All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Black Web Friday – 1/27/12

Last week was the first installment of Black Web Friday on this blog and this is the second one. I’m slightly surprised that it actually made the top 10 most visited posts in the last week, but somewhat disappointed that the numbers weren’t higher at the same time. But that’s okay because it’s going to grow, and even if it doesn’t I’m committed to it for the long haul, or at least the next six months or so.

Black Web Friday

Before I begin, I did want to talk about criteria for a moment, as in do I have any? It’s an intriguing question because as I go along this journey, if you have any way of tracking rankings you’ll notice that some of the people I highlight have lousy rankings. To me that’s not enough to disqualify anyone from being highlighted.

What will disqualify someone is if there’s been no new content in at least 2 months. Now, that’s 2 months from the day I’m researching sites to highlight here, which means right now any site that hasn’t had anything new since the beginning of December. As I add more sites to my list, the date may float, but since I figure that if I make it 6 months I’ll end up highlighting anywhere from 50 to 75 sites overall, my list might be complete before I get there. Now, if I go to the end of the year then it could change up; we’ll see.

The first site I’m highlighting today is called ColorLines is another black news and commentary site that, as it says, focuses on “solutions to today’s racial justice issues”. It’s very much a site that covers hot topic issues, which right now seem to be politics and Etta James; still? 🙂 Actually, even though it’s geared towards a black audience, they also take on issues of other minority groups, as I was impressed with their article titled Charlotte’s First Baby of 2012 Sparks Anti-Latino Hate, where a Latino baby was the first baby of the year born in the Charlotte, NC area and people griped because they believed the press was highlighting a baby born by an illegal alien; people need to get a clue.

The next site I’m highlighting is called iZania, and it’s a black business networking site, not quite along the lines of LinkedIn but it’s intentions are the same. The site is the brainchild of a guy I met on Ryze many years ago named Roger Madison, and even though I don’t go often, I think I was one of the earliest people to sign up in… well, I’m not actually sure when I signed up. I even added this article titled Mixed Messages there. The site has over 8,800 members, and there’s the possibility of making business connections there, but I’m not sure most of us have really taken as much advantage of it as we should.

The final site of the day is easy. This is highlighting my buddy Mitchell Allen of Morpho Designs who’s also looking for beta testers for his software called Parsermonster (he likes the word “monster” for some reason). He’s the guy who actually convinced me to start this series after a bunch of conversations on the topic while playing email chess (in a game that I believe ended in a draw lol). For the Shorty Awards, where I asked people to nominate me in the category of “blogger”, I nominated him in the category of “writing” because he’s just so creative it’s scary. And I literally mean that because in his own way he’ll remind you of a Stephen King type of writer at times, and other times it’s fantasy stuff. And he’s smart; take a look at some of his older posts about Scrabble words, a series he just recently discontinued. Once again, proof that a black blogger doesn’t necessarily have to write on black topics. He definitely deserves to be noticed and on some lists; he’s built up a long time pedigree on multiple sites that shouldn’t continue being overlooked. We’re going to get rich at the same time. 🙂

There we have it, 3 more sites for you to check out, though I’m expecting many of you already know Mitch. Until next time America (Maury Povich’s famous former last words).
 

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My “Watch-Less” Experiment

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I like to experiment here and there. One of the reasons I experiment is because I have preconceived notions about things, including myself, that every once in a while I need to challenge. Another reason is that I know I’m not the only one who has the certain habits, or something like them, so taking them on and then talking about them might help someone else address issues they have.


Yes, this watch is for sale 🙂

As you can tell by the title, I decided to go without my watch for a while. Of course there is the history behind this, and a brief little story as well.

I learned how to tell time when I was three years old. I got my first watch on my fourth birthday while living in Japan, and it was unlike any watch anyone else had. Mine had a spaceship on it, which was really cool because the space age was very new at the time. Eventually I went from that watch to a couple of Timex watches, then a military watch that glowed in the dark if it got enough light during the day, and finally my first digital watch a year after I started college. Around 1982 I got my first programmable watch, which not only allowed me to set alarms, but allowed me to put phone numbers in it.

This is the same kind of watch I have now, and I’ve always loved my watches. I’ve always been kind of a stickler for time as well. Having a watch that I can program with all kind of alarms seems to work out well for someone like me.

Over the last couple of months however, I started thinking that maybe to watch wasn’t helping me do what I wanted to do. Oh sure, I could still time things, but I found myself resistant to trying to stay on schedule because of the watch. I would always look at it, it didn’t inspire me to want to do anything. I had taken to really only using it when I needed to time something; that’s not so cool.

I decided it was time for experiment. I wondered what would happen if I stopped wearing my watch after so many decades. Would I miss the weight? Would I start being late for things? Would I go crazy because I couldn’t look at my watch all that often anymore? Or would nothing happened at all?

