Tag Archives: Discovery Channel

On Being Savagely Successful

Only through failure can we learn to succeed.

While I believe that’s one of the most important life lessons we can learn, it’s all to often overlooked when we, as parents, attempt to shelter our little dudes and dudettes from this sort of thing, to ensure a failure-free lifetime for our spawn.

The problem with that plan is that it ensures the growth of a no-longer-child who cannot cope with setbacks, who doesn’t know how to learn from mistakes, use that knowledge to correct his or her errors and move on to the next aspect of his or her life. Those of us of the adult persuasion understand that learning from our mistakes so we don’t make them again is essential in just about every aspect of our daily existence.

Folks shouldn’t look at failure as a bad outcome, as long as they contain the persistence to continue working toward the goal they, at first, didn’t attain. Heck, listen to huckster and part-time inventor Thomas Alva Edison: I didn’t fail ten thousand times. I successfully eliminated, ten thousand times, materials and combinations which wouldn’t work.

Adam Savage is a Maker, sort-of scientist and best known as co-host of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters series. Yesterday, I ran a list of his 10 rules for success. One of those rules said — simply — fail.

If you’ve ever watched Mythbusters, you know one of his sayings is that “Failure is always an option.” He’s not a defeatist, rather he understands that by examining why something failed and how it failed, he can apply those lessons to make the endeavor succeed.

Another of his rules that I particularly like would have to be: If you want something, ASK. I’ve a feeling this should be self-explanatory, but, for too many dudes and dudettes, this completely escapes them.

Too many people seem to believe that their only choices are the ones actually offered to them. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

One of the most important lessons that Zippy the College Boy learned in high school and that, hopefully, Hyper Lad will learn now that he’s attending the same high school, is to self advocate. Which means, in a nutshell, ask for what you want.

If you don’t understand something in class, ask the teacher for clarification. If you still don’t get it, don’t worry. Just keep asking and trying until you do.

If you see someone doing something cool? Ask them how they did it, how they learned it? Where can you learn it?

Looking at Savage’s list, I think the most important thing you can take away from it is that you should approach life as a participatory sport, rather than something you should watch happen.

Get involved! Get motivated!

Work, as Savage said, your ass off to achieve your goals. If you don’t have what you need to accomplish those goals, don’t collapse into a weeping pile of angst. Ask for help. Get what you need, practice the new skills and get good. Then go out and accomplish your goals.

Success takes more than just hard work and diligence, but you can’t succeed without either of them.

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Ten Rules For Success Not A Myth

Adam Savage is a dude who knows about which he speaks.

A special effects master, a Maker, a knowledgable sort-of scientist, an amazing television co-host of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters, Savage is an all-round astonishingly good guy.

He spoke recently at a theatrical event for Makers, designers, engineers, eccentrics and anyone who wants to be around clearly odd folks like that in San Francisco. His topic was on how to succeed. Savage didn’t actually say succeed in what. But, after looking over the interesting assortment of suggestions he put forth, I’m thinking these ideas could apply just about anywhere.

I’m going to just run them here because, really, there’s not much I could add right now*. Thanks to boingboing.net, which originally ran the list.

1. Get good at something.
Really good. Get good at as many things as you can. Being good at one thing makes it easier to get good at other things.

2. Getting good at stuff takes practice.
Lots and lots of practice.

3. Get OBSESSED.
Everyone at the top of their field is obsessed with what they’re doing.

4. Doing something well and thoroughly is its OWN reward.

5. Show and Tell.
If you do something well and you’re happy with it, for FSM’s sake, tell EVERYONE.

6. If you want something, ASK.
If something piques your interest, tell someone. If you want to learn something, ask someone, like your BOSS. As an employer, I can tell you, people who want to learn new skills are people I want to keep employed.

7. Have GOALS.
Make up goals. Set goals. Regularly assess where you are and where you want to be in terms of them. This is a kind of prayer that works, and works well. Allow for the fact that things will NEVER turn out like you think they will, and you must be prepared to end up miles from where you intended.

8. Be nice. To EVERYONE.
Life is way too short to be an asshole. If you are an asshole, apologize.

9. FAIL.
You will fail. It’s one of our jobs in life. Keep failing. When you fail, admit it. When you don’t, don’t get cocky. ‘Cause you’re just about to fail again.

10. WORK YOUR ASS OFF.
Work like your life depends on it…

*Which is not to say that I won’t find something to say in a a day or so, which I can almost guarantee will be the case. Check back tomorrow and see if I’ve recovered the power of voice by keyboard.

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Blowin’ Stuff Up For Fun: Family Style

by Richard

Dudes, I had just about the best night a couple of days ago. For some reason, my youngest little dude, Hyper Lad, had been hitting the you tubes and watching videos on how to blow stuff up. .  . with science!

Blowin’ stuff up. It’s okay if it’s done for science. Not just for fun. The fun is a nice side effect. But, no, it’s really for science. I mean, come on, that’s the whole reasoning behind the Mythbusters television show on Discovery Channel.

Hey, if it’s good enough for Jamie and Adam, it’s good enough for everyone living in Casa de Dude.

So, anyway.

Hyper Lad was watching a couple of videos of dudes doing things with solid carbon dioxide, also known as dry ice. This is carbon dioxide, which normally is a gas at room temperature, that’s been frozen to temperatures below that at which water freezes, until it’s solid. When left exposed to air, the carbon dioxide will sublimate directly from a solid to a gas, without going through a liquid stage, the way ice does.

This leads us to some very interesting properties, with some quite interesting side effects. For one thing, put dry ice in a bucket of water and you’ve got instant fog.

Put some dry ice chips in a plastic bottle of water and then seal the water bottle and, well, you’ve got something quite different than you had when the dry ice and water were separate. Now you’ve got a bit of a bomb.

But I’ll get back to that.

She Who Must Be Obeyed happened to watch a few of the videos with Hyper Lad and thought it would be a good idea to — sometime — maybe mess around with the dry ice. Of course, Hyper Lad took that to mean it was an order and we should go out and get some dry ice as soon as possible. Which he and I did.

So we got the dry ice and horsed around a bit, putting it in water that had lots of dish soap bubbles in it and making dry ice bubbles. Watched the chips spin in bowls of water. All that sort of stuff. It was fun.

And then Hyper Lad brought out the water bottle.

Now, She Who Must Be Shielded From Any Possible Explosions and I followed Hyper Lad out onto the back deck, thinking it would be some little thing, not really worth all the fuss. We started laughing when Hyper Lad capped the water bottle and then threw it out onto the lawn and stepped back. We laughed and laughed and lau–

The bottle exploded. Well, not so much exploded as forcibly separate itself from its cap, releasing all the accumulated vapor in one loud detonation. The bottle shot one way, the cap another and She Who Must Be Able To Leap Four Feet From A Standing Start still another.

Sure, I was startled by the explosion, but she just freaked the heck right out. It was awesome. It was almost as good as the time I took her to see Aliens after I’d already seen it and knew the scary parts during which she’d really hate to have a sudden hand to the back of her neck.

It was freakin’ amazing. Sarcasmo joined in and we filled up another couple of bottles and watched another couple of explosions.

Fun with science and explosions. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Go for it, dudes and dudettes. Be the adult supervision you always wanted when you were a young dude and let’s blow some stuff up.

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