All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Sunday Question – How Do You Feel About All This Profanity?

I have never cursed. I have never said a bad word in my life. I’ve never even come close to saying a bad word because I got mad at anything. When I was younger, I know I had trouble saying the word “Schlitz”, which was one of the beer brands my dad used to drink, so it’s possible I said something at that time. Other than that potential however, I have never said anything that anyone could ever consider as profane.

I mention this because last weekend, from what I understand, the MTV Awards were pretty much nothing but profanity. It supposedly got so bad that the sensors couldn’t keep up with all of it during the live feed, and so much bad language got through that the company ended up apologizing the next day. You can bet that there will be an FCC fine coming down the line. After all, if they find the CBS $500,000 when Justin Timberlake inadvertently pulled down Janet Jackson’s top, fill definitely fine MTV and hefty sum because they know that nobody even tried to talk to any of these so-called celebrities about the possibility of tempering their language.

I don’t know if anyone can really explain to me what what all of this is about these days. Sure, back when I was a kid there was some language that was thrown around. After all, I’m a military kid who lived on a military base, and military professionals are not necessarily known for their discretion when it comes to their language. However, most of the time if they were children around at least a married ones would try to watch their language as much as possible when they’re out in public. And something almost nobody ever did was use bad language in front of their parents or someone else’s parents.

These days nobody cares whether it’s an adult or child, they pretty much believe they have the right to say whatever they want to say where ever they want to say it and as loud as they want to say it. And they all believe that they should be able to express themselves this way without worrying that someone is going to take offense and probably punch them in the face. I tend to be one of those people who believes that if you decide to engage in behavior that outside of the norm that you expose yourself to whatever reaction comes and you probably deserved it. If you’re acting in noble fashion you wouldn’t say things like this, even though your actions might be extraordinary, and in that case I might say that the reaction you get might be a bit extreme. After all, nothing is ever cut and dry.

Now obviously I’m not a prude. I watch movies where there’s profanity, and of course I watch a lot of sports for every once in a while you will hear a player or coach other something that you probably wish they wouldn’t other because you know kids are watching, but if you’ve ever played sports you know that people get caught up in the emotions and sometimes stuff just comes out. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, even in movies because it’s fiction. We all have the rights of choice in determining whether were going to participate in things such as movies and the like. Heck, a very small portion of my mind wants to say that what happened at the MTV Awards was fine also. The difference in the second is enabled alive presentation, everybody who was on the show knew it was live, and at a certain point based on what I’ve read some of the people who got up on stage decided to have fun with it and see if they could top what someone else instead by using even more bad language than was necessary.

Personally, I think a lot of this behavior is definitely unnecessary. I have a couple of friends who use profanity all the time,and you can bet that I call them on it. It doesn’t seem to make them change, and that’s sort of too bad because it makes me think that they really could care less about my feelings and have almost no respect for me. I know that’s not how they feel, as they told me that, in their reasoning is always that they try but just can’t seem to control it all the time. My response back is that they don’t talk that way at work to the people they work for, and at least in one case would never speak that way to his own mother, which means that they can’t control themselves, they just choose not to.

So, back to the original question, which are thought about profanity? Do you really believe it’s so harmless that anybody can say anything they want to? Or do you believe that it’s just another stage in the world’s “development” that were all going to have to get used to? At least I can say this: there will be no bad language on this blog, and I’m not putting up with it in any comments. I figure since I pay for it, it’s my prerogative. Your turn; what are your thoughts?
 

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Customize Your Google Page; There’s A Caveat Though…

Last week I heard the news that Google was going to allow people the opportunity to customize their main page. What they were going to do was to have certain images already set, but if you wanted to you could use your own image for the page.

I have to admit that I was excited. Though I have my Google page already altered thusly, there to the left (right click to see it bigger), via Stylish and Firefox, and I have that stupid sidebar shut down through a script on Greasemonkey, the idea of adding my own image was kind of appealing. And all we had to do was wait until, one day, the link to the bottom left of the Google screen popped up.

Mine popped up Sunday evening, and I thought that was pretty cool. I went to look to see what I had to do, and saw some choices already there. I saw that you also had to log in to your Google account, and for the first time I was sort of hesitant, and I wasn’t sure why. Then I realized why. The thing is if you want to use your own image, you must set up a Picasa account, which is their photo sharing site. Then you can upload your image and attach it to your page, and go on with your business. If you didn’t want to do that, you could upload one of their pictures, but you still have to have a Google account to use it, so that when you sign in it knows it’s you. Otherwise, you can stick with your white background, or do something like what I’ve done.

