Tag Archives: Charlie Hicks-Moore

Writers Might Benefit From This Strategy

I know a lot of writers read about the craft of writing. This post is not about that. It’s about getting legitimate eyeballs to see your website or blog or video.

Read the previous three posts.

Here’s my current update…

Some of you know that I have an alien friend who speaks through me on Twitter. (Pause.)

You read that right.

Now I’m only going to say this once in print and here it is. I’m not crazy.

I understand that this character is a character. OK?

On with the show.

You can read his Twitter feed at http://Twitter.com/TweetGeistGuy

When people follow Tweet Geist Guy on Twitter he sends them a Thank You Tweet aimed at them as in: @hotrichgirlauthor

(An alien stuck out in space can dream, can’t he?)

Included in the thank you is a link to a video we made this morning for free. This video is titled Welcome & Thank You! Which Are You? 😉 and now I can actually track how fast it gets more visitors relative to the Thank Yous that are sent.

I will keep you updated, but it had 84 views and after 10 more Thank You Tweets it had 104 views. Will this remain constant? I don’t know, but by my count that’s 20 views for 10 Thank Yous. I may have to talk to a buddy about automating those Thank Yous.

This buddy is not an alien and lives in San Diego.


Tired Again

It was a good night at Reality Changers tonight. We’re getting near to the end of the school year and all the students who are going to four year schools have gotten their offers from those schools. I did see one guy who is not who seemed disappointed, but it’s hard to tell. He doesn’t seem like the happiest guy anyway.

Lots of smiling faces though. One guy is deciding where he’ll transfer after Cal State San Marcos. He wants to be a writer. He’s good and he knows it. Not in an arrogant way. He is simply confident that he has some skills and he’s confident that writing is what he wants to do. That’s so great. And somewhat unusual. Many of them know where they want to go, but what they want to do is different.

I’m glad to be a part of the program.

Tonight I was thinking about the possibility that I could use Kickstarter to fundraise to benefit Reality Changers. Here’s the website:

Maybe I could make an album (I can actually sing) and get people to donate to benefit our public speakers group within RC.

I know some local musicians who are actually professionals and this would allow me to kill two birds with one stone. I would like to be recorded before I get so old that my voice has changed.

Though I guess that’s not for sure. I saw Donovan on the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame special the other night and he sounds the same even though he looks like Donovan’s grandfather.

I haven’t been this tired while writing for a while. Maybe not since high school. LOL

I remember staying up late a couple times. Once I only got about an hour’s sleep and decided that if I had to do that again it would be better to stay up all night. I remember laying my head on the pillow and then it was time to get up. What a weird sensation.

But some of these RC students stay up until 3 am or later on a regular basis. There’s that much work if they are in Advanced Placement classes. I really didn’t know what it took in high school like some of these students. Of course, it is worse today than back then. Even in middle school they do a lot more work than we did in the 70s.

I think that some things are being lost.

What they really need is the ability to think.

That’s not always being taught.

And they need more voices telling them how hard they need to work if they want to go to college. I think too many look at their peers or friends to see what they’re doing and that only helps if you’re around the really hard workers.

Some of them need to understand that some people they go to school with are going to be working in fast food or at least something much less demanding than being a lawyer, doctor, marine biologist, what have you…

That’s what happens when you are a first generation college student. Or candidate for college. There’s no one in your family to show you the way. There’s not enough in the budget for individual attention for all students from the counselors.

I don’t think they realize how pro-active they need to be.

Reality Changers are fortunate in that regard. The culture is about doing things differently. CHANGING their reality – the world that surrounds them.

So we will have the great graduation ceremony at USD on Sunday. There will still be RC meetings to keep them on track, but this early will make it possible for perhaps 2,000 people to attend.

Last year I couldn’t attend because my nephew was graduating on the same day as RC’s ceremony.

I’ve only been to one of these before. This is the whole shebang.

What do you know…spellcheck was ok with shebang.

We also have a graduation at each location and I’m sure that will be in a couple weeks here in Solana Beach.

There’s a girl graduating this year who has an older sister and an older brother who are both graduates of Reality Changers.

That’s cool. I remember when she was a freshman.

Now she’s been one of the big leaders of the group.

She even interviewed (is that the word?) at Harvard. She was nervous and postponed, but she eventually went.

