Archive for March, 2010

Stay tuned for…

A review of one of my favorite restaurants. Hints (because it’s a secret and I don’t want my wife to know where I’m taking her for her birthday):

Location: SLC

Type of Cuisine: Italian

Cool fact: Located in an old tire shop.

Any guesses???

Worth Repeating: People Skills

The other night my beautiful wife and I went out to dinner to see off a dear friend of hers that is moving to the east coast tomorrow. We have seen her a few times in the last few weeks, but this dinner was meant to be a more personal and intimate setting for this person’s  dearest friends. I should have felt privileged and honored  to go, but sadly I wasn’t.

We arrived a little late as April had to work, but not so late that people were already eating. We ordered and joined in on the conversation. I was at the end of the table, and the only people I really knew from the group besides the guest of honor were at the other end of the table.

So, what did I do? Did I take the opportunity to meet new people, learn something interesting about their lives? No. I was quiet. And, hopefully not too obviously, kinda rude. But as justification it was rudeness due to lack of involvement, rather than being outrightly rude…yeah, that makes it better, right?

I spent the balance of the dinner listening to this one girl across from me, who’s name I don’t remember because I never asked, nor cared to remember, make a great  example of how not to act in a group of people, which is to say she cut people off, only spoke about herself, and was a little abrasive in her subject matter. She kind of reminded me of Penelope… okay, that’s an extreme comparison, but a funny one…

Now, this post isn’t so much about her poor people skills as it is mine. She just provided another useful example.

I actually have, through various ways, learned quite a bit about people skills. I remember reading Dale Carnegie’s book How To Win Friends And Influence People back in high school, when I first realized that people skills are essential ones to have. After all, the point of high school is to be liked, right?

I served a mission for my church in Washington DC for two years, and not only is it an environment where you’re often disliked, but you’re trying to overcome those feelings and share something that is quite intangible with people. Talk about a huge barrier there!

Just recently I had the opportunity to sell cars at a large dealership here in Orem for about 4 months, and if people skills aren’t number one on the list of “top ten things to sell cars”, I don’t know what is. We actually had meetings every morning for about a half hour that were based around the selling process, which starts with building rapport…in other words, people skills.

People skills are often described as (a) understanding ourselves and moderating our responses, (b) talking effectively and empathizing accurately, (c) building relationships of trust, respect and productive interactions. A British definition is “the ability to communicate effectively with people in a friendly way, especially in business. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

I left that dinner feeling a little ashamed of myself for my actions. I didn’t really try to communicate or empathize, build a new relationship, nor did I have respect towards this new person. It was, in all honesty, the impetus for this post.

It’s important for us to not only obtain these essential people skills but use them. I wish I had an example of when I’ve had it benefit me in an insanely huge awesome way, but that is still yet to happen. But I can say that when I am actively trying to build rapport and build new relationships with people, the time spent is much more fulfilling, and I’m better for it.

So, if you haven’t actively done so yet, I recommend working on your people skills, and then putting them into action.

People skills: Worth Repeating.

Poll #2: P90X

Alrighty folks, time for poll #2. But first, me.

I started P90X this week in hopes to get in shape…again. Two summers ago I did an olympic length triathlon, and was in what I like to think was the best shape of my life. While I do hope to compete in more tris in the future, my fitness goals right now are more, look good naked…anybody with me?

So, naturally P90X was the first place I turned. I actually considered crossfit but I hear it’s even MORE extreme than P90x…which is a scary thought.

So, my brother-in-law had the DVDs, so it just worked out nicely.

I started Monday with a strong desire. I was PUMPED! I weighed myself and even took pictures (don’t ask, you’ll never see them…)! An hour and a half later my chest, biceps, and abs were burning, but it felt good.

Tuesday morning, my chest biceps and abs were burning, but it hurt. I was incredibly sore. I had even taken two protein/recovery shakes the day before, but alas, I was sore as I’d ever been after a workout. I could barely move, dress, or shower for that matter. Yet, I had another workout to do, so I pushed onward.

At the end of this painful week, I have actually done every workout so far and I’m feeling good. Still sore, but I feel good about it. Next week and the week after should be better and I’m enjoying the rest each body part gets after its workout.

However, before I jump to a “Worth Repeating” conclusion, let me say that I’m not sure that’s were I’ll end up on this one. I do feel that it’s worth doing, once. But what happens when you’re done with P90x? Do it again? Add in the cardio? Umm, no thanks.