Here’s the thing about a Picasa account. If you have one, it pretty much means other people can go through your images. That’s what the user agreement says. I don’t have an account, so if there’s a way to make it private I don’t know about it. Still, the idea of someone being able to go through my personal pictures and use them for whatever reason they wish to bothers me somewhat. Yeah, I have some pictures on Facebook, but I knew that I’d be sharing those pictures with people I allow into my Facebook life, since that’s the kind of privacy I put on my account there. Anything beyond that, I’m not sure I want to deal with.

For me, I can do without it. Truthfully, if I wanted to tinker with it, I think, because I use Firefox, I could figure out a way to alter one of the scripts to use my own picture if I wanted to badly enough. However, overall, unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s not a great thing to go messing around with these scripts. That’s why my background is black instead of my favorite color, which is red.

Anyway, if you’re not quite as skittish as I am about sharing some of your images with the world, and you want to customize your Google page, go for it. It’s not a bad deal overall, and gets rid of the boring white. Lucky for me, I’ve already taken care of that on my favorite browser.

Sounds True, Inc.

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Thunderbird 3; I’m Not Impressed

Suffice it to say I’ve always loved Thunderbird by Mozilla. I loved it from the first time I saw it, probably mainly because it wasn’t Outlook. I know other folks loved Eudora, but it just wasn’t for me. I found Thunderbird gave me everything I wanted and more, and was happy.

Then came this latest version, and I find myself less than impressed. Thunderbird 3, which is now 3.0.4, has made some significant changes, which they say make it easier for new users, and offers some features they’ve never had before. But they’ve also messed up some interfaces, and if you ask me, there’s only been one good consequence from it.

First, they set up the default so it looks like Outlook; what’s that about? The idea behind Mozilla was that it was the anti-Outlook; if I’d wanted Outlook I would be using it. Maybe that’s the “easy” part for new users, using something they’re familiar with.

Second, they changed how you could save email addresses. Instead of opening up one of those Properties menus so you could add information and put it in any special mail category you’d created, now when you click to save the email address and you get the edit form you can add information, but you can’t place it anywhere special. Everything goes into a personal address book, and you have to open your contacts and move it to where you want it after the fact.

Third, let’s talk about the Contacts for a bit. That wasn’t even included as a default in the toolbar, and now that I’m calling it Contacts, let me back up for a minute. When I added it to the general program toolbar it was called Address Book. When you’re in an email you’re writing it’s called Contacts. And I had to add both; that was irritating. Sure, it will remember email addresses you already have if you just start typing it in, but if you’re doing multiple emails, and you want to BCC them, then typing each address individually can take up a lot of time.

Something they changed, which is why they didn’t put it on the toolbar automatically, was putting those tabs onto the email you happen to be reading. That’s not so bad if you want to keep all your email at the normal size it defaults to. I’m one of those people who likes opening emails to the full size of my browser so that I not only can read it easier by making it larger, but that way I only see one email at a time so that I’ll focus on that one email. Thing is, when you open an email all the way, those tabs aren’t always there. Oh, some are, but not all of them all the time. I find myself every time having to open it up, close it back, then open it again to get all those tabs back. If they’d just left it alone in the toolbar I wouldn’t have had to deal with it.

What did they add that they consider something good? They added a search bar which will search through your email to find something. When you do it a new tab opens in the program, something like if you click on some links in Firefox, and it will give you lists of where that word appears throughout the program. To the right it’ll give you 10 choices in a particular folder, then More will be there so you can click it to get 10 more. It’s actually kind of freaky; I like to have a better way of doing it.

And that leads to my one very good thing. It works much better with Google Desktop, which y’all know I love. Now when I download new email, it instantly indexes it, so that I can immediately find that email. Yeah, I know you’re saying who’d have a need to find something that fast. Well, I have 9 different inboxes set up in Thunderbird, so sometimes I’m not sure where an email actually went.

Now, the Mozilla folks are smart, so I figure in the next update, whenever it comes, they’ll have addressed at least a couple of my issues. When that happens, I know I’ll be a happy camper once more. For now, though, I’d have to say that I’m less than impressed with Thunderbird 3, yet it still beats Outlook by a mile.

