A sequence of events brought me to this point. I've been to church twice now. Seems to me, I'm getting better at listening to the little voice. And, I'm thinking change must be afoot. The hand of God seems to be pushing me along. That's how I feel today, anyway.
At UUCOD today, we were shown this video. Shonda Rhimes, I'd never heard of her. Apparently, she has been quite busy. Since I don't watch Grey's Anatomy, or Scandal, or How to Get Away with Murder, I have no context, except to say that I also write.
Quality Time with Mommy
Today, while I was working for several fruitless hours, trying to revive a PC affected by a botched Windows 10 upgrade, two girls worked together on creative projects. Never wanting to intrude, I didn’t really ever know what they were doing, but creation of a birthday card was one of the results. This I know, because I heard the eldest daughter read through the finished product with her mom. Imagine the ability of a fifth grader to express sincerity and gratitude to her friend. This was the essence of the message she created with loving guidance from her mother. It grieves me slightly that I cannot give you the verbatim recollection of the words she wrote. Essentially, it was an outpouring of kindness and affection for a friend who had invited this young lady to a birthday party.
Funny thing is, that’s not even the most emotionally compelling thing I heard on this day. At some point, this girl was working with her younger sister on this creative project and I was barely aware of their conversation. What I did note clearly is that they were whispering to each other. So, dear reader, which was it? Were they whispering so as not to disturb my work? Were they whispering because they were doing their best to keep their conversation private? Or, were they whispering because that’s just how they talk to each other when they are so close to each other? There they were, elbow to elbow, working together on some creativity. I never looked around to see what they were doing, although I did note the presence of colored pencils on the countertop near me.
To be clear, since I was not paying close attention, this next part is pure speculation on my part. I’m guessing the question posed from the younger daughter was something on the order of: “What am I going to do while you are at the birthday party?” The answer, I heard quite clearly.
The elder daughter said, “This will be an opportunity for you to spend some quality time with mommy.”
And, I fight back sentimental tears as I write this.
There are many interesting characters in my line of work! Nice people, too....
Click the image below for a slide show. Enjoy!
It seems almost contradictory, but memories of today may be chosen to supersede less pleasant iterations. Indeed, the mind and behavior are affected by the repetition of thought patterns, good or bad, as we ponder our murky or bright past. The best part of this is, you get to choose. Perhaps better, you may choose to replace and renew.
Today, at our ACT I meeting, we had an excellent speaker. You might never have known she was relatively new to her role as a public speaker, except, I asked that question! Her answer, only a few months....
Thea North is Gilda’s Club main Receptionist and Volunteer Coordinator. Her story is unique in that the first time she pushed open the big red door in December 2005, she was newly diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer—and, in her own words: “Scared to death, I was in my support group for 18 months, then I started to volunteer, then I got hired! I’m happy to say I’m now 10 years cancer free. I like to call myself a Gilda’s Club Thriver.”
Imagine having to address an audience on a topic as morbid as cancer. What would you do? This lady, she knocked it out of the park! With her own personal story, rife with humorous tidbits, appropriately sprinkled like breadcrumbs along the way, she engaged with her audience. Any professional speaker would have been "wowed" by this presentation.
The healing nature of laughter goes a long way to heal the pain of a subject matter as difficult as a killer disease. Uneasy would be the norm for any audience, so you had better find some way to "keep it light." She did. People were laughing through their tears. How cool is that!?
After the meeting, I spoke to her about Toastmasters. I said a couple of things, in two different ways. I told her she was going to love Toastmasters and Toastmasters would love her. I told her that Toastmasters is a place for getting better and even more so, for helping people to get better. No, I wasn't talking about cancer. I was talking about love.
--------------- I don't know the source of what follows. ---------------
Like answering on Jeopardy in the form of a question,
You can change your thoughts on speaking with a simple suggestion.
I’m here to tell you for sure, there is no cure,
save love, to free your mind, from something so unkind.
If you are blocked by fear, listen here, what I say will make it clear.
It’s not about you; it’s about what you do.
Love will show the way, your affection display will save the day.
Like the lines of a play, there’s no story if you don’t say,
what the people need from you, this is what makes it true.
You came here to give a gift, inspiration provides the lift.
Everybody out there wants what you came to deliver.
Nobody here wants to see you sweat, shake and quiver.
