Monthly Archives: March, 2012

What’s In A Dream?

Some time ago if you asked me about my dreams I would say that sometimes I remember them and most of the time I don’t. Over the last couple of years it seems that my dreams have become more vivid and interesting more often. This has been especially true since I’ve started to think of myself as a writer.

Last night I had a very interesting dream where I travelled into the future. It felt so real. You could see me gradually fading away as I slipped from this time. This also affected stuff I had with me such as a coin.

If you were looking at me you would see me become more and more transparent until I disappeared into the future. Later I came back and my friend wanted to travel into the future as I had done. I told him it wasn’t as easy for him. He could travel there and when he got there he would have to donate a kidney to someone. Good news though. He would get a kidney back later. The big catch was that he would come back 24 years older. He would be able to experience life – to live those 24 years, but live them in the future.

He came back not too long after he left and he was 24 years older. Then I woke up or finished waking up. It was difficult to know exactly when I woke up.

How strange some dreams are.

I remember seeing a graph on GraphJam.com which showed you the different stages of how believable your dreams are.

When you’re asleep they usually seem perfectly logical. Then you wake up and it still seems plausible. As you drive to work it’s not quite so logical. By the time you get to work it just seems like a bunch of nonsense.

For me this gives me ideas for potential science fiction stories, but I still don’t know what it means.

I used to have a pastor that said maybe the best way to interpret dreams is to see everyone as you. Every person in your dream represents you. Maybe.

I think it’s more likely that you can get insights into yourself by asking what “comes up” for you when you think about different parts of the dream. But I’m no expert.

I am noticing a lot of sentences beginning with I. I wonder what THAT means!

Very tired today. Working on restricting my diet for a few days. No meat today.

Tomorrow maybe a little tuna and no sugar. All through this I’m using Isagenix products. I just had a shake for dinner about an hour ago.

When you’re getting healthier and sincerely attempting to drop some pounds there are some little things that can be a big help.

Somebody reminded me that if you eat dinner early relative to when you go to bed that that is a big help and really, it’s a small thing.

There’s a green drink I can have if I want something before bed. I’ll probably have some not too long after I finish writing.

Beachballs. Don’t know why that popped in there. I remember beachballs bouncing around at graduations at least since my older brother’s graduation in 1976. In recent years I’ve seen schools crack down on that behavior and I think I’ve even heard of a grad night being cancelled when students refused to stop. I think there’s been an overreaction to that type of behavior in recent years.

It seems like we’ve swung the pendulum too far in the direction of obedience to authority. Maybe we were slightly too far the other way in the 1970’s. I don’t know. It was a different time so (relativelY) soon after Watergate and respect for authority was low and drug use was high.

But beach balls? How much of a problem are they really? I think too many people in positions of authority are too uptight. Do we use that word anymore?

In school I was a good kid and I still ditched class when Star Trek the Motion Picture came out. We missed our afternoon classes to go down to the really big theater in San Diego. Five of us guys. I guess you would say I was a good nerd. But that was a big deal to us at the time.

We weren’t going to be valedictorians at that point, but four out of five of us were really smart cookies and the other guy was a slightly better than average student.

We were just having fun. No big deal. It’s not like that turned us into habitual ditchers.

That was definitely a different time.

Today I tutor high school students and most of them don’t even know what Star Trek is! Somebody might say, “Is that the movie with Darth Vader?” or “My uncle likes that I think.”

Live long and prosper. What?

And so many of them would not even have a clue that The Wrath of Khan has literary references to Milton’s Paradise Lost. Now I don’t recall if I ever read Paradise Lost completely. Probably not. But I know who Milton was and I know what Paradise Lost is.

There might be a few seniors who know who Milton is. Then again, maybe not.

And these students are going to college. 96% of them (so far – after 10 years) actually graduate from college with a 4-year degree.

Maybe they’ll learn Milton in college. There’s no guarantee of that these days either.

While I realize that so many today are graduating without the skills to benefit in the job market, r at least without the level of skills you would hope for when they have incurred such a cost to get those skills, I would think that they could learn more about the classics. And I know that there is more to literature than the classics. I discovered Chinua Achebe in college and was completely ignorant of him up to that point. And Rudolfo Anaya. I’m sure there are more, but like I mentioned before, I’m tired.