I’m not going to make you wait for it this time around; nothing happened. I found that it was quite an easy transition going from wearing a watch all the time to not wearing one at all. One of the reasons is that I have so many replacements for a watch. My smart phone obviously has a clock function. Because I’m at my computer all the time it also has a time function. I don’t have a clock in my computer room, but I have a digital cable box that always has the time showing. When I’m in my car there’s a clock. Even at the gym there are two clocks, one at each end of the track.

Also, I knew that I could set alarms on both my smartphone and my Palm, and the smart phone also has a timer. In other words, overall I’ve found that I had so many other ways of checking my time that I didn’t miss my watch at all.

Of course there is a downfall. I find that I’ve been staying up later than normal, not thinking about going to bed until 3:30 in the morning, and a couple of times not until 5AM. No, that’s not a good thing, and I find that just because I go to bed later doesn’t mean I sleep any later, so I’m not sleeping as much as I was before. Still, as long as I’m working for myself that’s a small thing because I can always get a nap if I need one.

I know you’re thinking “why did he tell us all this”? All of us have preconceived notions about ourselves, as well as other people. When I wrote my post about modeling the other day, a couple of people said that there was no way they could see themselves ever being able to do the same thing. When I wrote my post some years ago talking about having to start injecting myself with insulin, a few people wrote that they could never see themselves being able to do that either.

People are always saying they can’t do this and they can’t do that, and even though every once in while their reasoning is sound, most of the time it’s people reacting with fear to something that they really don’t know whether they could do it or not. And most people, myself included, are afraid to tackle certain things that they feel are beyond their comfort zone.

I have used watches as a crutch for almost 50 years, and in my wildest dreams I never thought that I would be comfortable without having a watch on. Not that I will wear my watch again, but it’s nice to know how easy it was to break the bonds I had placed on my own mind, since that’s where most of our bonds lie. It makes me wonder what else there is that might be holding me back in some fashion that I can break to push forward.

Think about this; what types of things and how many things are in your mind that holding you back? Maybe make a list of 10 things that follows these two words: I can’t. Then pick one and resolve to at least test it; you might be surprised at what you’re capable of.
 

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10 Years Ago

Yes, another video post for you, but of course I get to do a brief setup for it.

I was watching a video by Lynn Terry of Clicknewz.com on her video channel which she titled What Would You Say. She was asked a question as to what advice she’d give her past self about 10 years ago. I thought that was an intriguing question, and I liked how she answered it so much that I decided to address it myself, and thought it would be neat doing it by video.

In the video, I give one personal tip and one business tip, which actually ends up being more than one business tip and that’s the reason you should watch it. One other thing that’s new in the video is that I’m wearing a white shirt that I didn’t even know I had. I don’t have a lot of white shirts. I have one dress white shirt for emergencies, a white t-shirt with a picture of my grandfather on my dad’s side of the family, and a Syracuse University white shirt that I don’t even think they put out anymore (I actually have two of these t-shirts), as I haven’t seen anyone locally supporting the team wearing white. That’s what happens when your team is called The Orange. lol

It’s a relatively short video of around 6 minutes, and this time I recorded it without so much density so it uploaded much faster, which didn’t depress me at all. It looks fine on this side; I hope it looks fine where you are as well. Here we go!

 

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Being A Model

A few days ago I got called to do a modeling shoot. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing; model… me?!?!? Well yes! It seems that most of us don’t think of ourselves as model material, but not everyone is looking for only the beautiful people, if you will. There are often calls for regular folks like us to fill a role, and this time I got the call, my first ever.

I was asked to show up at a location around 9AM that was about 30 minutes from where I live. I hadn’t been to this community in more than 30 years, which tells me I really do need to learn more about my surrounding area. The studio was located in a beautiful area that I can’t necessarily say was out in the country, although, since the photographer owned 37 acres, it almost has to be called that I guess. I was also asked to bring 2 suits, 2 shirts, and some colorful ties. Since I only have 3 suits I took them all, took 3 shirts, and took 10 ties, just to make sure I’d covered it all. By the way, have you ever had to carry 3 full suits at one time? Sucker’s heavy! lol

The studio was very large. It was a converted truck garage that the guy had totally painted white, with only one of those large heaters in the top back corner of the room; no, it couldn’t totally overcome the cold, as it was around 20° outside. And I wasn’t the only model for this shoot, as there was this lady who I thought was around my age but turned out to be 74 years old who I was going to be shooting with. Sorry, no details on what we were shooting, as that’s part of the agreement. But I can still talk about the process.

If anyone thinks modeling is easy, they’re wrong. It might seem glamorous when you see those model images and you’re saying “man, based on what I do that’s some easy work.” Nope, sorry kids. Sure, it’s not like shoveling holes, but it has its own bit of work and effort. For instance, the poor lady I was shooting with had to keep walking and “almost” sitting at one point for about 10 minutes as the photographer kept trying to capture just the right image. Imagine what “almost” sitting is like; that’s tough on both the back and the knees.

