

If you look for weather-proofed windows which match well with the Arizona climate, vinyl is one of the best fits. It offers great energy efficiency in terms of both hot as well as cold weather. Proper installation prevents air from leaking and it is practical for the not so picky home owner. It’s low maintenance and since Arizona is not given to extremely wet weather during the year there is no need for homeowners to worry about water and moisture issues. The downside is, vinyl does not age well in over-bearing heat.

Selecting the Glass
Glass construction is one of the most important considerations in determining quality weather-proofed windows. First, never entertain the thought of purchasing single-pane windows. It’ll save you money but really it will not. Even if you plan to move out of your home soon, single-pane glass is a negative for people thinking of buying.

The windows you’ll want to buy are vacuum-sealed, argon filled and double-paned. Even though we wanted to save a lot of money I often go for the medium option – nothing stupidly expensive, but never – or hardly ever – the cheapest option either. With cheap windows you really do not save money i the long run.

Don’t Forget the View
Now having said double-paned is the way to go, this will not work if you have a spectacular view of the Superstitions or any other scenic reminder of this great world. In this case you can install, I found out, picture windows that have gas-filled interiors or over-sized casement widows.

But in many homes, what works to increase the charm of a Phoenix home is shutters. Close them up during the day and your house stays – largely cool. This depends on the materials the house is made of, of course, and how much thought has been put into energy efficiency during construction.

Other Options
There are other options besides replacing windows, though these can look bad pretty quickly. Solar films and solar screens remove a lot of light – and almost all UV light – from the equation and is EXTREMELY economical. But from what I’ve seen, try it on small bathroom windows, skylights or other, largely out-of-the-way panes that no one looks through much and can’t be seen from outside either. They do provide a sense of privacy.

We only rent right now so we wouldn’t be paying for any of this. But if we want changes, doing a lot of the research ahead of time will increase the chance we get something we like.

Finished Game of Thrones Book 1

I finished it with the birth of dragons at 21:21. It’s personal.