Monday, September 24, 2012

Are You A Bully?

Are you a bully? How would you know?

See how you answer these questions:

Do you enjoy teasing someone to see how far you can go?
Do you pick on people smaller, shyer, quieter than you are?
Have you ever bothered someone who is new in school?
Do you like to threaten people just to get a reaction, even though you don’t intend to follow through?
Do you like to pull tricks on someone that involves his being embarrassed?
Do you do things like trip people, take a book or something they are carrying and refuse to return it, or show something personal like a note that person has written, to a big group of people?
Do you like to get in someone’s personal space because it bothers her?
Have you ever gone into someone’s locker, desk, backpack, or personal items to find something you can use to make fun of him?
Is someone who cannot afford the things you have, a person you would make fun of?
Do you look forward to lunch time because you can really mess with someone then?
Do you make it a point to pick a fight in a bathroom where you can corner the person?
Did you ever decide someone just looked weird, so you picked on her or on him?
How about someone you don’t even know, you just felt like teasing that person?
Do you think it’s harmless fun to be mean to a person—just a part of growing up?
Have you made fun of someone’s name?
Have you made fun of someone’s sibling or parent?
Have you mocked someone with a foreign accent or with a speech problem?
Do you think it's funny to tease someone with a disability?
Have you ever gotten several other people to join you in picking on someone?
Have you been overly pushy or rude with someone who is elderly?
Do you feel like it's natural for a boy to intimidate a girl?
What about someone who is very tall, short, skinny, or overweight?
Do you think it’s funny when someone insecure or shy has other people laugh at him or her?
Do you join in the laughing when it’s happening, although you didn’t start it?
Do you ever pick on someone that you actually envy or are jealous of?
Did you ever set up or visit a website that was created just to pick on someone?
Have you been a bully using Facebook or Myspace?
Did you ever send someone a text message just to be mean, or to scare someone?
Have you ever followed someone, or stalked someone, to scare or annoy him?
Did you ever give out someone’s phone number or email address when you shouldn’t have?
Did you ever spread a bad rumor about someone?
Do you think all the above are just examples of harmless teasing?

If you see yourself in any of these situations, you are a bully. You are a bully even if you don’t actively participate, but stand by, watch, and do nothing.

Has someone been a bully to you? Is that why you think it’s OK to do it? 

What if other people in your group of friends are doing it? The next time you see a bullying situation starting up, if you’re not feeling brave enough to say anything, then you still have a good option: Get away from it; that is, go elsewhere. At least you are leading by example, if not by words. And consider whether these are the kind of people you want to be friends with.

If you feel you have the power to bully, then you also have the power to stop. Bullying is a BIG deal for the victim. You probably don't realize just how hurtful the situation is, if it hasn't happened to you. Try to imagine yourself in the other person's situation. How would you feel?

Want to really show some integrity, compassion, intelligence? Befriend someone who looks isolated. You don’t have to be together constantly: just say hi to this person every time you see him. Offer help with something like getting a locker open or finding a classroom. See if she has someone to sit with at lunch. Something small like that can make a big difference in a person’s day.

Keep this in mind: A bully thinks he or she shows power when being cruel to someone else. Does that sound like the person you want to be?

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still”
                                -Lao Tzu,  Tao Philosopher

Monday, September 17, 2012

Genius Ways to Save Money

Ever vigilant for money saving ideas, Triogenius has foraged the following just for you:

  • Cars and Car Insurance for Students

Do you have a car? Hopefully, that means you have car insurance, right? Are you considering college somewhere other than a big city area? Read on for a tip you might not be aware of.

When you attend a college in a more rural area, that is, away from a large city area such as the Metro-Twin Cities and suburbs, you can get a reduced premium. Why? Because less people living in an area means less accidents, and less risk for your insurance company. If you are going to attend college in St Cloud, Winona, Bemidji, Mankato, Duluth, or any more-rural area, give your insurance agent a call and ask about it. It could mean up to $10 a month less on your insurance premium.

Also consider this: if your car is just going to be parked for the school year and you won't be driving it, you do not need full coverage on it. You only need what's called Comprehensive, which would insure it against someone, let's say, throwing a brick into your windshield or otherwise vandalizing the car, or if it would get hail damage while it's sitting there waiting for your return. You car might be lonely, but you're going to save some money.

