Stumble Upon Stuff - July

Things you happen to find while searching for answers sometimes provide great fodder for an article on this topic. This is one of those.

While reading through material on SEO and content marketing (one and the same, these days), I came upon this question: "Does your blog matter?" That's not verbatim, but it was the import. Maybe the question was more like: "Is your blog useful?" Whatever it was, it gave me pause.

"Ouch!", was my first response.
"I doubt it.", was my second thought.
Then, I remembered a couple of comments, where people said they liked (or found an answer in) one or two of my posts. So, maybe there is some value here.

Here's one thing I found today. Later, I'll post updates to this, with links to that first article I mentioned. 

OK, it's later and I could not find the original article. Here's one that explores the topic: http://www.businessesgrow.com/2014/07/16/does-blogging-matter/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamihlapinatapai

This I found while looking for a way to disable comments on WordPress sites. The author of a plugin built for exactly this purpose is named, Samir. Here is his website: http://rayofsolaris.net/ - which I like, because of its minimalistic nature.

I'm pretty sure "Mamihlapinatapai" will not be the word of the day anytime soon at Toastmasters. But it is nice to know there's a word for, "having a moment."

Now, back to that question. Is there something useful in this blog. Going one level deeper, does or will my life serve a purpose? How will I know if I ever get to the point where I've done all I was intended to do - having accomplished everything that was in the "grand plan" for me?

I know not the answer. So, I'll continue to explore the questions. Thanks for reading me. 

Feel free to comment.

BR

 

The Pursuit of Happiness

One of the few unalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Search that phrase and you'll find links to a movie by the same name. Here is the Wiki article on it.

Why am I writing on this? Because it comes up sometimes. Like when SquareSpace has a place where I'm supposed to add my Bio. That makes me think of the past, which I don't want to rehash here. Then I'm reminded of a quote from the Spike Jonez movie, "Her."

"The past is just a story we tell ourselves."

Prone to going off to search such things, I find this website: http://thoughtcatalog.com/jeremy-sheeler/2014/02/the-past-is-just-a-story-we-tell-ourselves/

Backing up to the root of that site, I find this: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kelly-joyce/2014/07/5-things-you-can-do-to-feel-happier-with-each-passing-day/

And, so it goes. Much is written about how to be happier these days. It makes me wonder how many people need this information and how sad a place is the world today.

The universe is a friendly place. That's my answer. Thank you for that question, Albert.

Sundays with Margaret

One of the many features of a typical Sunday with Margaret is that we watch CBS Sunday Morning, together - well, kind of together! Neither of us seems capable of escaping work mode these days and we work at home on our computers, while we watch and listen, and often break away completely from our separate rooms, to come into the living room to watch a particularly interesting segment. There are some sad points in those sentences, but, somehow, it still works.

Interesting segments this week include this one on Mike Meyers. Sometimes, seeing someone else’s pain helps me to see mine in a whole new light. If you read through the interview, you’ll come to the part where he is unable to accept the loss of his father. Juxtapose that with a man who lost his father through divorce before he knew the meaning of words. That would be me, if I have to spell it out.

The upside is this; Mike meets Shep Gordon, who becomes something of a savior to him. This started me thinking that it might be nice if more people had the opportunity to meet someone who can help them work through the pain of loss. That it had never occurred to me to look for this “someone” is interesting, at the very least.

That’s all I’m willing to share at the moment. But, I wanted to get this down on paper (or up in the ether) before I forgot about it. Perhaps I’ll return to this topic at a later date.

Another Sunday with Margaret

Have I mentioned that we see lots of movies? Today, it was “Chef.” Jon Favreau writes and directs this story about a man commited to the art of cooking, and his relationship with his son. It’s just good fun. Go see it. The music is wonderful. The story is simple. 

