Category Archives: Personal

How Far Would I Go?

Every once in awhile there crops up an issue that gets you thinking “if it were me how far would I go?” Sometimes it’s something that you do have to confront in some fashion and you have to ask yourself the same question.

What is it most of us want? We want to be happy; almost everything else you can mention ends up with you being happy. I want the same thing; I really want to be happy. Not that I’m in a bad mood right now, but I want to be happier.

What brings us happiness? Money is a good start. Yeah, I know the “lie” that money can’t buy you happiness. Money buys you peace of mind, or at least it does if you’re not one of those people who just can’t be satisfied with anything.

Love brings us happiness. Okay, the cynical part of me is going to say this; money helps in the love and happiness area. Don’t believe me? See how many couples that say they’re in love and get married when they don’t have money will stay happy when they realize that they need that money to sustain themselves. Add children and it’s even more overwhelming.

One more thing that brings us happiness is “stuff.” Ah, now there’s a good one. Truth be told, you don’t need a lot of money to buy stuff, as long as you’re not trying to buy too much stuff or stuff that’s too expensive for you. In my mind, a new Hyundai Santa Fe would make me as happy as a new Bentley, even though they’re thousands of dollars apart. A chocolate cake makes me as happy as having a meal at Ruth Chris Steakhouse but the difference in price is dramatic.

What’s even better than buying stuff? Getting free stuff! That costs no money at all, and often it’s unexpected. Sure, you might expect to get gifts for your birthday or for a holiday, but you don’t always know what gift you’re getting, and thus it’s a happy experience.

It’s also great when you know what you have a chance to get. Many of us play the lottery when we know how much money we have a shot at winning. In New York, we say “a dollar and a dream”. I don’t do it often, but when the money gets really high, I’m there with my “2 dollars” hoping for my dream.

How do you view contests? Well now, here’s a dilemma I’m facing at the moment. We all love winning contests if we get into them; after all, if you don’t want to win why get into it in the first place? If the thing you can win is nice enough, it’s always worth giving it a shot.

I’m in a short story contest at the moment. The story had to be 750 words or less, and I’m competing against 9 other stories. The rules were that we could ask people to vote for us if we’d like, but we all had to decide how fair it was or not.

Well, I thought about how I could ask some people without being all that overt about it. I wrote a few friends and asked them to check out the site, which story was mine, and to compare it to the other stories and if they liked my story to please vote for it. But I did say they could vote for other stories if they wanted to; after all, I wanted to be fair. Truthfully, though I like my story and think I should win, there’s another story there that I think is wonderful, and since you can vote “yes” or “no” on every story, I would always vote for that story as well as mine for the winner.

What else have I done? Well, I did mention it to a few other people, including my blogger group on Facebook. But I didn’t come right out and tell them which story was mine, though I alluded to it, and I also told them they could vote for other stories as well if they chose to do so.

A few days ago I got an email from the person running the contest; actually, all of us in the contest received the email. She was giving us a heads up as to where we might stand after half the money, since the contest runs through the end of the month. She listed the top 3 stories, and it seems I’m not in the top 3. What the hey? One of the stories in the top 3 didn’t even stay within the rules of the contest, as it’s not a complete story but only the beginning of one that’s more than 2,000 words.

So my quandary; how far would I go to try to win a gift, in this case a Kindle, which would be really cool even though I’ve never seen one in person? How much do I really want to win? How far would I go? Would I finally cross the line to selfishness and ask outright for you to go to the site and vote for my story, and tell you which story it is?

Actually, no, but not for the reason you might think. I had a post all set to, through my own version of subterfuge, ask people to go vote for me and help me win this bad boy. I wanted to take a shot; after all, if I wasn’t even in the top 3 I needed help. However, later that evening, I first got an email refunding my $3 entry fee; that was weird. Then I got an email saying that the contest was changing because one of the entrants had cheated. I knew it wasn’t me since I was really far behind so I asked the person running the contest on Twitter what was going on. She said one person was oddly so far ahead of everyone else that she knew it had to be technology that was pumping up the votes. Thus, she decided to cancel the contest as it was and ask 5 judges to make the selections instead. All votes were being thrown out, which meant I now had a legitimate shot once more; yay!!!

Whew; there you go. I didn’t have to think about crossing the boundaries, although it wouldn’t have been crossing them anyway since the rules stated we could do it. My mind is clear; I can go eat cookies now in peace, and hope the judges see my work of “art” in a different light Ah Kindle, you know you want to be here with me. 😉

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New And Unimproved

Well, you never know what will or won’t be a hit, do you?

In testing out my webcam, following up on my first post where the video was way too large for most people, I decided to create a new video. This time I was thinking about a specific topic, that being how there’s been this trend of companies changing up things we liked and “improving” them, only those things often end up seeming to be worse.

I put the video up on Facebook as a lark, and man, I can’t believe the response it got, and still continues to get. Seems it hit a nerve against many of these companies. Well, why keep it to the people on Facebook, I’m thinking. So, here’s the video, much smaller and thus it should be easier for most of y’all to view. Let me know how it works for you, and of course comments on the content are accepted as well.

