Life Experiences & Observations

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

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.

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Obama’s NOT your Scapegoat – Man Up!!

000000000 ObamaPolitical discussions are usually not my specialty. Maybe because I am so centrist that I piss off both sides like an unmanned garden hose wildly drenching both sides of the green grass on the other side. But today, I can’t help but get political on your ass. Everywhere I turn, these days, I want to be the proverbial monkeys that can’t hear, speak, or see. Everybody is blaming Obama for everything! And when I mean everything I mean everything!! Don’t get me wrong, I am far from an Obama fan especially during the days of the present. But is he really responsible for you not be talented enough to find a new job? Is he really responsible for the war in Iraq? Is he really responsible for the violence between white police and black men? Is he really responsible for all of the government’s debt problems? Is he really responsible China, the Middle East, your divorce, the drug war, or your grandmother’s death? It seems absurd but that’s what I am hearing.

I believe the reality is that there is a lot you can control but not everything. And usually, the things you can control have nothing to do with the President of the United States. It’s your role and your conviction that is necessary to blaze a path to a new destiny. It is your responsibility to control the way you react to things that are TRULY out of your control. Ok, I think I have gotten my point across even though I feel this blog post sucks. But I do know one thing about this sucky blog post… it’s not Obama’s fault.

I Hope Justice is Infinite – The Long Overdue Blog Post

000000 beer and bookI wish I could say that my hiatus was intentional. Posting regularly is just somewhat of a chore for me at times, I was a teenager ignoring his chores like the pink elephant in the room.

This morning on my way home from work I saw a pink cotton candy explosion in the clouds. Coming up with this metaphor brought me back to the page or screen if you may. I have switched to an overnight weekend 3 X 12 schedule at work and so far it fits me like a glove (Yes, everyone once in awhile I tap into trite sayings).

I have finally put into play the Tim Ferriss concept of less work for more pay.

The trailer of “The End of the Tour” drew me back into trying again to read Infinite Jest. The epic David Foster Wallace behemoth. I am rapidly making progress and I am nearing the half way point. I am focusing on enjoyment of the eloquent writing rather than trying to grasp every sand grain of the story. I was hoping to finish the book before seeing the movie but I am too eager and will dash those hopes later this week. Maybe I will write about the movie or maybe I will take another writing hiatus. Hopefully the former.

The reintroduction to the blog screen feels soft and cuddly. Will it remain that way? At least for now it will.

The Eye Opening Process of Learning About the AZ Legislature

0000000000000 az capitolThe last few weeks the Arizona Legislature has been working on trying to pass the state’s budget. Two weeks ago I heard about a protest march at the capital to try and put a stop to deep cuts in education funding. At that time, I didn’t find out about the march until the day my friend posted pictures of it happening. As a result, I was unable to participate. Budget talks continued and a second march, which was communicated more effectively and created with more advance notice, occurred. This time, I took the initiative to participate. This was my first protest march since college and it was a great experience. To see everybody getting together to fight for a common cause was tremendous. To cause our legislators to actually come out of their holes to watch the light of the people shine bright was amazing. As always, there is concern that marches such as this may fall on deaf ears. I relished in chanting “SOS, Save Our Schools!” and my favorite, created by both ASU and UofA students,… “There ain’t no power like the power of the students, and the power of the student don’t stop, say what!!” Okay, so the grammar isn’t perfect but the point is.

Fast forward to last night. The legislators took the sneaky move of having discussions to finalize the budget late on a Friday evening. They went to the hearing rooms hoping that the shields of darkness would protect them like armor. Amazingly, the power of the people couldn’t be completely eclipsed. Many of the protest leaders took to social media and encouraged individuals to go to the Capitol Building to show their presence and prove that the public won’t go gently into the goodnight and WILL ALWAYS be listening. I myself, decided to stay home and watch the stream of the budget bill debates online. Knowing it would most likely go all night and my wife and daughter having plans in the morning, I choose the next best thing to being there in person. I watched it stream until 1am. I woke up at 8am eager to read the results on social media. To my amazement, the House was still working to pass the last bill necessary to approve the budget. The end result was a slightly better yet very disappointing budget. They went from a K-12 education cut to a slight K-12 slight, with very little limitation on how that extra money is spent. Higher education funding was gouged and prisons received increased funding. In the end, very few other financial adjustments were made from the original budget presented by our governor.