In many ways, this movie answers the question; “what can Twitter do for my business?” You might be surprised by the illustration of the digital divide that still exists. Social Media today deepens the impact of that disparity. If you are not in tune with Fb, Tw, and G+, you might be missing something. If you are in business and not in tune, you are missing quite a lot!

Enough said about those things, let’s move on. After the movie, we go upstairs to the food court for a bite to eat - this is Westfield mall in Palm Desert. Then, Margaret goes shopping (I tracked her in about two minutes to the shoe department at Macy’s) and I go to the bookstore - Barnes and Noble. There, I peruse a few books, then check out the latest issue of Forbes, which I purchase in the end, as I have more to read there. 

I posted a little something on Fb, related to something I read at B&N, having to do with math. Now, I’m working on backing up my main home computer, before I rebuild it. I suspect I am infected and performance has slowed, so I’m just going to bite the bullet and suffer through the pain of renewal.

That’s all for now. I work nonstop. Margaret watches videos online, with the TV tuned to murder and mayhem programming. Such are Sundays.

 

A Kick in the Head

Today I cried - I was laughing so hard, I thought I might not stop! But then, I would have missed the rest of the movie, “The Other Woman” - which stars, Leslie Mann, Cameron Diaz, and Kate Upton. Leslie Mann creates a scene that is so incredibly funny - it made me happy to realize I had some napkins handy to dry my tears! 

Later, while discussing her talent with Margaret, I said I was reminded of scenes from “Blue Jasmine”, where Cate Blanchett was so convincing in her angst, that I simply found myself in awe of one person’s ability to completely convince me of their dedication to the role of acting. Did that make sense? I’m saying, she was so good, I found myself admiring the actress and at times, losing my place in the story as a result. Fascinating, would you agree?

This picture and the actors in it are not likely to be nominated for awards, but I’m happy to recommend you go see this one. It’s kind of corny in some places and is definitely a “woman power” kind of bonding thing, but I liked it a lot.

And, I’ll now be looking forward to anything that includes Leslie Mann - she has a new fan.

Enjoy!

Working Up To It

Alone again, I’m left to my own devices. This glaring screen in front of me seems so empty, is it a metaphor for my life at present? Or, am I so busy with so many things (none of which fill the void), that I cannot see this is my best medicine?
Who cares? That’s always a good question. I must. Because I have two dogs (I almost wrote, “three dogs” just then). And, I have many people who count on my being there for them, should they need to call for help with these infernal contraptions (computers)! 
So, communicate I will, as it forces me to organize my thoughts. Organized thoughts are better than the random ridiculousness that goes on in my grey matter. Fifty shades of, “Oy!” – I should write that – a compendium of angst, anger, bitterness, frustration, heroism, joy, study, reflection; now I’m wondering if I can come up with 42 more words to express the confusion I know so well.
It may be said that I didn’t do anything to be labeled as at fault for this situation. But, the things I didn’t do and have not done have been the cause. 
Everybody says, you need a plan, you have to set goals. Maybe tomorrow I’ll start writing my business plan, again. I may even set some goals for when it should be complete. Yeah, that will help. Add a little pressure to an already difficult, nearly untenable, condition. That’s a great idea.

Saturday

There are days like these. Nobody told me. Reminds me of John Lennon.

This morning I worked on some stuff for Save A Pet, then I got busy with what I do and what I have been doing for far too long, now. I went to work for a client who had a computer fail on him. This is what I do. Helping people with computers is something I have done since I first started learning how computers work. It is simply my nature to want to be helpful to others. I love to teach, too.

So, off to Palm Springs I went. You may remember Bob “The Bopper” O’brien, from KDES Radio. He was on the air for many years. Well, now, he is a published author. His books include: “Who Dit It First?” - Great Rhythm and Blues Cover Songs and Their Original Artist - by Bob Leszczak - on Amazon. And, Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979: A Complete Guide, also on Amazon.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this, but I’m going to bed early tonight. Margaret is home!