Update! Of all things, it turns out I have a YouTube account that I supposedly created in 2008. I have no idea why since I didn’t have a webcam at the time. I’m not allowing the videos to be seen there unless people have the link to it specifically, but it’s allowing me to embed code here. Will wonders ever cease!

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10 Hours A Day Experiment

Some of you know I write many of my blog posts in advance. This one is real time for a reason. I’ve been doing an experiment this week, one that either has changed my life or made me realize I need to figure out another way or one that reminds me why I’ve been doing things the way I’ve been doing them and I’m going back to it.

Following up on that work/life discussion from a couple of weeks ago, I made a decision that for this week I was going to limit myself to 10 hours a day on the computer, which obviously also means 10 hours a day online, or way less. See, other than brief moments away from the computer, I tend to spend upwards of 16 to 20 hours sitting here at my desk doing something; at least I thought I did. I acknowledge it’s not always productive, although I also do accomplish a lot of things. And some people have been shocked that I could spend that kind of time at the computer.

Most people don’t work that many hours on their job or in their work. Eight hours is the norm, sometimes a couple of hours here and there. Then they go home and have the evenings to do whatever they want, which might mean they sign onto the computer and do stuff. For me, there is no separation between my regular life and business life except when I go to the casino. After all, my business life is my computer, and by extension most of my social and fun life is on the computer as well. That’s kind of a shame, but many times I feel I need all that time. So, this was an experiment to see what I’d do with that time, and whether I really did need it or not.

I decided to start on a Sunday, which for me is either a day I rest a lot or a day where I work almost nonstop. This past Sunday I actually rested, and since it’s now the playoffs I had a rooting interest in a couple of games. So I napped and watched some football unencumbered by being at the computer. And I never made it to 10 hours of computer time; as a matter of fact, I didn’t even make 8 hours. The first day made me think that maybe this was going to be an experiment that was going to have a totally different outcome than I expected.

Monday came and, knowing I was on this timed program, I worked some, took it easy some, and basically had a pretty good day, which is rare for me on a Monday. I also had some business calls, which I didn’t count since I didn’t take them at the computer. Once again, I didn’t reach even 10 hours on the computer. I took a long nap, I watched some TV programs, and went to the gym for almost 90 minutes with my wife in the evening. But I did reach 9 hours; things were getting interesting.

Tuesday was an interesting one. I planned the day but I felt horrible all day physically. Seems I might have worked out too long Monday night. So I was sore and lethargic. But I had a full day of work planned on the computer, as well as a meeting in the afternoon which was going to take me away. I also took another nap before the meeting; I was starting to enjoy this experiment. However, Tuesday night at around 2AM I finally hit that 10 hours, when my alarm went off. I was feeling like I was in a great work rhythm, so I was irked, but I had my rules and thus I went to bed.

Wednesday was the day things started to change some. I woke early, like 7:15, which was disappointing because I didn’t turn the TV off until 3AM. I came straight to the computer for about 30 minutes, then went outside to shovel show; we’re in our “snowbelt” daily snow routine now, so while everyone else gets hit with storms coming up the coast, we’re getting 2 to 6 inches daily. Wednesday we got a little over six inches for the day officially. That meant I had to shovel in the morning and in the early evening. It also meant I didn’t go anywhere except a brief outing for lunch. I was on the computer for the rest of my time, including being on the computer during the Syracuse University basketball game (they won again; 17 straight wins). I looked at my time; at 9PM I only had 33 minutes left to go for my computer time. What the hey? What was I going to do for the rest of the evening?

I got off the computer at 9:30 with 3 minutes remaining. Now I was stuck. I usually don’t go to bed until between 2 and 3 in the morning; I had 4 to 5 hours to kill. I took a book into the other room, but ended up turning on the TV for awhile. Eventually I gravitated towards a DVD or two. And I stayed up until just past 2AM. So I wasted time instead of used the extra time for something else; then again, I had no idea what else I wanted to use it for, but my body, after shoveling twice, said “let’s do nothing”, and that’s what I did.

Thursday morning I was again up at 7:15 and this time decided to go to the health club for a short bit. I came back an hour later, got onto the computer, and went to work. I took time out to cook something for lunch, which took about 30 minutes, but I came back to the desk to eat at the computer and work some more. I was also very active on Twitter and the blog during the day; lost a lot of time doing that stuff. I had a networking meeting at 5:30, which means I pulled away to shower, get dressed, and head into the city. I barely stayed an hour; wasn’t feeling it and I didn’t know anyone. Came home, and got right on the computer again.

This time, the alarm went off right at 10:30; ugh! I knew it was coming, so I quickly tried to finish up a few things in that last half hour. I almost thought about getting off and saving some of that time for later on, but that didn’t seem to make much sense. I got off, and decided to watch a couple of DVDs before finally shutting everything down just past 12:15, since I had an early morning meeting anyway.

