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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

December
29
2014
7:48 pm
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I realized recently that it’s been 2 years since I last blogged.  There is a distinct feeling of “lack” – I sorely miss the blogging atmosphere, the community and the closeness I experienced when I was active. Much of what I got out of blogging was replaced by Facebook due to how easy it was to use, along with the “quick post” option, linking to stories, and catching up with people who don’t regularly visit blog sites.

Facebook made connecting with others brain-dead easy.

But the more I use Facebook, the more I recognize some major downsides – the polarity of the “like” button, the mounting privacy concerns, the ineffectiveness of “text-only” arguments, the outright assumptions made by strangers, and more.  The persona that people put forth is but a mere facsimile of the real person underneath.  I believe peer pressure and the allure of attention influences way more than it should.

Facebook made being seen by others a priority over actually connecting.

I don’t think people can be “real” online and this relevation didn’t hit me very much until this last year (2014).  People will spit venom online that they wouldn’t dare utter (or even think) if they were talking to you in person.  There’s a false confidence and a bullying tendancy for some when they can hide behind a pseudo-rally on someone else’s post.  The name calling is intense.  The strawman arguments are pervasive. The cherry-picking of other’s words to formulate a battering ram of responses is amazing to watch.

Facebook made some people meaner.

In many ways, 2014 was a year of major division points in the nation.  Pick a topic, and there’s a bunch of people on one side of the fence eager to burn and rip to shreds anyone who dares to be on the other side of the fence.  It doesn’t really matter if there’s any fence at all, or if the fence was constructed piece by piece by conflict-peddlers who sell tickets to people to watch the fights at the fence.  The polarity is staggering – the enemies that people have crafted in their mind are diabolical, and the need to fit “the other side” into that idea of an enemy is equally diabolical.   Person #1 states something and unless Person #2 completely agrees, Person #1 has a handy list of boxes to put Person #2 in until they conform.

Facebook made people take sides.

As the arguments heated up, people upped their game. They had to not only cherry-pick something to fight with, but they also researched online any evidence whatsoever that supported their side.  It doesn’t matter that “researching online” can be an oxymoron.   Simply because they could sit and compose the perfect reply without interaction, feedback or fact-checking, they sat contentedly in their own juices, marinating in their hatred.   With people’s news feeds filled with only the things that confirm their own world view, their own self-confidence grows to enormous proportions.  The typical information diet is sorely lacking in some basic essentials.

Facebook made people instant experts in absolutely nothing but their own opinions.

I frequently found myself checking my phone here and there since the mobile app is so easy.  Status update notification!  Someone liked this post!  Here’s a video you gotta see!  17 Reasons To Write A Headline That Pops and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!  Everything is vying for your attention and competing for your clicks and likes.  When I wondered what my employer would think or would want to track regarding my social media use, I decided to severely limit any Facebook use during work hours.  But then when I’d check in while on the road, at the airport, or at night, I’d see a lot of people posting all day long.  I then wondered – do they work?  Are they getting paid to Facebook all day?  What if everyone’s Facebook profile showed a handy chart of “Time Spent Per Day” and their employer could see it?

Facebook made me wonder about my friends.

And that is not a good place to be.  Who am I to judge or understand what someone does with their time?  Maybe they’re in a waiting room at the doctors, or maybe it’s their day off.  Maybe they’re more efficient than me at working and can throw in a few updates here and there.  Maybe they ARE retired, unemployed, or otherwise not beholden to a supervisor to answer to. Either way, if I’m wondering at someone else’s usage of Facebook, what am I really concerned about?  What should I be reviewing about myself that I’m so concerned what other people do with their time?

Speaking of judging, I frequently lament the lack of filters on Facebook.  I am someone who highly prefers a lack of profanity in business, casual or public settings.  Although the age limit is 13 years old, that’s still a very young age.  Facebook doesn’t let me put a filter on that says “don’t show me posts with bad words”, at least not that I’ve found.  Then there’s the IFL science pictures and posts that make profanity a house-hold word for everyone.  It’s like over the last five years, the whole world got *real* comfortable with vulgarity.  I feel like I’m the only person left of my peers that doesn’t REGULARLY cuss as part of their postings.  Are they like that in person?  Do they talk like that with their kids or other people’s kids around?  Is this how they really are, or is this the persona they are pushing outward?

Facebook made people into potty-mouths and me into an apparent goody-two-shoes.

