Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Where Are You?

Honestly, I think I need a bullhorn.  And I need to take it into the parking lots of apartment buildings and simply yell, “Where is Marion Davies?”  Only I’ll use the actual name of the person I’m looking for, instead of a deceased movie star.
          Here’s the problem.  And it’s a problem all over America (have not surveyed other nations yet):  YOU CAN’T FIND ANYBODY.  A least not a body who lives in a large apartment complex.
          My church does what I think is a very cool thing.  We visit every single member, every single month. At least, ideally.  This way no one can go homeless, hungry, or even frustrated for very long, without someone coming to their rescue with meals, wheels, and a shoulder to cry on. But this also means I am constantly driving into apartment building parking lots where I cannot find specific residents.  It begins with the map:
          These maps are miniscule, and cannot be read from your car. 
Even in the dark of night (bring a flashlight), you must get out of your car and walk up to the sign where, with a good magnifying glass, you might be able to locate the unit you want.

But the buildings don’t always go in order.  You might see Building 11 right next to Building 35.  And then 19.  And then 4. 
Even if you know roughly where their building is, once you get into the belly of the beast, you find that the building numbers are no longer visible.  This can be due to the numbers NOT EVEN BEING POSTED, or due to fluffy trees
Or due to parking rooftops which block the numbers from any location where your car can legally drive.
And heaven help you if you wait until evening when it’s dark, because then you have no chance whatsoever of finding the correct building or unit.  And the chicken soup is getting cold, the ice cream bars are melting, and someone who actually lives here and knows his way around, is right on your back bumper flashing his brights so you’ll get a move-on.
So I am pleading—begging—builders of apartment complexes to forget entirely about the word “complex” and switch it for the word “simple.”  Follow the lead of tech folks, and make your structures user friendly.  We could all get used to saying, “Apartment Simple” and every time we said it, we’d smile.

Far easier to navigate is my website, with lovely tabs that can take you to my YouTube Mom videos, and of course my user friendly books.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

It's All in the Name

It’s no small endeavor to start up a company, agreed?  And you would think people would carefully weigh their options when naming it.
But not so.  Apparently folks are slapping names on a company before they even run them by their associates.  Maybe it’s the irresistibly low-cost business cards you can get these days.  Maybe that makes people jump the gun before thinking things through.
          I’ve been accidentally researching this problem in my own neck of the woods, and while I haven’t found anything quite so ghastly as this:

          Or this:

          Or this:

          Or this:

          I have noticed companies with names that beg for clarity.  Even the national Petsmart can be taken as Pets’ Mart, or Pet Smart.  Not long ago there was a shop in Rocklin called SPAMART.  Maybe they just didn’t put enough of a space between Spa and Mart, but Spam Art is actually a thing, so you see that sign and you’re not quite sure.
          Last week I was driving through Auburn and saw Riskalyze on a building.  Turns out this place advises investors building their portfolios, and helps them identify risk.  But without that explanation, it looks like a place that makes things riskier, not safer.  “What happened to Joe?” “He got riskalyzed.”  Poor Joe.
          That same day I saw a truck that said Idealease, and wondered if they knew they had provided three possibilities: This is the ideal place to lease a truck OR it offers ideal ease, OR my favorite—this is a company that will lease you ideas.  Wait-- better yet, maybe they'll lease your ideas to other people!  I think I'll call them.

And I’ll go one better- I’ll GIVE you an idea.  Visit jonihilton.com and buy my books—you’ll be so glad you did!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dogged Geniuses

Hang onto your doggie bags, folks.  It turns out DOGS CAN DO CALCULUS.
          Yes, I know my own Chihuahua, Mickey, has been concealing this and many other skills for years,
but studies have been done, and we humans who always avoided math are now UNdone.
          It’s very humbling to be outsmarted by a dog, but here’s the scoop (well, not the usual scoop you think of with dogs, but a scoop nonetheless):
          A few years ago, mathematician Tim Pennings of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, threw a tennis ball into a lake and watched as his Welsh corgi, Elvis, fetched it.  
Then he marked the path Elvis took in order to get there fastest.  Pennings threw it not only way to the side, but way ahead.  This means the dog has multiple choices:
1-     The dog wants to use the quickest path to the ball, and knows that running on dry land is faster than swimming in water.  So he is not likely to run straight ahead on land, then make a 90-degree turn, and run toward the water, in an L-shaped course.
2-   He is even less likely to hurry into the water and then swim the longest part of the journey.
3-   If he is as dumb as most humans, he will take a straight diagonal course to the stick.
4-   But no.  He is smarter, and takes a not-quite-diagonal course, then a small turn, and then finally enters the water.  This, it turns out, is actually the fastest route, and requires calculus.

