HDTV - Discovery Channel's "Planet Earth"If ever there was a question as to why you should have HDTV and why you should have it now, The Discovery Channel in conjunction with the BBC has answered that question! Their new 11 part mini series "Planet Earth" is unequivocally the most breathtaking example of HD programming I've ever seen. I've only watched the first episode, "Pole to Pole", but the incredible shots they've gotten coupled with the most amazing scenery and never before filmed events in nature truly make this a landmark series. If you don't have an HDTV and have been on the fence about purchasing one, you need to run to your nearest AV store tomorrow and pick one up. I'm not one for beating my chest about how you absolutely have to have something, but this is an exception. I've had an HDTV along with HD programming for probably 3 or 4 years now. Being a home theater buff, it always bugged me that my nice 16 X 9 TV was wasted on analog TV. I wanted the widescreen format I had come to enjoy with my movies. As soon as it was economically feasible for me to get HD programming, I did. Even though most of the things I record are standard TV drama series that really don't show off the capabilities of HD, I'm happy that my screen is filled. But "Planet Earth" in 1080i is what HD is all about! From being able to see all the tiny air bubbles escaping from an elephants trunk as it plays in the water to seeing the faintest of feathers on a bird of paradise in the jungle . . . I mean I am simply blown away by the quality of the image and the depth of color. Even from my 6 year old Mitsubishi TV. I'm half way tempted to run out and buy a new Sony SXRD set JUST to watch 11 hours of "Planet Earth" its that good. For you Comcast folks with HD programming and a DVR, set that sucker to 663 and just record Planet Earth. Clear out episodes of Friends, MASH, or whatever it is you record and make way for "Planet Earth", I promise you . . . you WON'T be disappointed!
Just When You Think You're in Decent Shape . . .Holy crap . . . I did my first "Slim in Six" workout this morning. YIKES! So I've been doing the elliptical pretty regularly for about a month now and was feeling like I was in pretty good shape. I was getting bored though, so I wanted something to mix it up a bit, so I ordered "Slim in Six" from beachbody.com. A couple of friends had done it and recommended it, so I picked it up. When I got it on Friday, I cruised through the video on my laptop just to see what I was in for. I thought "Yeah, I'm going to sweat a bit, but nothing looks TOO hard in there". Oh the things we tell ourselves . . . Well today was day 1 of my 6 day a week, 6 week workout plan. I got up around 6AM and weighed myself on our new body fat % scale. Then I went downstairs and Teri and I measured my body. Yeah, so far, the day isn't comin' up all roses. I skipped the obligatory "Before" photos, I'll do those tomorrow. All the measurements will be posted in my exercise section if you've got a strong stomach, head on over.
Yesterday I mounted our new 26" LCD TV to the wall in the bonus/exercise room. This morning I hooked a DVD player up to it. I grabbed the Yoga mat that Teri had purchased for me at GI Joes over the weekend out of my trunk, got some water and popped the DVD in.
The program consists of 3 increasingly difficult workouts. The first is "Start it Up". It's about 25 minutes. Now, I've been doing 45 minutes on the elliptical without much issue, so I figured 25 minutes will be a piece of cake. The next two workouts are called "Ramp it Up" and "Burn it Up", I can only imagine what those will be like. They add time and intensity to your workouts. Anyway, the "Start it Up" starts by doing some moves to just get the blood flowing a bit. Honestly, I had trouble keeping up with the warmup. I think it was about 5 minutes long and I actually had to take a short rest somewhere in there. From there, you go into some more difficult moves like lunges, squats, etc. Finally they have you do some pushups and the final 5 minutes or so is devoted to abdominal exercises. Reverse crunches, oblique crunches and standard crunches. A couple minutes for stretching and you're done.
I made it through, but I certainly did not look as smooth as the models on the screen did! I took a couple extra rests in between exercises and when I was done, I was actually shaking. I really felt the burn in my quads and my abs. It is definitely something different. It's challenging, but not so much that I will dread doing it . . . I'm looking forward to "Start it Up" becoming "easy" so I can move on to "Ramp it Up". I was hoping to get through all three workouts by wedding day, but I don't know that I'll be that far along by then. This was a wakeup call for me. I'm not nearly as studly as I thought I was, but I will be!
