Friday, February 26, 2010

Book Review: The Skinny on Time Management

THE SKINNY ON TIME MANAGEMENT is a part of “The Skinny On…” books from Rand Publishing. The series uses the unique format of using stick figure drawings to better illustrate and visualize key concepts and important information. Interspersed with these illustrations are quotes, cheesy jokes, and critical pieces of information that (as claimed in the book’s introduction) the author has culled from over 100 different sources.

This book is a bit different from other “The Skinny On…” books I have read because instead of following a story of one or two individuals, it is presented as being a two-part class than can be completed within an hour’s time. The first part of the book is devoted to forcing you the reader to evaluate how you use your time. It mainly focuses on awareness, goals, and choices.

The second part of the book focuses on what a person needs to do to actually make the most of one’s time. Specific time management strategies, such as utilizing one’s time and avoiding procrastination are discussed. What one needs to do in order to successfully implement these strategies, such as making to do lists or unplugging the television, are also given. I really liked how the author pointed out the myth of multi-tasking. People can multi-task, but when they do they loose efficiency and effectiveness in not just one area but all areas.

Much of what I read in THE SKINNY ON TIME MANAGEMENT is material I have already heard or read before and, therefore, didn’t really learn anything new. However, because of the unique format of the book, I enjoyed reading it. It wasn’t as entertaining as other titles I have read in the series, but it was still enjoyable and I read the entire book in about 40 minutes. My only complaint about the book is that unlike the other books I’ve read in the series, there is no bibliography given. I realize that the information is taken from a lot of different sources, but it would have been nice to see a bibliography.

THE SKINNY ON TIME MANAGEMENT is a very easy-to-read book and can be read in about an hour’s time. If you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to reading lots of self-help books about how to improve your time management skills, then I recommend THE SKINNY ON TIME MANAGEMENT. I particularly recommend it for high school and college students.


Part of a relatively new book series from Rand Publishing, THE SKINNY ON SUCCESS takes information from over 60 different books and condenses it into an extremely easy-to-read format that can be read between an hour or two.

There’s a 1-page introduction followed by a 1-page note from the publisher. Then the stick man version of Jim Randel, the author, introduces himself and explains what the book is about and what you should be able to accomplish by reading it. Oh, yes, this book is filled with stick people illustrations. Stick people are one of the benchmarks of “The Skinny On…” books. They are used to tell a story that illustrates the main points of the lessons in the book. In THE SKINNY ON SUCCESS in addition to narrator stick person Jim, we follow Billy and Beth, a happily married couple who are both seeking a change in their careers. Billy wants to be a comedian and Beth wants to get into politics. Through the lessons learned in the book the reader sees how Billy and Beth approach their different dreams.

Much of what I read in THE SKINNY ON SUCCESS is material I have already heard or read before. Therefore, I didn’t really learn anything new. However, because of the unique format of the book, I completely enjoyed reading it. It was very entertaining.

THE SKINNY ON SUCCESS is a very easy-to-read book and can be read in about an hour’s time. If you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to reading lots of self-help books about finding success, but who is trying to find some key things to help you realize your potential and discover success, then I recommend THE SKINNY ON SUCCESS.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

"I get about as many Valentine's as a dog."
--Charlie Brown

I used to enjoy Valentine's Day. I used to get candy and little cards and it was like a bonus gift day between the celebrations of Christmas and the joy surrounding Easter. That lasted until 6th grade.

I went to school where K-8 classes are all held in the same building. It's a small school, but one with a very strong sense of community. From kindergarten until 5th grade we had to make Valentines boxes or bags and pass around Valentine's every year to everyone in the class. We also had Valentine's Day parties with lots of cookies and cakes and drinks.

In 6th grade that all stopped. Valentine cards were optional and instead of a party there was an "upper pod" dance held on Friday night. I didn't get any Valentines that year and I didn't get to dance with any girls at the dance.

For the longest time, I tried to be upbeat about Valentine's Day. I researched the history of the holiday and tried to keep the "true spirit" of the holiday alive. Until about my sophomore year in high school I bought gifts for my Mom. I'm not sure any of that helped how lonely I felt every year Valentine's Day came around. It got worse the older I got. I attended a few "Single Awareness Day" celebrations in college and just after. For the longest time, I meant what I said and I said what I meant that if I was ever in a relationship there really shouldn't be a reason to celebrate Valentine's Day because I would want to treat my partner that way every day of the year and not just on one particular one. Still, even though I know that most people don't know anything about St. Valentine and that the holiday itself was one that was kidnapped by card and candy companies to make up for the lull in sales between Christmas and Easter, I can't help but feeling alone on Valentine's Day.