Maybe I should have a V8.

Pinterest Is Here To Stay

While I’m not the most talented at using Pinterest effectively, I do see one big attraction. Visuals. That’s where a lot of people want to go. Maybe not the same people who are reading this.

There are more people willing to watch movies than read books. I don’t know about statistics of reader growth vs. population growth. I can only hope that reading activity is growing faster than the population as a whole.

Seeing without having to read much is so simple for so many. Let’s hope there are plenty of people doing both.

Even so, I’m conducting my own experiment at Pinterest.com/bigmanwalking. Check out my Pinterest page.

See all the pretty colors. It could be perfect for this attention deficit age.

Now I’m hitting a little wall. For those of you keeping score at home, yes, this is a morning page. Check out Julia Cameron if you haven’t already.

What to write about next? I guess I think that in the long term people will appreciate the example of what a morning page can look like. Over and over again.

I hope this will help some who are creatively stuck and it’s also my own exercise. After this I will write more somewhere else and soon a book will be done. How soon I don’t know.

That hope is encouraging and exciting. Keep hope alive.

For those of you who are experiencing no creative blocks, this probably looks self-indulgent or wasteful of time or something.

Remember, one of the keys is to NOT judge the process. I find it like brainstorming. Judgement shuts down the flow of ideas.

We could be talking about Mickey Mouse one minute and Shaquille O’Neal the next. Then we’re on to the Middle East or Bruce Willis. Next the Ting Tings and after that the sale of the Dodgers. Maybe that woman killed in Lakeside, California for being a muslim.

That’s right down the road from me. I think it’s no more than 45 minutes if you don’t hit traffic.

I’m pretty sure there’s still a pastor there that I know.

When I was a senior in high school and into my early college years, he was the associate pastor of the church I attended in Escondido. Now he’s been senior pastor there for over 25 years. This woman was probably in kindergarten when he moved there. I’m not sure if they have or had kindergarten where she was originally from in Iraq, but she’s been here for 20 years. She was here for 20 years before she was killed.

Somebody wrote “terrorist” or something like it on a wall(?). Seems like a real hate crime.

Some people don’t think we should distinguish between regular crime and hate crime. I’m not so sure.

If this stuff turns out to be accurate, and I’m guessing that it will if they catch the perpetrator or perpetrators, this will prove to be a crime that wouldn’t have happened if this person or persons didn’t have prejudice against someone because of their background or religion.

That’s a pretty big deal to me. If the hate for the religion didn’t exist, then the false conclusion that this woman was a terrorist would never have come up.

She had lived here for 20 years. That’s longer than most people in this county. I think that’s true as I’m one of the few originals left here in San Diego County in my age group or older. There are probably only 25,000 people left. Maybe a lot less here in San Diego who are actually from here. There are over 2 million people in the county.

So this/these morons don’t like that someone is a muslim and foreign-born and think that because of that she was a terrorist?

And now she’s gone. Tragic.

I’m not sure I really wanted to go here in this post. It’s just where I ended up.

The thing is (and I know I say that a lot) that we sometimes have to go to places that are uncomfortable if we’re going to be our authentic selves.

That means we keep pushing even if we would rather talk about the nice pictures on Pinterest.

Nothing really wrong with nice pictures on Pinterest.

But reality is more than those nice pictures.

It is what it is.

We can say that it’s sad.

I know that I might step on some toes here, but objective reality is what is really happening.

Whether it’s sad or evil or messed up or whatever description you put on it, that is your judgement.

Fear of other people’s judgement can lessen your honesty about how you see the situation.

Personally, I do feel sad that this has happened. I am saddened that this woman died probably because of someone’s hate.

I like to think that San Diego County is better than this.

This happens all over the world. What we do about it is how we can improve the situation.

Education. That’s what we need.

More people need to be educated about people who are different from themselves.

That can be a big problem when some people seem to be against the very idea of education.

How do you educate someone who actively resists learning?