As these things weighed on me, I constantly was reminded of the “good old days” of blogging.  Am I mis-remembering blogging somehow, and forgetting the bad things?  Did I unfairly abandon blogging because it wasn’t doled out piecemeal like Facebook?  With blogging, I had to actually set aside some time to compose an entry, and then some other time to read other people’s compositions.  Compare that to Facebook where I can literally spend anywhere from 20 seconds with a quick check and a “Like” button to hours of scrolling, watching videos, researching and composing responses that get ignored… and it’s no wonder blogging took a back seat to the convenience that Facebook offered.

At the very least, Facebook made me write this blog entry.

 

February
3
2012
6:30 pm
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With the (not-so) new job, I travel a lot more. As with any change life throws at you, the choice is completely yours as to how you respond and react. You can either resist or rejoice. You can either relapse or rebound. You can either rejuvenate or reverse.

There are two contradictory phrases I adhere to.

1. You make your own destiny
2. You can’t control what happens to you

Maxim #1 embodies my zealous pursuit of excellence. If I want something to happen, I need to go *make* it happen. I shouldn’t expect a job; I need to earn one. If I want a better job, I don’t wait around for a promotion or some lucky break, it’s up to me to work harder. I don’t need to find a better partner in life, I need to *be* a better partner in life.

Maxim #2 sounds like it conflicts with the first one, but in reality it completes it. The “destiny you make” takes into account the things that “happen to you.” It is the choice of how you react that puts the control squarely in your hands.  The phrase “mind like water” seems appropriate to mention here.

I could complain about the travel… I could be all “woe is me, look at me, I have to stay up late to catch this flight” or focus on all the many seemingly bad things that can happen. I still do it sometimes, of course, but if I catch myself I try to stop. I don’t like it when people continually focus on the negatives, because eventually, it’s that negativity that defines them. I don’t want to descend into someone who’s always seeing the negative of any given situation.  Because you don’t just see the negative – you be the negative.

So what are some good things about the travel?  The frequent flyer miles are awesome.  It helps fund a quality family vacation.  I get to meet fantastic people and see neat places.  I broaden my horizons with new experiences, weird foods, different cultures and did I mention the food?  My family misses me, and I them, but that makes our reunion that much better.  I find myself more available to do things on “me time” like see a movie by myself.

But what I’ve found is the more I concentrate on the positives that are all around me… my life is just plain better. The same circumstances have happened, but in one situation, I’m down, gloomy and upset, but in the other I’m happy, upbeat and ready for more opportunities.

The other revelation is that as I’m sitting there noticing the positive things, not only am I happier, but it seems more positive things happen. It’s almost like the Universe is watching when it sends things people’s way.

Example: Let’s say I’m sitting at a blackjack table. I’m having fun, maybe losing, maybe winning. Someone comes up and watches a little bit and comments “I never do well at these table games – the odds are all wrong.” He sits down next to me anyway. We chat it up, he starts to play and soon we’re talking about work, a local show, having some fun with the dealer.

As we play, I get a blackjack. Huge win! The guy next to me sees it and says “See what I mean? I never get those.” We continue playing and I get a few others in the course of about 45 minutes. In fact, I had an extremely good run of the cards in that amount of time.

The guy gets ready to cash in and is still negative about the experience. He saw me take $100 and it turned into about $350 in that hour. He comments about that, too, and says he’s never that lucky. “These table games are a total ripoff, you know?  I can’t believe I wasted my time.  But look at you, seems that’s always the way with me – the guy next to me gets all the luck.

I ask him how he did as he’s cashing out. He had turned $100 into $200 in that same time frame. I said “you did great! You doubled your money!” His response is a pointed finger at my winnings and said “yeah, but look at you. These table games suck. I never win at them.

Here’s what I think about that situation. I envision the Universe sitting around having a drink with the Sun, the Earth and the Moon, just shooting the breeze. The Universe says “watch this – see that guy down there? I’m going to send some good vibes his way, double his money, and see how he reacts.” So the Universe sends some good luck to the guy and he sees the reaction from the man, and wonders why he even bothered in the first place.

But the Universe sees MY reaction and says “now, there’s a grateful guy. I think I’ll send some more good stuff his way – he’s at least thankful, even when what I send isn’t that great.  He’s a member of my Frequent Smiler program and gets Elite status.

Universe — thank you. I’m always looking for the things you send my way, no matter how small. I think it’s my job to find them.

The better I get at that job, the happier my life becomes.

Now that today’s life lesson is out of the way, I should do what every good blogger does – add pictures to your blog posts. So here are some pictures from my airport wifi experiences.

 

and

Ha!  There’s positive things even in the very air that surrounds you!

November
11
2011
9:09 am
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I first posted this back in 2008 and thought it deserved a re-post today.

