Dear David and Scooter Luggage Video

Micro Airpot Shoot 125

At work, we got an email from David, asking about the Coolest Toys On Earth showroom on the outskirts of Cincinnati, OH. He asked the following:

“We are coming to your location soon. I would like some info on the area. Like good restaurants and other things to see in your area while we are there. Coming in from Akron, Ohio. Any help would be of great help. Thank you. David Jones”

When I responded, however, my email bounced. Argh! So, wherever you are David, here is my solution to this puzzle: post my reply to the interwebs hoping that eventually you will google (i.e. vanity search) your name, and find it. Here was my response that I tried to send your way:

Good morning to you David! We’d be happy to give you a few pointers and recommendations [about the Milford and Cincinnati area].

Our toy store is definitely an attraction: we get people from Indiana, all over Ohio, and Kentucky to come in, especially during December – we’ve even hired bouncers in years past because we get so packed. Here is a teaser video:

One of the coolest toys we just got in is Scooter Luggage 2.0 (a must see video). It’s carry-on luggage that fits fine in the overhead bins, that folds out into a scooter for the terminal. It is super cool!

When it comes to food, one of Cincinnati’s favorite

How to Rate Your Skill at Anything

On a technical forum I stumbled upon, I found the following 1-10 rating guide pretty useful (and funny) in trying to figure out how to measure your ability at programming or any skill/tool for that matter.  Thanks to Adam Jaskiewicz for this great analysis.

<begin quote>

10 – You don’t know that you don’t really know anything.

9 – You’re just bragging, and you probably aren’t as good as you think you are. Even if you are really this good, you lack the political skills to see what picking a “9” says about you. That, or you’re pretty well-known/worshiped in the industry (i.e. you wrote a book once, and it has a nickname like “The __ Book” or an acronym that most developers would recognize instantly), and not afraid to throw your name around.

8 – You’re [sic] damn good and you know it, but you’re smart enough to realize the stigma of picking 9 or 10. You’d better be able to back it up.

7 – You’re very good, but you know you have a lot to learn.

6 – You’re competent, and have a lot to learn, but aren’t very confident in your abilities. Are you sure you aren’t a 7?

5 – Decent junior dev. You’re just out of school, and smart enough to realize you don’t really know anything about real-world programming, but you know how to hack together code.

4 – Mediocre junior dev. You’re just out of school, but your basic coding skills leave something to be desired. You had a hard time just passing most of your programming classes, but for some reason decided you still want to pursue a career in software development. You also don’t really believe in yourself, so why should an interviewer?

3 or below – If you have so little confidence in your programming ability, why are you applying to programming jobs?

So the “correct” answer is probably 5-7, depending on what kind of job you are interviewing for. An 8 has enough experience that she wouldn’t be asking this question.

<end quote>

Why Your Life Sucks

Jason with vacuum cleaner on ground

If your life was a vacuum cleaner, then it truly would suck. But maybe that is more true than we like to admit.

There are pretty good odds for me to confidently say that your. life. sucks. Now hang on, I do not mean your life is terrible, though it may be. I mean, your life … is a vacuum cleaner.

Our lives seem to be chock full of activities and stuff and family and work and school. You likely find your life full to the brim – yeah, life is a little tricky to find the time to fit everything in, but we make it work somehow. Our lives are so full that if asked if there was anything missing in our life, we would likely respond ‘nope – how could it be? It’s so full’.

In interviewing some people in Cincinnati’s Fountain Square this past Monday, my friend Steve Myers found most people to respond to the question of ‘Is there anything missing in your life?” with a simple, “Uh … no.” In their minds, and with what they would admit publicly, their life was full.

The problem is: full doesn’t mean fulfilled. But usually

How I Know My Wife Married the “Wrong” Person

I am trying to get beyond what I beginning to believe has been a lie of finding this thing called a ‘soul mate’ – and maybe this reblog by Tyler McKenzie shows where I am currently. In other words, is there a difference between ‘God-blessed’ vs ‘match-made-in-heaven’. Where are you in your own thinking?

Facebook Just Pulled a Chrome with Facebook Home

Facebook Home Welcome Mat - A Take Over Strategy

Facebook Home Welcome Mat – A Take Over Strategy

So, back last year Mark Zuckerberg was pretty clear that Facebook would not build the all-amazing ‘Facebook Phone’ that blogs have waxed eloquent about. No, software was the puzzle they were focusing on … not hardware. But today, I saw where Facebook pulled a trick from Google’s playbook in taking over an ecosystem with their own ecosystem. The Zuck calls it Facebook Home – and it is a pretty cool idea for the company with an IPO anniversary coming up in May. See the video below for

What Nike and Unleavened Bread Have in Common: Just Do It.