          And this saddens me.  I am not happy that all of dogdom has outwitted me.  I am sad that I cannot understand that diagram, nor the multiple equations you will see if you Google this.  I am also sad that Mickey will not run  to fetch the ball unless it is wrapped in bacon and is thrown towards her, not away from her.
          Who knows—maybe she’s smarter than all of us.
You'll feel much better if you simply order one of my books here, and curl up in a blanket to read it.  Trust me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Easter Done Right

          Today I’m excited.  I finally found a way around the bunnies and Easter eggs.  Not that I’m giving them up, or turning my back on chocolate in this lifetime, but I found several cool ways to celebrate the real meaning of Easter.
          And let’s face it, we all know this is the holiday about the resurrection of Jesus Christ—the most important event in human history.  Actually, without Easter, what would be the point of Christmas?  This is a biggie.  
Yet most of us festoon the house with all the symbols of Spring: Daffodils, baby chicks, little bunnies, colorful eggs, marshmallow Peeps, and nary a whiff of Christ’s resurrection. 
          So let’s change that up.  I have three cool things to recommend, starting with the opportunity to sing the Hallelujah Chorus with the MoTab Choir! Or just click http://mor.mn/4ah3t for more info on that.  Also check out #Hallelujah.
   Next, watch my demo of an easy centerpiece that depicts the Empty Tomb.  I just posted it on my YouTube Mom channel. 
          And finally, visit this site, where you’ll see blogger Heidi Swapp (an amazing woman with amazing handwriting), who gives you Easter message printables for a truly elegant envelope craft, perfect as a gift for anyone of any age.
There you go—three Easter gifts and you didn’t even need a basket!
Hey, be a good egg, scroll through my other YouTube Mom videos, and subscribe!   

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Birthday with a Bang

          Last weekend our daughter, Nicole, came home from BYU for a quick trip to celebrate her birthday.  And a grand time was had by all.  EXCEPT, perhaps by those of us gathered around her birthday cake, which is to say everybody.
          Some time ago I got the ingenious (note sarcasm) idea to order musical, rotating candles from China.  I know, I know—you’re already thinking, “Wait—isn’t this the place that invented fireworks?”
          But it looked very cute online, and played a wee little birthday song, somewhat off-key but who’s counting, in the high pitch you’d expect a ladybug to sing, if ladybugs could sing.  As the candles burn in their pink flower-shaped container, the petals slowly open and the entire thing twirls.  Quite a show for only a couple of dollars, right? (Second clue: extremely inexpensive)
           The top of the box says, "Intellecual Candle" and these are the actual instructions on the side:
Explanation to cutline:
1.      Direct lit products top erect lighter spark rod. (Banned in windy conditions)
2.    Bar ignition spark eight candles, automatically open and play happy birthday music petals. If you want to stop the music, will the coppe line.
3.     Note: 1- Minors do not operate independently, 2- Please avoid candles lit 40 cm in the face, 3- Please before the flame blew out the candle unburnt.
Nicole’s cake was a cheesecake topped with homemade lemon curd, so rather than make a mess of it, she asked if we could place the candle beside the cake. No problem.  
           I struck a match.  “Get ready to make a wish,” I said.  And we carefully touched the flame to each little wick. And waited.  And waited.  The flames grew.  Things began melting.
No petals opened, though a very faint tune could be heard just before A HUGE EXPLOSION that threw bits of melted plastic and metal in all directions.
     Yes, military experts could use this sort of Trojan Horse birthday bomb to great advantage.  As the smoke cleared and we all surveyed the damage (and I pulled a weird metal ring from my hair), I had to wonder: What on earth did that girl wish for?
Just think—you can grant a wish right now-- mine!  Visit jonihilton.com and order my books!