She didn’t get in, but I’m sure she’s proud to have had the chance.

She has a lot of other schools to choose from.

That’s the ticket!


I’m on break. Only I don’t feel like I want to wait to write. LOL

It seemed like break time and now I’ve got these ideas. Things I want to write down in my private blog.

Strike while the iron is hot.

And here I go.

But, wait.

I’m interested in this exercise, too.

Story. That’s where it’s at.

As a Toastmaster for 11 years I have learned that in speaking it’s really about telling a story to bring the listener in and keep them listening.

Still mastering. A minute to learn, but NOT a lifetime to master if you hone your skills.

Writing is a story. At least in this form.

How do you get the reader hooked initially?

I think it’s even more important these days to get them interested in the first paragraph or two.

IF you want your writing to reach a wider audience.

If not, do what you feel.

This is art. But it needs to be comprehensible.

I’m not sure if THIS is art, but it does help me.

How do you get your pump primed?

Looks Like It’s Break Time

As per my normal I am on a break after 35 days in a row. Writing that is. My idea of a break isn’t a full-on no writing at all break. It means that I probably write half the days instead of every day.

Interesting day today. I may actually write about it on my other blog.

Consider taking a break when you need to. I also recommend doing it every other day instead of not doing it at all.

Whatever it is that you want to do.

This is getting exciting now. I was just going to do a little blurb here. This would be weird if I actually wrote 2000 words here before midnight Pacific.

I just watch Californication for the very first time. It’s different. Not for everybody. But definitely not boring.

Maybe I’ll just wander off to bed now. Or not.

Our son came home a few minutes ago and came right over and gave me a hug.

Amazing what one thing can do to brighten your day. Even if it’s almost over.

Maybe that’s the best way to end this and get to bed in a great mood.

Happy Breaking!


Funky Comments

I want to take this opportunity to say thanks again to all who have commented on this blog. All the legitimate comments and the likes and follows are appreciated. Some comments that are obviously not legitimate have me mystified.

“Haven’t seen this before. Thanks for mentioning.” Then they finish with a link to a website. Really?

I guess some people are so desperate for comments that they’ll accept something like the above comment as real. I advise against it. The link associated with general comments like that is usually spammy or worse.

It takes time to build an audience. We’re not all Mark Twain or even Robert Kiyosaki.

It’s nearly time to go tutor at Reality Changers and I’ve been thinking about what else I can do to make more of an impact. I’ve been doing this for 5 years and I guess one of the things I would like to see is other people following me into tutoring. So far no one in five years has imitated my labors. That’s actually a strong word. Presence is more like it.

Don’t get me wrong (one of my favorite overused phrases) – I am a help most of the time. [Some of the time?]

But I’ve noticed over the years that I’m rusty on a few things. I used to be awesome at math. My biggest problem now is I can’t remember the terminology or they are using terminology that I never learned.

Last week was different. I actually had trouble doing a word problem and converting it into an equation with one variable. I guess I need to brush up.

Words. I have more impact when they ask me questions about writing, literature, reading and speaking. Those questions don’t come as often.

When I first started with my current student, Shawn, he was a freshman and he was just starting Japanese. So he made flash cards and I helped him that way. That was what we did nearly every week.

I did share with him some political columnists a couple months ago for some essay he needed to complete. That was good to have those in my back pocket.

But Japanese for him now is way over my head. Way beyond flash cards.

In some ways I’m glad that when he’s a senior he goes into a special Senior Academy at RC. I don’t know how much I would be able to help in the advanced classes he’ll be taking. Hopefully we can take a trip to UCSB this summer so he can see it firsthand.

If things continue the way they have then Reality Changers will probably assign me a new freshman in late August or early September.

I would really like to get more kids involved in public speaking, too. I’ve had a hard time getting enough of them to come regularly.

My concern is that the money situation isn’t real enough for them until it’s too late.

They can win up to $22,000 for college through the Lion’s Club speakers contest and that’s only one reason for them to learn to be better public speakers. Reality Changers requires them to speak at least once a year to the RC audience.

Most will have to take a speech class in college and it’s absolutely mandatory if they attend a California State school. Plus, they will almost all have to speak to a small group or even a medium size group at sometime during their career. That’s just the way things are now.

Never underestimate people fear of public speaking. LOL

They do a great job of volunteering in the community, too.