A Lesson That Should Be Taught In All Schools

Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten.

On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom. When the 1st period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.

Looking around, confused, they asked, “Ms. Cothren , where’re our desks?

She replied, “You can’t have a desk until you tell me what you have done to earn the right to sit at a desk.

They thought, “Well, maybe it’s our grades.

No,” she said.

Maybe it’s our behavior.” She told them, “No, it’s not even your behavior.

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom.

By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms. Cothren’s classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom.
Martha Cothren said, “Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.

Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk.

The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall.  By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, “You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.

Follow-up  What Is A Veteran?

A ‘Veteran‘ — whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve — is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount of “up to, and including his life.”

That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today who no longer understand that fact.

Now for the question you knew was coming:

What would YOU write a blank check for?

June
21
2011
6:00 am
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Showing love for NYCWD.  Cereal Kisses, Dawg.
(for more info, read this post or this post)

 

…then there’s something wrong with you.

This is just plain neat. 

I start thinking about the code, the testing, the algorithms, the physics and the talent needed to pull something like this off.  How many hours went into it?  How FUN was it to work on?  Did they have all-nighters?  What kind of cameras did they use?  How much power does it require?  How much does it weigh?  How many crashes did they have from the time they started filming this series of examples to the end? 

What also comes to mind are other facets of human existence that could be augmented by the additional automation and robotry that this new advancement offers. 

It might help with rescue operations…

…or enable remote-controlled terrorism.

It might be unique art and decoration…

…or create new methods of vandalism.

Maybe a little entertainment?

…or present new lows of debauchery.

How about labor savings?

…or cause further atrophy of mankind’s declining work ethic.

It could manifest itself as any sort of task that would become optimized in some way from a self-flying maneuverable object with hand-like protrusions or a payload of some sort.  The mind boggles at the options that are made available.  As computers increase their processing power, analytical judgments and macro-like routines to be stored and called up with a keystroke (or triggered by a stimulus), well… this isn’t your dad’s model rocket, now is it…

How about you?  Do you initially see this gadget as a beacon of hope for innovation and improving our species, or is it a harbinger of the eventual proof of Einstein’s adage that states “our technology has exceeded our humanity?” 

What was your instinct when you first saw the video?

When I read about Bottle Bombs recently after a neighbor saw one down the street from us, right in front of the Elementary School, I wonder about our humanity.  Bottle Bombs are home-made explosive devices made with Drano, tin foil and a plastic soda bottle.  The pranksters terrorists carefully make it, carefully set it somewhere, and carefully LEAVE IT BE.  As soon as it’s moved or jostled by someone, a chemical reaction takes place and 30 seconds later, it explodes with extreme force and boiling liquid.  There’s a video at the Snopes page I linked to.  The idea is they leave it somewhere where someone is likely to pick it up, and leave it somewhere where they’re likely to have to carry it for at least 30 seconds.

I’m not sure how I’d react if my 8yr old son’s hands were blown off by some teenager’s twisted idea of what constitutes a funny prank, all because my son wanted to pick up some trash on our doorstep, in our yard, or at the playground.   Trash.  Trash that was left there intentionally for kids to pick up and become horribly injured by.

I wish nature had a way of making people earn their knowledge.

In a way, I guess it does.  At some point, we’ll all kill ourselves.  That’s likely “the plan” going around in the Universe anyway – surviving our own selves is a rite of passage into the Brotherhood of Intelligent Species up there in the heavens somewhere.  Someone out there is probably betting on us; gambling Republic Credits or Federation Starchips on the 1000:1 odds that we even make it to what we call The Year 2050. 

Who knows – maybe it’s a solid universal fact that no species makes it “in” the first time – that they have to grow, explode, die off and then grow again, hopefully keep something around to remember our mistakes, grow again and eventually “get it”. 

Maybe Atlantis was our most previous try.  I’m pretty sure we’ve forgotten it all.

The whole thing conjures up quotes from Dr. Ian Malcom (played by Jeff Goldblum) in 1993’s Jurassic Park:

The lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here, uh, staggers me.

I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here: it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it, you want to sell it!

Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

So, a massive fireball shoots across the sky and mysteriously explodes right before it would have hit the planet.

Also, volcano ash is stopping air travel in Europe

volcano-ash-plume

A couple of earthquakes in the last week.

The Haiti disaster.

Swine Flu.

Tsunami.

Katrina.

And it’s Tax Day.

A few of you think I’m crazy, and I won’t stop until all of you do.

Read the rest of the entry for more of the same.

