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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Thought of the day - Play More!

"We
don't stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop
playing." - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish playwright and
essayist (via Fast Company blog)

I love this quote for it's simplicity and for it's pure truth. I think writing is a type of playing, and I try to play and write as much as I can. It's one of the reasons I'm a big brother/mentor. I get to enjoy playing with my 14 year old brother in whatever he does. We play basketball, we play video games, we go to the mall, we hang out, and we never take ourselves too seriously.

At work, it's the same way for me. I try to laugh as much as I can and I encourage others to do the same.

Stay young. Start playing more NOW!
Phil Gerbyshak
http://makeitgreat.org


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Monday, January 30, 2006

ChangeThis Proposal

Inspired by friends Felix Gerena and Trevor Gay, co-conspirators at 100 Bloggers, the blog Synergy, and Rattle the Cage, I’ve submitted a proposal to ChangeThis. Stay tuned! I will be soliciting your votes.

But first I would like your feedback on my proposal. It follows.

I’m fed up with life-long self improvement evangelists and their seven steps to happiness. I’m tired of Jack Welch and Donald Trump preaching from the pulpit of unimaginable success. I’m sick of the management gurus and their how-to be what I see doctrines.

Tom Peters says, “Blow shit up!” This is easy enough to say if you own a farm in Martha’s Vineyard, free and clear, and you are pulling down 50k a pop for speaking engagements.

But…

What about the recent college grad with an IS degree and 30k in student loans who can’t find an entry-level position because they have all been off-shored?

What about the 30-something mid-level manager whose upward mobility is limited by a gaggle of baby boomers with 25 years of tenure and an organization in a perpetual mode of right-sizing?

What about the everyman and everywoman with two kids in college and two car payments and aging parents and shrinking benefits?

Sometimes re-invention is not so easy. Or not an option.

What then?


I would appreciate your feedback.

Who would you be?

George Canyon. A Canadian man. Competed at Nashville Star a couple years ago, and was one of two semi-finalists. Great singer from Nova Scotia, Canada. Canyon isn't his real last name, but an agent said it suited him.

With that deep voice, it sure does. He's got one song that really makes me smile and think, by the above title. Who would I be if I could be anyone in this world?

Well, sure, I'd like to be Elvis shaking up Memphis and making the young girls scream. And I'd love to be Martin Luther King Jr. changing the world with just a speech. Or John Lennon bringing hope with just a song. I'd be a cowboy like John Wayne, too. But who would you be?

On second thought, I like ME. Why not be all of that in me ? I am a cowboy, in my mind anyways. No, not as in the old west, or even as those still down south with their ATV's and trucks and helicopters. But in the attitude, definitely.

Let freedom reign. I can never hear or see that speech of Martin Luther King Jr.'s without breaking down in tears. Do I change the world with my words, not likely, but do I make others smile and think, I hope so. And a smile does wonders for the soul, so maybe I do bring a bit of hope and sunshine.

I don't make the young girls scream unless you count the times when Hailey has a sleep over and I scare them. Can I bring truth with just a speech? Not unless you count the times I sit with my son and show him the problems that arise when we don't tell the truth and how lying gets you into corners you don't want to be in. Do I bring peace with just a song? Not at the level John Lennon did, that's for sure. But when my two kidlets are fighting in the back seat and I turn up the music really loud and sing along and Colton stops fighting because he can't help but sing along, and it makes Hailey smile because she loves to hear her Daddy singin', well then on a small scale, my work has been done.

So maybe it's just how he ends it. I'd be a father to make my young kids proud. I'd earn every word on that coffee cup that says "world's greatest dad". Because I can think of no better job or person in this whole world than being a father to my two kidlets. I have them this weekend for the whole weekend. It's these days that I long for all week. It's these weekends that make the whole two weeks worth gettin' through. It's those hours spent cuddling on the couch with my arms wrapped around them, reading or watching TV that I miss the next two weeks. I may not be the world's greatest Dad, but in their eyes? I am, and that's all I need.

I love being a Daddy. I did from the moment I first held my little girl in my arms. When she was colicky, I walked for hours with her, patiently singing and talking to her.

When she was sick with croup, I'd sit by her bedside singing to her as the kettle and vaporizer steamed away, rubbing the Vicks on her chest. When she had the chicken pox, I'd sit there putting that sticky pink stuff that I can't remember the name of on her itchy spots. (I remembered its camomile, right?)

I love being a Daddy, though with my son it took a warning from the Ex when he was three and a half to wake me up. Little boys need cuddles and hugs and kisses too. I have made up for those first couple of years. Not that I didn't do those things when he was a baby, but once he was motoring around, I bought into that stereotype, boys gotta be tough.

Yes and no, they do have to be tough, cuz there is a whole nasty big ol' world out there ready to take a piece out of any of us. But they still need to feel a father's love.