Sunday With Margaret

CBS Sunday Morning, a movie, and the Olympics pretty much filled the day. In the middle, I took care of setting up a new video card and a Roku system for one of my best clients. Margaret and I met at Rancho 16, to see Monument Men - not worthy of a review, except to say the music annoyed the heck out of me! Story was as expected. The end of the day is coming write up - see what I did there?

Last night we saw a movie -  The Iceman - courtesy of Netflix on the kitchen computer, beamed to the TV by Chromecast! You just gotta love good gadgetry.

Of the two movies, The Iceman was hands down Margaret’s favorite. She likes murder and mayhem.

Other highlights include a segment on Portuguese Azulejos tiles on CBS Sunday Morning and finding my friend Jason Stevens’s Twitter, blog post and website. We also had a meal at Pho Vu in Palm Desert - their new location - at Dinah Shore and Monterey, across from Home Depot, by the Starbucks there. Bun Tom Thit Nuong Cha Gio is my favorite dish. 

That’s all for today. I’m going to get back to writing more often. You’ll see.

Kim Komando Rocks

While I don’t always agree with the content of computer advice offered by Kim Komando, there’s no question her heart is in the right place. We should all be so gererous. I have so much to learn.

After writing a post for my professional blog, I was working on getting some relevant images for my post, when I stumbled upon a link on YouTube. There’s no need for me to explain further. I’ll just provide an image and a link and you can check it for yourself!

Kim Komando Show - One Amazing Call

Why Time Travel Movies Persist

Movie Trailer on YouTubeAfter seeing the trailer for, “Welcome To Yesterday” at the theater today, I thought about why the subject of time travel can be used again and again as the subject of a new movie. It’s obvious, I know. The answer, for me, is; it must be technology!

As technology (and its availability) improves, so does the time travel experience improve for the viewer and the movie-maker. Just watch the trailer and it becomes clear that technology and special effects drive a movie like this.

If you do have access to time travel, there is always that same danger - that your actions will alter things in an unfavorable way. This movie is no different, as that is the rub.

If you want to see a time travel movie that didn’t make a big splash at the theaters, check out “Source Code”. It’s theme is similar to “Ground Hog Day” in that the main character learns something with each iteration, but that’s all I’m willing to say, as I don’t want to spoil it for you.

For something lighter and a bit more fun, check out, “Safety Not Guaranteed”. You won’t believe the ending….

Enjoy!

Transition Time

Image Source - Orange Public Library Local History CollectionOne Day Changes Everything

Like yesterday, for instance - I spent three hours driving, for the reward of eleven hours with my wife, Margaret. The benefits were way beyond expectations and are listed here, and the feed my need for uplifting my spirit. If you go to Orange, you must go to Old Town Orange to enjoy. 

  1. On the way to and from Anaheim Hills, I listended to a book on Audible (an Amazon company), by Tim Ferriss - The 4-Hour Workweek
  2. Completing the trip in just under an hour and a half provided some modicum of relief, knowing that I can do this anytime I like, given that small sacrifice of time for a huge payoff!
  3. Seeing Margaret, priceless!
  4. Seeing her workplace, meeting co-workers, making that first impression, all good for both of us.
  5. Having breakfast in Orange (the town settled by the subject of one of my favorite books, Pioneer Ranch Life in Orange) at Watson Drug and Soda fountain.
  6. Wandering through countless antique stores doing almost nothing, fully focused on just being present in the moments with Margaret.
  7. Shopping (for nothing I want or need), having a beer (something else I don’t need), taking in a movie (Wolf of Wall Street), eating an apple in Margaret’s apartment prior to departure.

That made for a very good Sunday. Let’s do it again, reall soon!

Breadcrumbs

It’s been one heck of a morning, so far. If I had eaten the bread, things might already be going better! Now, I don’t know how to get back, I don’t know how I got here, AND I’m hungry.

