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Inventor of Ramen Noodles Dies

Chikin RamenMomofuku Ando the inventor of the world’s first instant noodle or better known as ramen noodles died on Friday (January 5, 2007).

Japan faced massive food shortages after WWII so he took it upon himself to develop the affordable, quality and convenient noodles to help feed the country. He founded the company Nissin Food Products in 1948 and in 1958, after many months of trial and error, “Chikin Ramen” the first instant noodle was born.

Ramen noodles are a major staple food of most poor college students… they were the core of my food budget when I was in college. I don’t think I could have maintained my $50/month grocery budget without them!

What a great example of an entreprenuer taking the initiative to solve a nation-wide problem.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!Wow, what a year 2006 has been… at the end of 2005 I had set out to complete some ambitious goals and did better than expected on most of them.

First, I had planned earlier in 2005 to run for city council here in Burlington. Even though I lost, I felt that Heavenly and I put more effort than I originally thought we would be capable of while sticking to my beliefs and principles the whole time no matter what pressure was put on me.

In regards to my career, both web development and online retail did very well in 2006 beating last year’s performance. We added about 13 new clients for web development, internet marketing and website hosting compared to 8 new clients last year. I still have yet to figure the final sales numbers for the retail websites I operate, but we had already beat last year’s sales by November!

This year was also a big year for my investments. I got more involved in investments this year. I’ve been dabling off an on for several years, but this year I devoted much more time and resources to analyzing and investing in the stock market and as most people know it was a very good year to be in the market, as it’s soared to all time high’s. Whether it can continue into 2007 as strongly may be another story.

Now it’s that time to review my goals and create new ones for 2007. when coming up with my yearly goals I first break them down into my roles in life which include personal goals and career goals.

When planning goals I create them with the following rules in my mind.

  1. Goals must be written. (and I rewrite them on a weekly basis so that I don’t forget them)

  2. Goals must be attainable. (goals must be easy enough to be actually achieved yet hard enough to be worthwhile… also it helps to break down big goals into smaller steps. For example, if you want to lose a total of 50 lbs. Set monthly goals of 5lbs a month and you’ll find it’s easier to complete them.)

  3. Goals must be quantifiable. (you must be able to measure your progress, so goals should be stated in a number for format, such as “I will lose 10 lbs this year” or “I will earn 10% more this year than last year.”

I find that sticking to these rules helps ensures success in completing any goals. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t complete a goal completely. Simply revise or extend and work harder next year.

Again, happy new year and best wishes for 2007!

What I’m thankful for…

Every Thanksgiving, I do reflect on things and think to myself what I’m thankful for. This will be the first time I’ve actually written (or typed) my thoughts out.

For starters, I’m incredibly thankful for my wife Heavenly. I’m thankful for all the time we share together. I’m thankful that I am able to work for myself and work the way I like. I’m thankful for the friends and family I have. I’m thankful for a place to live, food on the table and extra money to invest in the future.

I’m also thankful that I made the decision to move to Texas after high school… the toughest decision I ever made. I’m thankful that my dad believed in me so much and that I had his constant encouragment.  If not for him, I may not have had the guts to go through with it.  The decision to move had a huge, life-changing affect on me. If I hadn’t moved to Texas, there is little doubt in my mind that I would not be the person I am today. I don’t believe I would have had the opportunities to grow personally and financially if I had stayed in Vermont.

It was in Texas where I first felt good about myself and felt I could achieve what I wanted. The general culture was more positive towards achievement and the attitude was that anyone can achieve what they really want. The culture embodies the “can do” attitude that made America great. Whereas, here in Vermont I feel that the general culture is more that if you achieve, you are a bad person and if you have problems its someone else’s fault. Often, the wealthy or big business are blamed for everyone’s problems. These attitudes are so disempowering and do nothing to encourage people to achieve or to believe in themselves.

In Texas, I saw first-hand how a more free-market enabled anyone to thrive that really wanted to… college was very affordable, jobs were abundant, wages were high, costs of living were very low and most people agree that it is because the government stays out of the way. All the positivity and abundance was enough to help me turn my life around and I’m so thankful for the experience.