Leeroy Jenkins . . .I think I mentioned this video in a previous blog post, but never actually posted it here. Again, I love YouTube . . . so to set this up for you non-gamers out there (Pepe) this is a scene from an actual WoW (World of Warcraft) game. Now WoW players are a bit extreme. They will play for hours upon hours analyzing everything trying to get the next battle just right. So this is a group of guys on a campaign together, chatting with one another over the internet and planning their next attack. One of the guys "Leeroy" gets a bit impatient . . . you'll see what I mean. Just the level of seriousness these guys exhibit for a freaking game just cracks me up. But Leeroy? He's a guy I could hang with. You go Leeroy! The video isn't nearly as important as the audio, so just listen in to their game . . .
Any day not spent in the drive-thru . . .Is a victory in my book. So the past month or so, I've virtually eliminated soda from my diet. There have been an occasional coke here and there, and last weekend for my bachelor party . . . well for the most part you can't drink Jack Daniels straight all night (although I did give that a go too!). But for the most part, for better than a month, my soda intake is probably less that 10% of what it has been (the rest of my life).
So next on the agenda is the damn drive-thru. Trying to slow down and take 10 - 15 minutes in the morning to fix and eat breakfast is a chore to me. It's so much easier to just hit Jack in the Box on the way into the office. But I've been trying. So as I've been working out more, I've been eating home more for breakfast. I typically have a couple of eggs over hard and a few pieces of sausage. Or maybe the occasional bowl of cereal. But if you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I get bored easily. I need to change things up a bit to keep me interested. So while reading Men's Health a couple of nights ago, I came across a tasty little breakfast morsel. I tried it this morning and it was quick, easy and pretty tasty. I did add a couple things to it, so it wasn't NEARLY as healthy as the one in the magazine, but it was NOT JITB either. So they're called "Huevos Rancheros Roll-Ups". I scrambled 4 eggs, chopped up one green onion, fried up about 2 Oz. of Jimmy Dean Sausage (modification #1). Other ingredients included Garlic Gourmet salsa (my fav!), a dollop of sour cream (mod #2), some shredded mexican cheese and two whole wheat tortillas.
Pour scrambled egg mixture into hot non-stick pan, allow to set. (Note, I made two roll-ups, so you'd only use 2 eggs for one)
After egg has mostly set, add cheese, green onion and sausage (if desired)
Put tortilla on a plate and slide egg onto tortilla.
Add Salsa and sour cream (if desired)
Roll the egg over on itself to form a burrito
Roll the tortilla around the egg
The Mens Health article also called for fresh cillantro, which I forgot at the store last night. DOH! That would have been tasty too!
If I hadn't wanted the sausage with it, it would have probably only taken about 5 minutes to fix one. It was very tasty too!
Also, I fell down some stairs yesterday at the model home I was sitting at, so today my hip, knee and right forearm are pretty dang sore.
Today I also received in the mail my "Slim in Six" and "Power 90" workout routines from Beachbody.com. I ordered these last week to break up the monotony of doing the elliptical every day. So we'll see how this goes. I've had a couple buddies do the "Slim in Six" routine and have good success with it so I'm giving it a go. I've got like 6 weeks and 2 days until my wedding day. If I could drop 20 - 30 pounds in that timeframe, I would be one happy camper.
Someone doesn't see the value in outsourcing . . .Came across this today on MSNBC . . . thought it was pretty funny . . .
Some movie companies are dropping efforts to save money by outsourcing the job of writing subtitles for English-speaking films shown in foreign-language countries, and vice-versa, according to the London Times. Dialogue was lost in translation. “Jim is a Vietnam Vet” became “Jim is a veterinarian from Vietnam,” according to the paper, and “She died in a freak rugby accident” became “She died in a ruby match for people with deformities.”
Ancestry Research . . .So having gone to Teri's family reunion last weekend, I've had my roots on my mind lately. So I started digging around on the internet and came across some interesting things. I've been able to trace my mom's side of the family, at least on her father's side back to Norway. I think I even found the ship's manifest that shows my great grand father coming over in 1894. Other items of note, I found my great grand father and great grand mother's (paternal) ship manifest for a trip they took to Italy in 1954. I also found my Grand father's (materna) draft registration card for WWI and my Great Grand Father's (paternal) draft registration card for WWI (Yeah, my maternal grandfather was quite a bit older than the rest of my grand parents). I've also found some census records from 1900 and 1910 for my great grandfather (maternal). I guess I'm on a quest for a sense of belonging to something. Getting to know where I came from. I guess it's important to know so I can figure out where I'm going.