One Last Appeal For Kiva

Several weeks ago Reid Hoffman donated enough money for 38,000 people to make loans of HIS money at Kiva. I’ve been loaning money to entrepreneurs all over the world through that site for nearly 2 1/2 years. That’s using my own money. It’s sort of like charity except you get paid back at zero percent interest. You could theoretically lose money that you lend, but in this case you would be losing Reid Hoffman’s money. Who is Reid Hoffman? He’s the founder of LinkedIn. He’s a multi-millionaire or perhaps billionaire, so $950,000 isn’t as much to him as it is to you and me. That’s right. He is letting us loan $25 of his money. That is, 38,000 of us who aren’t already registered at the site are free to register (for free) and loan his money.

So YOU can’t lose money. Just Reid. I’ve been grateful that some people have taken me up on this offer, but I still believe more people would like to participate if they truly understand that this non-profit is doing some real good and they can be a part of it. No risk to you except for your time. Please don’t be cynical. Don’t miss your chance to see the impact of this website around the world. Out of 38,000 spots, there are now around 2400 left as I write this. I am amazed that it has taken this long to exhaust the money. Don’t miss your chance.

A road diverged in the woods…

Follow the link in the first paragraph. Now I’m done with my urging you on.

This writing is getting better and better. Do you find that? I guess I should say easier and easier. I’m not sure how you view the quality.

Whether tired or sleepy or wide awake or relaxed or keyed up, just keep on track. That’s what we all have to do. Keep on track. Again and again. If you fall off the horse, get back on and ignore the cliche. Just do it!

Shopping at Sprouts today I realized that they’re not as good a deal as Henry’s used to be. I think I’ll go to the other store whose name escapes me right now. Some of there stuff is just more expensive than other stores. Is it better? I can’t say that that is the case. Trader Joe’s beats them on a lot of products.

Maybe I just look for stuff that not everbody buys. We get goat’s milk and have for nearly 20 years since we figured out that our son can digest it more easily than cow’s milk. Trader Joe’s quart is $2.99 I think. They only have the Meyenberg(?) half gallon for $7.98. That’s a big jump. That’s not the only example.

More and more these types of price comparisons are available through applications. Soon you’ll be able to check nearly every store in your area to compare prices over your phone. I’m just not sure that a lot of these stores understand that. Maybe they are depending on a customer base that is old enough to largely be ignorant of these new possibilities. I don’t know.

I’ve also noticed that Trader Joe’s really, really tries to keep their checkout lines moving. They seem to be opening new lines all the time when they aren’t operating at full capacity and they actively come by and say, “I’m open over here, sir.” I don’t see Sprouts or Vons or Stater Bros. or Albertson’s or any other “old-fashioned” stores doing that. Between Costco and Trader Joe’s we can get most of what we need.

It’s like the old stores don’t pay attention or don’t care. But they aren’t really doing much to compete. They do have their “clubs”, but they take extra time in the line and they seem to operate like a factory in a way. There’s no real time for conversation and they expect you to answer their perfunctory questions and do what you have to do with your club member number as well as debit card or whatever and move right through. On top of that they are often verbally or electronically soliciting donations. I don’t recall that happening at Trader Joe’s or Costco.

They just seem not to get it.

Several years ago Vons employees went on strike and I supported them in their efforts to retain their pay and benefits, but they essentially lost. Things really haven’t been the same since. I realize that I’m getting older, but so many of these employees seem so young. Many of the employees I used to know and would have short conversations with are long gone. They simply got fewer and fewer hours on the schedule versus the younger employees who are paid less and many left on their own.

A friend of my son’s commented a few years ago that I seemed to know the names of many of the cashiers I encountered on a daily basis. I still strive to learn their names but we are moved through the lines so quickly now that I don’t know as many of them by name.

I wonder if it’s just a matter of time until Albertson’s combines with Ralph’s or Stater Bros. or Vons. How can they survive the way they do things? They can’t cut their employees pay much more, can they?

When I was around 20, Vons and Safeway combined and all the stores in our area are called Vons. I think only a few Safeways survive anywhere.

But, back then I don’t know if Trader Joe’s existed. I do know that there were none around here.

You also have the march of technology. At Albertson’s you have some checkout lines that are automated and usually I use those if I don’t have very many items. They also have those at Home Depot. It’s an interesting twist.