Over 4 years each student puts in at least 200 hours. I didn’t do much of that. I had no clue about that during high school. When I got involved with a church youth group in my senior year I might have done a little, but I was not in touch with the community that much.

Now that I’m nearly fifty I realize how important it is to volunteer.

When you make time you find that you are learning things you didn’t know you’d learn. If you volunteer and the experience isn’t like that or it isn’t positive, do something else.

There are so many ways to volunteer in this world and people you help are almost always grateful.

Thank yous really touch your heart if you let them.

How much more will you get out of volunteering for and hour or two or three than if you were sitting at home watching television?

We can do so much through volunteering as opposed to everyone getting paid for every bit of work they do.

I have no problem with people being compensated fairly, even generously, when they are employed.

However, as long as we let wealthier and wealthier people mostly do as they please with their money, there probably won’t be a more equal distribution of income any time soon. That is not casting aspersions, it’s merely observing reality.

Since we have that unequal distribution of wealth, no matter how or if one judge’s it, it makes sense that some of what people do they do on a volunteer basis.

My church has a week during the summer called Vacation Bible School. Actually, we call it Kid’s Games, which started in Egypt I think, but it’s basically the same thing with more physical activity thrown in.

I think we have around 300 volunteers to get this done and I’m not sure how many kids attend. 500? 600?

One lady a couple years ago asked how our church could afford to do this. Technically we couldn’t IF we paid everyone. We don’t have a big enough budget for that. But when people decide that they’re going to give something of themselves we have a pretty cool event.

I’m not personally involved in that.

The same goes for anyone. Pick something that means something to you. Or as some say – something that resonates with you.

That’s why I picked Reality Changers. Young people going to college who might not have is something that I can get behind.

We all have only so much time so each of us has to learn to say no to some things.

Just don’t say no to EVERYTHING.

If you start volunteering at something that happens regularly, whether once a year or once or twice a week or somewhere in between, you’ll soon find yourself building a tradition and a legacy.

Last week someone asked how long Reality Changers had been in Solana Beach. I wasn’t exactly sure and someone spoke up and said something about me being the granddaddy of the group. That’s not exactly true. There’s a staff member there who has been there longer than me. But it felt good just the same.

I don’t do it so people will say what a great guy I am. I do it because I believe it’s important. For the time being I’m going to continue. I still might create my own nonprofit someday.

Yet I will continue to show up on Monday nights for the foreseeable future.

Looks like it’s time to go.


Now We’re Cookin’

Yesterday I wrote more on my private blog than I wrote here. I think it was the first time that that occurred. I intend to have that become the rule instead of the exception. These posts will become shorter, but you’ll know that I’m posting more to the private blog because that’s where my novels are developing.

Some people might look at this and wonder why I don’t just write there.

There is more than one reason for me to write here. Simply writing what comes out helps me get in touch a little with my unconscious. Also, this can be an example for those who want to do this themselves. After I’ve got the books published this will make more sense.

But the key is that you do not judge what comes out in this type of exercise. You just do it. So I am.

Today I was talking with my son about the band Sparks. Their biggest hit was Cool Places with Jane Weidlin of the Go-Go’s. Here in San Diego we had one of the most progressive alternative rock stations in the world in the early 1980s and we listeners were well aware of Sparks long before they had that hit. They had songs like Angst In My Pants and I Wish I Looked A Little Better (I don’t remember if that’s the title, but it’s a prominent lyric) as well as one I posted on my Facebook group today. You can check that out here. Eaten By the Monster of Love is the title of that song and it was in the movie Valley Girl.
My group is called My Unexpected Song Selection.

Have a great evening!


OK. Now I’m Really, Really, Really Tired

Wow. I’ve written some on my private blog earlier and I plan on doing some more. Yesterday I wrote over 2000 words and I’d like to keep that up every day that I write now. AND, I get to see how I do when I’m this tired. I could fall asleep in the next half hour easily and I just need to stay focused on this writing before I do that tonight.

Someone from New Zealand sent my alien buddy a note on Twitter today telling me how much she liked my blog and encouraging me to keep writing. Amazing that just one person can be so encouraging to another with some kind words.

Maybe we should all do that for each other. Of course, I am biased as in my spiritual tradition I have the gift of encouragement.

