Monday, February 27, 2006
But my freedom it wasn’t free
Your life and heart, your mind and blood,
Pay freedoms price for me.
I send my little boxes,
Packed with love and wrapped with prayer
Hoping that when they reach you
Smiles and laughter will light your life
While you read these odds and ends from one
Who’s safe at home.
I read the lists,I check them out
When I do not hear
that you’re alive and fighting still
My heroes over there.
I write your families of the pride I feel in you
My unsung heroes who live and die,
protecting those under the shield
of freedom being bought.
I tell them just how much their love;
it helps you to be strong
Their fears, their tears I pack away,
and send them up to God.
Until our freedom is secured
I will write and I will pray.
That our nation will stand as one.
Offering you honor as you pay
The price that freedom costs.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
She did not convey an imposing personae, yet her insights were amongst the best of the conference. She teaches folks to work quickly. To work without thinking. To just let it happen. Many times. Then step back and select of what you have done, what you would choose to keep.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Marketing is a good thing. So are blogs.
He says, that while blogs may have had a "fad" period, that time has already passed into history.
Jantsch writes about business blogging in particular:
Thank God The Blog Craze Is Almost Over
Blogging as a business fad seems to be passing - and that's a good thing.
Now maybe people will settle down and look at a blog, at using a blog for business, for what it is. Just another, albeit powerful, marketing tool.
Yes, every business needs a blog, not so they can say they have one, so they can finally say something because they have one. Now I'm not saying that you can't have open and transparent conversations with your clients and prospects through other means, I'm just saying that people don't.
Via Wayne Hurlbert at Blog Business World
True, Jantsch is a marketer, but I see that as credibility, not a lack of objectivity. Even if you cringe at the thought that someone would see your personal blog connected to business, there is no escaping the undeniable fact that your blog markets YOU.
So what's your message?
Link indexing blogs aside, how do you "have open and transparent conversations" with your readers???
Think about it: Even if you feel you just write on what interests you, those thoughts that spill out into your blog post as content convey a message about you.
Go back and read your own blog's entries this weekend. You might discover your ho'ohana, (your intention, and your passion for worthwhile work) and that would be pretty exciting.
Then you can market away! Marketing is timely. Marketing is relevant.
You are relevant.
So get passionate about it.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Thought for the day
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Friendship has an energy that transcends prejudice. It overcomes hatred, disregards educational biases, and lends a helping hand to others in need. Friendship is sharing triumphs and tragedies, dreams and failures. Friendship rebukes when neccessary and comforts when needed. Friendship rejoices in good times and endures through the bad. Love cannot survive without it and hatred cannot stand in the face of it.
Friendship is the hope of the world, friendship is the fuel of the world. Why not think of an old friend today? Why not make a new friend today?
Monday, February 20, 2006
You could not make this up
... A community, which now it seems, must absorb the Nine Champions of RSS 2.0, because they have been banished from the round table that was the RSS Advisory Board. A Board that is no more, created by a man who resigned from it, and who gave up any intellectual ownership of the specification, but still retains ownership of the specification, to wit, making decisions about who is or is not on a board that no longer exists for a technical specification given intellectual property rights by a University that had little or no involvement with the specification, under a license that has little or not applicability to specifications, mainly created for songsters and photogs and other artsy types AND which has little or no legal standing within the rules of the land because there are no rules of the land when great bodies of water separate most of it.
If you can follow that, then you won't need to follow the link to read the whole thing!
Saturday, February 18, 2006
So to Big Media, Madison Avenue, journalists, bloggers and citizens everywhere, I say: If you think this is just a game of bubbles, bandwagons, favoritism and knowing the right people, as opposed to having good ideas and plain old hard work- Fine, go ahead and believe it. Nobody cares. Just don't be surprised when you get left behind, same as you did every other time the world changed.
You'll need to click trough to read the full posting and see the cartoon, but you knew that.And of course you know that when Hugh speaks it is anything but from a gaping void!
