Carry The Load

Almost 5 PM here and I am stuck in a tiny room, earphones on my ears and Springsteen keeping me company. Got a boatload of work to do and endless interruptions.

Reminds me of days long gone when I was all of 17 and desperate to move away and live on my own. Bruce kept me company then too but his words had different meaning to me then. There was a different sort of hope and speculation about the future that drove me.

Now these tunes about the common man make me think of a guy punching a clock day in and day out with nothing much to look forward to. He doesn't smile or walk under blue skies, this man I see. No, his existence is dull, drab and gray and I am concerned.

Concerned because this is not how I see the world. This is not my normal perspective but lately it has become far more comfortable and familiar. Lately it feels like I have to look harder to see the shiny things in life instead of that which is old and tired.

It is not supposed to be this way. We're not supposed to feel like we are carrying the load by ourselves..uphill...both ways.

Bruce says there is no where to run and no where to go and I nod my head. Got to suck it up a little bit longer and walk a little bit farther because no one gets out alive.

On the lighter side of things got all sorts of good stuff coming down the pipeline, just a little bit longer. Just you wait and see.

Google Drive- Online Storage


It is an intriguing proposition, this Google Drive. If you want to have access to your files wherever you go and whenever you want this might be one potential option to consider.

Here is what Google has to say:


With Google Drive, you can:
  • Create and collaborate. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so youcan work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items.
  • Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go). All your stuff is just... there. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the web, in your home, at the office, while running errands and from all of your devices. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive app to your Android phone or tablet. We’re also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices. And regardless of platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.
  • Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time.
You can get started with 5GB of storage for free—that’s enough to store the high-res photos of your trip to the Mt. Everest, scanned copies of your grandparents’ love letters or a career’s worth of business proposals, and still have space for the novel you’re working on. You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB.

Shameless Promotion

It is shameless promotion time. I am busting my ass trying to build the subscriber base and community for both TheJackB and Words Left Unspoken.

That is because I have taken a very active role in trying to live my dreams and not dream my life away. Some people are content to pass the time away. Even though they say they aren't happy they just tread water and figure one day something will change.

Not me, I don't want to end wherever the current takes me. I am trying to steer the ship as best I can. I am working on several books right now. Some of them will be published as eBooks but the story at WUL is something that I have bigger dreams for.

I am pitching agents and exploring publishing options. If nothing else I can self publish, but I have received enough positive feedback to think I can find someone to publish it. It is not quite done yet but it is close.

Someone once told me that they would work so that I could write. I wish that I had followed up on that for a million different reasons. Writing is a passion. It is something that comes naturally but with practice I can become better.

Passion. That is what writing is. That fire in my belly never goes out. It is just one big ring of fire that burns, burns, burns.

I'd love for you to join me on this journey. Become a fan of my Facebook page. Subscribe to my blog and be prepared for the newsletter that I am building.

Life is a journey and it doesn't all have to be fantasy. Join me.

Making It Happen


This video is going to be part of a larger and longer post over on the main blog but it resonated so strongly with me I decided to include it here.

Later on this evening I'll have that other post ready to go. In the interim take a look at this video and think about the message.

I don't think that merely saying "'I want" is enough to make things happen but you don't always have to have the most detailed playbook either.

Stay tuned, more to come.

Books and Newsletters

I have a number of professional goals that are tied into this blogging gig. I alluded to some of them over here but in case you haven't had the chance to read that post let me sum it up for you.

Kindle Singles, ebooks and "real books."

I want to take my writing and publish it in all of the formats I just mentioned. As part of the process I am working on building a platform that initially will be tied into the main blog. If it works the way that I want it to it will eventually need its own space, but we are not at that point yet.

Right now we are working on learning how to walk so that we can move on to the learning how to run stage. This is why I anticipate that I am going to create a newsletter that I'll use to connect with the people who are most interested in my writing.

At the moment I am exploring different newsletter providers like Mailchimp and Aweber and starting to figure out how to build my list of subscribers.

If it works the way that I want it to this newsletter will be a very useful tool that will help me connect with more people as well as provide a practical tool for growing traffic and building awareness.

Some people are content to pass the days now in places and relationships that are unfulfilling. I am not one of them. I don't want to dream my life away. I want to live my dreams and that is why I am taking action. That is why I am taking control.

I would rather try and fail than fail to try.


One Of the Best Blogging Tools I Have Come Across

CommentLuv Premium is one of the best blogging tools I have come across.

It is a plugin that I highly recommend for self hosted blogs. I use it on my main blog and have been very pleased with its performance.

It helps build traffic, cut down on spam and has been a very useful tool for building community. I highly recommend it and would love for you to check it out.

That is an affiliate link above so if you are interested I would ask that you click on my link so that if you choose to purchase it I will get credit for it.

Headlines You Won't Read

Almost midnight on Sunday night and it is time for me to roll out a new post here on the old blog. Here is where it all started, this wild and woolly ride into the blogosphere.

This joint is where I reinvented myself a dozen times and more importantly found what I had lost. This is the old home that I sometimes visit because I find it familiar and comfortable.