I learned more about the Arizona Legislative budget process in the last 2 weeks than I have in my prior 22 years of living in Arizona. While I am extremely disappointing in the continued lack of funding to K-12 education, I am extremely grateful for what I learned about the process. There is a reason that Arizona is 48 out of 51 in education funding. We care more about lower taxes than we do about our kids education. Yes this new budget will be balanced and I understand the value of that. But at what point is a little extra taxes worth a better education for our kids? And with that, I will leave you with this Victor Hugo quote which was on a protest sign at the capitol on Thursday. “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”

Abundance in the Corner

Abundance in the corner hiding like a haystack needle.
The human race staring down a hair pin turning gun,
which they just don’t realize has an irremovable safety cap.

The heavens rain chocolate marble drops,
that have outer cushions to brace your mouth from the heavy pain of solidity.

The Good News Network blasts truth through an air horn,
which as always, is muffled
by the evening’s headlines.

We need to look very deep
into our inner core
for the funny bones
and the smiling serotonins.

They mime the truth into an ear that can’t hear
and into an eyeball looking through a pin hole.
This pinhole has the power to reflect amazement
that we can’t see with the naked eye.

Just one example, an eclipse.

So jump your senses into action, like a cryogenic therapy chamber.
Search for the glory of existence
in the haystack of despair.

Practice Makes Improvement and the Power of Consistency

Weekly Calendar Chalk DrawingLast night, after my blog post, I was reading through a bunch of my previous posts. I know this sounds corny, but I was actually impressed with some of my earlier work. The most impressive pieces were written in April of 2014 when I was trying to challenge myself to write a blog post everyday for a month. Coincidentally, this was also the month in which I receive the most blog views. In other words, consistency brought more viewers to my blog. Sensical?? Of course!! I also like to think that my improved writing was a factor. Looking back, there was only one month that was even close to April 2014 in terms of views. That was September of 2013, the first month I started by blog. That part seems kind of strange, especially since the first month should be the hardest to get people to view and read your posts.

Many people think that one of the keys to viewership is promoting a blog. I have not done this as of yet and my blog is like a mask that is glued to my face. I am not ready for the big reveal. Therefore, the popularity of viewed posts can’t have anything to do with promoting. All this leads me to believe that there is one additional factor outside of consistency and improvement. That factor is basically, the early hype. Not sure how this early hype can happen with an unknown blog but I kind of think of it as the “Grand Opening” affect. The grand opening brings in streams of new people to test out the new concept and then the hype just trickles away.

What does all this mean. It means I am going to try to be more consistent in my blog posts. I don’t expect you to share this with others, but if you do that would certainly make things interesting. Especially if it disproves everything I have said up to this point.

How Can I Provide Value?

00000000000 valueEverything I have been reading these days about successful companies and blogs boils down to providing value to their customers or readers. I struggle with this concept since my initial reason for this blog was to blow off steam and get things off my chest. Especially this particular blog which has always been more stream of consciousness bullshit. I guess based on this, my value is to provide entertainment to my readers while simultaneously blowing off verbal steam. But maybe my viewership and/or follower base is still small because my posts are dull. Maybe its because my posts are now sporadic and not once a week like they used to be.

Well I will let you in on a little secret… I hope to one day use blogs for my future business, but that can’t be done while I am currently employed in the corporate abyss. Once that black hole fails and ultimately spits me out rather than swallows me whole, you will get to see what I am talking about. The real value then, will flow like the Yangtze. Until that time, you will just need to settle for the entertainment train or get off at the next stop. All Aboard!!

The Super Bowl is Not So Super!

00000000000000000000 az super bowlThis year the Super Bowl is coming to my home state of Arizona. As you can imagine, there is tons of talk and media coverage about this great event, especially since it will be almost in my back yard. Well my backyard is actually in Scottsdale but you get the idea. After reading an article about how difficult it can be to get tickets, I have come to the conclusion that the Super Bowl is not so super. To start with, the face value for tickets is absurd. $800 is the cheapest ticket there is. And we are not talking lower level or even upper level near the middle. We are talking last row, upper deck, end zone.