Technorati Tags : blog, blogging
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Hmmm...Very interesting quote that reminds me of what I do for a living. I manage an IT help desk. People call me, actually they usually call my team, and ask us questions, easy questions...to us. We're IT experts. Gurus if you will.
But to the person on the other end of the phone, they're asking questions. Difficult questions. And they don't know the answer.
And then we show them the answer. And assure them that it's going to be all right, and that's it's okay they don't know the answer.
And they understand...they understand the truth. That they're not IT experts...and that's okay. In fact, that's more than okay. That's GREAT! We don't ever want them to be IT experts. We want them to be EXPERTS at whatever it is that they do. No more, no less, be an expert at whatever it is you do.
And that's the truth.
Make it a great day,
Check this out. My manifesto is up for vote at ChangeThis. Goto ChangeThis and vote for me! You can vote once per day per computer through March 18, so vote often and tell your friends.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I decided to change hosts before I was reduced to screaming into the phone, Contemplating doing serious injury to the “support techs”. At the time, I had no idea what to look for; I knew I wanted control over my site. I wanted to be able to get into and change whatever I wanted, when I wanted. Not too much to ask is that? Apparently it is. Unless you come across a company called blue host.
I had a list of questions that I had unfortunately had plenty of time to practice asking before I got to blue host. I have to tell you when I called blue host; I had never seen a control panel for a web site. I was absolutely clueless. Not only did they patiently hold my hand and answer the same questions several dozen times; they were nice about it, really nice. By the time I was off the phone, they knew I was a grandmother, and an artist, Amazing, human interest from a company.
Ok so what’s the point? Blue host subscribers received a letter from Matt Heaton, Bluehosts president asking for some customer care feedback on his company a while ago. I sent him an email, visited his blog, made a couple of comments and went on my merry way.
Frankly I was amazed to get another letter, giving some update information, an announcement about a couple more bells and whistles, and a thank you for responding.
This company has my loyalty. Why? Because they have shown me that I as a customer matter. And to me today, that means a bunch.
Microsoft Abandons PowerPoint
Redmond, Washington February 14th, 2005 (Wacky News Service)
Bill Gates announced today, that in spite of its popularity, Microsoft (MSFT) would be abandoning PowerPoint. Originally developed by a former Berkeley PhD student, Bob Gaskins and software developer, Dennis Austin at Forethought Software - PowerPoint was launched for the Mac in 1987. Forethought was purchased by Microsoft later that year and PowerPoint was released for Windows in 1990.
Gates made the announcement at a symposium put on in Seattle by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Eyeballs. Commenting at P.E.T.E yesterday, Gates stated,
"Listen this has nothing to do with Apple releasing a purportedly superior presentation program they call Keynote. I just feel that after almost twenty years, PowerPoint has served it's purpose. If you remember, I didn't even use it for my presentation at CES in January. But, quite frankly, that isn't the real reason we've canned the product.
As you may remember, Time Magazine voted Bono, my wife and me, Persons of the Year for 2005. It's because of our efforts to make the world a better place.
Dispensing with PowerPoint is a part of that initiative. We realize that no matter how wonderful the software is, it's being used in ways that are hurting people."
Gates said that one of the main complaints he'd heard about the presentation software was its use in churches. He stated that there are over 300,000 churches in America and it would seem a vast percentage were using PowerPoint. And using it badly.
"From cluttered screens to using every font in their system, churches are making a mockery of the power of this program. Things fly in, things zip out. It's making congregants sick. And Microsoft has had enough litigation issues without having to worry about a class-action lawsuit from the millions of pew sitters in America."
This reporter asked Mr. Gates why he hadn't recommended the writings of Garr Reynolds to the church PowerPoint audience. Gates said,
"Listen, I've really appreciated Garr's comments about my own PowerPoint presentations. I've taken them to heart. Unfortunately, Ballmer has been less willing to change. But the problem is that Mr. Reynolds calls his website PresentationZen.com and churches really aren't into the whole Zen thing."