So, another blog post, I suppose, makes sense to a (getting thinner for ridiculous reasons) famished writer. This will simply attest to the nothingness that sometimes fills the void.

http://blog.threestarleadership.com/2014/01/18/11814-this-weeks-posts-about-writing.aspx?ref=rss&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

I must have stumbled upon that from Twitter. It’s the first tab open in my browser after the Twitter tab, so I’m guessing. From there, I clicked on the link From Demian Farnworth: Here’s How Jon Morrow Writes and there we are (or were).

This phrase: “when he published a guest article on Penelope Trunk’s blog.” - leads me to research Penelope Trunk, where I find she hates Tim Ferriss. Hate being such a passionate thing, I’m drawn in.

Our journey (OK, yes, I mean my meandering wander) ends here. As I have read as much as I’m willing to read of the “Look Inside” bit of Amazon’s Kindle version of this book. I must eat something now and do something productive.

 

Write First

First, something from leaves of Gold. Thanks to Save As Image (dot com); and to this page on Facebook.

In Toastmasters, I spoke about “the little voice” and how listening to it usually is a good idea. Maybe these are the whispers Faber is referring to in the quote, above. 

Now, on to writing…. One of my goals, which remains a goal, is to make this the first thing I do each day. As I know it always makes me feel better, writing is a high priority for me, but there are at least two other things that always come first. Well, there are three or four, depending on how you count. Two dogs, coffee, and if she is home, Margaret comes first. Though Margaret first may mean making coffee and keeping the dogs quiet for another hour or more, after I get up, which makes writing pretty difficult to do.

In a perfect world, I would arise to fresh coffee, walk out the door to my studio - where no dogs or wives are allowed for the first hour or more - where I could write in peace, as I ponder the musings of the day. I’ll put that on my list of dreams.

So, there it is. That’s all I’m going to say for now. 

Optimism

Snippet from The Best Loved Poems of The American People

http://www.optimist.org/e/creed.cfm

And, http://www.optimist.org/Documents/creed_poster.pdf

Funny, near the end of my last post, I mention optimism.

I’ll have to work on the first bit of the new plan starting tomorrow. Optimism should help. 

Now I’ve taken that to heart and will doggedly pursue a deeper study of optimistic things!

My own leaves of gold may soon be found on these pages. Enjoy!

Change of Plans - Real Life - Applied Math

After reading an article on LifeHack.org, I started thinking about just how much time has been wasted in my life. Here’s the spoiler - I think most of it. According to this article, there may be just enough time left, to bring it back to a 50/50 split. I’m going to do the math here, while I write this, to see what I find.

Some people who care about me might find this disturbing….
If that’s you, close the window. Read something else.

If you read the LifeHack article first, you know we are working on a life expectancy of 88 years, so we are going to examine things in terms of 11-year blocks of time. That’s 12.5% of a lifetime, every 11 years. One might argue that you really can’t count your first block and a half (up to age 16.5 years), as you have so little chance at autonomy until you are driving your own car and taking more responsibility for where you go and what you do. C’est la vie, we move on.

Here are the numbers: 

If we discount the GREAT BIG events, like a first marriage and first child, both of which forced very adult responsibilities on a teenager, and we don’t put a whole lot of weight on a great Illinois suburban education, we can safely say that the first 22 years of my life were nearly wasted. Probably the best that can be said for that first 25% of my life is that I survived, got by with mediocre results and finally abandoned nearly everything for an opportunity to move to California. Yes, we’re leaving out some details here, but just trust that not much good really came of things up to this point. Except, Katie (my daughter), provided some modicum of hope for me.

After my move to California, in the fall of 1981, things got better, then worse for a short time, then serious progress toward improvement began. For the next 12 years, I’m going to say that 11 out of that total period should be considered pretty good, or, not wasted. That takes us right up to the fall of 1993 when I met Margaret. Things are surely going to improve from here! I’m 35 at this point, so we are through three blocks of time and there are two years in limbo, one of which we know was wasted. I’m going to have to say that extra missing year should be regarded as not wasted. So, we are at just about 66% wasted time, with things improving.