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An Interview With Marelisa Fàbrega

To say that I admire Marelisa Fàbrega’s blog and her writing style would be an underestimation of the esteem I hold for her. I don’t know when I discovered her blog Daring To Live Fully, which she started in April 2008, but I know I love the way she blogs and share her posts whenever I can. If you’re not reading this blog regularly, you’re doing a disservice to yourself, especially if you want to learn how to be positive. I’m so proud that she has accepted my request for an interview, and, if you’ve seen other interviews on this blog, you’ll notice that she has totally different questions to answer. She’s unique; we deserved to learn something different.

1. What was it that led you into blogging?

About five years ago I worked as a labor attorney for the agency that runs the Panama Canal. One day I was talking to one of the canal pilots, and he mentioned that he was reading a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad, written by Robert Kiyosaki. The book sounded really interesting, so I ordered a copy through Amazon. I read the book, and I really liked Kiyosaki’s definition of wealth, which is being able to pay all of your expenses from passive sources of income.

At the time, all of my income came from the salary I was making as an attorney. I started thinking of different ways in which I could earn passive income, and I decided to start a web site. On the web site I offered several personal development products for which I’m an affiliate (products which I use and love). I started the blog as a way to draw traffic to my web site. As I wrote more and more blog posts, and started getting good amounts of traffic and comments from readers, I really started to enjoy blogging. Now I blog for several different reasons: because it’s a source of passive income; because it’s a creative outlet for me (I love writing); because I learn and grow with each post that I write; and because I feel that I’m helping others to get more out of life.

2. You have an interesting background, especially the law degree. But you seem to do many other things. Tell us about yourself and what led you in another direction?

I’m from the Republic of Panama, which is where I currently live, and I’ve also lived in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the US, Egypt, England, and Italy. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., as well as a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center.

I think that you need to be constantly looking out for any opportunities lying on the horizon, and then choose among those opportunities based on what you think you’ll most enjoy doing, and what will give you the most satisfaction. The Internet is a fantastic opportunity: you can be a one-man or a one-woman operation anywhere on earth, and you can have access to the world and make yourself look huge. I’m still doing some law work, but I’m looking for ways to spend more time and energy building a strong online presence.

3. Your posts are quite deep and thought-provoking; how long does it take you to research your posts before you start writing?

When I start reading about a topic which I find interesting, I always want to know more. I do research until I feel like I have a good grasp of the subject matter, and that I have two or three very useful “takeaways” for my readers. That is, I’m not looking to just add to my readers’ knowledge-base. Instead, I want to offer them concrete action-steps that they can take to improve their lives. Sometimes I get there after an hour of research. Other times I do research for three or four hours. As an attorney, doing research is second nature to me.

4. You’ve gone against the grain in writing long, yet beautiful posts. What led you to write in that manner, and how would you compare it to the so-called experts who say posts shouldn’t be more than 400 words?

I’ve read in several different places that you should write one or two short posts a day. However, I tend to write two or three long posts a week. I think that the key to blogging well, and the key to life in general, is to be yourself and to do what feels right for you. One of the things that differentiates my blog is precisely that I try to cover topics in depth.

In addition, I pay a lot of attention to the quality of my writing, even though I’ve read that people just skim blogs looking for ideas and don’t pay much attention to the writing. I want to give my readers a rich, positive, quality experience each time that they read one of my blog posts. I guess, in a way, I want “Abundance Blog” to be to blogs, what Rolex is to watches (without the hefty price tag).

5. Do you generate any significant income through your blog and other websites, or is most of your income generated offline?

There’s a steep learning curve to making money online; it’s certainly not easy. One of the objectives for my blog and my other online activities is to earn passive income, as I said earlier in this interview. I’m already doing that. Now I just plan to gradually keep setting higher goals for myself in terms of how much passive income I make online. In the meantime, I do generate income offline.

6. I follow you on Twitter and it seems like you pretty much write from anywhere; is my perception correct?

I write mainly from my home office. I also write from a club I belong to that has a pool overlooking the ocean. I can sit there all day and write. Then, when I want to take a break, I can watch the fishermen in their tiny boats, and the cruise ships and container ships waiting in line to transit through the Panama Canal.

7. How many books have you written, and where do you find the time to write so much?

I’ve written one eBook so far, How to Be More Creative, A Handbook for Alchemists. It’s a guide to living a more creative life, and I’m happy to say that it’s gotten a lot of very positive reviews. I’m also in the process of writing another eBook which should be ready soon: “How to Live Your Best Life –The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List.” The second eBook is going to help people create a bucket list—a list of all the things they want to do before they die–, as well as give them tips, tools, and resources so that they can get out there and achieve their life goals.