I love how his eyes light up when he's singing, how he needs a hug when we say goodbye and runs back for one more because he misses me so much. I love how we have little rituals for things like saying goodnight when he was a little guy and now how we say it when he calls to say goodnight. "hanging up in 3, 2, 1" (I say two) then we say, "goodnight, I love you, mwah, teeheehee, bye"

You can't see the tears rolling down my cheeks right now, but they are there. I love being a daddy. I think, a little bit that, it may have been one more piece of the puzzle as to what came between the Ex and I. I placed them above all else, even her. I find myself still doing that. Above anyone else in my life, even me or others dear to me. And you know what, that's not something I really can change. Others say, that maybe it shouldn't be so, because eventually they'll grow up and move on and I'll be left all alone (just read Wanda's post and she says it's happened to her). Maybe it will for me too, but for these few years I have left with them as children, isn't it worth it? To show them such unconditional and undying love, even above myself? Because that's really what it comes down to, it's not above the significant other so much as above myself, because, then if I lose that other, I am doing myself out of that love. You can't go back in ten years and say to your kids, gee I wish I would have done this or that for you. Do it now, because in ten years, I'll only be in my 50's and still be able to deal with my life and what I want or need in it, but I won't be able to re-live those years or the relationship with my children, I'll be dealing with young adults. So, I think, I'll be a father, and earn every word on that coffee cup, that says World's Greatest Dad. That's who I'll be.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What Should I Write About?

The page is blank. The screen is blank. And as each moment passes by, the vice in your head turns one more crank. Ten more minutes and the vice will have squished any remnants of brains that could possibly have produced a word or two. No sense bearing witness to this sordid outcome so you get up and walk away. Then, you're not sure whether a couple of words penned out might not have been better than pancacked brains and this beast gnawing and clawing from inside your chest trying to get out.

Why do I have this sense that I should be writing in the first place? I haven't written a book. I haven't been published in a magazine or newspaper. I might blog a little bit, but Boing Boing doesn't know who I am. Actually, I don't know who Boing Boing is either, nor do I care to. Maybe I'm not a writer afterall?

Did you ever stare at a blank screen? Do you question your involvement in the writing process? Do you question what you should be writing about?

To begin with, don't worry about whether others classify you as a writer or not. If you pen one sentence in a journal every five years, you are a writer. I write because there is something inside my head that must get out. It's not comfortable enough for me to hold a discussion with myself. It must get out and get in print. I am much more at ease and able to function on a daily basis when I am able to do so.

Writing is purified water. The mountain sheds its coat of ice; rain fills the rivers and lakes; the rivers pour into the lakes. Water bombards our senses, filling our world. We purify it, make sense of it, and unleash it back upon the world.

You could no longer more eliminate water from your world than you could daily experiences. Think of daily experiences as the water that fills your reservoir. It's up to you to pay attention to the world unfolding around you everyday. Take it in, run it through your purifier and open the flood gates.

The voice inside my head told me to write this today. His reservoir has run low. He reminds me that I am not like Emily Dickinson, who withdrew from societal contact and proceeded to crank out pristine literature. He tells me to get out of the basement, get out into the world and get him some water. That's what I should be writing about.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

People Matter!

I get a few quotes of the day in my inbox that strike me, so I thought I'd share one that sums up how I try to treat people every day!

"Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they will not be here tomorrow. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again." - Og Mandino, 1923-1996 (Adapted) Author of 'The Greatest Salesman In The World'

Every time I think about the happiest times in my life, I realize that NONE of them were spent alone. If none were spent alone, that means that each and every one of my favorite moments happened with another person. Often these great times were spent with friends, but sometimes they were spent with those that at the time of the event, were not yet my friends. If I hadn't treated them with great care, kindness and understanding, I would have never experienced what I did.

Think about how much richer your life will be if you surround yourself with good people...and start realizing that everyone you encounter has the potential to be a good person if you'll help them unlock their personal greatness.

Make every day a great day!
Phil Gerbyshak
http://makeitgreat.org


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Friday, January 27, 2006

Won't it be great....

Growing up I often saw bumper stickers that read "Won't it be great when schools have all the mony they need, and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a stealth bomber?" As a child, I laughed it off, even if I understood how true it was.

As an adult, I find myself not laughing.

Recently, I found "America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.", attributed to Evan Esar, and just found it sticking in my throat. Granted, I'm only a tutor (and quite happy with my job), but I'm seeing the products of this odd economic situation every single day.

Becasue schools are hurting for funding, I have seen children taught math by someone with only an English certification. I've run into odd math programs created because there just weren't enough teachers to cover the subjects in a rational manner. It's painful.

How can we expect to prepare our students for an increasingly-challenging world when our resources keep dwindling? What kind of message are we sending students when certain industries are allowed to strike over salaries that teachers could never even hope to achieve?

I don't really expect an answer to my questions. They're not original by any stretch of the imagination, but I do often worry about my students and the service we as teahcers are doing, knowing that we as a profession are doing everything in our power to help prepare these students for life outside of academia.

Time will tell, I suppose...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Summer

The body wants, and I take it out on paper with pen-as-blade. Jab fact into page. The body wants.

Sweat. Fluid movement to music on grass. Moon. Heat. Sarong-wrapped hips. Salt-licked lips. Cicadas.

