Gaming My Life: The Game-A-Day Challenge

My wife is challenging herself to create or play a new game everyday for a month and to blog about it. Check it out. So far she has made some really interesting and creative games.

Day 14: Julie Creates "Chick Flick" the Game

Day 14: Julie Creates "Chick Flick" the Board Game


Some Recommended Reading [Nonfiction]

I’ve setup a recommended reading page of some nonfiction books that I’ve recently read and some books I plan to read soon. Many are are included in the “Personal MBA” reading list or they are in my wife’s MBA reading list. Enjoy!

Exercise Survey For Class Project – $50 Raffle (UPDATED)

UPDATE – This has completed. We wish a big “Thank You” to everyone who participated, and a big “Congratulations” to the winners. The data collected was very helpful for my wife and her project.

Please help my wife with some research for a class project! Read the email from her below. Thanks!

Hello everyone,

For one of my classes, I am gathering information on exercise habits of families with children for a class project. By qualifying to complete and completing a brief 10-15 minute survey you will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win one of five $50 Gift Certificates.

Your information will only be used by the five students working on the class project; your information will not be sold or used for any purposes outside this research. Please contact us at with any questions.

Visit to begin.

To view the rules and regulations regarding the drawing, please visit the following page: DrawingRules

Please pass this along to others who have families who might be interested in participating as well.

Thank you for your help!


What do “Vampire Electronics” and “Dropout Factories” have in common?

“Vampire Electronics” are those MP3 and cell phone chargers around your house that slowly consume electricity. “Dropout Factories” are the 1 in 10 U.S. high schools where less than 60% of the student population graduates. Over the last few days I’ve seen tons of news headlines regarding both of these items, and the headlines for each always include their specific catch phrase.

Imagine you are an unfortunate employee working for a government agency or public interest group and you are given the job of getting out an unspectacular and obvious message like “Fast food is fattening”, “Not wearing a seat beat is dangerous”, “Schools are failing to educate underprivileged kids”, or “Chargers use electricity”. None of these things are new and everyone should already knows these things. These messages are not sexy and not eye-catching. How would you frame any of these messages to make them interesting? How would you get these messages picked up by news outlets?

Here is what to do. Brand your idea with an evocative association to another concept, in this case, a vampire or a factory, and formulate a catch-phrase. This elevates your dull message into a simple, unexpected, concrete, emotional story. I am certain that all the head-lining “Dropout Factory” stories would have be buried in the newspaper if it was not for the catchy headline. Likewise, I am certain the “Vampire Electronic” stories wouldn’t even make the paper without this curiosity-provoking and Halloween-friendly phrase.

Think about this the next time you have a message to get out. How can you distill your message down an evocative core that communicates it’s essence and helps it get picked up and delivered?

How to Make a Bat-Dog Halloween Costume

.Bat Dog.

Step 1

Make sure you dog has giant bat-ears. If not, figure out how to make some, or you’re out of luck.

Step 2

Remove the shaft from a broken umbrella. (My umbrella broke on Friday on my way home from work. Perfect timing!)

Step 3

Remove three of the eight sections of the umbrella. Save the extra fabric. It can be used to hide the innards or for accessories.

Step 4

Add a bat logo without violating anyone’s copyright (or without getting caught).

Step 5

Attach the umbrella to your dog’s harness with a mix of string, rubber bands, and safety pins.

Step 6

Use your dog’s cuteness to help you get lots of chocolate that your dog can never eat. Oh the delicious irony!