Comprehensive coverage costs very little. When you call to ask about it, you can also ask how it would work when you come home for a break and want to drive the car for just a couple of weeks. Call your agent--he or she isn't going to know your plans unless you tell him or her. Be sure to see if they offer any other discounts, such as because you're a student, or for a good driving record, even good grades, non-smoker, etc. You won't know until you ask! Of course you will let your agent know when you are 'home for the summer' so you can have full coverage again.

  • Did you know that now, some well known gas stations are putting a $25.00 hold on your account when you pay at the pump---even if you only put in $12.00 worth of gas? That $25 is held on the account and is reflected as a deduction until your gas purchase is processed with the correct amount. Something to keep in mind when your bank account is running low.

  • And as far as banks go: check to make sure there are no fees if your balance goes below a certain point, say, $100. My bank said that it doesn't have a minimum balance but would charge a fee if I didn't use my check card at least 8 times in a month. Again, ask and you'll know.

Other Simple Ways to Save:

  • Have you ever bought something and then thought, "Why did I get that??" but had thrown the receipt away? Have a 'receipt envelope' and whenever you buy anything, put the receipt in the envelope. Keep it somewhere easy to find. When you have had the item for a month, a week or maybe just a day and you realize you don't want it/can't afford it/it doesn't really fit--you can get out that receipt and return the item. Most stores won't take a return without a receipt. Now you can return it and get your money back.

  • When you buy a piece of clothing, look at the tag and be sure it's washable. Dry cleaning is expensive and a hassle. But be sure not to over-dry clothes: they will shrink, lengthwise and widthwise. Get them damp-dried and then hang over a chair, or hang on a hanger, till they're completely dry.

  • Some local stores will honor coupons up to 30 days past their expiration date. Others honor any similar store's coupons as if they were for the store you are shopping at, or will price match with a printed ad--and some will just take your word for it. Ask your cashier.

  • Try either skipping your fancy coffees or making your own. $4.00 for a latte five days a week adds up to $80 a month. If you get one seven days a week, that's $120 for 30 days worth of coffee. Coffee, for pete's sake!

  • Make sure you aren't buying something just because you have a coupon. In fact, don't even go into a store if you have no money (translated: cash or credit card).

  • If you plan your groceries for as long as possible, you don't need to go back to the grocery store later in the week, where you will probably buy additional things you don't really need, or stop in to pick up something and go for the more expensive convenience food. Before you leave home to get groceries, plan your food day to day and include everything you'll need, then cross out the things you have on hand. It helps to have your list in the same order as the store. Plus, who wants to go back to the grocery store more than necessary? Coupons can be helpful as long as they are for items you would have bought anyway (not only because you have a coupon).. And don't forget: don't shop when you're hungry! 

  • Don't buy food from vending machines. The markup is does not cost $1.75 for a can of soda from a 12 pack, even when it's not on sale. Let's say a 12 pack costs $4.50. One can from that 12 pack would be roughly 38c. A bag of chips does not cost $1.25 when you get it at a grocery store-these items may even be on sale. Let's say you buy a large 'family' size bag of chips that costs $3.00. If you can bag up six servings from that bag, it will cost 50c a serving plus the cost of the plastic bag. If the plastic bags were $2.50 for a box of 50, that means they cost 5c apiece. And so, for 55c you can have a bag of chips that would cost you more than 3 times that out of a machine.

  • You can keep a few things on hand at work or in your backpack if you find you 'need' something while at school or work.. Use a soft sided personal size cooler to keep things cold (these are seen often at garage sales or thrift stores). And how many times has a vending machine eaten your money, never to give it back??

Finally (for now), the old adage of "pay yourself first" is still true. When you get paid, put something aside in savings, even if you start small. Do the math: even $10 a month adds up to $120 a year. $50 a month: $600 a year. Wouldn't it be good to have some money set aside for the next crisis, or in case your car breaks down?

Triogenius hopes some of these tips are helpful to you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eleven Years Ago

We Will Never Forget

"I wondered why somebody didn't do something.
Then I remembered: I am somebody."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are You Registered to Vote?

