Life Experiences & Observations

Sit Down, Buckle Up, Hang On, and Enjoy My Blog Ride

Category: Life Experiments

Putting Myself Out There

000-youtubeThis will be a very short blog. I really just wanted to take the dive into sharing my YouTube channel with you. It’s like a cold water pool; at some point you just need to take the plunge and dive in.

My videos are going to be really rudimentary and probably downright silly and embarrassing. So watch at your own risk. What are you still doing here? Go watch me make a fool out of myself on my YouTube channel. And if you are really brave, then subscribe when you get there.

My Initial Thoughts on Periscope

0000000 periscopeI have been watching Tim Ferriss for a few months on Periscope and did my first broadcast a week or so ago. Today I did a few broadcasts and watched a ton more.

My first thoughts are that this reminds me of AOL in its infancy stage. People were amazed at AOL’s ability to chat online with real people in real-time. Today, it sounds pretty dull but at the time it was a breakthrough. Much of it had to do with the ease of use since the capability, technologically, was around long before but mostly only used by tech geeks (I say that with the utmost respect). Today’s Periscope feels like a similar breakthrough to me.

So here is what I did today by watching people’s live scopes (that’s slang for Persicope broadcasts).

1. Went on the Splash Mountain ride in Disneyland
2. Saw Jackson Square in New Orleans
3. Looked up at the Freedom Tower in NYC
4. Walked through the streets of Italy
5. Spent some time backstage at the World Poker Tour
6. Talked to some college kids at St. Lawrence college
7. Attended a rock concert in France
7. And much more

The above is just through a few short hours on Periscope. Obviously the newness of the app is what makes it so excited to start and I am sure the hype will die down eventually. But for now, I find it one of the most compelling things I have seen in awhile. If you have yet to download it or try it out, I would highly suggest it. In a few short hours I think I have a pretty good handle on how it works. One warning I would have is that users can be crude or cruel. If they are the ones broadcasting, you can obviously just leave the broadcast. If they are watching you broadcasting, then blocking is what you should do. Just hold on their personal icon next to their comment and a few options will come up. Choose “Block User.” The only other thing to beware of is battery and data usage. This app uses them both very quickly.

Hopefully this post will help you understand a bit more about Periscope. Until next post, enjoy a worldwide trip using this exciting new app.

Success Takes Discipline and Perseverance

000000 disciplineWhen I started this challenge to blog once a day, every day for the month of April it seemed challenging but achievable. Once again, I am learning that success on a goal or task takes discipline. It’s like when I started reading the 852 page Merriam-Webster dictionary over two years ago. Just 2 pages a day in 426 days and the task is completed. The whole dictionary read in under 15 months. But here I am in year three still only just over half way done for that particular goal. It is becoming the same with this blogging task. It gets late in the evening and no thought for a blog comes to my head. Or I have a bunch of other tasks and think, “how can I get to blogging today.” This is no April Fool’s Joke and you can be damn sure I am not giving up. Sure I could just type a couple quick sentences one day and call it a blog. But that just feels like cheating to me. I want to succeed at the challenge fair and square. Whether you are rooting for me to succeed, or rooting for me to fail, at least I may have taught you something. Or maybe not.

I can’t help but find parallels between this concept and the concept of marriage. When you first get married you are all in love, everything is great, and its going to be easy to just live happily ever after. You know that the divorce rate is 50% but you can do this. You are different than the others. People let their emotions cloud their brains. Marriage, like success, takes discipline and perseverance. Its hard damn work just like most things you want to be successful at. Good luck trying to tell a young couple who is madly in love that marriage is hard damn work. Try it, I dare you. I would be shocked if you didn’t get a smirk or even worse yet, laughed at. We tend to not listen well enough to the experienced, elderly, and the wise. They have take your road and weathered all the pot holes.

Well that’s all for tonight. Another blog down as painful as it may be. I hope you will see my post tomorrow, assuming I have the discipline and perseverance to succeed at the April Blog-A-Thon.

Lower Your Expectations

Call me crazy but I don’t believe in etiquette. To me, it really just feels like an excuse to blame others for not conforming to society’s pressure to do what’s expected. Who created these expectations? Even I tend to bow down to the pressures of conformity but at least I am trying to break through these restraints.