Gates stated that Microsoft (MSFT) would continue to support PowerPoint for Windows XP and earlier but that all development for Vista was being curtailed. He also said that all PowerPoint packages in the retail channel would have labels added to them stating "Not Recommended for Church Use."
Gates also told the gathered reporters that he was attempting to talk to Steve Jobs about Keynote as he feared churches would just move to the Apple platform. "As yet, I've not heard back from Steve."
Originally published @ achievable ends.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Somebody Loves Me
A good example of this happened in Grade 7. Right before lunch on a Friday, this boy in my class hands me a note. I head to the bathroom and unfold the piece of paper, which reads:
I think your cute.
Now, at age 12, I'm already a grammar Nazi, and the first thing I notice is the use of the incorrect homonym of "you're". But the second thing I see is that YAY! SOMEBODY LIKES ME!
Thus began a weekend of limitless bliss. I took the note everywhere, showing it to strangers, even. I think to myself, I'm not disgusting, I'm capable of being liked (hey, the bullying had been pretty bad; as far as I knew, I was disgusting). But I was now so happy; I still remember how good I felt.
It hadn't occurred to me on the Friday to write the boy back. On the Sunday I compose something like "I like you back" but with correct spelling, and hand it to him the next morning. He had assumed the delay in response had meant a lack of interest. And in a way, he was right.
A few weeks of note passing ensued. The boy wants to see me after school, or on the weekend, but I refuse. You see, it was enough for me to know that he liked me, and it didn't need to go any farther than that. As you could guess, the relationship didn't last. It seems you're supposed to actually spend time with the person you're dating. Go figure.
As my years and experience progressed, I didn't get much better. Each time, I didn't necessarily want, or need, to see my boyfriends all that much. Once a week was fine, even if they went to my high school. The rest of the time, I preferred to sit at home and fantasize about being with the person. I'd relish the images and feelings of love (or what I thought was love) I'd created in my head, and go to sleep smiling.
But, teenage boys being themselves, they needed a bit more from me. Namely, attention (though probably other stuff too that they never had a chance to ask me for). I was actually quite crushed when I got dumped, but another boy would come along soon enough to help distract me again.
Cut to my early university years, and maybe I'd gotten a little better at relationships. Or maybe too good; I spent all of first year with my boyfriend, to the exclusion of anyone else. It was so good, I was so happy, I had visions of marriage, even. And then it all changed, because I was 18, and what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be was in flux. So the relationship ended less than a year in.
I was in a similar situation a year later. The same happiness, the same utopian dreams of a married future. It lasted five months.
It was around this time that my mother said to me, "Gillian, you're in love with being in love." I think she said this as an offhand remark, not caring if I was paying attention. But it stuck, it really did. I thought about it, and realized that she was exactly right. I was addicted to the ignorant bliss of the start of a new relationship, but didn't want anything to do with the guy once that feeling was gone. All these years, I'd just been getting off on the "somebody likes me". Holy cow.
So I stepped back from dating for a few years, not wanting to unduly hurt people by trailing them along for a few months and then dumping them when they turned out to be less than perfect. In fact, I never really stepped back on the relationship bandwagon as much as I was once on it. Knowing my weakness for the early relationship daydreaming, I tried my best to counter it with cynicism and bitterness, with moderate success. It hasn't always worked; even now a boyfriend will do something human and fall off the pedestal I'd subconsciously put him on. But at least I'm aware of myself when it happens.
What I've learned most of all from this is the folly of putting so much importance on having a boyfriend, or in having someone like me. Have you heard that cliche about needing to be happy in yourself before you can be happy with someone else? I totally buy that. I've realized that there is nothing good in waiting for boys to make me feel good about myself. It makes sense not to; I mean, do others think better of me when I have a boyfriend, versus when I'm single? I hope not. I certainly don't think better of friends when they're in relationships. Though I might think less of them if they're choosing bad relationships over no relationships at all. There's no shame in being single.