While that seems like it might be the inevitable march of progress, there’s something else that makes it slightly better than simply eliminating jobs. In my opinion, it’s a step up that the stores can trust customers to scan their own purchases. That seems like a good thing. They do that with headphones at Virgin Airlines in the pre-boarding area. You pay something like $2.00 for the headphones and they simply trust you to put the money in the slot. Part of that is Virgin simply being practical. It does take more time to have someone to police that and you would have to pay them to do that. Instead, they enhance the relationship with customers by trusting them and making it convenient for them.

Maybe grocery stores could look to Virgin’s example. Of course, I guess there will always be some neighborhoods where the stores wouldn’t trust the customers as much. Maybe not, though. Maybe the customers would respond to the trust.

Gardening And Et Cetera

Saturday I was gardening for the first time in a while. Technically I was weeding. There are a lot of them and it’s time to get the front and back yards in shape. Have you been putting that off? Have you been putting anything off?

Now is as good a time as any to do something that you’ve been procrastinating about.

In my case recent rains have made the ground a lot softer which makes weeding easier. I still spent 90 minutes on my knees pulling the green stuff out of the ground. Probably have about 12 more hours worth. The thing is – I actually kind of enjoyed it once I got into it. Sort of a whistle while you work thing. I was actually singing a little bit of “Pull Up The Roots” by Talking Heads. Snow White was right. Whistle while you work. Or sing. Or hum. Or whatever works for you.

I also thought about gardening as a kid with my dad and the rest of the family. He was the one that really made us get out there and I didn’t really like getting out there then either. But just like Saturday, it could be enjoyable if you let it be. It doesn’t hurt to let the soil get softer, but there’s nothing wrong with working smart.

Again. What have you been putting off? Can you “whistle while you work”?

This led to me not writing Saturday night or Sunday or Monday. That’s ok. I did do 30 days or more in a row.

New rule. If I’m going to keep going with this, then maybe taking a 2 or 3 days off or a little more isn’t so bad. 30 Days On. 3 Days Off. No reason to get down on yourself. That’s a good ratio. Just have to keep it up. Get back on the horse. Stick to it. Keep the rhythm. You get the idea.

How is your writing going? If it’s not what you would have hoped, consider doing morning pages just like Julia Cameron tells us in The Artist’s Way. Or sort of like it.

I spoke to someone the other day who reminded me that she expected you to put pen to paper. I say – if the keyboard fits, wear it! Do it in the way it works for you. Some of you may actually be speaking into a microphone and having a program convert the spoken word to the written word. As long as it works. You don’t have to do EXACTLY what others do as long as you develop a discipline of your own. Don’t make a law of it. Make sure that it keeps you creatively productive.

Earlier today I posted a video here in the previous post. I suggest you take a look. I actually found this guy on Comedy Central. Be open to inspiration. He could be saying something that’s really valuable for you. If not, move on. But at least check him out. His name is Kyle Cease and he’s more than a comedian. He seeks to inspire.

My wife and I saw The Hunger Games and we both enjoyed it thoroughly. If you haven’t seen it and you can read the books first, do. You only have to read the first book before you see the first movie, but you may appreciate it more than the other way around. Why see it? You’ll have something to talk about with teenagers and young adults now and in the next couple of years. And you may find yourself moved. I know I did. They found a great Katniss and Donald Sutherland does a great job as the President. If you aren’t familiar, it’s post-apocalyptic North America so it’s no longer the United States (or Canada?), but a place called Panem.

One thing that amazed me was that I really didn’t think it was as long as it was. I’m pretty sure it’s close to 2 1/2 hours, but I was wondering why it was so short. I could have watched the movie if it was twice that long. Are there a couple places where you realize that it’s aimed at young adults and teens? Yes. But those parts were brief. They really did a good job of making it for everyone. Lenny Kravitz does a good job as Cinna, too.

If you don’t know who those characters are you’ll just have to pick up a copy of the book or go see the movies.

Was the book better? Yes, but really isn’t that always the case? You just can’t fit it all in on the big screen in the short amount of time you have. I read the book quickly, but it still took me a few days.

I’m glad to be back writing. Keep your chin up. Keep going no matter what. If you take a break, don’t make the break too long. But always, ALWAYS come back and write and write and write some more. See you Wednesday!

Hopefully This Post Will Work For The Love Of…Well, You Gotta Watch It!