I am calling for a everyone to lower the expectations of others and increase the expectations of themselves. We spend way too much time focusing on what others are doing rather than focusing on what we are doing. We lose sight of the big picture and focus on the worthless grains of sand. Call me cruel, but adherence to etiquette should be a nice to have rather than a must have. Through the veil of my eyes there are few “musts” in life. Musts include breathing if you want to stay alive. Dying at some point after you are born. Everything else is just the filling you choose in a must bread sandwich. The world would be a better place if we all focused on being the best “I” we can be and stop worrying about the best “you” everyone else should be.

Wow, this blog post is getting way too deep for comfort. Maybe its just my seasonal April depression coming on. Luckily my fingers have fight and my brain has pills. I say yum to the synaptic sweethearts. The more I write the more I feel like Happy Harry Hard On in the movie “Pump Up the Volume.” Continuing to type when nobody is listening and continuing to think I am alone while a listener base is brewing. I gotta say, I am beginning to love the stench of my coffee breath fan base. Keep quietly paying attention and fight the urge to swallow an etiquette breath mint.

The Re-Alignment of My Book Consumption Chain

book picI have a love hate relationship with the large box store book sellers. I guess I should say seller since there is really only one left. Barnes & Noble is the sole survivor. There was a time in my life some years ago, that I was hoping that the big box book seller would disappear. I was hoping for a David and Goliath type tale where the puny independent bookstore defeats the monster book Godzilla. But with Borders long gone, my daughter and me perusing the books at Barnes & Noble, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the last big book store.

I have been meaning to purchase a lengthy book I couldn’t finish after borrowing it from the library. I would have renewed it a 4th time but it was on hold for many of other readers. So with a B&N gift card in hand, I was excited to purchase it without having to dip into my shallow wallet. I already knew that it costs $15.95 on but I was happy to pay a little more knowing I had the gift card. To my dismay, the price was actually $12 more at 27.95. I wish I could say that I loathe the way I loathe Wall-mart, but I love their service and the beauty of Amazon Prime. It delivers me a cheap book or any other items in two days with no shipping cost to bear. In my sadness, I couldn’t help but feel some joy for the small book retailer. It sounds absurd but they are actually doing better than the last big box bookstore. Much of it because of their ability to pay you for your old books and give you gently used books in exchange.

In my quest for life simplification I have mostly moved away from buying new books. The library has become my mecca of knowledge. The one thing I didn’t like about the lack of book possession has now been replaced with the Goodreads’ app tracking mechanism. Yes, I am still somewhat vane about being able to see the list of my literary accomplishments. No longer on my shelves and instead in my little iPhone app. Another thing I like about the library is the pending due date pressure. It is helping me overcome my habit of starting a book and not finishing it until months later. Sure I can renew it but the holds on the better reads pressures me into reading them quickly before the hold reaper comes calling. So my book consumption chain has now been re-aligned. My distaste for big box booksellers has been replaced with a sadness due to their pending sickness and ultimate death. Their vibrant eBooks daughter and their cheery library son are the therapy for my ills of grief. I don’t like eBooks at this point in my life, but I am sure there will be a day where I will be sad about the end of the physical library since it will ultimately only exist in the digital universe.

My 3 Guilty TV Pleasures

00000 TVOutside of sports and movies, I am not really that much of a TV watcher. In fact, if it wasn’t for sports, I would have probably cancelled cable years ago. There are actually 4 shows I watch pretty consistently but I never feel guilty for watching the cerebral ballooning show they call Jeopardy. As a result, Jeopardy has been left off the list. Don’t judge, and here we go…

1. Shark Tank – I hope to one day become an entrepreneur myself so this feels more like a educational program than a reality TV show. That being said, I really like listening to the sharks evaluate and try and quantify the ideas that are presented to them. I have had way too many, “damn, why didn’t I think of that” moments which in itself brings fun and excitement to the watching experience. Not to mention, I can never get enough of Mr. Wonderful saying… “Stop the Madness!”

2. The Profit – Are you beginning to see a trend here? While relatively new, this Marcus guy really knows how to run a business. Either that or he is an extremely good actor. It could be the later but I love the show anyway. It amazes me that many of the small business he interacts with continually fight this master CEO. They are either really stupid or the show encourages them to do so. One is real and the other makes for great TV. So from a show perspective its a win/win.

3. The Millionaire Matchmaker
– What can I say about this. I am a scummy voyeur that loves watching stuck up millionaires try and find love. Even better is when Patti insults them and uses her leather whip tongue to try and cleanse them of their bad dating habits. Who doesn’t enjoy a good love story. You can puke now! Either way, I am embarrassed to say I watch this show but who gives a crap. Sometimes you have to put entertainment value ahead of your own ego.