(more…)

I’ve written about this before, and on this Veteran’s Day I again urge you to read about it and act.

Help a soldier.

Help him or her to call home while stationed overseas. 

You might not realize it, but despite Skype, VOIP, massive military funding, advances in telecommunication and ubiquitous cell phones, our servicemen and women still don’t have the ability or means to call home as much as they’d like.  It is for that reason that 590KLBJ radio runs Operation Call Home – donate a dollar, a few dollars, or the cost of a night out to directly purchase calling cards for our troops.

operation-call-home-2

operation-call-home

Thank you, Dad.  Thank you, granddaddy Rex.  Thank you to my uncles and extended family who served.  Thank you, Veterans.

Pessimists suck.

I was thinking today how… if I wanted to, if I *really* wanted to, I could be unhappy. 

I thought – if I concentrated hard enough, I could find a ton of things to be upset about.  Things to complain about.  Things to ruin my day or my week.  Things that could ruin my life if I let them.

Have you heard of gratitude journals?  I believe Oprah is a fan of them.  You’re supposed to write down the things every day that you’re thankful for.  I’ve never tried it myself, but have heard the wonders it does for people who are depressed or unhappy.

Since I’m so happy all the time, I wonder what would happen if I decided to start a complaint journal.  You know, for balance.

I could dwell on the fact that I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life.  Two hundred and seventy-five pounds of blogging muscle.

I could lament that I’m not at #avitaween this weekend like all the cool bloggers.

There are personal issues that could seriously weigh on me if I let them.  I don’t disclose them on the blog.

I owe a lot. In many ways to many people, and not just financial.

My feet itch.

There’s more politics to rile me up than ever before in my life, and it feels like the entire news media, the government, the blogging world, and most of my friends are against me and my principles.

I went without internet at our new house for a full week. Also, AT&T’s 3G coverage at our new house is horrible compared to our old house.

I forgot to set FastForward to record for my wife.  Now we’re weeks behind.

We still don’t have jet packs.

There are at least 3 jobs in my past that had I taken them when offered, I’d be a millionaire now.  I have 2 jobs in my past that I took a year too late and missed out on a million dollars.

My car’s muffler / tail pipe scrapes the bottom of our new driveway because of the incline.

I have health concerns. 

I’ve had to spend > $1000 on our two cars for maintenance, and I have at least another $1500 that needs to be spent, but we can’t right now.  $320 of it was for a leaking gas tank, and they just had to replace one little rubber grommet, but it costs that much anyway.

I still don’t have the game room TV cable hooked up, and we’ve been in our new house a week.

A road I drive every day will be moving from 2 lanes to 1 lane for 19 months while the government spends unneeded TARP stimulus money to pay workers to rebuild a bridge that doesn’t need rebuilding.

Speaking of driving every day, I used to work from home.  A LOT.  Now I have to go into work with 0% teleworking.  That means an additional $100-200/mo on gas expense.

I took a new job where I’m not the man in charge any more.  No clout, no history, no old-timer’s advantage.

That’s a lot of stuff, and I’m just disclosing or hinting at things that I’m comfortable saying on my blog.  If you know me and my blogging style, then you know there’s a lot more reality behind the scenes.

These were complaints off the top of my head.  Yet, I can easily come up with ten times as many things to be thankful for.  And it’s easy for me. 

In fact, it’s usually all I think about.  I keep being amazed at how lucky I am in life.  Everywhere I turn, I’m impressed with something.  There’s always something to make me smile.

Why don’t others have an easy time with it? Is it just perspective?

Despite all those things I listed above, I’m having one of the best days of my life today.

Here’s one of the reasons.  I found this on Iron Fist’s blog and I love it.

I’m so easy.

October
12
2009
9:57 am
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What is it with the rash of compassion?

The definition of compassion

  • a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering
  • the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it
  • Since when does compassion mean “removal of consequences”? 

    Let me take a moment to say…. Nature is awesome.

    (stick with me for a minute).

    Nature, whether created or come about by chance, has survival down pat.  It knows how to make winners.  Nature doesn’t tolerate the weak nor the stupid.  The compassionless ice adheres to all the tree branches in the winter and the heartless wind breaks off the ones that can’t withstand the weight of life.  If the grasshopper doesn’t store up enough food, it dies.  There are no Extinction Committees among the animals.