It is a mix of faces here, those familiar and those that aren't. Sometimes when I come through here I feel like I am wandering among the ghosts of the past. This is where I see you who used to hang with me and I wonder if I see you or just a shadow.

Does it matter. Should I be concerned that the ghosts of the pasts are wandering among my present. Or is it possible that I have mistaken the past for the future. I sometimes wonder about that and think that it could be possible that I have made a mistake.

But if I want my children  to walk through fields of fire without fear I have to do the same. I have to move through, around and over all sorts of things that go bump in the night.

That is not necessarily such a bad thing. Much of this is contingent upon attitude and desire. So here I am working on my attitude but not my desire.

That is as strong as it has ever been. I could write about it at length. I could produce a treatise that would put Ripper to shame. I could make Spaner cry. I could schlatter them all with bullshit, but what would the point be.

Anyway, this is probably just another headline you won't read. But just in case you do come see me over here.

Those Old Familiar Places

Dear Junebug,

Well I keep running into you in places familiar and those less so. When I look for the quiet places where I can just be I discover new connections between us and wonder if that damn universe is messing with me again.

You see, I keep telling you that I am not buying what you are selling because I am not. But I am also swamped right now- got a boatload of crap flinging monkeys attacking me so I can't do anything but focus on them.

It is frustrating because I miss my girl and I miss the woman who used to support me. It is not the first time that I have said this to you but I notice your absence and I fight my battles alone.

Since there is no reason to expect that to change any time soon I have been working hard to put myself in the best possible position to fight. I look for high ground and try to find some shelter that I can use to cover my back side.

That is the sensible thing to do, the reasonable thing to do. It is what I focus on and then these fercockteh connections come up and it is like someone is honking a horn while holding your picture. It is like you are standing outside my door screaming, "look at me!"

Maybe that is just memory because there was a time when you did that. There was a time when you couldn't stand not to have more contact. Maybe I am just hearing the echoes of the past. Maybe the chaos of the present is what has me looking every which way and it is causing this commotion.

Because every time I start to emphasize ignoring it that noise gets louder and more reminders get thrown in my direction.

So I said screw it. I won't spend effort trying to drown out that noise. I'll let it ride. I'll let it be and we'll see what happens, where it goes and what becomes of it.

Maybe nothing, maybe something. Someone told me that when the universe talks it is never direct, always sideways. So this is me telling the universe that if it can't talk straight it can't expect me to respond. But just in case it changes its mind I am here to listen.

And the same goes for you. If you ever get your head out of your ass I am here to listen to you too. Double standard, illogical, irrational and short you.

Crazy, hysterical and confused you.

If that doesn't irk you just a little bit I'll have to admit that I have lost my touch. Speaking of touch it wouldn't take more than a moment to make it all come back to you, now would it. ;)

It is not ego when it is true, now is it. ;)

Google+ redesigned


Venture Beat shared the following:

Google has started rolling out a fresh new redesign of its Google+ social network ,with enhancements like better navigation and larger photos, the company announced in a blog post today.
“We’ve just begun the worldwide rollout of a more functional and flexible version of Google+,” wrote Google Senior VP Vic Gundotra on his Google+ page. “We think you’ll find it easier to use and nicer to look at, but most importantly, it accelerates our efforts to create a simpler, more beautiful Google.”
Google has bet the entire company on social, for better or worse — with Google+ tying in to other services like YouTube and Docs. In a recent company update, CEO Larry Page said Google+ had more than 100 million active users, a sign the strategy is working. Of course, one caveat is how the company defines “active.” If a person accidentally finds themselves on Google+ once a month (which is easy to do), is he or she an active user?
Now if I can only find more time in the day I might be able to make better use of this new design and all the bells/whistles that come with it.

Show Me The Money

It is noon on Tuesday afternoon. The sun is shining and my kids are on break.

Me? Well I have spent a chunk of time today trying to collect on money that people owe me. These dollars that I am chasing aren't in the pockets of friends or family nor are they loans to other people.

No, it is money I am due for work that I provided for others. Companies hired me to do freelance work months ago and didn't pay on a timely basis for no other reason than because they can.

They know that I am one person and that it is unlikely that I will bombard them with daily calls and or hire attorneys/collection agencies.

It is irritating, infuriating and unprofessional.

I won't work for them again, but that doesn't take care of the interest that I am not earning or the bills that I haven't tended to yet because they haven't paid me.

My work was turned in on time and published. It was used immediately. It was of good quality but even had it not been they still owe me. We had a signed agreement and they will honor it.

There is no doubt in my mind, but it irritates me that I have to chase after it. It irritates me that I am going to have to drive down to an office and demand to see whomever I need to see to get a check cut sooner than later.

Because when I say show me the money what I really mean is pay me. And this game that some of these people play is why I sometimes want to strangle the amateurs who foul up the system and make it harder for the rest of us.

And now that I have vented I want to invite you to come read:


Relationships

Sometimes I am amazed by how relationships evolve and change through time. There are people we promise the world too because in our eyes they deserve it.