How To Make Great French Toast

This is the first item I am crossing off my 101 goals in 1001 days list. I really liked my French Toast experience, and I am happy to recommend it. Here are my tips for doing it right (based on my vast experience (of cooking it once)):

  • Follow Alton Brown’s Recipe. I thought it was exceptionally tasty and very easy, even for a novice like I am.
  • Use a loaf of Challah bread. If the loaf has raisins, then even better.
  • When slicing the loaf make straight cuts. This allows the whole slice to make even contact with the pan.
  • Cut the slices a few hours before you need them, and leave them out. This helps them dry out and lets them firm up a bit.
  • Don’t heat the honey for 20 seconds. This is dangerously long. Five or eight seconds should be fine.
  • Add cinnamon and a little vanilla extract to the egg mixture.
  • Use fresh eggs that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. (No, you won’t taste any difference, but they are better for your health and your soul.)
  • Keep the heat on medium low, NOT medium. Otherwise they will brown or burn too quickly without the middle cooking.
  • I didn’t try it this time, but I bet that some cooked bananas, apples, or peaches would be an excellent addition to this meal.
  • The oven serves dual purpose of finishing the cooking process and holding the pieces till they are ready to be eaten. So, don’t skip this step.

Good luck and bon appetite!

Challenge: 101 Goals in 1001 Days

goals101 Goals in 1001 Days is such a great idea, I just cannot resist it.

This challenge is to prepare a list of 101 things you would like to do in the next 1001 days. You can choose to start the list today or work on your list and start in the next week. This site is the originator of the idea and the rules:

Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Here are some other people doing this challenge. Have a look at their lists to get some ideas.

I am creating a page to track my goals and I will post different challenges and results as I go. Now, that I am back from my honeymoon in Greece, and my honey is back in school and spending a lot of her time doing schoolwork, I will have some free time to focus on personal development projects (and maybe doing more posts here too).

Also, tomorrow is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I’m not Jewish, but I figure this is a perfect time for new resolutions. This holiday is not about drinking, but about self-reflection and self-improvement.

Challenge #14: Trade Your Old Books for New Books

Books!Let’s face it. We all have lots of books on our bookshelves that we aren’t going to read, but we are still inexplicably unwilling to part with them. Here is one solution that can free you from this clutter: Use a book swapping site to offer them up to other people who want to read them.

One reason we don’t want to part with them is because they still have perceived value to us. However, if we can pass that value onto someone else and get something in return, then the equation completely changes. Then we can be free from the tyranny of our old clutter.

Your challenge is to take the first steps to get rid of the surplus books on your bookshelf.

Here are a bunch of options for parting with old books or trading them for new books.

I just joined one of the sites mentioned in the above link. (The one I joined is called Bookins and here is a referral link if you are interested.)

3 Reasons to Complete Personal Challenges

GoalsWhat I like best about assigning yourself challenges is:

1) They are a surprising learning opportunity

Changing your habits of TV/Exercise/Sleep/Cleaning/e.t.c., sheds a big light on your relationship with those habits. If you want to know how you use the letter “b” in your writing, try using the letter twice as much or try writing without it. If you want to know the impact that TV has on your life, try giving it up.

2) They are a gateway to continued good habits

When you exercise everyday for one month. It is almost effortless to exercise a several times a week the following month.

3) They teach you how to integrate good habits into your life

Logistics are a big stumbling block to adopting good habits. For example, sometimes the hardest part of exercising is figuring out when to do it, where to shower, how to pack a bag, and how to handle laundry. When you force yourself to exercise, you also force yourself to solve and practice all the logistics involved.

Challenge #13: Adopt an Early-to-Bed Early-to-Rise Sleep Schedule

Sleep! For this challenge, we will adopt a fixed sleep schedule. We will give ourselves a mandatory bed time and a mandatory wake up time. Here are the rules:

  • As you begin, pick a sleep schedule. You can pick different schedules for different days of the week. Adhere to the schedule that you pick. Remeber that your body might appreciate having the same times each day.
  • Be realistic about the number of hours of sleep you need each night.
  • Choose bed times for Friday and Saturday night that are consistent with the social life you desire.
  • You can’t use the snooze button on your alarm and you can’t stay in bed past your wake up time.
  • You can choose how many weeks to do this challenge for. I am trying it for two.

Here are two articles (both from the same source) that might help with establishing an early wake up time: Waking up Early and Consistently,
Waking Up Early – 15 Tips That Work

Don’t forget, the easiest way to wake up early is to go to sleep early.