Are You Reacting To Things Properly?

A couple of days ago I got included into a conversation on Google Plus that had nothing to do with me. I was included because the topic was something this person figured I would know something about, and based on some of the comments on the post I know she figured someone had to give a dose of reality, and it was going to be me. lol

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What’s your reaction
to me holding this baby?

The post began with a guy saying he’d created a phone app that would help those who downloaded it find black businesses for services they needed. He said if it went over well that he could develop it for other types of ethnic businesses later on.

Almost immediately the conversation broke down between white and black lines, with white people saying they didn’t understand why such a thing was needed and that it was racist (way off the mark; obviously don’t know the definition of racism) and black people defending it saying they thought it was a great idea and could hardly wait to use it.

I left my comment with statistics and a dose of reality because that’s how I roll. I complimented the guy for creating the app and said that if he could make it work for other groups that would be a good thing as well. Eventually the statement came that I knew was coming because it always comes: “When will someone create an app for white businesses?” I responded directly to that one by saying “They did; it’s called every other app in the world!”

This isn’t a post to debate whether it’s a racial thing or not, and I hope that doesn’t end up being the only response it gets, like my last post only got responses about diabetics and the like because I mentioned diabetes. Instead, it’s a post that questions when and where people decide to get mad and upset at things and wonders if sometimes people go over the edge because they have other things going on at that moment, or just because they don’t know any better.

A case in point is the Sandy Hook shooting back in December. On that day, some nutcase, who had already killed his mother, walked into an elementary school and shot 20 children and six adults before taking his best shot and shooting himself in the head. A horrible tragedy that I’m sure anyone would agree to. But within a day the situation had devolved into a discussion of whether there should be more or no gun control; little about the kids and teachers who lost their lives. The same type of reaction and discussion came after the Boston Marathon bombing and there weren’t even any guns on that day.

Then early this week there was a video of a phone call (sounds weird but many of you might already know about this) where a guy had ordered a pizza from Papa John’s in his hometown (same town where Trayvon Martin was killed) and got a mistaken call from the guy who delivered it where the guy was saying all sorts of racist stuff about the guy, complaining that he “only” got a $5 tip on a $14 order (that’s a great tip by the way) and ranted and sang racial epithets for about 4 1/2 minutes, all left on this guy’s phone.

He put up the video, really didn’t comment on it when he did it, and it went viral. When the comments came, some were in support of him but at least 35% to 40% were against him saying he was looking for publicity or money or that he should have handled it quietly instead of putting it out in the open like that. Of course the racists came out and called him and all the rest of us (including me) all sorts of names.

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What about the baby’s
reaction looking at me?

I thought about the different types of reactions and how it seems this world has gotten so polarized that even when one thinks the entire world will know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong it seems that we don’t know each other all that well at all. Some of the things we react to are either overblown or unnecessary; why is that?

I’ve been working hard in 2013 to reduce the amount of noise that comes my way that could possibly stress me out. In a post I wrote about the Dr. King Holiday back in January I mentioned that I was working towards personal peace and had stopped watching the news. I also stopped following a few people on Twitter and blocking certain topics on Facebook that were more inflaming than I wanted in my life.

I still know what’s going on in the world but I now get to decide how much effort I’m going to put into knowing it all. Therefore, I know nothing about Jody Arias except she was found guilty, I know there have been horrible tornadoes but I’ve kept myself from obsessing about them (especially since I’m consulting in an area known for tornadoes; oh joy), and I have no real idea what’s happening regarding the sequester (nope, not a thing).

I’ve found that my reactions to most things are pretty much in line with how I used to be before I became an information monster. It’s suiting me well, and I’m happy with how things are working out. Will there be the occasional time where I’m going to go off on something? Sure; after all, I have blogging and videos to put out right? Have to be interesting in some fashion.

Some folks might think this is the same type of thing I talked about in my post on reacting to potential negativity but it’s not. In this instance I’m not saying everything that people react to badly is negative; just their reactions might be. We all need to take more time to evaluate some situations, some news, some commentary, and some blog posts to make sure what we say fits what’s really going on.

And then maybe there won’t be reactions to what someone writes like some of what I got back when I wrote this post years ago on the topic of modesty; now there was a case of some folks personalizing something that I never saw coming. 🙂 By the way, if you like this post please share it in your social media spaces; I think it’s a topic worth exploring further and I always forget to ask for the share.
 

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Insulin, Injections And Blogging

Some of you know that I’m diabetic. If you don’t, welcome to my world. Overall I go on about my business like everyone else but there are issues here and there. I’ve told the story about how I learned I was diabetic, how every once in awhile I have depression because of it and on my other blog talked about the day I had to start taking insulin injections, which I still do to this day.

insulin and needles

What I’ve never done is related any of the diabetes stuff, especially injections and the like, to blogging. Those who have been around understand how this works. I find that there are lessons one can learn in life that relate to other things. I’ve related blogging to quite a few things over the years including how blogging is like poker, chess, and visiting new stores. Now it’s time to make the connection to blogging, diabetes and insulin.