The body wants Austin. Acid burn in legs as I take those hills on bike. Free swim at Barton Springs. Kid diving for the first time. Magnolia Cafe. Life music. Belly dancing beauty full under tiny twinkling starlight lights. Coffee roasting at Ruta Maya. Poetry slams. Walks in bath water warm air. Green like none I’ve ever seen.

The body wants day long naked under ceiling fan with books, cigarettes, and tequila. It wants a long, lazy fuck somewhere blue-bonnet-Indian-paintbrush speckled. It wants live oaks sprawling overhead and slow rivers. Even grackles. Even palmetto bugs. Even 120 in the shade and sunburned shoulders.

It wants none of that he I went there for. None. No memory, even, except to remember what helps to love better. No hint of ambivalence. No speck, even, of dependence. None of the old sick, chaos-lust. The me I am now and the he of me I’ve found and all the loves I love under hot moon, drunk and twirling, blissful.

Hot.

The body wants Nag Champa smoke billowing before candle flame. To dress him in paisley and baptize him in jasmine, in vanilla, in patchouli and yes, tell him, grow your hair out, and yes, twist it into dreds.

***

It was the wrong time. It was for the wrong man. I should have waited, should have gone on a lark when ‘need’ was no part of the equation and all was passion-led. Or I should never have gone at all, should never have known what winterless was. Would have been happier, then, in this black and white photograph this life becomes each godforsaken, frozen half-year.

The body wants summer.

F

x-posted at Frippery

Thought of the Day

"The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." - Henry Miller


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Walk the talk

From Stephen Covey's     7 Habits of Highly Effective People calendar for 2006, yesterday's entry:
I suggest that you shift the paradigm of your own involvement in this material from the role of learner to that of teacher. Take an inside-out approach, and read with the purpose in mind of sharing and discussing what you learn with someone within fourty-eight hours after you learn it. You will not only better remember what you read, but your perspective will be expanded, your understanding deepened, and your motivation to apply the material increased.

Hence the daily writing (blogging) effort to share my thoughts about what I find in my reading with you.

 

Do you have a similar practice?

 

How do you learn and share?
 
 
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Blog happennings.

Vote for Trevor Gays Manifesto Proposal, Simplicity is the Key, at http://changethis.com You can also visit a very cool new blog at http://bloodandtreasure.com It is witty,cynical, and packed with information. Noel Guinane and Cassandra Helm are the blog host. Give them a check. I think you will like it. Another cool site is http://shadow.wordpress.com These guys would make good 100 bloggers.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Buddhism and an African Greeting

This essay is an extension of my post on "The Beauty and Wisdom of African Languages" in my Island of Spice blog. It's an attempt to describe how the emotional associations and meanings of certain African words can create an intuitive bond between people that has a transcendental wisdom and natural beauty. This kind of linguistic intimacy and transference is virtually entirely lacking in English and European languages, and in the Western world we desperately need some way to connect with each other emotionally and intuitively in day-to-day simple encounters. As we move into a new year perhaps people will be open to new perspectives and to new kinds of thinking. While we have a vast proliferation of words, phrases, technologies, terms and terminologies, we have somehow lost a sense of wholeness and unity that is refreshingly present in African culture...


In the Zulu and Xhosa and the Nguni languages of Southern Africa, many millions of times every day people greet each other by saying "Unjani?" or "Ninjani?" ("How are you?" or "How are you and yours?") and answering "Nkhona" or "Sikhona" ("I am well" or "We are well"). But the word "khona" has an interesting double meaning, as it also means "to be present" or "to be here" and I always thought this was curious pun, and at different times I've tried to work out in my mind the significance of the associations. African languages are full of these words with multiple- layered meanings, and they often lead to many natural intuitive connections and realizations and this is one of the reasons why many Africans feel strongly about using their own languages. I imagine the "khona" double meaning probably evolved from a common saying, "Nkulungkulu nkhona," meaning both "God is good" or "God is here" and "God is present" (with us).

But as I've given it more thought, I'm beginning to wonder if there is a deeper connection in the meanings. If you're speaking one of these languages, you have to know the context of the word in order to intuit whether the speaker means more specifically that the person is "here," or the more general meaning that someone is "good" or "well." I recently had a flash that this idea of goodness can perhaps be related to idea of "presence" in Buddhism. The idea of using the practice of meditation to see things as they are, without mental projections and illusions and to cultivate wisdom ("prajna," in Sanskrit), is central to Buddhism. Buddhist "sitting" meditation involves mindfulness, or continuously watching the mind, observing thoughts and feelings as they arise and fall in consciousness. Through regular meditation and disciplining the mind to be in the here and now--the eternal present--the practictioner develops an ability to cut through the confusion and "mental noise" of distracting thoughts and emotions. The objective or end result of this continuous practice is peace of mind and a strong sense of presence where a person relates to situations and circumstances directly, authentically and honestly, without being lost in labels, categories and extraneous attachments or projections about the past or future. Maybe in this sense being "present" is also something that has an inherent beauty and value in and of itself.