Five years into my time with Margaret, I started with my first tech start-up company and things looked pretty good. Less than three years later, however, the bubble burst. Our little party was over! We both scrambled and managed to not allow things to completely collapse. This was 2001 and some serious reconsidering was in order. I’m still going to count the time as not wasted because the lessons learned were pretty compelling. We both managed to find work and we muddled through the next bit of time until we finally left San Jose and moved to Palm Desert in September of 2004. On the whole, I would take those 11 years as not wasted.
So, we are right at 50% now.

Here’s the problem. The block of time between 2004 and now (January 2014) I would have to say has been about 50/50 when considered in the “wasted or not” context. If things turn up right now, and we get to 2015 on the positive side, we will be pretty near even.

Now, according to the article, I have 33 years left to live. Three more blocks of time and I will work to create the upside. Looks like a change of plans should help. Or, maybe just coming up with a plan would be an improvement. Too bad it’s past my bedtime. I’ll have to work on the first bit of the new plan starting tomorrow. Optimism should help. 

Tumultuous is the best word I have to describe current conditions. We shall see.

If you’ve come this far, please send email, call me, or when you see me, mention this article. It will do me some good just to know someone saw it. And, thank you for your patience.

BR

 

 

Leaves of Gold - Commonplace


Commonplace
By Susan Coolidge

“A commonplace life,” we say, and we sigh,
But why should we sigh as we say?

The commonplace sun in the commonplace sky
Makes up the commonplace day;

The moon and the stars are commonplace things,
And the flower that blooms, and the bird that sings,

But dark were the world, and sad our lot,
If the flowers failed, and the sun shone not;

And God, who studies each separate soul,
Out of commonplace lives makes His beautiful whole.



A Dose of Prose - another website with the same poem, in lovely colors.

The Era of Rocky “Boyoh” Comes to an End

 

Today, I bid farewell to a friend. His name was Rocky, affectionately referred to as, “Rocky Boyoh”, or simply, “My Best Boy.” I’ll miss him.

It may take days or weeks before I adjust to not having to listen for his footsteps at night. This little dog, who could go 10-12 hours during the day with no accidents, somehow could not go more than 3-4 hours at night without the need for relief. I was there for him.

Clicking his nails on the floor as he walked from the bedroom, he would stop at the corner of the hallway (like he was waiting for a cab), just before it turned into the living room and (hopefuly, I got there in time), I would pick him up and carry him to the back door, slide the door open, strip off his diaper and drop him into the cold night air on the patio. This was our routine for so many of the past months.

Before all of that, he was fairly happy, even after losing the one eye he had when we found him. In spite of his blindness, he was quite capable of negotiating corners and doorways, and always able to find his water bowl and a bowl of food. He was like a sturdy little tank, still capable of putting up a fight, if he disagreed with being man-handled.

Rocky came to us with his girlfriend, Savannah. He may have never recovered from the broken heart of losing her in 2008. We rescued the two of them in Marin County, California, to save ourselves from being without dogs. Greg Kihn (yes, that guy) used to have a radio show in the bay area where he profiled dogs in need of rescue and Margaret learned of Rocky and Savannah through that medium. She jumped on the website and saw pictures. Initially, she saw Savannah and sent me a link. Then, she saw Rocky and said; “forget about that last one, I want this one!” When we went to get him, he was tethered to Savannah on a split leash. Margaret loves to tell this story. All of this was in 2002, while I was working as a consultant to Yates Advertising, a company in San Francisco.

So, imagine having to sum up twelve years of your time with a dog. We’ve had many and we still have two. I’ve been through this five times now. Champagne, Beijing, Savannah, Lady, and now Rocky. It doesn’t get easier. There’s no way to avoid it. I still love having dogs. Rocky is gone.