The reason I wanted to do P90X is that it’s a workout I can do in my own home, heck in my bedroom for that matter. I don’t need weights, though I do want them, and I don’t have to trudge over to the gym.

But, its still a pretty hefty time commitment. Usually an hour, but on some days up to an hour and a half, that’s not a very sustainable amount of time. That’s not just working out, that’s training!

I hope to gain everything I can out of this routine, but I think that after I get through the 90 days, I’m going to be looking for something a little different. I’ve actually heard this guy is going to be releasing a “sustainable” workout system this year, something you can do in 30 mins a day, and for the rest of your life. (For you P90x-ers, if he looks familiar, he’s the guy on the DVDs that talks about the recovery drink…he kinda created it…) So, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments, and please take the poll for others to see. Thanks!

Worth Repeating: Collaboration

I started writing this blog as a reason to write something everyday, and aside from a week of really intense work hours, I’ve come pretty close to meeting that goal. It was also something I felt was unique and worthwhile, sharing my perspective in a hopefully interesting way.

One of the things I wanted to do with this site was add a few other authors. It’s not much of a Collective if its just me, and I fear that I would soon run out of things to say as well.

This site currently gets about 30-40 visits a day on the days that I post, which I feel is very cool. I like stats like that, especially ones that make me feel good. So thank you to those who read and who continue to read.

What I would like to do is once we reach a certain threshold, I’m going to put it at 100 views per day, or 50 subscribers to the blog, whichever comes first, I am going to invite everyone who would like to to submit a guest post. At that point I will post the top 3 to 5, depending on how many submissions I receive, and those top posts will be invited to be guest authors, allowed access to the site to post as they please.

So stay tuned as we get closer to the 100/50 threshold, invite people to read the blog, make comments and involve yourself in the discussion, become a subscriber yourself, and get ready. I’ll post more information as we go along.

Thanks!

Perspective | Why?

I have had a few questions from friends and family the last few days about “the blog”. I’ve wanted to write a post like this but haven’t been able to find the right tone yet. But here goes nothin’…

I have always felt that I have the, call it what you will, gift of a wide perspective. I’m a thinker by nature; I can think back to how I liked to know how things worked, so I had boxes of toys and electronics that I had taken apart and put back together as a kid. I can remember how friends used to come to me to help solve their dilemmas because of my seemingly uncanny ability to help them step outside their problem and see it from a different perspective.

When I was serving as a missionary for my church in Washington DC, I was able to experience a lot of different perspectives, and what happened when two different perspectives were shared. It was interesting to hear a perspective from a sister missionary when we arrived in DC from Utah, and she saw some kids playing in the street, when she said “This reminds me of the Cosby show!”

It was also interesting to hear how two people could look at the same thing and come out with two completely different views. Take the LDS, or “Mormon” church…I don’t really need to elaborate to explain how varied the perspectives are here. My reasons for serving a mission was to spread the gospel, or “good news” and share the love of Christ with people. On more than one occasion I was yelled at, injured, and called Satan, because someone else saw my mission differently.

A few seconds listening to the news during an election can show you how opinions may vary on any number of different topics. I’ve actually tried to avoid political conversations for this very reason, because some people tend to take a differing opinion a little to personally.

When I left the mission, I was given a lesson, of sorts, about perspective. It went something like this:

First, this postulate: Truth is a knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come.

In philosophy, a phenomenon is something that we perceive, in other words, “Things as they are”.

The other option, then, is when we see something differently from “as it is”. In this case, our perception differs from “truth”, whatever that might mean, depending on the situation.

Someone who has a so-called “narrow perspective”, given this postulate and its explanation, basically is not seeing things as they are, but rather as they choose to see them. The goal – at least, my goal – is to have a larger overlay, which is to say make sure that the way I see things is the way they are. Get it?

Ok, sorry if that was poorly worded or too hard to follow. The gist is, that there are truths and facts all around us, whether or not we choose to see things the way they are is up to us, and would be the determining factor in whether our perspective is wide or narrow.

So what’s the point? Why do we want a wide perspective? Allow me to list a few benefits:

Slower to anger, because of the ability to see other points of view.

Slower to take offense, for the same reason.

Humility, and equally as important less pride.

Charity, because we can more easily recognize the needs of others.

I’m sure there are many more, but for sake of brevity, I’ll leave those very broad benefits as a starting point.

