Thoughts on the Meaning of Life… Todd Helmkamp

Archive for July, 2007

Things I Learned from Reading Louis L’Amour Novels

Posted by Vogeler on July 27, 2007

This past Wednesday, my wife and I had some friends over for a cookout/bonfire. We were planning on starting at six pm. So of course it began raining promptly at 4:30 pm. My friend Isaac stood outside under an umbrella with me as I cooked hot dogs on a gas grill (he’s loyal like that).

Several of our friends couldn’t come until about 8:30 or so because their church’s annual business meeting was that night. At around 8 pm the rain stopped, so Michael and I went out to see if we could get the fire started. The wood was all soaked, as it was in a heap rather than neatly stacked (had it been stacked, only the top couple of layers would have been wet. But it was free, so I’m not complaining). Long story short, even with wet wood, I was able to get the fire started using a few pieces of dry pine for kindling, around three pieces of newspaper, and a single match.

I was pretty proud of that.

One of our friends called before he came, and thought I was telling stories about having a fire going. It was nice to see his face when he looked at my respectable blaze. 🙂

The point of this is that had I not been a huge fan of Louis L’Amour’s western novels, I probably never would’ve gotten that fire going without a chemical agent. It was from his works that I learned that if the wood still has bark, you can peel the bark off and the underlying wood will still be dry. He also taught me how to make a reflector out of earth (or in this case, sand) so you can dry out other pieces of wood with the heat from what you’ve already got burning.

After some thought, I decided to make a list of some of the best things I’ve learned from his books. Here we go!

1. How to find water in the desert (look for bees, and follow them).

2. Always cross a stream or river that is in your path before you camp for the night. It could be running bank-full in the morning.

3. You can’t bargain with evil (see also the unfortunate early policies of the US and Great Britain toward Hitler).

4. Women are to be protected (also learned from my Dad).

5. Working with your hands is a good way to accomplish something productive yet still give you time to think about problems.

6. Always check your backtrail.

7. Good men (and women) must stand against evil. Many of the world’s problems would be lessened if good people didn’t stay silent.

8. If you are lost in the snow, make sure not to over-exert yourself. If you begin to sweat, it can freeze inside your clothes and suck away all of your body heat.

9. Snow is an excellent insulator for the outside of a cabin, tent, or shelter.

10. A man isn’t really a man until he is building something. It doesn’t matter if its a business, a town, a farm, or whatever, as long as he’s building something for the future.

11. Manhood has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with accepting responsibility.

Just a short list, but if I listed everything it would take days. If you’re a fan of L’Amour, I’d love to hear some of the favorite things you’ve learned. If you’re not a fan, or haven’t read any of his books, I’d highly recommend them (apparently, so does Billy Graham. I read that he’s a big fan too).


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Be Lifted High

Posted by Vogeler on July 25, 2007

I am currently listening to a live album by Hillsong United called “United We Stand”. Great album. I highly recommend it. Anyway, part of the lyrics to the song “Came to the Rescue” are:

“In my life, be lifted high. In my world, be lifted high.”

It made me think of all the things that I have put ahead (above) my Lord. Talk about a sense of sorrow. Take a few minutes out of your schedule today and think of where in your life the Lord ranks. Then fix it.

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An Article Worth Reading

Posted by Vogeler on July 24, 2007

This article sums up why I respect soldiers and police officers, and show them respect in public and private. Also why I have begun studying martial arts and weaponry again.

Click here.

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Posted by Vogeler on July 21, 2007

I am tired.

The process of buying a house has been a nightmare.  Snag after snag has come up.  Issue after issue.  But, through God’s grace, we’ve made it through them all.  Whether this has been intended to increase my faith, my patience, or both, I don’t know.

The part that bothers me about all of this is feeling like a mooch.  I’m at work today, while family members help move some of our stuff.  We hit a major financial bump and some members of our family graciously gave us the help we needed.  We’re going to be living with my father-in-law and his family for a few weeks until our house is ready.  The list goes on.

I HATE inconveniencing all of these people.  I have nothing to offer them.  I know they’re doing it because we’re family and they love us, but I can’t help but feel like its too much, or we’re taking advantage of their generosity.  I can’t wait until we’re done with all of this, so we can stop mooching.

Maybe its a pride thing, but I am tired of not being able to handle these issues myself, without dragging people that love me through the mud too.

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My New Business

Posted by Vogeler on July 14, 2007

My boss (and very close friend) Brett and I have decided to start our own computer repair and consulting business.  We have over 20 combined years of computer repair experience, and are committed to our three core values:  Integrity, Service, and Value.

We had our first job yesterday.

The customer’s computer wouldn’t turn on all the time, and would randomly shut off.  The front power indicator light was also flashing.  We thought “power supply!” and we were right.  After replacing the power supply, it worked just fine.

We then proceeded to do a PC “tune-up”, which included:

Spyware/Adware/Antivirus removal

Antivirus program installation per customer request

System Defragmentation

System Startup Clean to improve Windows boot time

Disk Cleanup

Registry Cleanup

Windows Update

The total charge for everything we did if performed by a major chain (I can’t say who on this blog because of legal reasons, but if you wanna know email me) was over $180, and that didn’t include the cost of the new power supply.

We charged $60.   Parts included.

We took a snapshot of the interior components and serial numbers of all hardware before we began work and made them available to the customer, then did the same after we were finished.  We also returned the defective power supply to the customer.

They are very happy.

So, if you know of anyone who is having computer problems, don’t let them take it to a big store or repair shop.  Our work is guaranteed, and we are both in the process of becoming Microsoft Certified Technicians.

Our rates are very reasonable, and are the same whether or not you bring the PC to us or we make a housecall.  Other repair shops charge heavily for housecalls (however, we do have a charge of $10 for any housecall farther than 15 miles from Hudson, IN.  This is just to pay for gas).

Hopefully I have demonstrated that we are committed to taking care of our customers, and charging reasonable prices.

We appreciate any business!

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