Before I begin, I’m going to explain why posts like this can work and why they might not. People love stories and don’t always like learning new things. But if you couch your points within a story, even if people don’t understand the full frame of reference, they’ll usually learn the lessons better. And with posts like this one, there are multiple lessons to learn about both blogging and diabetes and insulin. It’s all good! And here we go:

1. As you can see in the image above, there are two different ways of delivering insulin through a needle. I had to switch from the one on the left to the one on the right because of costs; I save more than 80% with the one on the right. I didn’t want to switch, but I did what was economical, ergo correct, because insulin can be expensive and going with a delivery method that was easier to manage rather than saving money on it so I could roll it over to something else just didn’t make sense.

When it comes to blogging, the switch kind of goes the other way if you’re serious about it, depending on what it is you’re looking to do. As both Blogspot and WordPress.com start coming down on more people who try to make money or write controversial posts through those platforms, and now that Yahoo has purchased Tumblr, more people are going to find themselves feeling squeezed by a presence that has the ability to not only censor but block you. Self hosting may not be free but it’s not expensive on a yearly basis and gives you much more freedom and way more choices of things you can choose from. It’s scary to switch from one thing to another; I get it. But sometimes you have to think about the benefit of doing so.

2. It took me about a week to get used to the new syringes as opposed to the big needle. That’s because the process totally changed. I went from screwing a needle on, turning the thing on the bottom to the proper dosage, pushing it into my abdomen somewhere and pushing the thing at the bottom to an alcohol swab on top of the bottle of insulin each time, unsheathing the syringe at the top and bottom, having to work the plunger around so I could do something with it, plunging it into the bottle, turning it upside down, having to try to balance it without bending the needle while pushing air into the bottle, then withdrawing the dose I need, and then having to figure out how to handle this little thing so I could push it into my abdomen and push this plunger.

You know what? After a week I started to prefer the syringe. The thing is that as tiny as it is it’s set up for more stability when it’s time to inject myself. Whereas I was hurting myself at least 3 times a week with the big pen, I only hurt myself once every 2 or 3 weeks now; I never saw that coming.

My impression of syringe needles was so far off that I had built up this major fear factor without any real history or research to base it on and it turned out to be nonsense. Not that I want to inject myself at all but with the lack of pain, I’m more inclined to make sure I take care of my personal business every night.

Something that stymies many bloggers is this sense that they’re stuck in a rut and have to do things one way and one way only, otherwise they have to shut things down, intentionally or not. When I started this blog, even though I had another one, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, how to write it, or really what I wanted to say. I only knew I was going to say what I wanted to say, whenever I wanted to say it.

Within a few months I’d pretty much found my voice, but I did keep changing things up here and there. Now, even though I’ve found my voice, I doubt anyone can say that they always know what to expect when they read a post from here. For instance, did any of you even dare to believe one could tie in blogging with the other topic from today?

It’s okay to take chances with your blog, to shake things up, to go off topic here and there. It’s what makes you interesting and keeps people coming back to see what you’re going to do next time.

Diabetes in the US
GDS Infographics
via Compfight

3.You know what? It’s possible that half of you reading this post right now are diabetic; isn’t that scary? What’s even more scary is that some of you know it, or know that you’re possibly pre-diabetic, yet you won’t go to the doctor because you don’t want to know.

Here’s the truth; whether you have diabetes, cancer, MS, or bad breath, nothing goes away until you know you have it and can start to do something about it. I may not always be the best diabetic, but I know the rules, know what I have to do to be good and feel better, and I know medication helps. If my wife hadn’t encouraged me, with help from my dad, I might not have gone to check things out, but I should have been more willing to do what was best for myself to begin with. It’s a major lesson to learn, as Beverly reminded me days ago about a review of her book I wrote in 2011 that contained a quote by yours truly; check out the link because it’s a very good book.

With blogging, you never know how far you can go until you give it a try. Yes, I’ve asked if you’re ready to be controversial but I’m not saying you have to go quite that far. If you think your blog writing is boring spice it up. Look through a thesaurus and use some different words. Try being funny, try using images or different images if you’re already doing it. Try adding a video, whether it’s yours or one on YouTube that you like.

Most fear is when you’re scared of things you don’t know about, but some fears can be conquered. Some can’t, such as my fear of bugs (ick), yet I’m never afraid to take a chance on things where I have to make a decision one way or another. You shouldn’t be either; why?

4.Even though I said earlier that I’m more inclined to take care of myself at night, it doesn’t mean I’m perfect at doing it. Some nights I just don’t get around to taking all of my medication. Some nights I don’t remember if I’ve taken it. I have a pill box that maybe once every 3 weeks I remember to put pills into so I can remember.