After all the appearances, rants, mud-slinging, and promises, and party conventions, the election is going to be November 6, 2012. Are you 18 or over and a citizen of the United States? Then you should vote.
How do you register to vote?
You can register to vote online using the Minnesota State website below. Be sure you have done this before October 16 in order to have your registration on file in time for the election on November 6. Allow a couple of weeks and then check back to be sure your registration is on file.
You can also register to vote on election day at your polling place. You will need proof of identification and residence, that is: you will need a driver’s license or another legal document to prove you are who you say you are. To prove you live in a given county and state, you can also use your driver’s license, or you can bring with you a recent utility bill, such as your electric, gas, or city water and sewer statement. Be sure to check the Minnesota Voter website below to be clear on what you need to prove your identity and that you live in Minnesota.
You will fill out a form giving your basic information. An election judge, who is one of the people who stay at the polling place all day during the election, will verify your information, and then you’re registered. You can now legally vote and will not need to show those documents again unless you move or change your name.

Where to vote if you are attending school away from your parents’ home: You can only vote once, in one location. You can vote in the city where you attend college. If you prefer, you can go ‘home’ and vote there.

How do you know where to vote?
Here is the State of Minnesota website regarding voting—it has answers to just about every question you might have about voting, including where your polling place is, what issues are to be voted on, and who the candidates are:
For example, two items up for a vote in Minnesota are same-sex marriage and whether Minnesota should require a state ID for every person. You can vote your preference on these two issues in addition to voting for people to hold office. This is called a General Election because there are both state and national items to vote on.

So far, we are not able to vote online. It is possible this will happen in the future, with enough security precautions.

Find out about your candidates: most of them have websites. A simple search engine will probably find them. What do they stand for? What will they do for you? What are their opinions? Know these things before you vote people into offices. When they come to your door campaigning, ask them questions.
On Election Day, November 6, when you arrive at your polling place, first you will verify that you are registered. Several election judges will be sitting at tables with big books of names with addresses, and they’ll check for your name and ask you to verify. You will sign your name on the book.
You will then be handed a ballot to fill out, in a folder. The ballot is usually a fairly large sheet of paper with all the candidates and issues listed on it and will have items on both sides-be sure to turn it over and check.

There are several types of ballots. Some kinds require you to punch a hole using their device, indicating your vote. Most often in Minnesota, you will have a ballot that has ovals for you to fill in. You will be given a black marker to fill in the oval or circle next to the name you want to vote for. Fill in the oval completely, just like a test in school. Be careful not to be sloppy in filling it, and be sure you fill it completely, or it may not be counted by the computer. If you have any questions, ask one of the election judges working there. When you have finished filling in your ovals, put the ballot back into its folder so that no one will see how you voted, and hand the folder to the judge standing at the ballot box, or else they may just let you feed your ballot into the machine.
Sometimes in an election, there are candidates for offices that you won’t recognize, such as judges or county officials. If you do not know who to vote for, or don’t wish to vote for everything on your ballot, you can leave those items blank. Whatever you do vote for will be counted.

That’s it! You just took part in the election for or against candidates, issues, and the next President of the United States.
Now what happens? The polls are usually open until 8:00 p.m. the night of the election. After that time, doors are closed and the ballot boxes are taken to a central vote counting location. Typically, this may be a city hall or county courthouse. If voting was tabulated using computers at a polling lace, the totals are sent to the vote counting location by the election judges at that polling place. 

Did you know:

  • Elections are held in November because, when the country was begun, we lived in a largely agrarian country; that is, most people farmed. In November, harvest time was well past, and people could leave to go and vote. Also, since at the time people often would have to travel a distance to get to their polling places, it was decided that Tuesday was a good day to have it because otherwise people might have to travel on Sunday, traditionally reserved for religious observances.

  • Women are not allowed to vote in the United Arab Emirates and Vatican City. In Vatican City, only Cardinals under the age of 80 are allowed to vote, and Cardinals can only be men.

  • Women only got the right to vote in the country of Bhutan in 2008. What year did women get the vote in the U.S.?

  • In Australia, voting is compulsory; that is, it is required by law. If you don't vote, you are fined.

  • In Malta, 94% of people vote. In Chile, 93% and in Austria, 92%. 

  •  In the 2008 election in the United States, 71%. of eligible voters were registered, and only 64% actually voted.

What about recounts?
  • There is an automatic manual recount (by hand) of votes cast for federal and state contests in a general election when:
·        The difference between the votes of the winning candidate and any other candidate is less than one-half of one percent of the total number of votes counted for that office.
·        Or, if the difference in vote count is ten votes or less for an office in which 400 votes or less votes were cast.

Here's one exercise everyone who is eligible, can do: Exercise your right to vote!