The Big Picture

When I was a little, we used to get a kid-focused science magazine every month. I don’t remember what it was called or where it came from, but I do remember my favorite feature.

Every month, on the back cover, would be eight photographs. They were not normal photos however. These were extreme close-up images of common things and the challenge to the elementary school audience was to figure out what each one was. […]


Take A Chance, Save Some Cash

In recent weeks I have written about some heavy subjects, so today we’re going to have a little fun, and save some serious money, all while getting things done.

Growing up, my father was a regular reader of Consumer Reports magazine. He was a firm believer in the philosophy of the well-informed consumer. Many an appliance and car salesman would tremble when my Dad pulled the rolled-up issue of CR from his back pocket to close the deal. This level of being informed was more difficult before the Internet, but it taught me about the power of information when making purchasing decisions. […]

Thirty-Five Degrees Of Coffee Lid Separation

We are all familiar with the expression anything worth doing, is worth doing right.  Most situations are not black and white, so I’m a much bigger fan of the slightly different version that goes, anything worth doing, is worth doing well. This is not to say that simply trying is good enough, but rather that each set of circumstances typically defines “right” differently.

There is however a situation out there that has bothered me for years, and this particular thing is simple as right and wrong, to pretty much everyone. […]


Cold Tile Floor

I wrote this piece last February, but as the first cold days come to Upstate NY, it is important to remember just how good we have it. enjoy!

This is a story about choices in bathroom remodeling… and life.

This past week marked the beginning of Lent. No matter your spiritual persuasion, most people know that Lent is the period for Christians that immediately precedes Easter.

Ask someone in New Orleans what Lent is and they’ll tell you “the end of Mardi Gras,” but that is another story entirely.

Lent possesses a great many details and traditions, but without exception the best-known Lenten practice is the “giving up” of something, for the forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. […]

Beyond The Shadow Of A Pine

A few weeks ago I learned that two golf courses, in my hometown of Penfield New York, are up for sale.

This may sound like no big deal. In a town of 36,000 people we have four golf courses, and several more in adjacent towns. On the surface this is simply luxury real estate changing ownership.

Except it’s not.

One of the golf courses, Shadow Lake, is being marketed as a golf course, but the other property, Shadow Pines is being offered for real estate development. The word on the street is that the 18-hole course could be turned into as many as 290 new houses.

This is a problem. […]

Flowers Are For Proms

Sunday morning I was sitting on a pew in our church. As the service got to the part where we pray for the recently deceased, the lector spoke a name I recognized. My eyes immediately shot over to my daughter, who was on the altar as a server. A wave of pain and helplessness came over me as I watched her try to hold it together, but ultimately she had no choice but to reach up to wipe her teary eyes.

Last week, for the second time in as many months, my fifteen-year-old daughter was shaken by the sudden passing of a classmate and teammate. […]

I don’t need a network, do I?

This story was originally published on May 9, 2014. After encountering some trouble installing a new printer this morning (it was a bad network cable), I figured it was time to update and re-post, especially in light of all the new devices opened and connected during the holiday season.

So, you think the Internet is a magic thing that just works all the time? Think again.

One day a few years ago while enjoying an eleven-hour drive with my wife and our four children, one of the kids asked “why don’t we have wi-fi in the car?” Before I could even inhale, to begin the list of reasons why that is never going to happen, the child continued, “and don’t even tell me you don’t know how to make that happen.”

This got me thinking about the evolution of the Internet in our home and how my children really don’t know a world without completely reliable and fast information access, everywhere, all the time. […]

Find Something That Fits

When our kids were younger, we used to go to church on Christmas Eve. Our church has a regular weekly attendance around 1,200 however, on Christmas Eve the number of folks who kneel in the pews swells to over 5,000.

To the regular attendees of Christian churches, these extra 3,800 people are often labeled the “C & Es,” which of course stands for “Christmas & Easter.” […]

Czech’s Party Mix

One Christmas in the 1990s, I made a collection of mix tapes for my sister Sarah. Having more time than money, this was the prefect way to give a meaningful gift without breaking the bank.

I think there were six of them covering the whole spectrum of available music at the time and I remember giving each tape a creative title. One tape, made up of predominantly bands from Eastern Europe I called Czech’s Party Mix – I thought I was horribly clever.

Around the same time, I was somewhat involved with my friend Mick’s band. Mick and I had worked together at a software company, and after I left to go work for Crest Audio, a few months later I hired Mick to join me there.

I do not play any rock-n-roll instruments and after a single gig in college (that did not go well) the universe decided my singing skills do not belong on the popular music stage. My use of the word “involved” was intentional because I was not actually in the band, but rather the person who helped lug the gear and twiddle the knobs. I was basically a roadie and the sound guy. […]

Paging Mr. Hubris


In 1972, Disney released a slapstick live-action comedy called “Snowball Express.” In the tradition of “Herbie the Love Bug” and “The Apple Dumpling Gang,” it was an absurd and silly plot that allowed for the kind of physical and in-your-face comedy that kids love.

The basic story is this: a guy who knows nothing about skiing or hotels, inherits an aging ski resort. He uproots his family and moves them to his newly acquired property. Madcap antics ensue and it is a fun ride for everyone.

Apart from the comedy, there is a scene in the movie that I will never forget. One evening the protagonist is trying to figure out how to get an old “Donkey Engine” half way up the mountain to be used as a rope tow for skiers. He knows that the Donkey Engine is plenty strong enough to pull the skiers up the mountain, but it is so large that none of the other equipment at the resort is strong enough to drag it up the mountain. […]

Never Run To A Code


I have mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again for anyone who doesn’t know; my wife Emily is an Intensive Care Pediatrician. When she is working in the PICU, one of the things she must always pay attention to is something called “code bells.”

Whenever there is a life-threatening event in the hospital, they broadcast an emergency tone over the PA system, after which they announce the type and location of the code.

Because she is the senior most pediatrician in the hospital when she is on, any time the code bells ring, she must stop what she is doing and listen to the information that follows. If it is a pediatric code, she is required to get to the stated location and see the situation through to its conclusion. […]


Back in the days when I used large photocopiers, I was always amazed how well the machine could guide me through the process of clearing a paper jam, while at the same time being completely incapable of preventing such a problem.

It always struck me as odd that the manufacturer put all that effort into helping me help myself, instead of simply eliminating the need for help in the first place. Fortunately I spend very little time these days in front of Buick-sized copy machines. […]

Payroll It Forward

This post is the eighth of ten in a series called “500 Words To Save The World.” Each post will use just 500 words to address a problem that has been bugging you or me. If you want to get in on the conversation, tell me the problem you’d like discussed in the comments section of this post, or email me directly at steve@stevenazarian.com.

Please keep in mind these are ideas, not plans; strategies not tactics.  I encourage your feedback and suggestions on how these ideas might become reality. You may start counting words… now!


Small business is the backbone of the US economy. More than 50% of the working population works in a small business.

The worst part of running a small business is the paperwork that comes with employees. Tax withholding and regular reporting is cumbersome, difficult and expensive. […]

Make Less Mistakes


This post is the seventh in a series called “500 Words To Save The World.” Each day I will use just 500 words to address a problem that has been bugging you or me. If you want to get in on the conversation, tell me the problem you’d like discussed in the comments section of this post, or email me directly at steve@stevenazarian.com. You may start counting words… now!


There is nothing that makes you look less intelligent than a regular misuse of language. I am a musician of language; English is my instrument. Like music, language is alive, fluid, and evolves over time. However, just like music, language has rules, and if you don’t follow them, you will hurt people’s ears. […]