Another part of my christian tradition is that many characteristics or behaviors are to be put into practice by all of us. No matter whether someone’s gift is encouragement we are all supposed to encourage one another.

I hope this blog encourages you. Over time I expect that it will. I expect to persevere.

So in a year or two when someone sees that I’ve posted 275 times or more in one year I want that person to know that they can do it. Or maybe they’ll be the type of person who thinks “If only I can do this half as much as this guy then I’ll write over 135 times a year or so.”

As long as you think you can do it. That you can go on.

Even though my arms are tired from weeding today I am determined to do this exercise tonight.

I am encouraged by my perseverance. That is one of the things that does it for me. When I have already done something for a week I want to keep going. Then two weeks and three weeks! Many people say that 21 days is the magic number for changing a habit. I hope that works for you and I know it does for some. But for me I believe the number is 30 days. That’s a month – at least most of the time it is. Remember that saying, “30 Days Hath April, June & September. February has 28 and all the rest have 31.” Actually, I am definitely missing part of it where I think it rhymed, but you get the idea and it’s a pretty easy way to remember which months have how many days. My mom used to recite that to me when I was younger and I can practically hear her voice saying those words.

When I have lost weight (or dropped pounds as some like to say) I have looked at the same signs for encouragement and first it’s one week, then two and so on. Whatever discipline you’re using, stick to it and the more you do, the more you want to because you don’t want to spoil your record. I remember going without caffeine once for 152 days. Or was it 162. Either way it was a long time and I was fine except I felt tired.

Now that I use certain products I don’t find that I get tired during the day or if I do I can get a quick, natural pick me up. I’ve been staying up a little too late recently and getting up a little too early and it adds up. It really does for me.

My wife is watching TV right now and I expect she’ll be done in 45 minutes. I’ll hold on as long as I need to in order to get my writing done. How much I write here is not clear to me right now. I do have some more ideas for my private blog.

One thing that I find very helpful about WordPress in writing my books is I can create a new category for a post and that’s what I’ve been doing more of on my private blog. As I get ideas or remember them I can post a little bit about that possible book (or screenplay!) and come back to it later. I just love that I can so easily NOT LOSE it and keep it a little organized. I think I have six or seven categories there so far.

Remember, if you don’t think you’d like to do this writing exercise that I’m involved with PUBLICLY, you can still do it on a private WordPress blog. It is really cool that WordPress if free, too. Amazing what technology and the internet have wrought.

For some though I think it’s distorted their thinking. They think that just about everything should be free.

Artists should be paid for their work. Heck, everybody should be paid for their work.

There’s nothing wrong with doing something entrepreneurial – on speck, so to speak. But when consumer expect and/or require it that’s a different story.

Just tonight I bought Jim Gaffigan’s new album through Paypal and he offers a really good deal even though it’s not free. $5 gets the new comedy album and $1 goes to charity. You get three downloads if you need them and he gives you permission to burn it. So I took a chance and it’s actually downloading as I type this. I’m not sure if it’s my computer or the cable system or both, but it’s taking a while. It’s over two-thirds done and there are 17 minutes left. So I guess I’m getting my money’s worth if volume counts. You can check it out at: JimGaffigan.com.

I thought I was tired before. Now I’m writing with my right eye closed. That’s one way I can tell if I’m truly tired. I don’t know if that happens to you, but if you’re like me your eyes can start to cross when you get this tired. So, by closing one eye I get rid of that problem. Of course, the words start to get a little blurry around the edges, too.

I used to say I could only do two things when I am this tired. I can drive a car and I can play Texas Hold’Em. I’ve said that I can do those two things when I’m so tired that I have trouble walking. I honestly don’t think I’m bragging. It’s just that to me it’s easier to drive because you’re sitting down and as far as poker goes, I have so much experience that I can play well enough to win when I’m this tired. Was it Malcolm Gladwell who talked about being an expert at something after 10,000 hours? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have played poker for over 10,000 hours. I used to get paid to play poker once upon a time and for a couple years I actually had banker’s hours – Monday through Friday 9-5. I’m not sure that those are banker’s hours now, but you get the idea.

One of the things that this exercise is good for if you are a writer is that you can start to see patterns in your writing. I have noticed that I say actually too much, in my opinion. I also probably overuse commas. These are not my only insights, but if you let yourself be open to learning and growing, this can be a profitable exercise for you. And I mean that in more ways than one.