Please feel free to share what you are thankful for in the comments section…

Long time, no blog…

I know it’s been quite a while since I last posted. Things have been very busy here the last couple months.

First, we changed the location where all our websites are hosted and upgraded the shopping cart system we use for several of our websites. This took a lot more time that I expected. I spent many hours over the last couple months working on this in addition to my usual workload.

Then, business has picked up for my web development business from both new and existing clients.

I also managed several campaign websites for the past election.

When time permitted, Heavenly and I worked on preparing the retail websites for the holiday season… it’s been a very busy past months, but things are running smoother now since the upgrades are complete and most of our clients are moved to the new system.

Therefore, posts should be more regular from now on. 🙂

Thoughts on the Election

First, a big thank you to all the Libertarian candidates that ran! There were several fine Libertarian state house candidates. Unfortunately, I could not vote for any of them because none of them were in my district.

There were very few candidates that I felt comfortable voting for… that I could live with. I had a hard time telling the difference between many of the candidates. It seems that whether the candidate is democrat or republican the candidate still supports policy that will result in more expensive and intrusive government.

I feel that the election results proved yet again that the people are not ready yet for serious change… things simply are not bad enough yet for many people to really take a stand. The best one can hope for is a balance of democrats and republicans so that they will spend all their time arguing and not get anything done… causing us less harm.

I have faith that it’s only a matter of time before people will take a stand and liberty will prevail… as it always does eventually.

Spent the Day at the Champlain Valley Fair

CVFair LogoIt was a great day to go the fair… it was warm and sunny and lots to do and see. Kevin Ryan, Heavenly and I decided today we would go to the fair together. We got there around 12:30 I believe. We started with eating since we were all hungry then went through the booths areas. Kevin stopped by the Tarrant and Progressive booths to chat for a while. We saw some of the usual shows such as Steve Bayner (the hypnotist), The Racing Pigs, and the High Dive Show. We also looked RVs that were on display… they seem cheaper than usual… most were under $100,000. It amazes me how much they can put in one of those things. Some are almost the size of our home! We also watched part of a cow milking and walked around the midway a bit.

We saw a new show called Lucky Bob, which features a comedic juggler from Boston.  It was quite good.  You can actually see parts of previous acts on his website through online video.  Click here to see more.

We briefly saw a performance of a local band called Waiting For A Miracle. To my surprise, I later found out that the drummer is Joe Villamare, who was in my class at Colchester High School.

My Grandma Makes the News

Below is an article published in the BFP regarding my grandma…

S. Burlington grandma: A living lightning rod

Published: Sunday, August 20, 2006
By Ed Shamy

When Germaine LeClair moved out of her Burlington neighborhood in July 2000, her neighbors told her they were glad to see her go.

Not that she was a troublemaker, mind you. LeClair was then 79 years old, a mother and a grandmother.

Then, as now, the widow lived on her savings and made some extra cash darning socks and ironing other people’s clothes. She liked to read and write and cook and still does.

Sounds like a dream neighbor, but for one problem.

As LeClair sat atop a metal office chair in her garage just days before her move, sorting through her belongings, lightning struck her house — and her.

“I heard the thunder, and that’s all I remember,” she said. “I must have looked terrible, because some lady said she’d call 911.”

Firefighters arrived quickly and asked LeClair, still sitting in her chair, if she felt alright.

She could utter only, “Well …”

When she was finally able to speak, she told the emergency crew, “I feel better than when I was hit the other two times.”

That’s when her neighbors decided they might prefer if sweet, elderly Germaine LeClair moved away. The woman attracts lightning strikes like dropped lollipops attract ants.

The first came when she was 18, still living on the family farm in Quebec. She was sitting beside an open window, she said, with her arm on the sill.

“It really wasn’t much lightning to think about,” but then a sudden crackle and — whammo! — Germaine goes out cold.

“I couldn’t think. I couldn’t feel anything.”

She took a lightning-free break for the next 31 years, busy as she was getting married, having six children, moving to the United States and running a dairy farm with her husband in Charlotte.

That electricity drought ended when she was 49, she said. Again, she was indoors, sitting beside two open windows in the farmhouse when lightning zapped an elm tree nearby — splitting it from top to bottom — and traveled into her kitchen.

