Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Adsense Challenge

I'm not sure why, but I still have some Adsense ads on my blogs. I'm always amazed at how quickly they adapt and customize to the topic of my latest post. I am never amazed or impressed with how little they pay out. Anyway, if I write about Christmas trees, then tree ads appear immediately after I publish the post. If I write about college, then online course advertisements suddenly appear.

You have probably heard about John Henry vs. the digging machine or the Jeopardy nerds vs. Watson the computer. I have decided to try a challenge kind of like that. I call it me against Google data recognition. I'm going to briefly discuss a topic with synonyms and see if the Google computers are smart enough to know what I'm talking about. Here goes the test.

I'm thinking of a food in the nut family. It is my favorite variety and the first part of the name is a word for paper money. The last syllable is a noise people make when they are grossed out. These delicious foods come in cans and sometimes compliment Chinese cuisine. They are also used in an ice cream flavor with caramel. They look like this.

Let's see if Adsense is smart enough to identify this wonderful food.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Family Time and Ping Pong

I don't want to brag, but I am pretty dang good at Ping Pong. My family had a ping pong table when I was younger and I occasionally played when I was a teenager. Some friends recently offered us a ping pong table they were getting rid of so we took it. It is packed in the middle of our play room upstairs and I'm sure any interior designer or Feng Shui expert would have a fit, but I don't mind. Despite not playing table tennis for over 20 years, I am pleased to report that I still have the skills!

We have a tradition of attempting to spend time together every week in my family. Ideally we would watch a movie, or go to the park, have a lesson, plan activities, or make something fun to eat. Frequently it just consists of me getting mad at my kids for being noisy and not listening so I end up dismissing them and sending them to bed until there is only one kid left and they are declared the winner. We very seldom have functional family home evenings. When I want to get the family together for an impromptu gathering during the week I call it an emergency session since it sounds more important and makes me feel like a general.

I think spending family time together is extremely important. Eating together as a family is a lost art. The invention of the microwave and TV and computer have impacted how families eat. I'm all for convenience and doing things on the run, but I also think having the occasional "Waltons" sit down dinner would do wonders for most families.

Anyway, back to Ping Pong. Since we got this table, I have spent way more quality time with my kids and have had a blast playing with them and learning even more about their attitudes and personalities. It has been fun to have heated trash talking battles with my teenagers as well as patient teaching moments with my 5 year old who is just happy to be able to hit the ball back 2 or 3 times in a volley.

I highly recommend ping pong and regular family time. Doing simple and easy things together can work wonders for your family. I challenge you to look for ways to spend more quality time as a family. (He types this as he is telling his kids to be quiet so he can watch sports highlights on YouTube), but seriously, as you are shopping for presents for your kids this year, consider stuff you can do together as a family instead of buying them more electronics which often retard their social skills and seclude them from the world.

Speaking of ping pong, here is a crazy clip of some guys I would hate to play against.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

I've been a little reluctant to post about Thanksgiving since I'm sure the topic has already been addressed by most people this week. Even so, I'd still like to share some thoughts about gratitude and giving thanks since I have been blessed with so much.

Several years ago I was going through a very hard time. I was having financial setbacks, stress, and was very depressed and discouraged. One evening I was feeling sorry for myself since everything seemed to be going against me. At that moment I felt impressed to make a list of the things I was thankful for. I reluctantly started the process of counting my blessings and by the time I finished, I had several pages of evidence why I should be happy and grateful despite the less than ideal experiences I was going through.

Most people living in developed countries take luxuries like running water, electricity, and heating for granted. I can only imagine how much of our day would be spent in survival mode if we didn't live in civilizations that have the infrastructure to take care of these important things for us. For many of us, the challenge we deal with is deciding how we are going to entertain ourselves in our free time. By the way, reading Chaka's World is always a good option since it is free and doesn't take too much time.

Despite our screwed up government and political corruption, we are still blessed with freedoms, rights, and privileges that others could only dream of. I'm grateful for the order that governments provide and that we have security and protection and are not just a bunch of tribes and gangs trying to fight for the necessities we need to survive.

I'm sure we all have challenges and set backs and are wanting in many areas of our lives, but focusing on what we do have and being thankful for those things can improve our quality of life. I really believe that having an attitude of gratitude makes us more receptive to God's blessings.

Some people might think that Thanksgiving is a gluttonous time of eating, but I think the annual practice of feasting is very appropriate since it reminds us how richly we've been blessed with an abundance of things. I am also a big fan of food so I'd probably be all for it even without the symbolism.  I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving with your friends and family. I also hope we can remember to be grateful for all that we have all the other days of the year too.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Picture of the Month-Nov 2011

In anticipation of Thanksgiving, I have decided to pay tribute to my favorite food. I know that turkey is supposed to be the star of the show, but mashed potatoes and gravy have always been my favorite. I consider them to be the staple and all of the other great foods are just accessories on the plate.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You Might Be A Blogger If...

It has been 8 days since I last posted on Chaka's World and I believe that's the longest break I've ever taken since I started blogging. This got me thinking about the psychology of blogging. I've been doing it for a while now and have come to realize that there are people who have a blog and then there are your hard core bloggers. In order to help you see which you are, I have prepared some questions.

You are probably not a serious blogger if you can't remember your blog address when someone asks for it or if you haven't posted anything since Obama was elected president.

You might be a hard core blogger if...

* You have many blogging acquaintances you consider to be good friends, but you have never actually met them. (Yes, some of the nice women who make clever comments on this blog could actually be grown men living in their mom's basement and I'd never know the difference.)

* You have ever published a post by accident.

* You have ever deleted entire posts by accident.

* You worry about what it was that you wrote or how you offended someone whenever you lose a follower.

* You constantly take notes in the back of your mind when you see something that would make a good blog topic or story. Just today I came up with the idea of installing Arby's bells in the library so you can let the librarians know that they did a good job. I will have to elaborate on this later in a post.

* You feel pressure to post at least every week if not more frequently.

* You no longer notice word verification screens because you leave so many comments.

I'm not trying to judge bloggers who don't write much or are not very active. I just wanted to make the point that there are casual bloggers and then there are very active bloggers. Don't feel bad if you feel you are in the first group. You are probably more well rounded and less screwed up.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daylight Savings

I'm still not sure if I hate pitch black mornings or early nights more.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Hunger Strike

I have been very frustrated with the NBA lockout. It seems that neither side is willing to make the compromises that are needed to resolve the conflict. As a result, the fans are being hurt. In an attempt to put some extra pressure on David Stern and all of the league's superstars, I have decided to go on a hunger strike until the situation is resolved. I am dead serious about this.

Until the lockout is resolved, I will not eat the following foods:


Hopefully my sacrifice will motivate the league to resolve the situation with a greater sense of urgency.  I know my actions may sound extreme or even dangerous, but I miss seeing my daily NBA highlights and something has to be done.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jim Meskimen Impressions

I love watching good impressionists. It seems everyone one and their dog can do John Wayne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jimmy Stewart, but Jim Meskimen has in impressive repertoire and I love hearing Shakespeare in all the different celebrity voices. I especially like his Gervais, Clooney, Shatner, Giamatti, and Freeman. Check this out if you have not seen it before.