Day of Good Deeds!

Okay so I know it’s been awhile for TPMHTDM. Like Carolyn has said – facebook is killing my blog. (Softly. With its song)

But Saturday was my “Day of Good Deeds!” As you will see if you read on, it proved to be a good deeds day of mixed success.

The day started out like any other day – we went to basketball, where my son somehow scored 3 baskets! Woohoo! Then we went to do the grocery shopping. While we were at Aldi, after we had checked out and were bagging our groceries I noticed a woman who was using the phone there. She asked if I lived in Pleasant Ridge (the area where Aldi is), and I said no. Upon listening in a bit, I realized that she had locked her keys in the trunk of her car. So I offered to take her to her house and back to Aldi.

So I did – she got her keys, I drove her back, and as we were getting back to Aldi, she offered some money for gas. I told her she didn’t need to do that, since it was like 5 miles roundtrip, if that, but she shoved money into my hand. No, really, she did. So I took it – it ended up being $3, which is some pretty good ROI!! :-) She got into her trunk, and my son and I continued on with the grocery shopping.

We got done and home around 12:00 or so and as I’m eating my lunch there is a knock on the door. I open the door, and it is a guy who tells me his truck has broken down and he needs $16 for a tow truck. He says that he has some money (and flashes it) but needs $16 more. He says that he will give an ID or he has some work ladders in his truck as collateral for it. So eventually we agree on a ladder. He comes back with the ladder, and says that with tax it is $22. I give him the $22 and he gives me the ladder, and says that he will be back in an hour to an hour and a half.

So we wait for him and wait, and… (can you see where this is going?). It was especially annoying because it prevented us from trying for the triple coin cycle since we had to wait for this guy to show up. Lots of different thoughts in our head. We did consider calling the police on Sunday when he still hadn’t shown up, but mostly “couldn’t reach”.

Of course the guy never shows up, so I figure hey on the day I’m out $19 and up a ladder. In the end, no big deal because the ladder will easily sell for that much.

That is, until the police show up yesterday (Monday) night. Apparently he’s been pulling this scam in the neighborhood for awhile and they caught him because some good souls (not us) called the police when he showed up. The ladder? Stolen from a nearby neighbor, of course. So now I’m out $19 and all I got is this lousy story! :-)

And naturally, I feel a bit silly being scammed. In retrospect, there were a lot of warning signs that I should have picked up on. After he had left, I remember thinking to myself that it’s sad that the world has come to this where you can’t trust anyone. And that was even BEFORE he screwed me!

So while I do want to leave you with the point to be wary and watchful for scammers, I thought I’d just mention the other side of things. I shared this story / thought in Bishopric meeting this past Sunday, from Mosiah 4:16-25

…and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

So while I do again want to stress that there is no need to let yourself be scammed, and you should be watchful of this type of behavior, and of course above all else, make sure you keep you and your family / loved ones safe, we are only judged on our OWN thoughts / actions, not the actions of others. And while I definitely do not want to get into things like whether giving money to people on the street is an effective method of “helping” them, I am remembering (only somewhat vaguely so apologies to whoever if I’m misquoting – I tried to think of where I heard this and I am thinking it was at a stake conference but I can’t remember) hearing that if you say, give money to someone on the street and they use it improperly, you are not held accountable for that (Peter Parker aside and I know that’s not quite the same situation but work with me here!).

You could certainly argue that, if we set the safety issue aside which I know that you can’t do in the real world, it would be worth giving money 99 times to people that are going to use it for alcohol or drugs if you could help out the one that was truly in need.

And although I know it isn’t completely the same as our situation this weekend, I’ve always really liked the quote above – “I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give”. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m a cheapskate or use this line of thinking to justify not being as charitable as maybe I could be, but I like it.

In any case, that was the “big news” of what happened to us this weekend. In the end, it was a relatively “cheap” lesson to learn.

Facebook friend weirdness

So, I like Facebook. One of the things I do occasionally is look at the “Friend suggestions” of people that I might know. For the most part, they are either:

  • People I know but don’t want to be friends with (old mission or high school people I barely knew then)
  • Stupid things like “Laughter” or “Campfires” or “Subway”
  • Local teenagers that are friends with the teenagers in my ward that I am friends with
  • Other people that I do not know

It’s kind of an interesting dynamic – how to best populate these suggestions. It stands to reason that people that people that share a whole lot of mutual friends with me might also be my friends. For example, one friend I recently added was my cousin Jared. He had 15 mutual friends with me, so Facebook assumed (correctly) that I might also know him. Where it falls short is say this one guy from my mission. We share 7 mutual friends and Facebook is at least correct that I know who he is, but I didn’t really know him very well.

But what I find interesting are the people that show up that have completely random sets of mutual friends with me. I’m reminded of a situation a few years ago where we found out through a forwarded email chain or something that my cousin’s wife Candace was good friends with the sister of a family (the Wickmans) that lived in our ward here in Cincinnati.

I guess this kind of the whole point of things like Six Degrees of Separation and LinkedIn and such – that we are for the most part clusters of people, with occasional longer “branches” out to other groups of clusters.

So, here are a few examples. Note that I do not personally know any of these people (to my knowledge) but Facebook suggests them as my friends because I have several mutual friends with them.