    In Forrest Carter’s The Education of Little Tree, he writes:

    “Don’t feel sad, Little Tree. It is The Way. Tal-con [the hawk] caught the slow [quail] and so the slow will raise no children who are also slow. Tal-con eats a thousand ground rats who eat the eggs of the quail — both the quick and the slow eggs — and so Tal-con lives by the Way. He helps the quail. … Take only what ye need. When ye take the deer, do not take the best. Take the smaller and the slower and then the deer will grow stronger and always give you meat. … Only Ti-bi, the bee, stores more than he can use… and so he is robbed by the bear, and the ‘coon… and the Cherokee. It is so with people who store and fat themselves with more than their share. They will say a flag stands for their right to do this… and men will die because of the words and the flag… but they will not change the rules of The Way.”

    Sadly, our society has interrupted Nature’s wisdom.  We have replaced the concept of compassion, which should be limited to “a deep awareness” and/or “sympathy for” with some sort of edict that we prevent failure at all costs.  Without consequences from failure, we do not improve.  We have no incentive.

    We see it in our children, with the eradication of First Place Trophies.  Instead, we give “Participation” awards to everyone, and people who try harder or who accomplish more don’t get the recognition they deserve.  We rejoice in our collective mediocrity.

    We see it in our government, with the inhuman and prolific handing out of free resources.  One of the worst things you can do to a human is remove his need to provide for himself.  Atrophy is the great killer of minds and souls.  When a person receives good will from another person directly, there is joy and compassion, and a required stigma for the recipient to improve themselves.  When a person receives a check from a cold hard brick building, there is entitlement and laziness.

    We see it in our taxes, with automatic withholding.  If citizens had to pay a check at the end of the month to the Government, along with rent, food, clothing, transportation and entertainment, they may pay better attention as to what “the government” pays for and instead realize it’s what “we” pay for.

    We see it in our jobs, with Affirmative Action.  If someone doesn’t hire someone because of the color of their skin, they need to be disciplined and fired.  Other than that, may the best person for the job be hired; quotas be damned.

    We see it in the bailouts, with TARP and Auto companies, and AIG and banks and airlines and mortgage companies and paper companies. What’s next?  Newspapers?  Radio Stations?  There is no “too big to fail.”

    When my child spills some milk on accident, I don’t clean it up for him just because he didn’t mean to spill the milk.  He still has to clean up the milk.  Otherwise, he won’t think it’s important to avoid spilling next time.

    We need to wake up.  We need to let failure have it’s turn again.  Don’t get in Nature’s way.  She will do her job whether you go along with it or not.

    Nature has some culling to do.

    August
    6
    2009
    5:30 pm
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    1111.

    This is post #1111 for me.  Here, you can see what my blog’s admin page showed right before I decided to post.  And 11:11 was actually on my mind at the time.

    1111 posts

    I’ve written about 11:11 before; I’ve even started an 11:11 niche site to have a place for people to discuss.  I’ve got another little hunch about 11:11.  Read on.

    Not too long ago, I was listening to George Noory on Coast to Coast, one of my favorite favorite radio shows.

    Sometimes I just listen to pass the time.  Other times, however, I end up altering my schedule for whatever I was doing because I don’t want to get out of the car while the show is on.  Some of the shows are that intriguing.

    On one of these type of nights, I went to Wal*Mart.  Unfortunately, neither the Blackberry nor the iPhone has AM radio (the Zune has FM radio, which is close but doesn’t help), so I couldn’t take the show with me while I shopped.  So I called my wife and said I’d be taking a little longer than usual because I was really digging this show.

    In the show, the guest was talking about a special visor they had made.  This visor was able to open and close a shutter of sorts (maybe a see-through lcd panel?) at high frequencies.  You could hook it up with a USB cord to a laptop and the software would control the rate of speed.

    You know how you can see a wagon wheel on tv and it looks like it’s moving backwards?  Or if you take a picture of a clock every 59 seconds and then replay all your pictures into a movie, the clock is moving forward in reality but looks like it’s moving backwards in the movie?  

    This animated GIF demonstrates the wagon-wheel effect.
    The “camera” constantly accelerates toward the right
    at the same rate with the objects sliding to the left.
    Halfway through the 24-second loop, the objects
    appear to suddenly shift and head backwards.
    (From Wikipedia)

    Well, this visor can display normal reality but it changes your “frame rate” for lack of a better term, to different frequencies.  On the show, they were talking about the various frequencies that would sometimes produce ghost-like images or other people / entities in the room.  One was 100hertz I think, and maybe 110 hertz.  I can’t find the show online and I don’t remember exactly.

    I predict that “1111” will be a frequency at which we can use a visor like this to detect signals, information and maybe other beings.

    And it will happen November 11th, 2011 on or about 11:11 GMT.

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