I'm not suggesting that Africans speaking these languages have an outlook on life that is meditative or like a Buddhist worldview. But I do think that this particular use of language lends itself to a similar use of the sense of "presence," in an intuitive connection. When someone asks, "Unjani?" or "Ninjani?" the answer, when it's given intentionally and not mechanically, almost automatically puts the answerer into a frame of mind where the dual meaning becomes salient. In my experience, the greeting has a way of making people feel emotionally grounded with each other in the context of that encounter. The answerer can be saying "I am good," and "I am here" or "We (all of us) are good/here together." In fact, the latter phrase is even more commonly used, as African language speakers more often use the first person plural to build a feeling of inclusiveness. As these meanings reinforce each other, people almost instinctively help create a stronger feeling of presence that can have wider associations.

More presence to listen carefully and hear what others have to say.
More presence to respond compassionately and tactfully.
More presence to think carefully and moderate one's speech.
More presence to recognize the needs of others.
More presence to help avoid misperceptions and misunderstandings.
More presence to see a person and a situation on its own terms.
More presence to stop a situation from unraveling.
More presence to take care of details that later may lead to problems.
More presence to think of a possibility that might not be considered.
More presence to notice something that may be significant to others.
More presence to be aware of children.
More presence to be respectful of elders.
More presence to be aware of neighbors and the people around you.
More presence to be one with a circle of friends and family.
More presence to celebrate the moment.
More presence to affirm the joy of being.

I believe these qualities are at least tangentially associated with the "nkhona" or "sikhona" because they are also elements of African culture itself--the idea of community, inclusiveness, togetherness and family, love, respect for elders, etc. One finds in these constructs a sense of connectedness to other people, a feeling a unity and oneness that is held together in very basic, fundamental day-to-day interactions. Another common answer for "Unjani?" is "Ngiyapila" (I am well) or "Siyapila" (We are well). "Pila" is another African word with multiple meanings. "Pila" can mean "life," or "to live," "to feel," "to be healthy," or "to be well" depending the context. It's fascinating that this root word has so many associated meanings. When a person answers "Siyapila," they are saying "we are well" or "we are alive" or "we are feeling" or "we are healthy" all in one breath, in one simple phrase. In the Nguni languages, life is equated with health, which is equated with being, which is equated with wellness or goodness. Once again, this circular connection of meanings is continually reinforced with African cultural qualities that emphasize unity, oneness, compassion and togetherness. Hence profound meaning, emotion and feeling are transmitted or conveyed with a few elementary words. From a fundamental ground of compassion and unity, there is also no guilt, no sense of separation between God, life, goodness and human existence, and there is an infectious joy and celebration in ordinary encounters.

All cultures and languages have their strengths and limitations. I'm definitely not trying to suggest that African cultures and traditions are perfect. After living in Africa for many years I have my own way of thinking about Africa without trying to idealize or patronize it. The question of why many African countries are burdened with political conflict is an issue that has historical antecedents and is something quite different from the experience of day-to-day language and culture. Despite outward appearances and media images of poverty, strife, disease, etc., there are many things that people living in dominant Western societies can learn from Africa. In the new emerging cultures of the global village, we will all inevitably take constructs of different cultures and different ways of thinking and perceiving and patch them together in our own experience. Africa has many gems of wisdom, many rough diamonds and other treasures--and much to offer in its great reflection.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

My Friend

I guess as fate would have it, it was Friday the 13th. I am not a superstitious person at all. However, I found it ironic that that an event that has a big impact on my life happened on that most talked about day. The event I am talking about may not seem real important to many people, but to me and my family, It has changed us. My dog, Peanut, passed away on friday the 13th.

Many may think that is not that significant. To my family, it is a major change and loss. What has changed?Well, for nearly 16 years, we had a very faithful companion. We got Peanut just as he was weaned and raised him from a pup. He was the first pet my wife ever had. We had peanut before we were married. We had Peanut before we had our children. He was apart of all our family functions and traditions. He was a protector of our house and family. He was with us when we bought our first house and was there when we moved to our dream house. He was there with playful happiness in times of celebration and laying at our feet to comfort us in difficult times. It didn't make any difference to him if we were successful, rich, powerful, or broke, alone, and living in a hut. He just wanted to be with us. He loved us, no matter what the circumstances were.

When I found him I saw 16 years of my life lying there. As I buried him I hoped he had the same comfort that he gave us. I thought of my kids who never knew life without him. I wondered what it would be like to not have him greet me at the door every day when I returned from work. I couldn't help but to feel guilty for the times that I failed to return his unconditional love. No more barking at strangers at the door. No more licks to the face. No more laying at my feet (probably what I will miss the most)

I often wonder how the world would be different if we could have that kind of unconditional love for those in our lives. I am sure the world would be different. He may have just been a dog to some people, but to us, he was a major part of our family. I miss him. We Miss him

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Carnival of 100 Bloggers, Issue 3

Welcome to Issue 3 of the Carnival of 100 Bloggers featuring Rosa Say, Ken Camp, Pet Campbell, Phil Gerbyshak, Felix Gerena and Troy Worman. This one is short and sweet.