Watching Real Time And Writing

Full Friday! Toastmasters was great with 19 people in attendance. Shopping at the local market and Costco. Two locations of snacks and drinks (non-alcoholic for us) with my wife and and her co-workers after work. Now time for some politics and a little humor on television.

Sometimes this show is funnier than you might expect. Not so far tonight. Although Andrew Sullivan is occasionally funny. This is more like Hardball tonight.

Let’s get more general. How much do people watch television anymore? I think it’s at or near an all-time high cumulatively.

But, my son certainly uses the internet more than television. We had no idea when we got him a computer for his room that he would one day watch movies and television shows on it.

It’s interesting right now that writing is a little more difficult for me as the television drones on. It’s better than a drone right now, but you get the idea.

This could be related to multi-tasking. Did you know that research has shown that multi-tasking is an illusion. I don’t mean that people can’t multi-task. What they found is that when someone is engaged in more than one task, they effectiveness at performing each task is dimished. So, while lots of people THINK they are good at multi-tasking, they’re mostly doing a lot of stuff much less well than they could. I don’t really like the look of that last sentence but I think it’s accurate.

I’m only able to move as fast as I am at this moment because I’m mostly tuning out the show. From that standpoint, I’m not really multi-tasking.

Oooh, Fred Armisen is the guest panelist. Funny guy. I think I’ll rewatch this show later. For now, my wife seems to be enjoying it more than she usually does. She doesn’t like it when Bill Maher says something against religion. I think he has not done that as often recently.

I don’t agree with him on most of his religious commentary, but he does sometimes point out hypocrisy. I think it’s important for people of all religions to notice when they might be slipping into hypocrisy. What I’ve found is that this is not usually a welcome conversation. But if you can’t get religious people to examine their behaviors, who can you get to do that?

Today I’m surprised that I’m as tired as I am. I’ve typed through this before, so no problem there. It’s only a little after 7:30. Maybe I’ve been missing my minerals over the last couple days?

The dog has been chewing through the fence and digging at the base of it. What a clown, but I don’t really know what to do about it except put back the dirt he has dug up. I guess I can put some hot sauce on the fence. My wife says we’re keeping the dog and I don’t think she wants him inside all the time. I guess I can tie him up, but that breaks my heart. He has enough room in our backyard. I’m disappointed that he’s doing this when there’s so much to do in the backyard. It’s not like there are NO areas for him to dig.

Did I mention that he bit me a couple months ago? When I was growing up we would have gotten rid of a dog if he bit one of us. At least we would have if the dog bit me as much as he did. He didn’t tear my hand apart, but there are a couple spots where the little scars might be permanent. He didn’t want to go outside. Actually, my dad might have done worse than give the dog away if it happened during my teen years. He did shoot one of our dogs when it got out and killed the neighbor’s chickens.

My dad’s explanation was there was nothing you could do once the animal got the taste of blood from killing another animal. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what my dad said. He shot some dogs who were going after our llama and he had tears streaming down his face because he couldn’t find his rock salt shells to just send the dogs away in pain.

Most people don’t realize that dogs can turn into a pack when they are running around out in the country. We didn’t have quite as many friends after that. Or I should say that my parents lost a few friends. The sheriff came out and checked on the situation and he said my dad was perfectly within his rights to defend his animals on his land.

Take responsibility for your animals. And tomorrow I guess I’ll be digging in the dirt and maybe fixing a fence. Have a great weekend!

Why WordPress?

Now that I’ve been doing “morning pages” for 30 days I’m going to write more each day than I have in the past month. I’ll finish my exercise for Authors, Offers And Others and then write something for my new business blog or some fiction.

Some people might say that in taking 30 days to get to this point I have taken too long. The thing to remember about this exercise is that you want to reserve judgement. I am here because I did what I could every day for 30 days. Could I have done more? Yes. But here I am and I haven’t stopped. I keep going.

WordPress has something to do with my continuing on. There’s just something about the ease of use and the look that seems simple to me and a little bit elegant.

If you check out BigManWalking or one of my other blogs you’ll see a big difference. It’s not just that I was talking more specifically about walking, exercise and goals. To each his own, but I think more and more people are using WordPress and WP is changing to help us, too. They are making it easier for us to interact with social media.