Amerika -Thingvalla Line
The image above is from the S/S Amerika on the Thingvalla line. If I did indeed find the passenger manifest that contains my Great Grandfather's crossing from Norway, this is the ship he was on. Can you imagine being an 18 year old Norwegian boy, hopping on this ship, leaving your family behind to start life anew in a different country? The free spirit in me says "Man! Let's go!" Maybe I get that from my great grandfather? Arriving in 1894 New York with plans to head to Minnesota or Wisconsin to be with most of the other Norwegians? It just baffles the mind.
I found a free download of Family Tree Maker 2005 trial version. It's pretty cool and I'll likely upgrade to the latest and greatest. I also signed up for a 14 day free trial of Ancestry.com, which is where I've found most of my information. I'll probably pay the $155 bucks for the 12 month membership after my free trial to continue my research.
I do regret not having asked more questions of my grand parents while they were still alive though. Most of this research would have been a LOT easier. Like finding out from my grand father (maternal) where in Norway his dad was from. That (I think) would make tracing him to the US a bit easier. I've also found my grand mother's (paternal) parents and traced them back to Wachendorf, Germany. Google maps has several entries for "Wachendorf" so I'm not too sure which would be the correct one.
As I get further along in my research and nail down some dates and places, I'll likely post my findings to the web with hopes of finding other members of my family. There is a guy in Seattle that contacted my grandmother (maternal) 25 years or so ago and had a ton of information on her dad and that side of the family. I've got an old address and phone number for him that I'm going to try tomorrow (today?) and hopefully I can get any information he has to complete that side of the tree.
I'm really trying to trace the "Hurlbut" name back to England or Wales. According to information I can find on-line, that's where it comes from, but along that lineage, I can only get back to late 1800's Nebraska.
I've been working on this for about 4 hours tonight and my head hurts. So I'm heading off to bed. Stay tuned for more as I learn . . .
Thirteen . . . Thirteen . . .I think this is just a hilarious video . . . safe for work. Now that YouTube is around, finding all these videos that have been sent to me over the years is very easy . . . :-)
They ain't makin no more dirt! Really?OK, so being a Real Estate agent, people ask me all the time why home
prices continue to go up. My pat answer is "They aren't making any
more dirt" that is to say, land values are increasing because land is
getting more and more scarce. Or is it?
So what do you do when you're one of the richest countries in the
world and you only have 25 miles of beach front property? You make
more beach front. As in HUNDREDS of miles of it. The picture
below is from Dubai. It's a man made island called "The Palm".
You'll see why in a moment. This island contains 62 miles of beach
frront property. It is one of two currently under construction. If
you go to Dubai in Google Earth and head south along their coast line,
you'll find this. If you continue on south, you'll find it's big
brother, not quite complete. AND if the Dubai government can find
enough rock and sand, they have a third, even larger island planned.
"The Palm - Dubai"
In Google Earth, if you zoom in on the first island, you can already
see luxury villas popping up along the palm fronds. Now THAT's where
I wanna sell some homes!
I saw this on Mega Builders last night on the Discovery Channel.
Pretty frickin cool how they build this. You should TiVo it if you
have a chance.
Busy weekend . . .Boy, gonna do lots of running around this weekend. Just wanted to say that I've posted 15.24 miles on the elliptical since Tuesday this week. I've done 5 days in a row. For the specifics, see my exercise blog to the right --->
Don't forget, my open house is tomorrow from 1 - 4 . . . 3905 119th St. Ct. NW in Gig Harbor . . . more info available at http://johnlscott.com/33365
Goal Complete!OK, so I posted earlier in the week about some goals Linda had set out for me. Well at least the exercise goal is complete. See my exercise log, I did 4 workouts before 9AM Friday instead of just 3. As for having a beer with Brandon and Steve, well I made it with Brandon so I consider that complete. I've got just a few minor issues to complete for my open house on Sunday today, but that will be complete. I started delivering my pop-bys this week, I did about 15 total so far this week. I've got 35 or so to go by next Friday. The only thing I'm struggling with is communicating my value to potential clients. I have bee going over some things in my head, but nothing really concrete yet though.
Yesterday I made the decision to start sitting site again. I'm going to be sitting at a condo project just 5 minutes from home, so I'm definitely excited about the location! The condos are pretty darn inexpensive too, so it should be a quick project. I'm just looking to infulse some new business into my pipeline for the year. I'll be sitting with Danielle and Rob, two friends of mine, so that will make if better too.