I am not totally unrealistic. I understand this is one of the most popular sporting events in the world. The part that digs into my pores like dirt in a pimple, is how the ticket allocation goes. Both teams get a certain percentage, the NFL gets a certain percentage, each team in the NFL gets a certain percentage, and the Arizona Cardinals as the host team gets a percentage. But wait, it gets better. The hosting NFL team gets the smallest percentage. It’s our building!! I could rant much more, but what gets me the most is that the only group with access to face value tickets outside of the distribution I just described is… The Arizona Politicians!! Yes, you heard me correctly… the politicians. They are already rich and famous!! Why for the horror of a slaughtered pig skin do politicians get face value tickets. I can’t explain it except for the equation power equals privileges. As for the other ticket allocations, while you would think they would be put to good use, a large percentage ultimately get passed along to the ticket brokers so they can make millions in profits.

There you have it. The Super Bowl is not so Super. Okay, maybe for the politicians and the ticket brokers but nobody else.

A Potential Redskin’s Terminology Compromise

00000 redskinsBefore I write this blog, I must disclaim that I have no opinion to offer on the potential offensiveness of the term Redskin’s. I am not Native American so I cannot claim to know how offended each Native American is by the term. I am sure it runs the gambit from highly offensive to not at all offensive. Also, I am not a Redskin’s fan nor I am a part of the organization. As a result, I cannot claim to know how the impact of changing the name would have on each individual fan that sees the name as a timeless tradition. This too most likely runs the gambit from a change would be devastating to its not that big of deal. My only real intent of writing this blog is to offer up a solution that could potentially be a comprise that works for both parties who have a vested interest in this debate. So here goes my potential solution….

While changing the name of the team may make many Native American’s feel better and many Redskin’s fans feel worse, there has to be a scenario that is a better result for both parties. What if the Redskin’s organization were to work with some of the key leaders of the Native American population to agree to a solution that allows them to keep the name but would also benefit the Native American community. Well there potentially is… What if the Redskin’s organization agreed to give a small percentage of profits from all Redskin’s apparel sold to Native American charities? I would suggest 5%, but maybe they can come up with a figure together which works for both parties. This would allow them to keep the name and also provide some significant gains for those Native American’s that are less fortunate. It wouldn’t ultimately eliminate the offensive factor that comes with the name but maybe the Native American leaders can try to see that there could be more value in getting dollars to needy charities than just the name change. I realize that they may be able to get the name change without a compromise based on the current pressure from the media and others, including Native American’s who are offended by the name. But I also believe the long term benefit of this compromise could be much greater.

I would be curious to know if those who were offended are open to this idea. I would be curious to know if those who have a vested stake in the organization’s profits are open to this idea. Knowing how much many individuals struggle with compromise (just look at our government), my curiosity will most likely remain unresolved. It probably doesn’t help that most people don’t read my blog. Oh well, at least I know my compromise is out there for those who happen to stumble upon my blog in the internet universe.

Political Vomit

000000000000000000000 politicsIt’s that time again, and our TV airways are flooding with attack ads. How about telling us the good things about yourself rather than the bad things about your opponent. I guess they don’t teach that trick in politicking school. Also, are these bozo’s so power hungry after making millions in the private sector that they are willing to take a high profile job that is highly stressful but has a lot smaller paycheck. In case you haven’t realized, these are rhetorical questions and I am just a bit fired up. I don’t expect you to answer them.

What I wouldn’t give for Jesse Ventura about now to plant his ass in my state and run for governor. Until that happens, I will just need to find a viable ballot candidate this time from the current residents of my state. I trust Montgomery Brewster to run my state more than the candidates from the majority parties currently running. It’s a sad state of affairs when we think the only viable opinions are those from two different ends of the spectrum. Until the rest of the world realizes that the Republicans and Democrats are in cahoots together so they only have to battle one other opponent, Mickey Mouse will probably be getting plenty of votes from me. Or maybe I will just resort to “None of the Above.”