Jason Peaking Over A Batch of Beautiful Cottage Cheese Crescents

This beautiful batch of Cottage Cheese Crescents are specifically for my friends who will be observing the Days of Unleavened Bread … with a few for the chef’s tummy too!

I spent last night talking with my sister and preparing and baking lots and lots of ‘Triple C’, a.k.a. Cottage Cheese Crescents – which is an unleavened bread for the upcoming holy day season. One of my friend’s speeches this past weekend was right in saying the only way to become the person you want to be is to actually just do it. If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to learn to throw a frisbee, practice. If you want to be compassionate, find ways to do it. Eyes open. Hand to the plow.

Nike was spot on.

My Mom’s recipe for unleavened bread in the video below is kick-butt good. I have

Celebrating the New

flower bouquet

A perfect way to celebrate a big accomplishment at work was partake of this awesome fruit bouquet. Pineapple flower anyone? Sweetness … literally.

I am pretty pumped about finally launching the new website I have worked on since I started my new job last summer. Eight months later, I can say, we have reached a major milestone – through all the craziness that it is to redesign and manage a reboot of Coolest Toys on Earth’s visual identity, we have a new look and feel for cool toys! A chocolate covered strawberry was perfect to enjoy this moment.

Part of what I am really excited about is some of the really cool videos that are part of the new website, like this one showing a really cool toy called Continue reading

I Am In Love With Love, and Therefore Dangerous

Joshua Harris's Book is Being Kissed by Jason - Kinda Strange Actually

I kissed my copy of Joshua Harris’s book goodbye before returning it to the library. I Kissed Dating Goodbye turned out to be a succinct book of thoughts that I have had.

I was chatting with my friend Debbie, who is one of these red-headed tell-you-what-is-on-her-mind kind of people whether you want to hear it or not. I asked her what she thought about some of the ideas behind Joshua Harris’s book I Kissed Dating Goodbye and happened to mention, “I am not sure why I never read it back when it came out years ago.” She turns to me with that sparkle in her eye, and says “Well Jason, that was probably because you were not as desperate as you are today.”

Whoa – ouch!

Remember, jokes aren’t funny unless they have a little bit of truth to them. I did laugh at her comment and my situation. I remembered the quote “Those that can laugh at themselves will frequently be amused.” I was amused enough to share it.

It is very true: I am a bachelor. Thanks to just how life turned out Continue reading

My New Nickname is Don Julio. Thanks Mantopia.

Pat's Lake Lodge - the Cabin in the Woods for Mantopia

Pat’s Lake Lodge – the Cabin in the Woods for Mantopia

Several years back, when I first met Eric Ledy, I introduced myself as July-August-September-October-November-December. It was a fun way to remember my name: “J-A-S-O-N-D”. What I did not realize until this past week, was that when I mentioned the month July, for some reason the name ‘Julio’ immediately struck Eric’s brain. So when Eric was putting together a week long adventure in manliness for a group of ten guys in the frozen tundra of Drummond Island, he recalled our first meeting. All the guys there have nicknames – but not me, as one of the newbies. After a little massaging through the week as co-chef with my buddy ‘Wheels Baby Wheels’, my nickname became ‘Don Julio’.

Eric, or Rico Suavé as he is more commonly referred to, calls the week long event held in Northern Michigan “Mantopia” – and it lived up to and exceeded my expectations. I first heard about it from my buddy The Canadian Bacon, otherwise known as TC Bacon or Evan Manning, when we were both in California for a Togetherness Weekend that another group of young people put on from several different Church of God organizations. It was here that I first heard about eating lots of meat, exercising every day but the Sabbath, and sharing our heart as men. Ah, but there was so much more. Continue reading

Video: A Peak Inside Coolest Toys On Earth

Store front

With all the wind-spinners, it is hard to miss the store – but it is no wonder that people mistake it as ‘just’ a kite store. If they only knew …

So I have an interesting puzzle to solve: how do I get the ‘uninitiated’ to actually take the first step into the toy store that I work at? Almost everyone locally knows where it is. Thousands of people have driven by it. But most people think it is just a kite store. What if we tickled their curiosity with an epically fun peak inside? And what if those that have fallen in love with the store actually shared this video with all of their friends and family around Thanksgiving dinner? Watch below!

I believe once you walk through those doors, the rest will take care of itself.

One visit and either you will love it and be back for more or you’ll get all  Continue reading