Here is some additional information if you're looking for a condo in Puyallup:
But don't call Danielle or Jerry, call me! :-)
I think it'll be a good project and it will get me the condo experience I've wanted for some time now too.
Anyway, gotta get running and start the day now!
Hurrarch Hurrarch . . . It's the First of . . . March?Sorry, I read Dr. Seuss to McKinlee last night, so I may be in a rhyming mood. So last night we had some dinner with some good friends. We're always sorry when that ends. OK, seriously, enough. Yesterday was another good day. I didn't get nearly as much done at work as I was hoping, but what I did get done was good stuff. I have all my flyers ready for the open house on Sunday. The open house is advertised twice in the News Tribune and all over the internet. Including here:
Open House This Sunday! 1 - 4 PM! 3905 119th St. Ct. NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332 for more information and driving directions go to http://johnlscott.com/33365
We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog. And my lender, Gina Miller at Keystone Mortgage will be attending the open house with me! How cool is that? We'll have refreshments available so if anyone wants to stop by and check it out (Steve, Brandon, investment?) come on by!
I also toured a really nice home for a co-worker of mine on her "brokers" open yesterday morning. And I started to focus on the "Law of Attraction". One story in "The Secret" was this guy that says that when he goes shopping, he pictures in his mind the parking spot he wants and honestly believes he will get that spot. 95% of the time, the spot is open when he gets there and the other 5% of the time he only has to wait 1 - 2 minutes for it to open up. Well, I thought I'd give that a go yesterday when I went to drop off dry cleaning. You know at Fred Meyer where they have the little "island" of parking spots right by the load/unload zone right at the front. At my Fred Meyer, that also happens to be right in front of the dry cleaner. SO I visualized pulling up and having the parking spot on the end available and wide open. I REALLY concentrated on it. When I pulled up, guess what, it was open. There were people driving all around seemingly looking for parking spots, but they drove right by that one. So I pulled in. It was cool. Maybe coincidence, but it was a really neat way to start the day never the less.
Two more "law of attraction" stories that have happened to me lately. So the other night before I went to bed after watching "The Secret" I asked the universe to give me 5 new buyers in the next month. I visualized myself having 5 buyers, running all over town showing homes, going to inspections, going to signings, writing up contracts, etc. I really acted (in my mind) as if I had 5 new buyers I was working with. So the next morning, I woke up and went to my office meeting and then was going to meet a client of mine who is going to do some concrete work for me. I was about 20 minutes early so I decided to pop open the cell phone and check my e-mail. Now I think in the last 4 years, I've MAYBE gotten 3 or 4 e-mails from random people about a listing I have. When I checked my JLS e-mail, there was an e-mail from a guy that wanted to see my Gig Harbor listing and one other. I was shocked. I e-mailed him back and later that day, we connected and I showed him both homes. He doesn't have a real estate agent, so he tenatively agreed to be my client on a trial basis. COOL! That's one!
The other one is Steve, Brandon and I have been talking about buying investment real estate. I've REALLY been focusing on finding a good lender that deals primarily with investors. I had met a lender that had done "some" loans for investors, but didn't really have the feeling that he was the "perfect" lender. So last week I was at a Buffini Turning Point retreat with about 1,200 agents and lenders. On the second day I decided to move closer to the stage. So I sat down and one of the things about the TPR is that you introduce yourself to people around you for networking purposes. The lady in front of me and I exchange information and turns out she's a lender in Tukwila. We start discussing home prices on South Hill and when I tell her what rental rates on a 3/2 rambler are and what they're selling for, she says "I can get that to cash flow". (Uh oh!) So I ask her, "Do you do a lot of loans for investors?" she replies "That's primarily what we do" (Damn!) and she goes on to say "If you'd like, my group gets together once a month to play this game . . . " I knew before she pulled out the card to tell me what the game was, what it was. It's the Cash Flow game by Robert Kiyosaki. She continues "The Cash Flow game by Robert Kiyosaki, have you heard of it?" . . . (Holy crap, this is WEIRD!) I tell her, "Yeah, I just got the game and my buddies and I have already played it. It's great." So again, maybe coincidence, but what are the odds that out of 1,200 people I sit next to A) A lender, B) A lender from Tukwila (people come from all over the country for a TPR) C) a lender from Tukwila that deals primarily with investors and D) A Lender from Tukwila that deals primarily with Lenders AND also plays the Cash Flow game? I think pretty slim. Any probability experts out there?
Anyway, this is WAY tooo long a post, but I'm Fired up! Have a great rest of the week everyone!