Rosa leads off... bringing Hawaii's universal values to the carnival with I predict these things will happen in 2006...

Next up is Ken Camp from Digital Common Sense. Ken writes about Web 2.0, keyloggers, VOIP and more...

Pet Campbell dusts off her magic ball here. And Phil Gerbyshak rounds out the group with his 8.75 Predictions for 2006.

And finally, here are several additional predictions I lifted from around the blogosphere.

And here is one I forgot. Sorry Felix Gerena!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Answer

All evening. He did some laundry and shot surly looks at the teenagers that had frayed his last nerve. She hid upstairs, tired of playing referee. He banged around in the kitchen some. She banged away at her keyboard some. The distance between the main floor and the upstairs bedroom did a mushroom trip, pulsing, throbbing, closer and farther away as the hours passed.

It could no longer be borne. An excuse to be upstairs was found, and a basket of folded clothes were hauled up to the bedroom. He dropped them just inside the bedroom door. She kept her eyes on the screen. He kept his eyes on the piles he was making. Hers. His. Bundles of socks and t-shirts, jeans and brassieres. Towels made a third pile. He put them away, stuffing things into drawers, rattling hangers in the closet. The air between them popped, as though they were coasting down a hill at high speed. He dropped all pretence. Undressed. Crawled in to bed beside her.

Another hour passed. They have hard talks sometimes. They approach these talks like dogs. Circle in. Tail low. Snuffling out the scent of things. Teeth parted slightly. Mouth taking in the taste of the air. Is it a good time? Is it the right time? Dare they?

They must, and so, they do.

The hard talk isn’t about toilet seat positions or who did the dishes last. It isn’t about who spent the last ten dollars on what or the hours he works or the hours she works. It’s deeper, far deeper things that draw them into tighter and tighter circles until, nose to nose, they talk like this.

It is always the same conversation.

This is hard. This is tiresome. I am anxious for the end of this chapter. I look forward to writing our chapter - the one with you and me and no one else. No obligations to this one or that one. No reason why not to go for a week or stay in under the covers all Sunday.

They are in total agreement. They are echoes.

This is hard. This is tiresome. This is worth it. This will pass. We need to remember one another at times like these, need to remind ourselves that we are more than parents, more than heavies and must dos and grounders and praisers and oh, God. We don’t feel like much more than automatons sometimes, our voices flat and monotone, our responses pre-recorded, but we are more. We are, and we have days when we know it.

Today hasn’t been one of those days. They are lost in the list of things to do the length of their arms. They are chastisement and responsibility. They are do the dishes and get your homework done. They are earth, solid, beneath stomping feet. They are frozen water, slippery denials. There is little of fire left in them, and as for air, it’s all hot around here what with three teenaged boys blasting testosterone and bravado like a steam powered train.

They come nose to nose to remember. They speak what reminds them.

You are like this wonderful package I got at Christmas, all wrapped up in fancy paper and tied with ribbons. I opened it to find this completely unexpected six foot tall toy, and I played with it and played with it and played with it. And now, it’s my favourite toy. I have to know where it is before I go to sleep. I don’t play with it all the time like I used to, but I’d die if I lost it…”

Tears come to her eyes at this. These are perfect words. She wants to be his favourite, just as he is hers. She wants to know that even when he’s been away all day, he still reaches for her before sleep, pulls her body towards the question mark curve he makes of himself, wants to know that she is his answer.

F. Stuart

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Make your work a calling. If you see your work as only a job, then it's dragging you away from what you really want to be doing. If you see it as a calling, then it is no longer a toiling sacrifice. Instead, it becomes an expression of you, a part of you." - David Niven, Best-Selling Author, The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People

Think about it...Do you want just a job...or do you want a calling?

It's up to you...Make it a Great Day!
Phil Gerbyshak
http://makeitgreat.org

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Initiative

"The roots of true achievement lie in the will to become the best that you can become."
Harold Taylor

The ability to get things started or done without needing to be told what to do. That is how Websters new World Dictionary defines initiative. people that have initiative are those special people that get things done. They make things happen. People with initiative are the ones that others look up to. The ones people say they want to be like. Quite simply people with initiative are winners. They are winners because they constantly take on new challenges and. They find what has to be done and they set about doing it. They don't make excuses and find failure in every opportunity. It is just the oppossite, they find opportunity in failure. When others make excuses or give up, people with initiative step forward. initiative is vital to success.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Take the Technorati Survey

Please join me in providing input, feedback, direction... From Niall Kennedy at the Technorati Weblog

We'd like your input! Please take a few minutes to answer all or part of our 33-question survey to contribute to the future of Technorati.

 

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Pennies In Life

A friend and I were out walking, and saw some pennies just lying on the ground.
As she bent to pick up the pennies, I said pennies are kind of like people they have no value until they are found.

She said sometimes when she drops a penny, it’s easier to leave then bend down.
Cause a penny by itself has no value, so she just leaves it there on the ground.

I said people are sometimes like pennies, there are many that life has tossed down.
They sometimes believe they have no value; but I think that they have never been found.