How do I find the time to write so much? One of the topics I write about on my blog is productivity, and I try to follow my own advice. 🙂

8. You use Disqus on your blog, and as you know, I’m an opponent of that and other services like it. How do you find it works for you overall?

I like Disqus because I feel that it makes my blog more interactive. For example, people can share their comments on Twitter and other social networking sites. In addition, once you create a Disqus account it’s really easy to leave a comment on any other blog that uses Disqus.

9. Your blog is well respected in the blogging community; you’re always showing up on some list I come across, and I even included your blog on one of my top lists. How do you feel about the accolades?

I love it when my blog is mentioned by others, whether it’s by linking to one of my posts or by including me in a list of “top” blogs. I get people leaving comments on my blog all the time letting me know that they just recommended “Abundance Blog” to their readers, or that they linked to something I wrote, and I just get a huge smile on my face every time I read that. It makes me feel like people enjoy and appreciate what I write, and that’s a great feeling.

10. What three short recommendations could you give to people who feel like they’re struggling with both their blogs and their life?

I would tell people to make happiness their number one goal in life, and that happiness is a choice. In addition, happiness is a state of mind, so it’s something that you can have access to at any moment, regardless of what might be going on around you at any given moment. Also, you need to persevere. The people who get what they want in life are those who know what they want, who keep their eye on the ball, and who keep taking the necessary steps to get there, no matter what.

Once again, I thank Marelisa for this interview, which I hope all of you read, then follow back to her blog. You’ll be a better person for it.

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Sunday Question – What Are Your Habits?

I have no siblings. My mother was also an only child. I moved around a lot as a kid, and as an adult, until I purchased my house, I had lived in 9 different places in 25 years.

When one pretty much grows up spending a lot of time alone, one starts picking up some interesting habits. When one follows another only child, those habits can be magnified.

For instance, I have times when I just won’t touch food. I have no idea when that mood is going to strike, but you can imagine how it messes up eating at home, or out at restaurants. There are certain foods that, in my mind, aren’t allowed to touch each other.

When I’m in the house by myself, I close the bathroom door. It would seem there would be no need to do it, but that’s how I am. I sleep on top of the bed, but when I go to bed, I have my head covered, the door totally closed to block out all external light, and every once in awhile I have to cover up the lighted clocks because knowing they’re shining bothers me. I stay up really late so that I will be totally exhausted so I can fall asleep; if I don’t do that, then a single stupid thought can keep me awake for hours.

I don’t like bugs; actually, it’s my biggest phobia, though I have many. I can’t even look at a picture of a bug, and that includes butterflies. I have different superstitions than what other people have. For instance, I count steps to make sure I end on my right foot. I count letters in sentences I hear and manipulate them so they’re divisible by 3. I have one cup that’s specifically for water, and nothing else. I believe all utensils must be washed in the dishwasher, or else they’re not sanitary. And I believe that I must have dessert, in some fashion, at least once a day; I’m betting my doctor wishes I wouldn’t stick to that one.

I have some good habits also. When I plan my time, I get a lot of things done. I actually complete projects, and if there’s a time frame, I’m usually finished early. I don’t worry about whether something is perfect before I put it out there. I’m always on time, though I had to learn not to be too early. I always wash my hands whenever I’ve been in the bathroom.

And I believe there are 3 things that every person can be judged on that I live by, and if any of these 3 are violated, you don’t get another shot: loyalty, trustworthiness, and truth. If I’m your friend, I’m loyal until you prove you don’t deserve it. I’ve actually put myself in dangerous situations to prove that my friends can trust me with their lives. And I will always tell the truth if I’m asked, won’t hurt people’s feelings if I tell them the answers, and if I feel I can’t tell you the truth, I won’t say a word; better to be silent than dishonest.

Everyone has habits good and bad. Some habits are eccentric; I certainly wasn’t about to mention all of mine. Some will protect you, more like intuition that, hopefully, you’ll listen to when needed. However, most of us will never allow anyone else to know even the most innocent of habits we have. I can understand some of them; if you’re what we used to call a freaky-deek, you just might not want to reveal what makes it so. Overall though, as I’ve reached this age, I realize that, overwhelmingly, habits are just what we develop that, in some fashion, makes us feel good in our own skin.

Do you have any particular habits that help you get by every day? Or some strange ones that might be a little bit funny? Do you have the guts to share?

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