So, steady yourself, resolve to show your steely nerve.
Tell us the whole story with pomposity and verve!
You think I’m making this up as I go along?
Heck, no! I wrote it down, so I could sing it like a song.
You can do it, too. It’s as easy as thinking out loud.
When you run your own script, you might even feel proud.
You know what? I did go back to the American Legion and there was old Dave Durand. As advertised, he would be there most Sundays. Just as I had found him the first time, he was entertaining the troops and peals of laughter were echoing off the walls as I entered the room. He was a sight to see, I tell you.
Naturally, I moved toward him. Who wouldn’t be drawn to a dynamo?
This guy was so the opposite of the man I knew in Germany. He had done a 180, becoming a beacon of joy. In that foxhole, he had been the face of death. You would never imagine such a turn-around. It’s a curiosity to me, and I know I’ll be coming back for more of this.
“Dark Dave” gave me an obligatory nod and wink, but he didn’t break from the story. He was in the middle of telling tales of “Awesome” Jimmy Ahlstrom. Now, I knew that Jimmy had always kept close counsel with Dave when we were all together in that infernal war. But, I had no idea the impact this had had on Dave. And here we were, the brotherhood, listening to Dave recount the heroics of a man who had been something like your modern day MacGyver. Old Jimmy had been the opposite of Dave, he was cheerful to a fault. Nobody in war should ever be that happy. But, Jimmy, everything he did had joy in it. Even as he tossed a grenade, he enjoyed life.
Man, I wish I could see Jimmy again. You may not know the bond that is created when you are in a foxhole with men. Bullets are flying by and you are praying to God that you and your buddies are going to survive it. It’s a trial by fire and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But, if you are going to be in a situation like that, pray to God that you have someone like Jimmy with you. I swear, that guy saved my life more times than I can count.
So, I’m listening to Dave go on about Jimmy. He says Jimmy gave him the will to live, inspired him to fight when the chips were down. I never knew this. Seems there were many things that would catch me unawares, as I listened to Dave tell it.
Dave says, “One time, we were all pinned down by gunfire. It seemed like all if was coming from just one shooter. I remember Jimmy talking to me. He said, ‘If the two of us stand at opposite ends of this foxhole, we’ll be able to pinpoint the source of this shooter.’ So, we did. And, after a minute or so, I trudged over to the other end of that trench and talked it over with him.”
So, there it was. Had it not been for Dave and Jimmy working out that shooter’s position, I might not be here to tell you this story. Damn sure, I am now, that all the heroics I had pinned on Jimmy had been enhanced by the actions of Dark Dave!
As much as I’d like to go on with the details of this second encounter with Dave, my heart can only stand so much excitement. This revelation makes my head spin. I stayed at the legion long enough to collect more details to share with you, but you’ll have to come back for the next installment, as I’m tired now and too pooped to continue writing.
If the last thing you posted on your blog was something from last year, are you really a blogger? When you go to someone's (or some company's) website and you click the link to their blog - especially when it is in the navigation they've provided - are you disappointed to find no current content there? I know Google is not impressed. Translation, you get no SEO juice, unless you post relevant, current material, on a regular basis.
"What prompted this post?", you may ask. That very experience just happened to me. After clicking a link and landing on a website for a local "Solar Energy Equipment Supplier," I looked at their, "About" menu, and found a link to their blog. Clicking that led to my disappointment, as I see their last post was created on May 4, 2015. It's sad, really.
So, here's what I think. They must not need new business, as they are too busy to continue blogging. If that's the case, I'm happy for them, but I won't be reading their articles and they won't be selling me on solar. C'est la vie, Mon'Amie!
The punchline is, I cannot remember how I came to own this book, “Total Recall.” Written by Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell, with a forward by Bill Gates, it’s all about the idea of recording “everything” about a man’s life, using (then current) technology. In the first chapter, it reveals one of many truths. This project that was a great idea, but it didn’t really have the impact predicted in the first paragraph on the inside flap of the slip cover.
The first sentence may be taken a couple of ways.
“What if you could remember everything?”
“Yikes” is my first thought. There are many things I should like to forget. “Impossible” comes next, quickly, as I imagine the scope of everything. Then, my mind drifts off to thoughts of Jeopardy and how many things we are able to recall, even if we don’t think about the trivia that lives in our memory.