For my money (What do you say when it’s free?), WordPress has created something pretty incredible and I still can’t believe it’s free. I look forward to exploring it further as I have a new blog that’s just about up at YouAddValue.com. What ELSE can I do when I own the domain name and I’m using WordPress.org? Stay tuned…

Is what you’re attempting to do happening? Are you making it happen? What do you need to get there?

Over 10 years ago I discovered a group of entrepreneurs who ask each other these types of questions. What do you need next most? Why kind of person do you need to meet? What service do you need?

I think writers and creative people could benefit from that kind of language and interaction with each other. Lots of people in our society have lost touch with the entrepreneurial spirit. When you think in terms of creating value and cooperative interaction, you can get stuff done faster.

Some who aren’t so inclined to make a profit can take solace in the idea that there is more than one kind of value. Most people think of monetary value when they ask or answer those questions, but spiritual value is another possibility. I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t figure out how to make money, because most people still need to figure that out. That’s just the planet we live on.

But if you’re somehow not ready for that, then you would do well to consider spiritual value. How can you and I add value?

What makes it more worthwhile to other people?

This isn’t a primer, just some observations. Though you might want to pay attention to my new blog when it’s up to see if there’s someone there who can help you.

Just reach out and touch someone. Like the old phone commercials.

Many problems or challenges are pretty solveable. You just need to figure out who to look to.

I’ve even heard of a man finding a wife in this type of conversation. When he went through the exercise with a group of entrepreneurs who were almost all there for business reasons, he asked for an introduction to a specific type of woman and he got a few referrals. Two people directed him to the same person and they later married.

If you’ve gotten in the habit of not believing that you can get to where you want to go, this may seem like nonsense.

The truth is that if you don’t tell someone what you need, they aren’t psychically going to figure it out.

If you do and you are clear and specific, they can figure out if they know someone who might be able to help or if they don’t know someone like that.

If you need a writing coach, I can refer you. She has helped over 250 published authors.

Some may wonder about how much something like that costs.

Well, there are ways to structure deals so that you can get money before you write a book if that money is going towards that book being published.

You have to be willing to learn. It’s not unlike learning French. You might even learn the rudimentary skills more quickly than you could learn French.

BUT, if you are predisposed to believe that making money is bad or you don’t deserve to make money or anyone who makes over x dollars in a year is a bad person or doing something wrong, you will take a while longer to get there.

You’ll have to unlearn that kind of judgemental thinking.

Or you could just hold onto those beliefs and take that much longer to get there. It’s your choice.

LOL Still evolving on that one!

karensdifferentcorners

Okay I wasn’t going to write a post today, but I can’t seem to get my brain to stop thinking!

I have so much to do.

Not only the usual day to day tasks like housecleaning, laundry and grocery shopping,

but I need to get some reading done and post some reviews for some really wonderful writers.

Then I need to get my current story finished. Tie up some loose ends or middles, connect the dots,

cross the I’s and dot the T’s, oh wait that’s backwards. Oh well you know what I mean.

Anyway I commented on another blog and…It brought up a whole new idea for another story.

Ugh! Not another one. There’s no more room in my brain. Not only is there the current story,

but there’s also the non-fiction book that I stop and jot down notes and thoughts for in my notebook

(It’s a work…

View original post 50 more words

What To Write About At This Late Hour

The thing with this exercise is that you have to keep writing. No matter what. Just got the computer working again and I keep getting interrupted by these annoying reminders from Norton and what not. THAT thing is this. If Norton was doing its job then the computer wouldn’t be doing what it is doing so much.

Maybe tomorrow I can ask Norton why their product doesn’t fully work. For now I’m thinking about what to write about. It’s definitely tougher when it’s later at night and you’re trying to get it done before you go to bed and the son comes home and wants to know if you’ve got Chex and you say you will if he will just leave a note. LOL

Now he’s coming to ask about something after he shed some blood at karate. He’s definitely tough. I just didn’t expect my very smart son who wants to be a doctor to be so tough. He’s on his way to black belt and the whole journey will probably have taken 6 1/2 or 7 years by the time he’s done. He’s a brown belt with one stripe right now. I’ve been amazed at how much injury has gone on in this dojo. To be fair, the guy who was not the most merciful teacher/supervisor is gone now, but they are still really going at it.