My Valentine's Day message for anyone who will listen, then, is that if you're alone, be happy alone. Don't base your self worth on whether somebody loves you, but on whether you love yourself. If this has to be a day about love from others, think of the less fickle types, like the love of family, friends and pets. The feelings they give you may be less euphoric, but they last much, much longer.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
My strategy this year was going to be; soak our entire property in a zillion gallons of concentrated DDT or some equally effective and safe pesticide, and laugh, hysterically as I watched the little demons die. The hardware/feed store said they couldn’t sell me DDT, at any price, because it's dangerous. Boy are they wrong.
So plan B is now in effect!
That is: call pest control frequently, maybe daily. They have to come, they put it in writing they would, wasn’t that nice! The pest Control Company only charged us half of our lifetime income for the privilege of keeping our yard fire ant free. The problem is, they forgot to tell the fire ants, to die.
They are very nice people, I am on a first name, how are your kids, what did you do for fun over the weekend basis. That should be the only clue needed.
They told us that spraying twice a year was going to control the fire ant population on our property. Somehow they were confused about that, because I had to call them weekly, sometimes daily.
I wonder if they know their secretary has such a magnificent command of swear words. She is almost as good as John, when he is really mad.
I did notice they start shaking uncontrollably when they open our gate. Not really sure what's up with that. We have decided to take them up on their guaranteed renewal contract price for the 5 years they offered it.
Although after I mentioned it, the next time I called, they were experiencing phone problems. The phone company tried to tell me they had disconnected their phone. I finally tracked them down in South America, they remembered me.They are coming tomorrow. We will show those fire ants what extermination is.
Crossposted at petsgardenblog
Friday, February 10, 2006
The only stupid question...
I ask a lot of questions. I encourage those around me to ask a lot of questions. It should come as no surprise, then, that I was completely intrigued by this article that suggests smart people ask questions. It's true. So many people are afraid to ask questions because somehow this idea that questions somehow make you stupid or antagonistic has pervaded our cultural identity.
We need to shake that and ask more questions. Questions lead to answers, and answers can often lead to an increased awareness that benefits those around the inquirer.
I spend much of my teaching time asking questions. I tend to teach a concept, and then start asking questions until I feel that my student is comfortable with te concept and can work on his or her own. When a student is struggling with an assignment, they know I'll start asking them questions to help them think through what they're working on.
I've actually started wondering if my teaching method borders on the Socractic Method, but honestly, questions work.
Posted to EducationNiche
Thursday, February 09, 2006
In Which I Talk About Prayer
I like ritual. The problem, lately, is that all ritual feels empty. It feels like I’m going through the motions.
I wrote to a support person yesterday:
“I am not the prayin’ kind, but when I realized that my coworkers and supervisor were behind me, and my job was not at risk, I felt something grow in me and extend beyond my body. It was like a part of me reached out in gratitude, reached for divinity.”
My support person (who is a psychotherapist who works with troubled kids, and is also a member of the COPD quit smoking support group I’m a member of) replied with the following:
“You said that you are not the praying type, but that you felt something reaching beyond your body. I have some very interesting news for you. Teresa of Avila, one of the most renowned mystics in the Western world defined prayer as “A silent reaching toward the transcendent.” There was a very special mystic from Toronto, Catherine Doherty, she died in the late 1980s, and she defined prayer as “the soul’s silent reach upward.” Maybe you were praying and never knew it.”
I was mind blown by this. It felt good to have some perspective applied to my experience. I started thinking out loud on paper and wrote this:
“The understanding that I can feel a sense of reaching for divinity, that this feeling can extend beyond the boundaries of my known self (body), and that this can be recognized as prayer, is - wow. Mindblowing. I’ve studied shamanism and altered states created by various disciplines (meditation, chanting (words!), dance), but what you said put a new spin on these activities (which I enjoy, but which I never felt all that spiritually fulfilled by).