I was semi-busy this year, but today was worse than in the past. My Dad always got my sister a card for my Mom, sister, and Grandma and every year he always had a special gift for my sister and Mom. Last Thursday I was thinking about that and decided I should get them something, too. I was in the middle of the candy aisle at Wal-Mart looking for something for my sister when I started crying. I couldn't help but think that I really shouldn't be doing this. My Dad was supposed to be doing that, not me. I love my sister, but she's Daddy's little girl. To me she's just my sister and my Mom is my mom. But, my Dad isn't here. He's gone on to his reward and I'm here trying to keep things together, trying to keep a bit of normalcy for my family. I am so inadequate. Of course, this is all on top of how alone this stupid holiday makes me feel, especially now since all of my close friends who care to be are involved in relationships are.

I hope that one day I can enjoy Valentine's Day again. But right now, I don't.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Men and Romance

Many people think men are less romantic than women. Yet men fall in love faster (because they are so visual); men tend to be more dependent on their girlfriends or wives for intimacy; men are over two times more likely to kill themselves when a relationship ends; and men show just as much activity in brain regions associated with romantic passion.
— Helen Fisher, Ph.D., anthropology professor at Rutgers University

Thanks to first posting this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


It's been over a year in development, but THE SILO PROJECT (the film and the album) are finally here. Two of the artists will be in St. Louis next weekend. Information listed below. If you're in the area, come on out!

Everett Thomas @ The Gramaphone in St. Louis

Saturday, February 20, 2010
7:30pm - 10:30pm
4243 Manchester Ave. Saint Louis , MO.


Hey! I am having a cd release show here in St. Louis and i would love to see your face!

Also playing are :
Liza Day :
Stukenberg :
The Blind Nils :

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Curtain Falls.

I just finished acting in another play. It was a production of the classic American comedy, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. The show was a hit on Broadway when it was first written nearly 80 years ago and for a time it was the longest running show on the Great White Way. I don't know if there's been a revival or not, but the show has since gone on to be produced quite often by college and community theatre groups. The show is really funny with just the right mix of sight gags, one-line zingers, intellectual humor, and physical comedy. However, I think the main reason that the show is such a favorite is because, as our director quite rightly pointed out, it's all about family. Some of us are lucky and have great families. But, I think for those of us who don't there is still something within us that longs for a family like the Sycamore clan.

Speaking of families, I've acted in more than thirty different full-length plays (not including ones I've helped with, directed, etc.). I've only had a few occasions where I was very much glad the show was over. Usually, the close of a show is bittersweet with just the perfect balance of "glad to be done" and "sadness that the group of people I've worked with for the past 6-9 weeks will now be parted forever." However, every once in awhile I've been involved in a show that when the last curtain has fallen and the set has been struck I'm left feeling very sad and more than a little depressed. YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU was one of those. The cast was a very eclectic mix of individuals, but in this show that is all about family, we became a family. The past couple months have been rough for me and this particular theatre family (probably unbeknownst to most of them) was a surrogate support group for me. I looked forward to rehearsals and to the time we spent together. I had old friendships strengthened and made some new ones. Rehearsals were a joy and an incredible amount of fun.

And now, it's over. Most of the people in the show are friends of mine and I know I will see them again, but there are a few that I may not. And even if I do and even if we are able to all work together again in another show or by some miracle the same show, we'll never all be together again as we were. The fellowship is forever broken and it cannot be rebuilt no matter how hard we wish or try.

It seems that most of us have grown accustomed to this. We grow close to people and then for one reason or the another they leave. People move away. They die. We get in arguments and hold grudges. And when it happens we move on and tell ourselves, "That's life." Yet, deep down inside we know that's at least a little white lie because even though it is the nature of things and the way of the world and this life, we know that it's not how things are supposed to be. When God created the world, he didn't intend for us to experience fellowship and community and then have it ripped away. We might be accustomed to it and even expect it, but it's not the way things are supposed to be.

Therefore, I say without any shame that, even now, I miss the YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU clan. They helped me through a difficult period of time, provided me with countless hours of laughter, and gave me lots of memories that I will treasure in my heart. When things get difficult again and the days are dark, I will look back and take some of the light from those things to help me keep pressing on.