When I took karate for about a year it didn’t seem to be this hardcore. It wasn’t a diploma mill, but maybe…I don’t know. Masayuki Shimabukuru was an impressive teacher and so was his sensei, but my son’s group seems to be pushing the envelope.

Maybe I’ve finally gotten to the point with this late in the day writing that I’m not making as much sense as I would like.

I was disappointed earlier today when I asked someone point blank what I thought was a pretty important question and they told me that their organization had no legacy of racism and when I got home I researched it online and sure enough, there it was. Back in the 1950s the government forced them to integrate their organization. It’s just not that hard to find that information out and I’m completely surprised that this guy is either ignorant or he lied. I have a hard time believing that he didn’t understand my question.

People don’t realize that it’s really, really hard to hide stuff like that any more.

I just expect more from people I guess.

But I don’t actually want this post to be all about that. It’s just that I don’t find much else coming into my head at the moment.

Perhaps I can talk a little about one of my science fiction ideas.

I have this idea of a group of aliens that come to help us and they really and truly are here to simply help us and the conflict comes because so many humans react badly to the aliens and end up attacking them. Their defenses simply direct explosions away from the area that they occupy and by default the damage hits other humans who are innocent bystanders.

I guess I see that happening in war sometimes. Or something LIKE that.

If we were better at negotiating we could possibly be involved in fewer wars. If that were the case, there would very likely be fewer innocent bystanders injured or killed. And we wouldn’t have someone so distorted after 3 tours of duty or more go nuts and shoot 16 people. Would we?

Too many times we seem to think that the solution is war and we don’t really seem to care all that much about collateral damage.

And then there are people who challenge your patriotism because you try to figure out a way to do things with less war. Or virtually no war. It’s preposterous.

Not attempting to affix blame here at all, but simply observing what has transpired….

Wouldn’t it have been better if we let the duly elected government in Iran stand in 1953 or whenever we had the CIA topple the government and install the Shah?

I remember mentioning this not too long after 911 and the person across from me who thought we were still fighting the communists said that “That was a long time ago!”

Well, I’m not saying that they were right to take over the embassy in the 1979 (I think that’s the correct time frame) and not give back the hostages until Reagan was president. (I’m not necessarily asserting a connection here.)

I’m simply saying that since we’re human beings and the Iranians are human beings, doesn’t it make sense that many of them would be pissed off about us putting the Shah in power at some point? I mean, he WAS a dictator! So what does it matter that this woman believed that this happened a long time ago. It’s not like it was 1500 years ago. At the time it was just 26 years.

If Japan had taken over California (I understand that this is a science fiction scenario, but…) during World War II and then been forced to give it back at the end of the war, don’t you think many of us who weren’t even born then would still be pissed off today?

The thing is…I think a lot of Americans – probably NOT a majority, but a lot – think that if WE, as Americans, have some reaction of anger to some wrong done to us, then it’s somehow usually or always righteous anger. But if another country has that same kind of anger and it’s directed toward us or maybe our allies, well, then, that country just has to suck it up or get over it.

IF that’s how people feel or think, then doesn’t that seem simply unfair on it’s face. I mean, because, we’re ALL human beings with feelings and our bodies, our physiology functions the same way for the most part except for things like susceptibility to certain diseases like Tay-Sachs or whatever.

If we are ALL human beings and all allowed the same rights to our feelings, then maybe we ought to have more diplomacy more often.

Not EVERYONE who disagrees with us are simply irrational crazies.

In fact, almost all of them behave in pretty rational ways given their particular circumstances.

You could possibly make a comparison to abused children and what they might have to do to cope in that situation. Their behavior might seem pretty unusual if you didn’t know that they were abused to begin with. Once you know that, the patterns in their behavior begin to make sense.

This reminds me of Sting’s song “Russians.”

The one where he sang “I hope the Russians love their children, too.”

Remember that?

We all love our children, except for some very damaged people.

I just don’t believe that all Iranians or even that many are VERY damaged people.

Though I guess I could lean that way in Achmadinejad’s case. 😉

How Do I Get My WordPress Blog On The Right Date?