Boy, I am starting to really feel the fatigue in my arms. I’m glad I got some weeding done today and I’m sure that goes double for my wife.

So here I am in the home stretch. With what I’ve written so far here and what I wrote earlier, I just have a little ways to go to get to my goal of 2000 words.

I do believe that I’ll write the rest at my private blog. I really want to finish those books by December. Or rather, to finish them in time to be published by December.

It’s important when you have goals to have mini-goals so that you can actually see the steps that take you to your goal. It’s kind of like algebra.

Last night I was tutoring at Reality Changers and one of the students had a word problem that you need to use algebra in order to figure out. I knew that I was rusty, but not this rusty. At first I thought of it as a three-variable problem and then I asked the student if he had used three variables before and he said no. So I tried to attack it as a two-variable problem and discovered that I couldn’t figure out how to create two equations from it, so I decided to take another look and found that it was a one variable problem, but I had incorrectly identified what I was looking for. I didn’t know what the true goal was until I really looked at it.

That’s how it is with goals. What are you shooting for?

In my case my goal is to have these two books published by December 30, 2012. In order to have them published I first have to finish writing them and editing them.

If I lose sight of that I could start thinking along the lines of having the book finished – the writing that is – by December 30 and that would mean that I wouldn’t reach my true goal.

So remember to look at not just your main goals, but your mini-goals that get you to the main goal.

And reward yourself along the way for reaching those mini-goals and then reward yourself BIG for reaching the big, main goal.

That’s another way to encourage yourself.

I just left the bedroom and I changed positions on the couch.

You can also resort to “tricks” if you want to keep going and you’re tired.

Nothing wrong with the kind of tricks I’m talking about. Change position. Get up and stretch. Take a walk. Taking a walk is really good because it gets the blood flowing more. That means more oxygen to the brain which most of us are using when we write.

So there you have it. There are ways to encourage yourself that perhaps you’ve not been engaging in. There are more.

I’d be interested in how you keep yourself encouraged. And inspired.

Now to the private blog.


What Are You Passionate About?

Over the last five years I’ve been involved with tutoring high school students to help them become the first generation in their family to go to college. I try to emphasize that they should study something that they like. Maybe doing something they enjoy will be a great way to have a career. This is not strong enough. I believe that some of the problems in our world stem from people doing something that they don’t truly enjoy. And the best thing is to be passionate about what you’re doing in life.

Do you wake up in the morning excited about your day? I recognize that this may not happen every single day, but if you are doing something that you find fulfilling then this should be happening to you on a regular basis. Getting up excited, that is. I remember knowing an attorney that figured out that he had become an attorney to please his mother. He was around fifty and finally woke up to this fact. He had a big problem in that he was divorced and had to pay child support and his life cost a lot monetarily. He felt that he was stuck because he couldn’t do anything else that would make him the money to support the former wife and daughter. (The daughter wasn’t former.) He loved his daughter and continued being an attorney. I know he loves his daughter very much to this day. As far as I know he still very much does not love being an attorney. Come to think of it, maybe I should check in with him and see if he has solved his problem.

My life isn’t perfect, but their are large parts of it that I really enjoy and I enjoy the direction in which I’m headed. I don’t have as nice a house as people that I go to church with and that’s ok. More and more I enjoy the life I’m living and I don’t mean that in a hedonistic sense. I like that I’ve integrated volunteer work over the years. I wish that we all would. Especially with an ongoing non-profit organization. That’s where you can build some relationships. Even if you build one good one, that’s a great perk.

But figuring out what you’re passionate about is not easy for everyone to do. I recommend doing a personal development seminar. I’ve found them to be very valuable. You gain insight into yourself that might have taken years otherwise. You can do it in weeks or even a weekend. Just don’t get into anything cultish. I wouldn’t go near anything to do with scientology. Just my opinion that is shared by a lot of people.

If you’re concerned about doing seminar work you probably do have some learning to do about yourself. If you’re not ready to see that then there are books. You could get a coach and I know a great one in Fran Cannon and another in Dori Klass. I might even coach you if you said the magic words.