Back to the book…. The last line on the inside flap says: “Total Recall is a technological revolution that will accomplish nothing less than a transformation in the way humans think about the meaning of their lives.”
Well, no. I don’t think that has happened. If anything, this book has changed the way I think about how easy it is to completely miss the opportunity to use technology to achieve meaningful progress.
There’s a very telling sentence on page 34: “I tried to get Microsoft to take the lead in desktop search….” It goes on to say, no, this did not happen. As with many things, Microsoft, with all its brilliance, did not take good advice and work on something to preserve its place as a leader in technology. If I’m reading this right, the year was 1998 and Google was working on taking that lead from the big boys.
According to Wikipedia -
The first release of Google Desktop Search was released as a beta version on October 14, 2004.
Windows Search collectively refers to the indexed search on Windows Vista and later versions of Windows… Vista released worldwide in 2007
Today, I’m looking back at all of this and thinking my Great Grand Stories project needs backers like Gordon Bell, who understand the value in preserving the history in each of us. I’m still working on it.
The Lady Eve - with Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck. http://bit.ly/TheLadyEve
Zoolander No. 2 - with more people than I should list here. http://bit.ly/ZooLanderNo2
The first one was a serious love story that is very funny. Henry Fonda suffers through more pratfalls than you will ever see in modern movies.
The second one was a complete farce, another version of dumb and dumber and stupid-funny from start to finish. Boring in places, but Penelope Cruz is stunning throughout.
Because I'm nowhere near finished with this post (and, may never be....) I decided to add that phrase to the title. Brain games I play are in a book my wife bought for me. I read at least a page or two of it every day and I often win the games. It isn't the winning that matters, however. It's the playing of the games. I tell my clients, using a computer will help you live a better life. Learn new things, create new connections, a growing brain leads to longevity.
Yesterday, on morning express, Robin Meade reported on a new study. The essence of that story (link included below) was that if you exercise your brain, it grows stronger. Really? Please, God, help me find a way to get the money that goes into these studies! If I can show that diet and exercise are good for you, through some government or university funded study, I'm sure I'll do it.
Yes.. Use your brain, your brain gets better. Amazing!
http://time.com/4218125/brain-games-neurofeedback-aging/ - - Measuring progress.
http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/morning.express/index.html - reported as news.
http://www.lumosity.com/ - Lumosity, since 2005
If you are feeling depressed or sad for any reason, you may want to STOP READING here. The title of this post should be all you need to know - this is dark material. I'm sorry if it makes you feel worse than if you hadn't read it, but, sometimes, I just have to write down what I'm thinking, to see how it relates to how I'm feeling. This is one of those times. BR
That phrase (the title of this post) is from, "Last Chance To See" - a book written by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine in 1990, and it is Copyrighted Material. Perhaps I'll try to contact the authors after I write this post.
Use that link to get to Amazon's listing of this book. Then, use the "Look Inside!" feature and click to, "Back Cover." From there, you can back up a few pages, where, on page 215, you will find a story entitled, "Sifting Through The Embers." I'm thinking its lesson is very similar to this idea: "When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground." This is an old African proverb. That's according to this search result: https://www.bookbrowse.com/quotes/detail/index.cfm/quote_number/345/when-an-old-man-dies-a-library-burns-to-the-ground
Who cares? What does it all mean? I'm sure I cannot explain. But, today, on Sunday Morning on CBS, a man who has spent 35 years studying polar bears said he thinks they may soon be extinct. Statements like that hurt my heart. And, I was immediately reminded of the Adams book I had read about 25 years ago, now. This would be just before the World Wide Web was born.
This is from: http://webfoundation.org/about/vision/history-of-the-web/
By October of 1990, Tim had written the three fundamental technologies that remain the foundation of today’s Web (and which you may have seen appear on parts of your Web browser):
HTML: HyperText Markup Language. The markup (formatting) language for the Web.
URI: Uniform Resource Identifier. A kind of “address” that is unique and used to identify to each resource on the Web. It is also commonly called a URL.
HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Allows for the retrieval of linked resources from across the Web.
Tim also wrote the first Web page editor/browser (“WorldWideWeb.app”) and the first Web server (“httpd“). By the end of 1990, the first Web page was served on the open internet, and in 1991, people outside of CERN were invited to join this new Web community.