And you have to keep that smile up; at least she did. Sometimes I didn’t have to smile, other times I had to smile on demand, and even though there were a lot of shots of me from behind, I had to keep my eyes on her eyes to help guide her through her shots. We had a good working relationship, which is always nice no matter what you’re doing.

There were also some strange contortions both of us had to go through. What some big time photographers do is work from a storyboard and someone else has drawn up of what they want. Well, turns out some of those poses aren’t, well, realistic, but it’s what they want. At one point he needed me to twist my arm into a strange position acting like I was receiving something, but he needed to see my open hand in the picture. For another series of shots I had to lean way over onto this desk because that’s what was in the storyboard, but it meant I had to lean over about a foot and kick one of my legs out in order to get into the pose. I didn’t even know they made short desks except for little kids; ugh!

Of course there’s the obligatory standing around time as well. I got lucky in that my standing around time was early, when they were taking prep shots. My partner, whose name was Juanita, had to sit around waiting later on when it was time for just me alone in a picture.

Finally, it was time for my main shot, and I got to sit for this one. I was holding papers and a pen in one hand, and I had to alternate between looking serious, looking stern, looking content and smiling, both with and without teeth. They had to change the set because his assistant realized that they had the same pictures in the new shots that they had in the original shots when we were turned the other direction; that wouldn’t do. And I couldn’t look at the papers; I had to remember to look straight at the camera, and that’s another lesson. After all, you know how you always feel like you want to blink when you see a camera flash? Can’t do that with a photo shoot.

I was there just under 3 hours, and it’s a good thing photographers don’t use real film anymore. What a process; digital camera, computer hooked up so they can immediately see what’s going on and what they might have to photoshop out later on. The guy said I was perfect; I didn’t comment because what could one possibly say to that? It was fun I must admit, but I’m glad it was relatively short also because it turns out that Juanita will be modeling for up to a week; she has a really prominent role in the story, though it also seems they didn’t tell her just how prominent.

My takeaway? I get paid and I got the above picture of his puppy Lucy, who was just the cutest thing, and when I got to play with her she kept going for my tie, actually getting it once. What an interesting day, and an interesting lesson to learn. Tyra girl, you do some work! 🙂
 

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Black Web Friday – 1/20/12

As I stated on my 1,200th post, I’m starting a new weekly series that I hope I can and will continue through the end of 2012. I decided to call them all Black Web Friday and have them separated by the date so they’re easy to find. I’m also creating a new category of the same name like I did when I was doing my Sunday Question series; if you missed those you should check some of them out, as I thought they were generally entertaining.

Black Web Friday

Today is the first day, and I don’t have any real rules for what I say about these sites except to say that I plan on introducing at least one blog each week, whether I go with multiple sites or not. Bloggers are who I really want to highlight to begin with, but I just feel there’s so much more that folks don’t know about that I’m going to help highlight. Also, if I mention a blog, I’ll tell you what the commenting system is, since many of you know I’m particular about the types of blogs I’ll comment on, in case you go visit a site and wonder why you don’t see a comment from me somewhere there. Of course, some blogs I probably won’t comment on anyway for certain reasons, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of being visited.

These could end up being relatively short posts compared to my normal missives; I’m sure some of you will be thrilled by that prospect. 🙂 So, here we go.

The first site I want to highlight is called The Grio. It’s basically a news site that’s geared towards black people from a black perspective. It offers both news and commentary, and you’ll see many of its articles quoted or linked to from CNN quite often, which is how I discovered it. It also has a great entertainment section and offers many other features that you’d see on more traditional news sites, only in my opinion way more. I find it incredibly entertaining.

The second site I want to highlight is something a little different, yet not unexpected. It’s called The Angry Black Woman and it’s a blog written by three black women that offer their opinions on a variety of issues; one of them is eponymously named as the blog. They make a very interesting point that many black women make but few people seem to hear, that being that just because black women might get mad at something doesn’t mean they’re angry all the time. Not that they don’t express their anger at a lot of different topics on this site but I feel their points of view are important, and I agree with many of them, including this latest missive surrounding the naming of Beyoncé’s baby. And their site is set up for traditional commenting.

The last site I’m highlighting is one that I’ve highlighted previously, and someone who deserves a lot of credit for my initially deciding to do some types of list posts in the first place. That site is Basic Blog Tips by Ileane Smith, who just received accolades and kudos from her friend and a long time friend of this blog Kissie. Her site is definitely blogger friendly with the traditional commenting system, and it’s grown in leaps and bounds in the time that I’ve known her. She accepts lots of guest posts on her site as long as they’re social media related, so anyone looking for a good space to highlight themselves should check it out. This is the example of a blog that’s not a black blog written by a black blogger that many people probably already know, and she definitely deserves recognition for her online accomplishments. Why she doesn’t show up on many of these other lists I certainly don’t know. And she’s also got a big time YouTube channel with 65 videos to date; lots of great stuff there as well.

There you have it, the first Black Web Friday. Let me know what you think, and be sure to check these sites out. Until next Friday y’all!
 

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