Recently I’ve noticed that many people are more comfortable reading a book. That allows you to do something in privacy and you don’t have to expose yourself and your “stuff” to other people. In the long run you are definitely going to benefit by having someone you can share your “stuff” with and the sooner you get to that point the quicker you will make bigger strides in getting to where you would rather be in life. Many people would say that it’s where you’re meant to be. Why you’re here.

Some people won’t even allow themselves to consider a question like this. Not that they haven’t ever thought about it. Most have. But it can be real work to figure it out and that can mean some deeply emotional “stuff” that you need to go through.

What ARE you passionate about? OR, what do you feel called to do? What really lights you up when you’re doing it?

Of course, we are talking about positive stuff here. Not “stuff”. If someone has an addiction to something they can mistake that for being passionate about it. Also, it’s something that I would call “deep”. It resonates within you. You feel so good about doing it when you’re doing it.

When I’m working with Reality Changers I feel great about it most of the time. Sometimes when I come home I have a hard time sleeping because I am thinking about other things we can do there to help the students.

All of a sudden I’m feeling the tiredness again. I got to bed late last night after doing something I enjoy. I don’t know that I’m passionate about it, but I do enjoy it when I keep it in perspective. For years I was very involved and I feel that God is showing me other things that I can spend more time doing.

What was I doing last night? I was playing in a poker tournament. It was fun and I have a level of skill and experience that makes it a realistic possibility that I might win a tournament with nearly 500 players. As it was I came in 22nd or so. I had fun. My wife reminded me that it was happening and I got there early to make sure that I got a seat.

Years ago I was doing that sort of thing all the time. And since you’ve never heard of me you can probably tell that I’m not a world champion. So it was time to have that be a smaller part of my life. Do I still have hopes for winning a really, really big tournament someday? Yes. But not at the expense of other things in my life.

Soon I’ll be a published author and speaker. That is a way for me to reach more people to help them do what they’re passionate about.

That is, in fact, what I am passionate about.

I am passionate about helping other people do what they’re passionate about.

That’s also one reason why I feel I can speak to this subject.

Another is all the personal development work that I’ve participated in.

I’ve been to Fran Cannon’s seminars. I’ve been to what used to be called IBI and is now called CEO Space. I’ve studied Nonviolent Communication with a group for over a year. And I’ve been to Avatar and in case you look it up – No, it is not a cult. I’m a christian. I’m also a presbyterian and we’re too boring to be in a cult. LOL

If you would like to talk to me about being able to do what you’re passionate about, I’m here. Just know that I don’t like conversations that take 20 emails back and forth. I still use a phone and I can use Skype.

You don’t have to talk to me, but if you want to do what you’re passionate about or figure out what it is…Talk to somebody!


Coughing Fit

Just finished some tuna with olives amd cayenne pepper. I guess I swallowed some wrong because I can’t seem to get it out of my throat fully. I keep having to cough every minute or so. Sometimes I wonder about how we’re built or how much we’re built to last. I couldn’t believe the coughing fit at first and sort of looked up at God, I guess. Is this just too much cayenne pepper or is it related to getting older? Not too long after that I kicked over a cup of water and had to move the computer from its spot on the floor. I don’t remember being this clumsy or fragile or forgetful when I was younger. Did I just not notice because I didn’t have aches and pains and hardly a care versus today?

I keep clearing my throat even as we speak. Sure, I could have been more careful or leisurely in the manner that I ate it. But humans do seem overly fragile to me. Why did God make us this way? Just a question…

Yes, we are resilient if we choose to be, but also fragile.

Recently I was concerned that our son was skateboarding without a helmet. I went to the hospital over 30 years ago because of a skateboard accident in a time when pretty much nobody wore helmets while skateboarding. I didn’t put two and two together when he told me that he and his friends were going skating. I would never have thought of shortening that word. Skateboarding. That’s what we called it and that’s what I called it until a couple days ago. Actually, I still call it that, but now I know that he’s not going to the skating rink which happens to be pretty close by.

My cousin’s son had a motorcycle accident a couple years ago without a helmet because he thought he was too cool I guess. He’s had some real problems and even told me that he lost some I.Q. points because of it. I know that we don’t have to invent or use things that are so dangerous for us, but couldn’t we be a little bit sturdier?

How many years ago did I read that Dr. Atkins, the creator of the Atkins Diet, died because he fell down on the sidewalk and fractured his skill? That was sad. Yet another example of how fragile we are.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this. I wasn’t thinking about it when I decided to write, but Sunday is Easter.