Again, don't ask me why I've put all of this together. Maybe its a simple juxtaposition of the simplicity of animals in the wild and the complexity of our need to communicate, and the dangerous impact of man's progress. Perhaps through communication we may prevent the extinction of many more species on this planet. Last month, I recall hearing the West African Black Rhino is presumed extinct. http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/10-animals-presumed-extinct-in-the-last-decade/gone-the-way-of-the-dodo
It's becoming difficult to continue writing on this topic, so here, I stop.
This post could just as easily be on my professional blog, at rouzell.net - and, maybe it will show up there in a similar form. The source of the image above is this page from HubSpot, one of my favorite online resources for social media and blogging advice. Click the image above and you'll be taken to this page: http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/edits-improve-writing
The funny thing is, as I start to read an article like this, I think to myself that I might find one of two things: Either very useful advice, or something that doesn't quite measure up to my standards for good writing. Fortunately, this article is a stellar piece of work, with great advice for any writer.
Thanks, again, to HubSpot, for all they do and all they give, for free!
This may sound a bit trite. I'm truly fascinated by the origin and meaning of mere words. By that, I don't mean simple definitions. I mean where they came from, their original use and intent, and how those words have changed over time.
Take these three, as examples: Recreation, reform, renaissance - they all sound as though they should be related, right? Yet, a search for meaning yields wildly different meanings for each.
Thank you Wikipedia for this:
- Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time.
- Reform means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc.
- The Renaissance is a period in Europe, from the 14th to the 17th century, considered the bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history.
I'm thinking more time is necessary to explore this subject. More time than I have at the moment will be required, so I leave you now, to ponder this idea for yourself. For me, reform is overdue, recreation non-existent, and a Renaissance would be most welcome.
Other discoveries along the way: http://norse-mythology.org/tales/odins-discovery-of-the-runes/
Start Your Blog – by Brian Rouley
Have you ever thought about creating a blog? Do you like to write, or do you have photos you'd like to share with the world? If so, you may want to get attend this new class, presented at the "Let's Compute" club of SCPDCA, in February.
This class is for computer users of all skill levels and is platform independent (PC and Mac users welcome)! You don’t have to create the next Huffington Post, or re-create Photofocus (a blog on photography), to enjoy writing blog posts. If you can send email and attach a file or photo, you can create a post on your blog. You must be able to log into email, if you want to have a working blog (which you can have), by the end of this class on blogging.
Blogging for fun and my insatiable need to write: http://www.rouleywrites.com/
Blogging to share technical expertise with users at all levels: http://www.rouzell.net/
Other sites, useful to beginners:
A blog to help promote my SEO business: http://brianrouley.net/
Two sites dedicated to SEO, by Mousehelp at Rouzell dot com:
Today, we saw, "Concussion." And, after the movie, we had a Q&A session with the Film Director, Peter Landesman, who is also credited as the screenwriter. It was, in a word, impactful (pun intended.) Having the added insight that came from answers to some very good questions multiplied the effect of the movie, which was pretty powerful by itself.
This is from: CBS Sunday Morning
A walk with a new friend
DECEMBER 20, 2015, 9:53 AM
It was a random act of kindness on the part of Eugene Yoon, of Castro Valley, Calif., which he made for a man he'd never met: a paraplegic who'd vowed that he would walk again someday. And that's when Eugene made a life-changing decision. Steve Hartman reports.
At the end of this video, Steve uses one of my favorite expressions: "That Little Voice." I've capitalized it for the meaning it has in my life.
Bottom line, if you listen for it and heed its wise counsel, that little voice will help you to do the right thing. Have an open mind and try it. You'll see.
Stories told by Pfc. Addison Collins -
There are a couple of things you need to know before I spin my tales for you. One is that war changes a man - sometimes for the better and sometimes, maybe more often, for the worse. The other thing is there may be no stronger bond than that formed between brothers in arms.
There were many memorable soldiers in my outfit. Two of them burned memories deeper than most. They were “Awesome” Jimmy Ahlstrom and “Dark” Dave Durand. Polar opposites in their approach to things, Dave might make you feel like you were about to freeze and Jimmy made you feel like you wished you were wearing a welding mask to shield your eyes from that bright light. They both cut deep grooves in my mind.