Some pennies are worth lots of dollars, but they are just laying there on the ground.
Some people have more value than silver or gold just waiting out there to be found.

I said I am a collector of pennies; when I walk I always look down.
You’d be amazed at the money I have made, Just picking the pennies up off of the ground.

I am also a collector of people; I look for the ones that are down.
You’d be amazed at the friends I have made, just waiting out there to be found.

So now when I see a penny, I take a deep breath and look around
In case there’s another collector.
Of people that may have been tossed down.

The power of attitude

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. -Brian Tracy

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Teach your child

Poor Richard wrote wisely
Teach your child to hold his tongue, he'll learn fast enough to speak.
 
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Politics

I’ve never been much interested in politics. I didn’t really have the time or energy to invest in the future of the country I lived in, being busy as I was trying to feed myself and my kids. At least, that was my excuse.

What I didn’t realize at the time (no one ever sat down and explained the importance of my vote to me) was that my vote, a tiny little drop in an ocean of votes, mattered a great deal, and the hour or two it would take me to go to the polls and make my mark would mean I was in this thing. Not a bystander. Not at the party but not in the party. In it. A party to it. Part of it.

That’s pretty empowering.

My coven sister, Tarma, has been gently encouraging me to take an interest in politics. She didn’t make me promise to vote. That would be going way too far. She made me promise to talk about voting with my kids. So, I’m talking to my kids about voting. Problem is, I have no idea who’s running or what they stand for, so I can’t really talk to my kids about voting, can I?

Nope. I can’t. Solution? Step One: Begin reading political blogs. Start small. Quips and blurbs. Take a passing interest. Step Two: Actually ask people how they are voting and then ask why. Step Three: Pay attention to the people who actually sound like they know what they’re talking about. Summarily ignore the people who say things like “My people have always voted for [insert party here].” Step Four: Engage in a conversation with coven sisters about strategic voting and how that just doesn’t work. Get a little wide on over the idea that I can vote in accordance with my principles and okay - the party I want to win will probably not win, but at least they’ll get more funding due to my little vote. Turns out my little vote is like a royalty. If you buy a book, a portion of it goes to the author. If you vote for a party, they get a little chunk of funding.

Swoon. So, it actually does make a difference. Maybe not short-term, but in the long run. No vote is a wasted vote. Well, unless you’re voting for the Flying Yogis…

ANYway. All this to say that I read through the websites (platforms included) of the Liberal Party, the PC Party, the NDP, and the Green Party, and it’s official. I’m Green through and through. I know they are not going to win in this election, but my little chunk of funding creating vote will help them run a better campaign next time, and getting involved means my kids get to see their parents getting involved, and that means they’re more likely to get involved, and hey! When I tell Axe that the Green Party is for the legalization of marijuana, you *know* he’s going to become a Green Man (ohhhh….the pagan in me SO loves that), and so on and so forth until one day, maybe, just maybe, we will have a Green Economy, (not to mention happy Aboriginal people, reduced child poverty, reduced emissions, etc. etc. etc.,).

If I don’t vote, I’ll have effected nothing.

For the first time ever - and yes, I admit that I’ve NEVER voted before in all my 37 years of life - I am going to vote on election day.

And yes, I’m voting for Pot…er…The Green Party.

F. Stuart

(x-posted at feithline(dot)com

Thursday, January 12, 2006

January 12, 2006

Yes, where does time go?

Is it really true that the older you get the faster time goes?

Already the 12th!

I have been writing regularly.
I have added tags to most of my postings.
I have folderized my Bloglines (thanks, Rosa!).
I have been more regular about clearing out the folders I really don't need to read, concentrating on the ones I have chosen to focus on.

But it should not be all about me, though should it?

What should I do for you?

How can I help you?





Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Secret

I have a secret, a secret affair.
I can't tell it to anyone, I don't dare.
His eyes are blue and his soul is bare.
Only to me will he this share.

I think I have found a true kind of forever,
only we can't ever risk, being discovered.
Hiding it all from friends and other lovers.
I am ashamed,please don't tell my mother.

I sneak out at night, just once and awhile.
To see that light shine in his eyes and smile.
He has a certain apeal, with his animal style.
I want to abandon myself to him and his wyles.

His name is a whisper on my silent lips,
His presence is known to only my hips,
Business meetings and far away trips,
When I hear his voice my heart does flips.

I want him all for me.
And yet its unforseen,
Would that we were free,
A him and I be.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

How important is your job?

When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.-Betty Bender

When I read this quote I thought of a couple different meanings it can have. 1. Do what you are passionate about. 2. Have fun and laugh a little at work 3. Don’t take work so serious that you miss out on more important things in life……

What meaning can you attribute to this quote?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Quotes & Links

From one who was away for a good while and now back... John Perry Barlow comes this:

The main change, as I said on New Year's Eve, is that I truly feel like I am present. And it's way ok. I don't know where I'm going exactly - though I expect that to reveal itself eventually as it always has - so I might as well be here. Driven into the present by an inscrutable and yet ominous future, propelled here as well by the losses of the past, I am finding myself at home in a tempospatial condition where I have to admit that things really don't suck all that much. I'm warm, I'm fed, I'm loved, and I have a fat connection to the Internet. I'm not fucked up on anything and don't wish to be. My health is excellent for a man of my age and mileage, and I have all my hair.