This being a writing exercise I’m not exactly sure how or whether this relates right now but I’m waiting for my unconscious mind to share something with my conscious mind. Nothing yet. More coughing.

There don’t seem to be any birds singing right now. I remember hearing them this morning in my bedroom with the window open. What a blessing to hear the songs of the birds. Quite a few in the vicinity of our backyard. Tonight I was hearing our dog running and breathing hard and now it sounds like he’s settled down. I can hear the freeway sounds. The flow of traffic sounds a lot like a far off waterfall. And there was the dog again.

My wife says that our dog has a friend on the other side of the fence and that’s new. He used to be the only one for a couple houses in either direction. I’m feeling a little mentally tired though not so much physically.

I’m sore from a workout two days ago! I did get in a little mile and a half walk today.

There’s the dog again and another one barked at him. At least I think it’s another dog. I can usually tell our dog’s bark.

Maybe fragility has been on my mind in more ways than one. I noticed that not as many new jobs were created last month and I hope that changes next month. I’d really hate to see things turn around and seriously hurt President Obama’s re-election chances. I know he’s far from perfect but I really think that Mitt Romney is second string at best. He sure looks like the Republican nominee now. Unless they have an almost unprecedented (in the modern era) brokered convention. Then who knows who the Republicans would pick.

Ever since George W. Bush and his cronies (perhaps not a completely appropriate word, yet it is appropriate in some of those cases) did things that I never expected, things have seemed more fragile.

Rights seemed to be rolled back and issues that we thought were long settled were re-argued or re-legislated. And now I never in a million years would have thought that so many people would be trying to restrict women’s access to birth control or reproductive rights. Just never occurred to me that any of that could seriously get any traction. Again, I thought that stuff was settled.

And in Wisconsin where they are supposed to have a 2/3 majority vote for laws to take effect immediately, they haven’t been following their own laws. Back when George Romney, Mitt’s father, was in politics in the 1950s they changed laws in Wisconsin. I think they might have had a state constitutional change. Part of the change was that laws that were enacted did not take effect until 90 days after the end of the legislative session. Because they are in session all year long that means that a bill passed in January of 2010 would not become enacted until March of 2012. The only way that you’re supposed to enact it earlier is with a 2/3 majority vote and the Republicans don’t have that without probably 10 Democrats.

Rachel Maddow pointed out that something like 96% of the laws that were passed in Wisconsin last year were enacted right away and in order to do that they actually cheated. I don’t know another better word for it. Their LAW, not simply legislative rules, but the Wisconsin LAW states that no law will be enacted immediately unless they have passed it with a 2/3 vote and I’m sure not all of those laws passed that way as many were vehemently opposed by the Democrats. This is an attack on Democracy, which is not supposed to be a fragile thing in terms of the people of this country and how they behave.

You can say that Democracy is a fragile thing in the sense that we need a military to protect us from foreign or terrorist powers or forces. But we are not supposed to be in the business of attacking Democracy from within, no matter what party you’re from.

It’s sort of scary that there are people in office in this day and age that would seek to undermine Democracy and the rule of law. To me that’s scarier than people who seem to want to get rid of government.

If the laws don’t count and certain groups of politicians can simply tell other groups of politicians that their votes don’t matter, how is that American and how does our system of governance survive?

What Is Facebook Etiquette?

Facebook has almost always been a way for me to network and I’m not too shy about letting someone become my friend there. I have learned over the years to look closer at the profile of someone that I don’t know to evaluate what they might be like. And I realize that many people still use it just to socialize with people they know or used to know or are related to and such. But I’m a little more adventurous than that.

Not TOO adventurous though. It’s amazing how people can take something innocuous that you say and put a spin on it. Often it’s turned into something suggestive. I don’t get it. I mean, how many people are actually on Facebook trolling for a relationship or just plain sex? That’s not something I’m looking for and it amazes me that women can see clearly on my profile and think that somehow there might be hope for a potential romantic relationship.

That’s not to say that that is all that happens to me on Facebook, but it kind of rankles me. I don’t consider myself conservative and doubt that I would come across that way if I took some sort of test. In fact, I consider myself somewhat liberal. There. I said it.

But I guess I’m not liberal about relationships when it comes to today’s standards!