I’m also kind of a reactionary eater. If I want dessert I’m eating it. I’m good at staying away from pasta most of the time, as it’s worse than desserts, but I’m not as good up front as denying myself other foods when I have a craving that, later on, I remember are high in carbs, thus bad for diabetics (contrary to popular belief sweets aren’t the worst things for diabetics).

In other words, sometimes I make mistakes in my care and in taking care of myself. However, I always make up for it the next day and usually for a few days afterwards. Actually, I’m pretty good probably 90% of the time I’d have to say. I think my mother is the only person I know who’s perfect at taking care of herself, when she eats, how much she eats, when she takes medication, when she brushes her teeth… on and on. She actually has a written schedule. The only thing she’s bad at, which I inherited, is having a specific time to go to bed every night; no one’s perfect.

When it comes to blogging sometimes you’re going to make a mistake, even if you didn’t know it at the time. Hey, it happens. Typos, misspellings, not getting facts totally straight, merging lines… we all do it. Don’t ever be afraid to take a chance at doing something out of the norm, or even in the norm that you’re worried you might be making a mistake on. For some backup, check out this Google Hangout video that I led:



http://youtu.be/TMVPogrwuwM

5.Over the 16 years since I was first told I was diabetic I’ve learned a lot. I don’t always apply it; sometimes it’s my fault, sometimes I don’t work as hard in overcoming some of the challenges that make it hard to keep up with, such as when I’m on the road and trying to follow all the proper rules, which includes exercise. What I have learned though is that when I’m good and apply everything I know and stick to the plan, things always end up better for me. If feel healthier overall, my glucose numbers (these days they call it blood sugar but I just don’t like that term) are better, my outlook on life is better (and my outlook on life is usually pretty good so having it be better is miraculous)… life is good.

When it comes to blogging, it’s great to find a routine and pattern that works for you and then try to stick to it unless you can improve it. Routine doesn’t mean if you’re boring stay boring. What it means is that if you need to set a schedule for yourself to make sure you write a blog post a week, then do it. If you have to give yourself an hour to write a post, do it. Sure, you’ll slip every once in awhile, but consistency is the key to not only great blogging but great participation from others. When you do the things you should be doing for your blog you’ll feel better, it’ll perform better, and you’ll be a happy and positive person.

There you are; I’m betting you didn’t think I could do it. I hope you’ve learned lessons about both and are not only willing to try it yourself but to give me a good comment below on your thoughts of this venture. Come on, don’t be afraid; didn’t I cover fear above? 😉
 

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We All Lie; I Might Be Lying Now…

I was listening to this presentation by some woman on a TED talk on the subject of lying and telling the truth. Her premise is that all of us lie in some way, in different degrees, and a lot of it is based more on who we’re talking to than what we’re lying about.

I'm lying
Taylor Dawn Fortune via Compfight

I found that intriguing, and I don’t remember any of the numbers right now because I was doing somethings with numbers at the time and didn’t want to mix these things up. However, it got me thinking enough about the subject to decide to write a blog post about it; that’s inspiration for you.

One of the major recommendations I always make when it comes to blogging is that you should be truthful in what you write about because people can tell if you’re putting them on. When I think about my own writings, and if I was going to be honest, I’d probably have to say that I’m at least 90% honest in all the blog posts I do.

You’re wondering where I’m lying, or why I’m not owning up to a full 100% right? Well, based on what this lady was saying, if we sugar coat certain things so we don’t hurt people’s feelings, or withhold some things that we think might coat us in a negative light, or someone else in a negative way, that’s a form of lying, if indirectly doing so.

It’s in that vein where I may be lying to you sometimes. I don’t often set out to intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings. I certainly make sure I choose my words fairly carefully when I write blog posts, even if I’m telling a true story. For instance, when I wrote my post about bullying on blogs and mentioned my friend’s blog and video, if you visited either one of those you’ll see there was a lot more emotion in what she wrote and words that I’d never use in person, let alone write on my blog. In my mind I told her story in my way, as honest as I could with my personal demeanor, but not as brutally honest as she told it since it happened to her.

So, was I lying? Directly no. But based on some of the comments the post received I had to wonder if they would have been different if I’d told the story differently, showed way more anger than I did, told more truth than I did in my post about her experience, maybe shared more of one of my own experiences from my past. Is that lying or a writer’s prerogative, and does a prerogative negate something as a lie or not?

I’ll put the question out to you, because who says that experts always know what reality is anyway? lol Often I think reality is what we believe it is and science is what it thinks it is, and the two don’t always agree. So, when we don’t tell it totally as it is are we prevaricating or are we still being truthful, just in our own way?
 