Yes, of course the world is going to hell in a bucket, but it usually is, and today was a sublime day in San Francisco after a siege of record precipitation. I still have a couple of daughters, Leah and Amelia, here with me, and they gladden my heart even when they're being a bit snarky. It's their job, after all, just as forbearing it is mine.

The best thing about the future is that it doesn't arrive all at once. It arrives a second at a time. This particular second is good. The next one shows every evidence of being entirely habitable.

I'm just going to try to keep it like that. Right now, it feels like I can.

I hope you can too.

Let us have ourselves a year of seconds. And live fully in all 31,536,000 of them.


And from one whom I have been away from (in that the posts have simply been growing in Bloglines without reading them), Dave Pollard comes this:

Dave Smith has come to the same point I have in his thinking about business and entrepreneurship, but he got there by a completely different route. Whereas Dave's background is conservative (his father was an evangelical minister), my background is liberal. Though we've both helped build and guide many entrepreneurial businesses, Dave learned about business from the grass-roots, by trial and error, whereas I come at it from a business advisory, consulting perspective. And while Dave's book To Be Of Use urges us all to be driven by global human values to find and do 'meaningful work', my book The Natural Enterprise urges entrepreneurs to follow nature's principles, and use bold idealistic approaches that work, to establish responsible, joyful businesses with people you love.

The big difference between our books is that while The Natural Enterprise tells you how to set up a responsible entrepreneurial business, To Be Of Use tells you why to do so. In that sense the books complement each other perfectly.




Can an alcoholic lead a political party?

Here in the UK, the leader of the 3rd largest political party (80 of 657 seats in Parliament) has been forced to resign after admitting that he sought treatment for an alcohol problem during 2005.

It set me thinking. There's been the usual, "But Churchill drank a lot, so did so-and-so" responses. But there have also been lots of statistics bandied around about the number of alcoholics in the UK etc etc. And this made me think: if the stats are correct, then by the law of averages there are a lot of recovering alcoholics occupying senior and responsible positions across society. So why can't one run a political party? We seem to have addressed societal prejudices / taboos / concerns about colour, ethnic origin, sexuality and disability. Why are we worried about the fact the guy has 'fessed up to a drink problem?

To me, this case simply says a lot about the intolerance of the politicians concerned and their short-term, "what's the political fallout next week"attitude. The man concerned led them to their biggest successes in 80 years. (I voted for them last time.) Had they said, "OK, now we're going to work with you to ensure you can carry on" I'd have been mighty impressed. As it stands, I am now even more likely to move back to the new Tory party under David Cameron.

New name

Well, to celebrate my first blogiversary I decided to change my blog-site name. Quite a decision and almost suspenseful before I clicked on "republish."

Seeing the new name up in print gives me goose bumps. My father used to call me that for a nickname when I was a child, and I wish he could see it. Oh well.

I call on the 100 Bloggers organizers and designers to change the URL on my name on the blogroll to the left ... I want to see Tamarika: Searching for Joy instead of my professional website. And I want you all to see it too.

Happy Days ahead!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Maggot Food

I complain to Barry that the muse has left me, and when I say ‘muse’ I mean confidence, ego, the arrogance it takes to string mere words as though they are pearls and present them as art. “I can’t write anymore B. The muse has left me.”

“Wait.” He tells me. “We are eggs, waiting.”

I am perverse. He says ‘eggs’ and I see penguin fathers and mothers looming over an egg they failed to pass from warm perch on momma’s feet to warm perch on daddy’s feet. I see the waiting, trusting, perfect egg roll on permafrost, and crack in twenty seconds flat, because this world of eggs and warm perches includes a wind chill factor of -70. The long march to the mating ground in vain, the penguin parents mourn as long as wind chill and starvation will allow before walking away, leaving the egg behind, because the egg is no longer hope. It is no longer life. It is no longer waiting.

“We are maggot food.” I tell him, instead of relating my penguin story. He is a father, too. He’ll have seen the movie, will recognize that the Goddess he believes I am is really just a mom who watches movies like The March of The Penguins with her kids, and is moved by the plight of mommy and daddy tux-wearing adorably waddling penguins. Who are also, in the end, maggot food.

I realize that typing it into a text screen like that - we are maggot food - is enough to depress anyone. It dawns on me that the absence of an emoticon or a j/k or a quickly typed qualifier to lighten the mood could be perceived as cruel. I hate emoticons. I have a very poorly developed sense of humour, and tend not to say anything that requires the post script ‘j/k’. I know that I have rarely found anything funny that required that post script. I have usually, when confronted with that post script, thought I was being manipulated in some way. So I leave it as is.

We are maggot food.

And I think about penguins and cracked eggs and this is your brain on drugs and waiting and writing.

And I wait, egg-like, braced to crack or hatch.