All honest, pure reaching out for God is prayer. I’m not required to sit on my knees with my hands folded and say the right thing. I am required only to stretch my knowing outward (or inward?), remain receptive to what I might experience, and leave it at that. It need not be complex or even ritualistic. Just a gentle pushing against my own edges to find where I end and divinity begins.
At least, that’s where my thoughts are leading me today. “
All honest, pure reaching out for God is prayer. No words. No posture. No rules. Just reaching…
Profoundly, deeply inspiring, that thought.
::Reaches, and believes::
x-posted at My Place
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Where's your ladder?
It is incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder climbing the ladder of success only to discover it's leaning against the wrong wall.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
The darkness I want to see in someone else's heart
It's a good feeling as I look into the empty "compose" blog. I didn't expect this is how I would feel about writing here. I just promised Troy I would write something. I didn't know what I was going to write. I just came here.
I had forgotten the feeling of anonanimity, at least in my mind. I now remember why it was somehow a more peaceful practice, practically meditative when I wrote in my blog in the time before. I like this.
So now, this isn't the protangonist of the other blog speaking, this is me...
And what does I have to say today?
I think I am dissappointed that the man I loved isn't the man i thought he was. He is not who I thought he was at all. I think it's sad that he can never be who I need him to be because he's just not that person. I called him tonight because he was sad the last time I talked to him and I wanted to check on him and see if he was okay. Instead of thanking me or being glad I called, he seemed annoyed, as if I was butting into his life. How fast things change. A few days ago when he was sad, he wanted to talk. Today, he is fine and he doesn't want to talk to me anymore.
How good it feels to write this into the void. How maybe that's what's the best thing about having a blog. I can write down my thoughts and share it with some people, people who don't know me, or know the situation. Who don't have a lot of opinions of who I am, and what I should be. Do not know the history or the people. I feel lighter. I think maybe I can refrain from calling him up and telling him that he makes it nearly impossible to be friends with because he can be so unlovable. He can be so brash and blunt. He has no softness that one can fall into.
Once upon a time he was the only softeness I could fall into. He was the first person in years that I felt like I could meld with. I remember thinking, "this is the first day of the rest of my life," after I met him because suddenly the world openned up. Like it was a safer place. Like out there, when I wasn't looking, when I thought it couldn't happen, I would bump into the person who I needed most to bump into. Who would kiss me just the way I needed to be kissed. He would let me lean onto him and make me feel safe and that there was someone who would let me lean onto him.
I don't know if it was just the time. I don't know if he had changed since we met. I don't know if I just mistook everything. Just got everything wrong in my head. Like I read the subtitles wrong as if it was foreign language and as I learnt to speak it more clearly what I thought I understood is not what was to be read at all. I have no answers for that. I will never know. It's like sometimes when I looked at him he didn't seem like the person I met before.
I think he probably thinks the same of me. In fact, I often thought that. He's forgotten who I am. I was the girl who he told me changed his life. Who made him think there was something else out there. And I ceased being the person who was "out there," that he wanted. When I was standing in front of him, I was this other person, and that girl he fell for is somewhere else out there, so he had to go find her. He didn't see I was that girl. He had forgotten.
If he reads that, he would have a lot to say about how that is not true. He would find the meanest, most cruel way to tell me about how that was not true. In fact he would say that he knew very well that I am that girl and he didn't like her at all. She is just not the right person for him, he's looking for something else. Then I think he would get a little pleasure from knowing I would be hurt.
That's just who he is.
I think he actually gets pleasure from being cruel because in his head, it gives him power and he's better. If it hurts someone, it means they care and if he can hurt them, it means he has control. He's is one up on them. These days I actually think his heart is shaded so not much light goes in.