Now, I’ve tried not to be too polarizing with my blog posts and my perspectives, but I also have left out some of the more, um… substantial posts as well. Maybe we’ll get there, but I’m not a huge fan of controversy, so it may be some time coming. We’ll have to wait and “see”.

Worth Repeating: Guys’ Night Out

Last night I had a handful of guy friends over for food & a movie. We actually watched Dragon Wars with the accompanying RiffTrax. Now, if you haven’t had the experience of watching a movie with a RiffTrax, I HIGHLY recommend it!

Here’s the thing though, I’ve been in relationships on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to this sort of a thing. In the past I’ve been the sole source of entertainment for my significant other, and by default was required to stay home and rarely venture out. Now though I have a very amazing wife with a “highly recognized street value” when referring to how cool she is. (Thanks for that quotable quote, Matt…)

I highly recommend staying in touch with friends and family members when you are married. It lets them know that you still care about them and that they are important to you.  Find cool things that you all like (food & movies work well for guys’ nights) and have em every once and a while. Your sanity and marriage will benefit from it 🙂

Worth Repeating: Guys’ (Girls’) Night Out

Worth Repeating: Live Music

So it says up there in the corner that I’m a writer | producer | soundsmith. Some of you may wonder what a soundsmith actually is/does…right? Well, here’s my definition.

I was looking for a name for my company a couple years ago, my company as of right now consisting of myself. I wanted to use my last name in it, my last name obviously being Smith. So I started off with musicsmith, recordsmith, yada yada, none of em worked. Duh! Light went off and out came SoundSmith. Nice ring to it, right? Well, just as a blacksmith of old worked on various types of projects, I too work in a few different areas of the field of sound. I do on-set and post production sound for film, music and commercial recording in studio, and live sound reinforcement. So, there you have it, I’m a self proclaimed SoundSmith.

I honestly love every aspect of what I do, (which is probably why I am not further ahead in my career), but one in particular is doing live sound. I’ve done bigger concerts and events at places like the Salt Palace, Grand America Hotel, Conference Center for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU Marriott Center and LaVell Edwards Stadium, and Energy Solutions Arena. While I love being spoiled with expensive equipment, huge digital consoles, and enormous amounts of amps and speakers, I too love the intimate and humble setting that is Velour.

I’ve been working at Velour since shortly after it opened, a little over four years ago. I had gone to the venue a few times before asking to work there, and it probably took asking 4 or 5 times to actually start working there, but it was such a cool experience when I finally started. Touring bands from all over the US would come to this humble intimate venue on University Avenue to see a few hundred of die-hard fans ready to sing along to every song. It’s not unusual to hear how an artist or band genuinely loves coming back to Velour because of how much they have loved their experiences here. I’ve heard artists play songs that they’ve never played elsewhere on their tour just as a special gift for such a great crowd.

There’s another reason that I love working at Velour, and it’s not the money…

I’m kind of a huge Indy music fan…

And not only do I get to see some of these great acts come through, but I get to work with them to make them sound great. Some of the few in the last year or two:

Damien Jurado

We Shot The Moon

Sherwood

Benton Paul

Truman

Trevor Hall

Joshua James

Cary Judd

Chris Merritt

Cameron McGill

Hello Kavita

Band of Annuals

Atherton

Paul Jacobsen & The Madison Arm

The Vibrant Sound

The Second Estate

Allred

Rocky Votolato

(just to name a few.. please check out their music. They are all incredible musicians and bands and deserve a listen.)

Last night was one of those nights that really reinforce why I love doing sound there. Rocky Votolato is currently on tour and played last night, and my wife & I love his music. We’ve been listening to it all week in anticipation for this show. Not only is he incredible live, but he’s one of the most humble and down to earth musicians I’ve met. It was a great show, to say the least. Plus, there’s this:

Velour 11 March, 2010

And this:

(notice the awesomeness of my photoshop skills…the actual album is bigger but the scanner only could catch so much of it…)

So yeah, my fan-ness of Rocky has escalated exponentially due to last night.

So, whether you get to sit behind the sound board and make the music sound as good as you can, or you’re in the crowd, I highly recommend adding some live music to your life. If you’re just getting into it, I recommend some Jazz as well, there’s something unique about the genre because the songs are never the same twice if you’re listening to a combo. One of my favorite genres of all time.

Live Music: Worth Repeating!