So that’s it! Time for me to check my DVR and see which episodes of the three shows above I need to get caught up on. After all, the show must go on.

My Sweet Little Bullet

000 NutribulletLast month my wife and I had our 16th anniversary. Don’t get too mushy about it because we are long past that. I am lucky enough to have a mother-in-law that is more than willing to send us a nice check to celebrate the occasion. Usually, my wife and I would use the money to go out to a nice dinner. My wife suggested this year that we buy something that we want for ourselves that we normally wouldn’t purchase. After going through several friendly jab conversations, we decided to split the money and each buy something we really wanted. My wife had been eying a hammock but has yet to make the lounging plunge. I had been eying the beautiful Nutribullet for quite awhile now.

My eating habits lean heavily to the healthy side and I am a sucker for a good smoothie. I even love smoothies that contain vegetables like Kale, Spinach, and Cucumber that would make most McDonald frequenting Americans want to puke. For many months, and heck years, I have spent way too much money buying vegetable/fruit smoothies from the latest and greatest smoothie shop. Well that ends today. I am now the master of my smoothie making domain. Just tonight I made three smoothies. One for me and one for each of my two daughters. I am pretty sure this machine is the greatest invention known to man. While that maybe an exaggeration it has to be in the top 10. Ok, top 100. Forget it, you just don’t understand what a good smoothie is all about. Next time you go out to that romantic dinner that costs you $100, just think to yourself that you could have bought a smoothie making machine that brings you the health and happiness that your marriage maybe lack.

Yes Hon, I still love you! And I love you too Nutribullet.

Blank Slate Blog

000 blank slateSo I almost messed up and missed a blog post today. But there is a keen difference between a close call and a true miss. Today I ended a two month journey to finding out the true cause of the various back and neck pain I have been having. I ran into Murphy and his crazy laws today in that my neck pain has been almost non-existent now that I know what it is and what to do once the pain returns. The pain doc is on call for the epidural cure all. Hopefully I won’t need to use the proverbial emergency pager. Until then, it will be back to the gym this weekend but with a more gentle approach.

You are probably wondering why I am calling this the blank slate blog. It’s because I had no content in mind when I opened up this page. I apologize for making you choke down this stream of consciousness written pollution. Hopefully you have some Chaucer on hand for a editorial detox. Today was one of those good days that doesn’t happen consistently. I went into work late, had a good conversation with a great doctor, played basketball with my daughter after work, and had dinner with my mother. And then I had to pull out this blog thorn right before bed… Ouch! Time for a band-aid. See you tomorrow!

Blog-A-Thon Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of April’s Blog-A-Thon. Yesterday’s post was pretty silly but today’s post is going to be a little more serious. Just a few days ago on Facebook, a friend of mine posted a short story titled “The Egg” by Andy Weir. Prior to reading it I had never heard of the author nor the story. I was totally blown away! I am not going to go into too many details but it is a great read that everyone should experience. It basically outlines Andy’s view of the utopian interconnectedness of the universe. While it is meant to be fiction it could easily be misconstrued as the explanation for all of existence.

I consider myself far from religious, but for me this story truly hit home. In my own definition, I consider myself a practicing Jew with a Buddhist heart. I rate the impact of a artistic piece by the number of days I think about it after experiencing it. Since reading this story I continue to struggle with removing it from my mind. It’s imprinted on my brain like a scabbed over tattoo. Why is this? Maybe because of its depiction that no particular religion is correct. It has always bothered me that any one religion could consider itself the only path to God. Maybe its because he found a great explanation for the melding of all that is good and bad in this world.

Don’t let the religious overtones mentioned here impede you from reading it. Andy himself is agnostic so most people should get something out of it. I will end the blog here because I don’t want to drain all the juice out of my writing cerebrum. Read “The Egg” and then come back tomorrow. I look forward to blogging for the internet that is not listening.

Here We Are – April 1st

000 April 2014So here we are, April 1st. The first day of my attempt to post a new blog everyday for a month. While this is only my first post I am already feeling nervous and scared. How am I really going to be able to come up with 30 new ideas? Why in the heck am I even attempting this? I really don’t think I have it in me. This is going to be extremely difficult. I don’t think I can do it! I really think I should give up. I just can’t do it! I can’t believe I am already giving up! This is ridiculous!! Who cares? Nobody is even listening. I quit, I really quit!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh… I failed!!

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April Fools!

See you tomorrow.