F. Stuart

Growth Like a Bull

Growth has to happen for a business to survive. But what kind of growth? Bullish?

According to the Wikipedia article a "bull market tends to be associated with increasing investor confidence, motivating investors to buy in anticipation of further capital gains." That's good.

But, the article also says "the description refers to the way that the animal attacks. Bull attacks (with its horns) from bottom up (benefiting from buying low, selling high)." Growth in this manner (with fierce attacking, prodding, and forcing forward) can be devastating and deadly.

Do we want bullish growth? Yes, as long as the recipient of our attack is the market and not our people.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Subversive links

Shelley Powers writes in the comments on her posting over at Burningbird:
The web is inherently hierarchical; weblogging is inherently ephemeral. Combined, you have an environment that overloads and overwhelms us if we attempt to flatten the discussion by continuing it long enough, and giving each partipant time equal to effort. No amount of technology will fix this.

It takes deliberate intent, practiced over time, with concurrance from all players not technology, to subvert this natural order. The tech’s just the tool to make it easier. But the tech is just as much a tool for the hierarchy, as it is against.
Respectfully, most of the 100bloggers are members of the Long Tail.

We should look to this posting for the instructions on how to be subversive in this blogosphere, and then with deliberate intent, do so!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I have a Blog Stalker!

I don't know if I should be upset or honoured?? My little blog is only a few months old and already I have an anonymous stalker, a nasty one at that. Leaving comments that I need to get a life. That my life is a train wreck. That my husband is useless and a jerk.

I don't even blog about my life, but she tells me she knows everything about me! Isn't that kind of scary?

I can follow her in my stats. She reads every one of my posts in forums I frequent and checks my blog several times a day, to see if I have posted anything new. Hmm... who was it that needed to get a life?

She started a huge comment fight on my first blog, even thanking me for providing a forum to let people tell me how stupid and useless I was. When it became ridiculous, I deleted the whole thing, and started fresh. There was no point in trying to hide the new blog, she searched for me in Google.

So I put the comments on moderated status, and still she continues to harass me with her nasty comments - even though I deleted them and they never saw the light of the blog. Wow, was she angry that I deleted the first blog, and that I would not post her comments.


Today she told me that the sad thing is about my life was - everyone got the joke, except me!

I didn't want it to come to this, but today I set my blog so that you have to register before you can comment. My son, who runs a forum himself, says that won't stop her. I can only hope she will eventually get bored and move on with no response.

I don't know what makes me so special? Most bloggers wait months or years before they are discovered by the crazies!!


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Life Begins... This is a journal of my sorrow, loss and grief.

Direction

The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.
- Barbara Hall, Northern Exposure

Blogiversary



Today is the first year anniversary of my blog, and that's why I enjoyed the synergy of Troy's invitation to me yesterday.

Hm ... I wonder if I still look as good in a hat?


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Testing the Waters


This appears to be becoming a comfortable place! I was graciously invited some time ago but had not acted on it.

The picture is from a country store in rural South Carolina.

Happy New Year.
Joan

Links: Ethics or courtesy?

There´s a very interesting conversation taking place at Peter Dawson´s blog. It seems like there are some bloggers who don´t like or don´t feel like adding links to their blog posts. There´s one case in particular, Richard Edelman, "who actually does not link" in Peter´s words.

Whatever be his strategy Edelman has gained some popularity for it. There´s also a reference to the matter on Scoble and Israel´s "Naked conversations" blog.

So, my question is: is it a matter of ethics, or of courtesy? Or none of them, it can be just an strategy for achieving distinction or just a measure for avoiding complexities to the reader?

By Invitation

Well, Troy invited me and ... well ... here I am. Humbled by the invitation and not quite sure how to do this. Sharing a blog, I mean.

Back from Boston and my son's gig and still not quite sure how that young man came from my womb!

I like the idea of a theme. It certainly would help me as I learn how to become one of the 100 Bloggers.

Thanks, Troy.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, January 02, 2006

How about a monthly theme?

One of the reasons some of the non-posters may not have posted is due to lack of inspiration.

By providing a theme, the group could generate some discussion around a common topic from our various points of view. We may not reach an agreement (nor in many cases would we have to) but we would have laid out the various lines of thought for and against, round and about a particular topic. This monthly theme would draw forth the best of the 100.bloggers. This would showcase the reasons many of us are here to begin with, to share and learn from each other.

By keeping the theme on a monthly basis would allow ample time for all of us to have our say and allow for or other lives (do we really have an other life?, should we?...) to continue while the discussion continues.

Thoughts?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Thanks!

100 Bloggers...

Thanks for a great 101 days!

In case you are wondering, 42 different bloggers have posted to our blog to date. That is (just) a little short of our goal, but there are several writers who have joined the team, but have yet to post and we look forward to their contribution in 2006. The good news is we did clear 100 posts in 2006, which isn't bad for having no direction whatsoever.

Now, what about 2006?

Well, that is open for discussion. Send you recommendations to 100bloggers@gmail.com or simply post them here.

...

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2006!

Check back often, there will be a lot to write about this year.

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