They deserve all that we can give and then a little bit more for no other reason than because we care for them. When it works the way it is supposed to you feel a little bit like God is smiling down upon you and you can't help but believe that the sunshine and blue skies are there just for you.

It is natural and normal for things to turn and evolve. It is not unexpected to see relationships move like the tide. There are moments where it is like high tide and then low tide comes.

Nothing wrong with low tide other than when you find yourself waiting for high tide and discover that it doesn't seem to be coming back.

If you are smart you don't panic because there are a million different reasons why that tide isn't coming back the way you want it to. So you head out into the sea and search for the thing that is blocking it. You look for answers to what is preventing those waves from rushing back to you.

But what do you do when you can't quite figure out what is obstructing the tide. What happens when you can't see the blockage or figure out how to remove it. Do you shrug your shoulders and move on because you can't tear down the dam that is preventing the water from returning.

Or do you set up camp on the beach so that you can watch and wait because it is not inconceivable that this blockage will be resolved by other forces.

It is a subjective question and you'll likely find that the answers vary tremendously among people. Ultimately you have to figure out which choice helps you sleep at night.

Hello, Goodbye


I am listening to Pavarotti sing and working on a variety of projects both personal and professional when suddenly I am hit by this thought:
One day you'll wake up and someone important will be gone from your life forever.
Telephone calls, texting, email, Facebook, blogging and every other form of communication not called memory will be useless.
What will you do when that happens.
It is not the first time that I have thought about this but today it hits me harder than normal. That is probably because it is the first Passover without some of the more important people in my life. It is not unexpected or surprising and I have always known that this would be coming.

But it is another reminder to me that time is short and that we have a limited window of opportunity to do certain things with friends and family.

Since this is a time of year in which we do a bit of spring cleaning it is also a time when I sit down and look at the physical and mental things in my life. I look at what I own in both places and try to figure out how to reduce the clutter.

I look for the things that just take up space and try to eliminate them. The physical stuff is really easy. It doesn't take more than a moment to decide whether something deserves to be carried around for another year.

But the mental side, well that isn't always as clear cut. That is where I look at the promises I have made and who I have made them to so that I can try to decide if things have changed.

I probably should clarify and say that I don't focus on everything, just the stuff that jumps out at me. These are things that for a variety of reasons demand my attention.

Relatively few things capture my attention in this way. Over time I have become quite adept at limiting that which requires my eye but those who do, well they do it.

So What


So what is the question that I pose after I acknowledge their presence. It is what I say when I think about whether they deserve my attention and the energy I have devoted to them. Not everything does and sometimes it is easy to just let go.

But those others, well I don't always let go when I see a reason not to. Sometimes that is because I see opportunity and value that isn't worth throwing away. Sometimes I see reasons why it makes sense to hang on a bit longer.

But there comes a time to say goodbye to everything and the question that you have to ask is what happens then. What happens when you aren't given the opportunity to reconsider decisions. What happens when you realize that you made a mistake and you want to try to fix it but can't because they are gone.

Sometimes life is more complex than we might like it to be.

P.S. some of my best stuff can be found over here.

Distractions

Sometimes people say things they don't mean. Sometimes the things they say are really sweet or really mean. It is our choice to decide how we wish to respond to these words and how much weight we should assign to them.

It is something that I have been thinking about because recently some of those words have gotten stuck inside my head and I have felt them bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball. That damn thing ricochets off of this and that and I feel myself growing ever more irritated.

That fire that burns inside never goes out and when shit like that starts I feel the temperature go up a few notches. The words inside my mind aren't unleashed. I don't say everything that I am thinking. I don't unload the way that I can because it doesn't make sense.

I have learned to take a breath when heart battles head. If I set those words free I can guarantee that they will find their way under the skin. They cut to the quick and they are painful.

Lashing out might make me feel better for a moment but it doesn't necessarily serve my cause nor is it necessarily warranted.

So I step back and look at it all like I am playing chess. I measure, analyze and consider intent. Were they meant to be accepted at face value or were they just thrown out without any regard for consequences. Maybe it is somewhere in between.

I am the most impatient and patient man I know. I look out the window and ask if actions accompanied those words and think that maybe there is a contradiction between what is said and what is done.

When I find that inconsistency I call bullshit and say that I don't buy what is being sold so I shrug my shoulders and head a different direction.

There are holes in this story. Giant, gaping holes that will be filled one day, maybe. 

I make my own fortune.

Sincerely,

Heavy Construction


There is heavy construction going on over at the main blog. Blew the hole damn thing up and rebuilt it again. Slowly but surely it is coming along.

I am really begin to like the way it looks I think it is a big improvement over the old look and I hope you do too.

Here is a sample of some recent posts over there:

Dad’s Field of Dreams Doesn’t Recognize Failure
Tear Down The Blog
How To Use Video Games To Build Quality Time With The Kids
What Happens When Your Blog Blows Up
The Challenge That Every Blogger Faces

And here are a few more thrown in for good luck

Write What You Know
She Dances
Mean Girls Come From Mean Moms

Words On A Page

 Added a few words on a page, some well written, some less so but all with purpose in mind. Can't win the Pulitzer every time, for certa...