I think the first time this dawned on me was when I was divorced. Yes. I have been married twice. To the same woman. And there was no one in between for either of us. I did go out to lunch with women when I was divorced. Most I talked to on the phone before we met in person. This was in the mid-to-late 90s. Before many people were using the internet for more than email or maybe buying plane tickets or playing games.

Are my standards that much more conservative in this arena than most people? I don’t know, but my experience with women in San Diego led me to believe I was not as open-minded as a lot of people when it came to dating. Or rather – going to lunch. I remember 1 or 2 women who I said that I could go out to lunch with and maybe we could be friends until they settled their divorce. But that was it. One woman wanted to argue me into dating her even though she was till married. I told her that she could give me a call when her divorce was final and she said that wasn’t going to happen because they were only “technically” staying married because of health insurance. I believed her but said no to dating. She thought I was from the dark ages or something. I told her that I don’t date married women, but I would consider going out to lunch IF the divorce proceedings were actually in process. She just couldn’t believe it. And like I said, I don’t consider myself conservative, but maybe by today’s standards in this particular area I am.

Another woman went out to lunch with me to Souplantation and then we made a date for a movie on Friday night. When she didn’t show up I called and ended up speaking to her husband! She told me that they were in the process of getting a divorce, but I guess she didn’t tell him. Amazing. I ended up apologizing to him and explaining that I had no idea that their situation was the way it was. She had definitely given me the impression that they were getting divorced.

My wife and I have never cheated on each other. I’m not saying that because someone goes out to lunch with someone that they necessarily cheat. I just wanted to point out where I’m coming from. I guess because we think about relationships the way that we do, we just didn’t consider some of the “options” that other people do. LOL

Another time I noticed a big difference was probably 10 or 12 years ago when my wife and I had gotten back together. I was watching a show in what we used to think of as family viewing time and I heard the term “sex buddy” for the first time on TV. This term didn’t exist so far as I know when I was a teenager or even in my twenties. And I realize that for many that that is the cleaned up version. But the whole episode of this show was about this man and woman who had become sex buddies and they learned to be ok with it. I thought it was going to end up that they regretted it or that they decided that they wanted to be more than friends with benefits, but I was genuinely surprised to see them become ok with it by the episode’s end. I was kind of stunned. Broadcast TV at around 8:30 at night. Again, I don’t consider myself conservative or a prude, but I was left wondering about how “far” we had come.

Yet today I’m guessing that this is probably very mild to a lot of people. Which brings me back to the Facebook etiquette thing.

Is it ok for someone to connect with me with no real reason except to connect to my friends so that they might develop a romantic relationship or a sex partner? Look, I’m an adult and people are going to do what they are going to do, but when they have no interest whatsoever in me and just connect to connect to my connections… Got that? Or, like I mentioned in the beginning, what if they are connecting on the off chance that they can develop a romantic relationship with me when I state that I’m married?

There are 850 million profiles on Facebook and even if only half of them are real, legitimate people that means 425 million!

This doesn’t even begin to count the women who try to connect who seemed to have developed their profile this very day! When I saw that a while back I decided that I better be a lot more careful about who I connected to and I went through profiles of some people and found one who I had accepted who claimed to be the CEO of a fairly big computer company. I Googled that company and found out that it was run by a gentleman of Asian heritage and since she was female and blonde, I blocked her.

I guess those people just need to get past a few and then someone sees that they are connected to 7 of their friends and figures that they are ok and they can have a conversation with them later. Later doesn’t always come and that fake profile or fake person or whatever you want to call it has 1000 friends a month later.

Another dead giveaway for me is when a profile has friends that are all or almost all of the opposite sex. I don’t mean 70-30 or even 80-20. If someone is actively dating, I guess that’s possible. But when a woman had 48 male friends and 2 female friends I could not even think of giving her the benefit of the doubt. And when you pair a shaky beginning like that with someone who never seems to post anything themselves unless it’s a picture and only responds to comments that those persons of the opposite sex leave, well there is something shady going on.

Lastly, what about your normal, everyday, applies-to-everyone etiquette. Like, someone asks for connection and then starts to chat through Facebook and then they leave without signing off? What’s up with that? That person contacted me. They initiated the conversation and then where nowhere to be found.

Maybe they lost the connection in Ghana. Maybe.