Now I’ve been blogging since late January and I’ve blogged every day this month. I’m pretty sure this is the 28th day in a row that I’ve posted. The thing is that WordPress starts the new day at 4 pm my time. Can anyone help me change this? It looks like I’ve missed some days and that’s not the case. If I blog at 7 am one day and the next day I don’t post until 5 pm, it will look like I skipped a day. I’d simply like my time and date to be correct. Help!?

Now that I’ve put that out there I want to talk a little about networking.

For those of you who just put up your defenses – I’m not referring to network marketing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Many people like to refer to social networking and I guess the reason that I refer to it as simply networking is that IMHO, too many people put so much emphasis on social that they often don’t get anything done. And I can be as social as the next guy or gal.

Today I spent over three hours meeting with someone I met at a networking event. By the way, did you know that you’re not supposed to verbally vomit about your business or career at a networking event? Here’s some awesome advice, really! When you meet someone at a networking event, that is just step one. You are learning just a brief bit about what each of you do and then you can set up a time to get together one on one. If you’re really good at it, you might meet in groups of three or four later on. But only if that style works for you.

I’ve been networking longer than most of the younger ones have been adults. I know of where I speak.

How about building a network of people that you really get along with well?

Think about it. You can choose who you want in your network. I don’t mean to sound exclusive, but if someone is really a PITA, maybe you don’t want to encounter that often or at all.

Recently I’ve started developing some relationships with people on Twitter. I think it’s an underutilized resource for many people, but you have to be willing to put in a little time. I thought of Dane Cook building his career by chatting over the internet. Many people think he’s not that funny when you get down to it. Yet he’s got a big fan base.

He was being productively social as he built that fan base. I’m sure there was very little Farmville being played if it existed back then.

That brings me to Facebook. There is a great strength in Facebook which is that it is designed for people who have relationships of relative equals. I’m not making value judgements here. I’m talking about how they interact. If you want to build a group of followers, maybe Twitter is better suited for that. Many people don’t expect the level of interaction on Twitter. Many seem to be ok with following you for whatever information you’re putting out.

Counterintuitively, Twitter seems to be shaping up as a place to meet people who you can do business with. I think because so many people try to behave on Facebook like it’s Twitter that that is getting in the way of the possible two-way effectiveness of Facebook. And many people are on Facebook to simply play. I find that when you start a conversation with someone on Twitter, it’s much easier to reach a point where you might then send email back and forth sooner. On Facebook I actually had someone infer that I was spamming him the other day when I sent him a website during a chat. I was talking about Kiva.org. I’m glad that he was sharing that with me instead of simply accusing me of it to Facebook itself, but I told him perhaps we shouldn’t connect anymore.

When he didn’t want me to chat with him or message him or post to his wall or connect with him through email or by phone, I questioned why we should be connected since he isn’t related to me and doesn’t go to church with me. Nor is he someone I used to work with or go to school with.

Two things. I don’t spam people. I do sometimes share stuff that I’m excited about. I like to post music videos on my wall and sometimes I post music videos on someone else’s wall if it’s their birthday. I try to send a message directly to someone (individually) if I want to share something with them that I feel they will find relevant based on what they know of me and what I know of them. If the mere act of sharing something is not welcome, then what are we doing here? (I don’t have a problem with someone saying that they would rather not hear about a particular thing, but I don’t appreciate it if they accuse me of spam.) Rarely someone will let me know not to post a music video on their birthday, but most people like it or love it! Also, anyone is free to believe what they like, but please do me the courtesy of communicating with me directly if there is a problem.

That brings me back to what I said to this guy. If no communication is welcome of any kind, then I would rather just unfriend. Why? Well, what is the point? Some people are simply connecting with other people so that they can talk to the connections of those people. That in itself I don’t find too bad, EXCEPT, that particular phenomenon is usually related to them SOLICITING your connections in some way. So if they don’t want to talk to you, then they either want to talk to your connections and exclude you or they are taking up space. Sometime in the next couple of years I will hit 5000 followers on Facebook and I’m pretty sure that’s the limit. If you don’t ever want to talk to me or me to you, then you are welcome to follow my pubic figure page on Facebook, rather than my profile. Does this seem fair to you? I am interested in honest feedback.