“I remember my brain was shaking and I was making funny noises with my throat,” she said. She couldn’t speak when her husband and children rushed in from the barn to see what had happened.

When she gathered her senses, she announced to her family, “I told them I’ve been hit by lightning once again.”

This came as a surprise to the mister and the kids, since she’d not yet told them about the first time, when she was a teen.

Thirty years would pass before lightning found her again, at age 79, and spooked her neighbors in the South End of Burlington.

“I don’t know why me,” she said, bowed but unbroken this week on the final approach to her 85th birthday.

The only lasting damage, she said, has been a quirky deafness that has pestered her for years.

“I’m deafer on some days than others,” she said.

She’s also dizzy and has a bum hand, but LeClair chalks that up to eight decades of wear and tear and not lightning strikes.

Just to be on the safe side, should you feel the urge to visit Germaine LeClair, check the weather forecast. Visit only if clear skies are expected. Ask her for a rain check if thunderstorms loom.

Ed Shamy’s column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact him at 660-1862 or eshamy@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com

Leclair Family Gathering

Leclair Family Gathering - July 2006

Saturday, Heavenly and I went to large family gathering of my mom’s side of the family… I would say about 30 people, many I haven’t seen in quite a while, including family from Texas. A couple cousins actually live quite close… one cousin lives about 5 minutes away from my place and I never realized it.

I’ve realized lately that I really don’t have as much contact with family as I would like. I think my problem is I’m not one to contact someone first to make plans… I usually wait for someone to contact me, that way I don’t feel like I’m intruding or something. My other problem is we are trying to cut back on fuel and other costs, so we try to do things that don’t require much travel… that’s why Heavenly and I usually spend a lot of time at home. If we do get out, we often hang out in the yard or going across the road to Leddy Park or Leddy Beach, which doesn’t cost anything. I enjoy doing these things very much, but we should try to get out more and see friends and family, or at least chat with them online… it’s all about balance. I’ll have to add it to my goal list!

Our Four Year Anniversary!

Jeremy and Heavenly Wedding - July 20th, 2002Yesterday, Heavenly and I celebrated our 4th anniversary. To celebrate we took most of the day off to spend the day together. We went out to eat at The Orchid, one of our favorite places to eat. As usual we ate more than we should have, as it’s easy to do there as there’s always a great selection and you want to try everything!

We also went to see The Davinci Code, which was better than I thought it would be. Heavenly recently read the book and thought it would “theatre worthy”. I wasn’t too sure it would be, but was willing to give it a shot. As I said before, it was better than I thought. It was very interesting story that brings up many criticisms of organized religion as well as providing a very suspensefull and entertaining story. I would think that most people would enjoy the movie… probably not strong supporters of established organized religion though.

We also spent time before the movie and after the movie visiting with family, including my aunt and cousins from Texas, whom I haven’t seen in a long time… not since Heavenly and I moved back here. It was funny, because of all my talk recently about our trip to New Hampshire, my mom now believes that Heavenly and I will be moving there soon, so she’s been telling everyone about it. One of the first things my aunt said to us was about us moving to New Hampshire. We don’t have any concrete plans to move there, but if our income were to increase, it would certainly become more attractive to move to New Hampshire. I would think that anyone considered to be working middle class (lower, middle or higher middle class), would be far better off in New Hampshire… the opportunities would be far greater and life would be much easier. My aunt in Texas who was visiting here has wanted to move back here to Vermont to be closer to family, but it would be very hard for her to take such a cut in pay and to see living expenses triple. She has considered actually moving to New Hampshire because other family here have told her about how much better it is in New Hampshire. After visiting for a while we spent some time cooling off in the pool and then came back home where we relaxed together until we fell asleep from our busy day around town. It was a great day.

Heavenly and I met in 2000, so we’ve actually been together for over 6 years total. I’m very thankfull for the time we’ve had together and even though we spend practically 23.5 hours a day together, I always feel gratefull to be with her and feel so fortunate to have found her and I love her so much. I just could not imagine life without her… she truly completes me… our nation of two. Happy Anniversary Heavenly… I love you!