Hell, I wasn't much more than a kid. I'm nearly 90 years old now. That war ended for me when I set foot on American soil, which in about 5 minutes from now (October 29, 2015), will be exactly 70 years ago, back in 1945. Was the day after my birthday, on October 29th of 1945, when my ship landed in New York Harbor. I'd never seen anything so beautiful as that magnificent city. I'm a country boy, so I'd never seen much of any kind of city up till then!
It took a bit of getting used to the idea that I might finally enjoy my life again, as it began anew. Now I completely understood the expression, “you can never go home.” Not that I wanted to go home, mind you. “How are you going to keep them down on the farm?”, you know.
War changes a man. Dark Dave was one of those "changed for the worse" guys. This guy was the absolute embodiment of fear. To look at him, you might think we had already lost the war. Funny thing is, he taught me the meaning of a couple expressions, like, “scared stiff” and “scared shitless.” I didn’t know those things were real, until I’d met old Dave.
Old Jimmy Ahlstrom, we used to call him, "awesome", you know, because he was really something! Well that guy saved my life a couple of times. Hell, he saved the whole bunch of us once. We were pinned down by gunfire, in a foxhole, was four of us. I remember it was Awesome, Dark Dave and Marriott and "Meat" - hell, I can't remember that guy's real name. To this day, I cannot understand why they call it a foxhole. No fox in his right mind would find himself stuck in this situation. Bullets are whizzing by, over our heads, and I’m wishing I was that fox, who would have escaped days ago.
Anyway, we were all just ducking down for the most part, putting up our gun every now and then to shoot aimlessly, in what we thought might be the right direction. But old Jimmy, well he figured out pretty well where it was coming from and he looked right at me, with a wink, and said, "Watch this!"
Well I did watch. He was right there next to me. He pulled the pin on that grenade, heaved it over the edge, and wouldn't you know it? Just about perfect timing - as he let go of the grenade, a bullet come flying through there and took off the pinky finger from his right hand.
I'll never forget it. He looked at me and put his hand over what little stump was left there and smiled - smiled right at me - I'm not kidding! He says, "I hope you still got that duct tape with you, because I'm going to need it." I probably just stared at him, but I remember thinking, he'll be going home, now. I knew I was going to miss him and I never did see him again.
Recently, I had occasion to visit the American Legion, down in Palm Springs. I’d heard some guys in Sun City talking about how they put on a pretty good Sunday brunch there and I thought it might be interesting to see who shows up to these things. Now, you may not believe what I’m about to tell you, but I swear one of my brothers was there that day! It was old Dark Dave. Dave Durand was standing before me, looking just as proud as a peacock, tickled pink with the stories and jokes he was sharing with the other men. When he saw me, I could see it in his face – a mixed up look of confusion and pain and heart-wrenching joy all messed up in the same expression. If only I’d had a camera handy; I’d love to be able to share that image with you.
Anyway, I could tell he recognized me and I sure as hell knew it was him! Walking across the room I cannot remember, because it felt like I was floating in a dream – I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing here. And, I swear, he looked like a million bucks. Damn near cried, I did, and I hugged him so hard I thought I might strain something, or break his ribs!
Now, I never even had the chance to say word one, when he told me about how his life had changed. When he got back stateside, he found all he needed to fix everything when he fell in love! He spent the next hour or more telling me all about how his love for his wife had conquered his every fear. Seems he had so much to say and I was transfixed by his skills as a raconteur!
Man, it was like he had never been afraid of anything in his life, he was a completely new man. Now, I’ve studied a bit about the difference between love and fear. It’s quite different than the idea of love and hate. Here was Dave Durand, a living example that love crushes fear.
Hell, hate is what helped us get into that God-awful war in the first place, its passion can be just as strong as love. There’s a song I’ve heard about the thin line between love and hate. I can tell you now, from experience, it’s fear and love that are polar opposites. You can take that to the bank. You can also bet I’ll be seeing old Dave next Sunday.
Watching the CBS Sunday Morning program this morning, I was pleased to see a profile on one of my rock heroes, Elvis Costello. He spoke about a song I know well. I had no idea about its meaning. Turns out, it's about his grandmother and her affliction.
Costello had the beginnings of a song about his grandmother grappling with Alzheimer's. "So we made it, 'Veronica,' into a pop record that actually got onto the radio even though it's speaking about the unraveling of the mind."