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I’m A Spammer! Well, Not Quite…

Before I get into this post, I’d like to mention that I was interviewed for the first time about my finance site, which was pretty cool. I also wrote one of my rare guest posts for Sonia of Logallot titled 7 Certainties Of Blogging That Prevent Boredom. Check those out if you’ve got the stomach for it. 🙂

Last September I wrote a white paper and put it up on my business website for potential clients to download. I decided I wanted to capture email addresses so I could follow up on some of the people who downloaded it. That turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life, and I’m still paying for it. And I should have known better.

Dean Studios (Des Moines, IA) Advert,  Early 1960s
Joe Wolf via Compfight

It worked pretty well initially, as more than 50 people downloaded it. Then suddenly I started to get a lot of returned email, only I hadn’t sent these emails out. It seemed that my business email address had been scrapped because of the script I used and was now sending spam email blasts out with my email address, though not from my IP; thank goodness!

Not only that, but these scammers have hacked into multiple people’s email accounts, though I haven’t been able to figure out which ones, because every email that comes back my way has a different person’s name on it, and every once in awhile when someone responds to it I can tell that they know the person by name.

I should have known better because this type of thing happened to me back in 2007 as well. At that time I created my newsletter page with a script so that people could give me their email address along with a message and also tell me which newsletter they wanted, as I was writing two at the time. Within months the same thing started happening, though not at the volume and length of time this one is. All I did then was remove the script and it stopped within a few weeks. This time around it’s been almost 8 months; help!

Actually, the official term is spoofing, and it seems there’s little I can do about it except hope it slows down at some point. One blessing is that, unlike years ago, my email address hasn’t been put on a blacklist. That’s because these days IP addresses are logged instead of email addresses, and none of them are coming from my IP.

Most of the time I delete the messages, but every once in awhile I download one and try to track down the IP address, though I know that’s fruitless. And I will download any emails where someone thinks they’re responding to their friend and tell them what’s going on, hoping that they’ll contact their friend and that they didn’t click on the link in the email.

What are the lessons to learn here? Check this out:

1. Find ways to verify any scripts you put on your websites. Maybe instead of just scraping your email address someone will figure out a way to get into your website or blog and hack it; it’s been done often.

2. Make sure that if you’ve got an email address on a site like AOL, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc, that your password is strong. Don’t make it easy for scammers to find your stuff; use caps, numbers, symbols if allowed, and try to make your password at least more than 10 characters; I only have one that short.

3. If you ever receive an email from someone you know but there’s no signature file at the bottom of it, don’t open that bad boy. And if most emails you get from your friends don’t have signature files to begin with (shame on them), just look at the email and see if it resembles what you’d normally get from your friends. Some folks are just so trusting…

4. Make sure you have a good antivirus program running just in case you have a lapse of mental faith and decide to click on a link without thinking. Good software will prevent the virus or malware you just invited onto your computer from getting there.

So, feel sorry for me while taking precautions of your own; protect yourself, because there’s a lot of nefarious people out there.
 

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Reacting To Potential Negativity

We all have to deal with the negativity of others from time to time. That’s just how life is; nothing stays perfect for long, if it ever reaches perfect.

03/52
Diego Diaz via Compfight

Something I’ve always recognized, yet haven’t handled as well as I wish I had, is that sometimes the negativity I experience is more my perception of what someone else has done rather than their intention. Let me explain by using an example.

I have a friend I went to college with who was also my roommate in senior year. He’s a funny guy and we’ve always had a lot of fun together. However, he also has a mean streak that sometimes irritates me; he rarely used it on me, though it was back in college. He’s not the kind of guy who necessarily sees the best in people; some folks just have to live their lives like that unfortunately, but usually his heart is in the right place.

Every once in awhile he’ll comment on something I put on Facebook, as it’s the only social media thing he cares about. Sometimes the comment is relatively normal. Sometimes it seems, well, spammy, based on what we would consider as spam in blog comments. When he does that I get really irritated, and one day on the phone I asked him why he does that sort of thing. His response; he thinks it’s funny.

Here’s the thing. No matter what he says or how he says it, I’m responsible for my reaction to it. I know the guy, more than 30 years, and I know what he’s like. In person, if he said something I’d just look at him and move on. But online, sometimes I work too hard on protecting my reputation in public spaces when there’s nothing to protect. At least not so much that I need to get upset about it; who agrees with that statement?

It’s in that vein that I decided to do the video below because this past week I’ve been watching a lot of videos on YouTube that weren’t from my normal channels and I’ve been amazed at some of what I’ve seen and how people have reacted to it. Sometimes we really can learn something from young people.

After the video I’d like to know how you respond to negativity of others, both in public and online. I’m working on it and I’m getting better, but I’m not quite there yet; I have 50 years of stuff to work on. 🙂



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtMN7e0HVMA

 

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