That is until he's vunerable. Until suddenly he has some feelings, that he becomes the person who I once knew. That's when he calls me and need to talk. That's when he suddenly rememebers why i was so special to him, because I understood and I could listen. That moment something openned up and he craves the light. So he needs to talk to me and say he's sorry.
"For what?" I ask,
"For everything." He says.
"And what would that be? What did you do?"
"For hurting you."
"I don't think you know what you really did. I don't actually think you're sorry for any specific thing you did because when i tell you, you just tell me that it doesn't matter. That what I felt was not important. That's what you say, "That's not important.""
That is actually what he says, when i was sad, "That is not important."
It never occurred to him that is was important to me.
If it was important to him, he would not have done it. So obviously it wasn't. But I wanted him to know it was important to me.
But even if it was important to me, it didn't matter because for him it wasn't.
I think some people would call him selfish, but I have gotten passed thinking that. I have given up using that word. It doesn't even seem to feel like it applies.
Now I feel it's more stupidity. Just plain stupidity. Thickness. Denseness. Unpenetrable blankness that turned dark. The inability to open one's mind to put a different thought from a different perspective into the equation.
Sometimes I cry.
I cry sometimes for myself obviously. But sometimes I cry for a little boy who will have to contend with that person as he grows up. That this is his father and as much as I can just eventually walk away, forget, move on, live life. That boy will always have him as a father.
I cry because I think. He really really cared about me. He really really respected what I thought. Sometimes when things are quiet in the stillness I think I can see that he loved and maybe still loves me.
He called me to tell me that he hadn't forgotten about me. That he still thinks of me. That I am different from the other women. That when he is down and he is sad, when the blackness has truely gone into him, he uses the memory of me to hold him up. To warm him up.
He wouldn't do that if he didn't care. He wouldn't have done that if he didn't care at that moment. He did that because he did care, and cared at that very moment because he wanted me not to think that he didn't. That he had moved on faster than I had. That he wanted me to know so I didn't feel that pain anymore. He called to tell me that he cared.
And that makes me cry because he cared about me and my feelings but did everything to break my spirit. To not listen. To talk over me. To make fun of my thoughts. To be angry. To be mean.
I like to think that was the darkness in his heart speaking.
It's better to think that he has some innate darkness than to see him as incompetent. To admit that he can do no better when his heart if full is more frightenning. To know someone loves, cares, and wants the best for someone else but can't achieve what needs to be done is more depressing, sadder, more hopeless than to think it's just part of him.
To be innately dark is nature.
To hurt, to let down, to dissapoint when one wants to do something else is far more tragic.
Getting Blogs Done
In case the reference is lost, my favorite productivity guru, Dave Allen, wrote an excellent book about productivity in general, "Getting Things Done". A blog is a thing, thus "Getting Blogs Done". David Allen's book and thinking has become so popular, it's almost a cult. It's great stuff, all about getting things out of your head into a trusted system so you can spend more time in flow. Getting your thoughts out into blogs will help you experience flow.
Here's some inspiration, some link food for getting your blogs done.
One of my favorite blogs is written by Kathy Sierra, one of the authors and conceivers of the Head First series of computer books. In her blog Creating Passionate Users, she exhorts and encourages a wide variety of folks in a very non-techie fashion to help users "kick ass". The quickie advice she gives for bloggers is to write less about ourselves and write more about what would make a difference in the lives of the readers.
That's what to blog about. How about motivation to get blogging. Blogs are changing the marketplace. Here's some inspiration from Kathy Sierra and Robert Scoble to get on with it!
And finally, a couple paraphrased quotes and a link. Mickey Rooney is quoted in one of David Allen's books that when he has an article to write he sits at his desk and he better well have a good idea. There's a great book out,
Never Eat Alone. Apart from a book full of great pearls of practical wisdom for success in life, he repeats the most important lesson I've ever heard about writing. Do it, and do it often. You'll get better.