Sunday, July 15, 2007

this is so cool!! Q: What would make these photos that my friend I took when we were out sightseeing WAY better? Original Photos in this mosaic can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 A: An XShot. If we had had an XShot, we could have not only gotten more of us in the photos (you can hardly see Mio at all in pictures 5 and 6), the cool landscapes would have been much more visible too (in picture number 3 you can't even see the twin hearts behind us)! Ok, so what exactly is an XShot and why do I think it is so cool? An XShot is a small extendable contraption that allows individuals to take self-portraits at lengths much further than arm's length. It compacts to nine inches, yet expands up to thirty-seven inches. Like a tripod it safely holds onto your camera; unlike a tripod there is no running to get back into place before the timer goes off (and no worries that a perfect stranger is going to walk off with your camera and tripod in tow). As a single gal living overseas, having one of these would be so much fun and enable me to capture many more great pictures of life here in Taiwan! At first I wasn't going to enter the contest, I was just going to go order one of these really cool photo-taking tools (because I can use the coupon code SparkRocks to save $5.50 off of this nifty thing till tomorrow)--but the company doesn't ship internationally, yet the contest holder does. So . . . here I am attempting to win an XShot from BenSpark instead. (You can enter the contest too if you want--entries are being taken till Sunday at noon.) See the photos on this page or check out this video to see exactly how the really cool XShot works: (Disclaimer: This post is as close to an ad as you'll ever find on my blog.)
it's all about the 'tude My parents taught me very early about the importance of attitude. Learning how to adjust it was a very important part of my up-bringing. However, I first heard about the "10/90 rule" in regards to attitude and life during my teen years from Charles Swindoll. I had the following quote posted in my closet during high school so I could be reminded of its truth daily: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company . . . a church . . . a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past . . . we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you . . . we are in charge of our Attitudes.” (Charles Swindoll) This is always true, but it is especially true when dealing with living in another country. I must carefully guard my attitude and reaction to the things around me. Sometimes it is a self-talk discussion where I must tell myself to choose to think and, thus, feel a certain way. Let me give you an example. I live among thousands of Taiwanese people in a huge apartment complex. I don't get a lot of mail, so I check my mail box regularly but not often. The apartment complex has security guards who are supposed to watch the comings and goings of the people and open the safety bar to allow residents to park in the basement. These security guys also tell me when I have mail. (This is not part of their job description.) At first, it was only when I got a package that they would gesture making the shape of a box and shout "package" in Chinese at me when I rode in on my scooter. Then they started telling me about every.piece.of.mail--every postcard, every bill, every advertisement. Friday night, one of them even ran down from his basement bar-opening post, shouting my name in Chinese as I disappeared up the stairs in order that he might get to my mailbox and open it so that he could be ready to help me retrieve my electricity bill. So, I have a choice. I can (A) feel annoyed that I and my mailbox are being watched so closely and/or feel annoyed that these men don't think I am adult...

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