  • Brian Hanna, who is friends with the Brookses, a couple from my ward, but also friends (and I think related?) to my cousin Sarah and my cousin-in-law Candace
  • Rachel Martel, who is friends with a guy from my church (Reed) and my cousin Sarah
  • There were a couple of other ones that I noticed but did not write down – but similar things where it was just weird that this person knew 2 (or more) people that I also knew, but from completely different circles

Anyway, just thought I’d share….

One of those 25 things posts

So going around Facebook lately are these 25 random things posts.  So here is mine.  I thought I’d put it on my blog and wait for it to import over to Facebook

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

In MY rules, you can tag as many or as few people as you feel like and if you are tagged  you don’t have to do anything.

1. I have resisted doing one of these things for very long but have finally given in.  Kind of like Facebook itself….
2. In my high school graduating class of about 400, I was voted “Most likely to be a millionaire”.  Hasn’t happened (yet)
3. I am a giant cheapskate.  Though I prefer “frugal”. In 2005, I bought $15,519.82 of groceries for $763.10
4. I once sat in every seat of the entire Row W of the Richfield Coliseum (where the Cleveland Cavaliers used to play)
5. Continuing the stadium / arena theme, I once fell down about 10 rows of metal bleachers at Nippert Stadium (where the University of Cincinnati football team plays).  Looking back at it, I really could have died but managed to survive with only a cut above my ear and a dislocated shoulder (which popped back in at the hospital before a doctor even got around to seeing me)
6. Back in the early 90s my friend and I used to dial into text-based bulletin boards on our 300 baud modem and register accounts under the name “John Jaha”
7. There was also a phone number that we used to call pretty much non-stop (777-4513 I think?).  Nobody ever answered but it had an answering machine where we used to leave messages all about John Jaha.  Hey it wasn’t our fault that he’s the man who can bring it (and he’ll never get sent to the minors).  All this John Jaha talk started when we noticed that he had hit .344-30-134 for a minor league team in 1991 (back when those numbers meant something).  We talked about how he was “the man” who “could bring it”.  We talked about him for years, including the creation of a song detailing his many exploits (kind of like the Chuck Norris facts I guess).  The punchline of each stanza of the song was “And he’ll never get sent to the minors”.  Example – “He’ll hit .400 lifetime, he’ll slug 1000 homers, he’ll drive in 5000 RBIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS…. and he’ll never get sent to the minors”.   Good times!
8. I have pooped off the side of a pickup truck that was moving at about 50 mph
9. I have pooped my pants while simultaneously throwing up
10. It’s not my fault that many of my interesting stories involve poop and other bodily fluids
11. I got a 1400 on my SAT (back when it was out of 1600) and a 33 on my ACT
12. I was born in Germany and was in many countries in Europe when I was a baby that I don’t remember, but I have been to Canada and lived in the Dominican Republic (for 2 years) that I do remember.  In the US, I have been to 40 states and 807 counties (including every county in OH, IL, DC and RI, DE, and hope to visit all 3142 counties before I die
13. Speaking of counties, I once drove through all 88 counties in Ohio in under 24 hours (23 hours, 34 minutes and 34 seconds to be precise).  On another occasion, I drove 34 hours from Chicago to Cincinnati by way of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, entirely to pickup new counties
14. The first music cassette tape that I owned was Young MC’s “Stone Cold Rhymin’”.  In college, I created the first (and probably only) Young MC fan homepage.  I still think that Young MC is awesome
15. Since June 2008, I have found over $39 in coins on the ground and such – that’s not counting the $1.14 that a 10 year old girl gave me, quite possibly thinking that I was a homeless person trying to find money to feed my starving kids
16. In high school, I was once at a friends house where one of my other friends was opening up some mail that had gotten sent to the wrong address.  As my friend was trying to figure out ways that he could cash this $100 check made out to someone else (while we all tried to convince him what a horrible idea that was), someone commented “Isn’t opening up someone else’s mail a federal offense?”  Literally no more than 15 seconds later, the doorbell rang and it was the police
17. Like my wife said in her 25 things note, we did initially bond over Beavis and Butthead jokes.
18. I also really did not want to go to the dance where I initially met my wife but my friend Jim convinced me to go
19. With 5, I have more children than probably 98% of the people I know.   But I still don’t think I have a huge family
20. I own 3 rental properties
21. Starting in about 11th grade and up until about 2 years ago when I decided I was old, I wore shorts year-round. In those 15 years or so, there were only 2 times that I was ever cold.  #1, when my friends and I went out at night and walked on the ice at Lake Erie during a week where it was so cold (like 20 or 30 below windchills) that they closed the school for “cold”.  So cold that as I struggled to walk back up the ice covered stairs from the lake, my (non-gloved of course) hands were sticking to the metal bannisters and pulling skin off.  #2, when we came down to UC for an official visit.  We sat at Nippert Stadium and watched a football game in a blizzard.  This caused us to create a new temperature scale to compete with Celsius and Fahrenheit called “Stadium” where all temperatures are measured in the number of degrees that they were warmer than that day
22. In high school, I was a National Merit Finalist but (in my opinion because one of my teachers didn’t like me) was not invited to be in National Honor Society
23. I have a daughter who has Asperger’s Syndrome / mild autism.
24. I really want to hike the entire Appalachian Trail before I die.  I’m not sure I have my wife convinced that we should all hike the AT in 2016 as a family
25. I can type 100 words per minute which explains (part of the reason) why I am so good at games like Word Challenge