So the experiment is over, and it becomes evaluation time. And to me, what I learned is pretty simple.

One, if I decide I don’t want to deal with 16 hour days, I just won’t do it. That was proved by Sunday, though that type of thing will be rare.

Two, right now anyway, if I have more time all I want to do is, well, nothing. Watching TV and DVDs is classified as nothing to me. That and sleep; true, maybe I need more rest, but if it’s all I have to look forward to with my down time then I’d rather not. That is, unless I can get a lot of massages to help me rest; that might not be so depressing long term, eh? 😉

Three, it’s easy now to see how I can slip into being on the computer for so many hours. I mean, look at Wednesday; I could have easily been on the computer 5 more hours, because I remembered that on Wednesday I took myself out to lunch, which was about an hour away. Add to that a trip to the bank and the store, and there you go.

Four, I probably need more DVDs, because I watched DVDs that by now are probably starting to wonder if I like anything else. Hey, I only buy things I could watch over and over; nothing wrong with that.

And five; there’s absolutely nothing wrong if I decide to take time away to relax or do something else if I think about it. I got all my projects done by Thursday, and with a little concentration I could have finished them by Tuesday and had all the other time for other stuff. This might bode well as far as planning for future projects.

Of course it might all mean nothing in the long run as well; I’m not really sure. I’ll admit that it’s hard to evaluate myself on this one. I haven’t really decided if I’m going to try to change or even if I really need to. If I went on the “happiness” scale, I’d have to say that I ended the experiment no happier or sadder than when I went into it. I wasn’t happy with how Wednesday and Thursday night ended so early mentally, but physically my body was probably happier.

Another experiment is over; whew! And it’s Friday, which means all bets are off since I finished my paid work. Hmmm, what other trouble can I get into?

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Fabulous 50 – Top Bloggers Of 2010

You know, the experts kind of got it wrong about 3 years ago. They said that things like social media were mainly for the young, and that older folks, that being older than 40, would have a hard time competing with them in this new world.

They got it wrong. Not only are people over 40 actually significant impact in social media, but more of us have embraced things such as Twitter and Facebook than was ever expected. And I think that extends to blogging, based on many of the folks who respond on blogs such as mine.

By now you see that badge to the right. I have made the list of Fabulous 50 Top Bloggers for 2010 by Beverly Mahone’s Boomer Diva Nation. I find it a high honor for a couple of reasons.

One, it’s pretty neat getting an honor for blogging at this age. I sometimes feel like the goals I have for myself might be unrealistic because I’m over 50, although on the new end of it. I have to say I’ve embraced my age way better than I thought I would, but one still wonders here and there.

Two, because I’m the only male on the list. After all, it does have the word “diva” in it, which means, in a way, I get to be one of the “girls”, so to speak. This type of thing isn’t new for me, and if you don’t believe me, you can ask my friend Scott. Most of my friends are women, and it’s been that way since I was 16 years old. I used to hang with the ladies in college; it gave me an interesting perspective and gave them someone they knew would keep them safe. In my profession before I started working for myself my offices were mainly me and all women; I think I had 3 men ever working for me.

So I thank Bev for the honor and I congratulate the other ladies on the list. By the way, I forgot to mention at the time, but I made another list based on age back in September on a site called Problogservice, the Social Media 40 Over 40 list. Of course, just being over 40 doesn’t put you on the baby boomer list, but I thought it was a pretty neat honor anyway, and I’m surprised I never mentioned it here before now.

Okay, we’re on a roll now; let’s see how many more lists I can end up on in 2011!

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My 2011 Goals And Other Stuff

About a week and a half ago I took a look at my 2010 goals to see how well I’d done and found that I had done better than I expected to do for the year. Unlike Sire, I like setting goals so I have something to measure myself against later on. I always believe that if you see progress that it inspires you to try new things, and if you don’t then it might give you impetus to try harder. It might; we’ll leave it at that for now.

I’m not going to go back over last year’s goals again, since they’re at that other link. Instead, I’m going to list my five goals for this year, not only for this blog but for my internet life as well:

1. Earn $5,000 on the internet overall. This is always a tough one, but when I look back at this year I know that I’ll have come close to making $2,000, if not more. So, maybe it’s attainable; who knows. My only question is whether I’ll count webinars in there. After all, they’re done on the internet, although they’ll be representing my overall businesses so it might not count.

2. Earn $500 on this blog. That will definitely be difficult. I made less than $50 from this blog in 2010 and it was my best year. It’s one of the things on my mind when I was writing the post about what people want for their blogs. There will be more on this subject later on.

3. Get this blog up to around 50,000 on Alexa. Heck, it crossed a major threshold this year, although actually just in the past month, and it’s steadily gone up. I see the relationship between writing more posts, or at least consistent posts, and the ranking, so I think this one will be attainable as well.

4. Write at least two pillar articles. What’s a pillar article? Well, Yaro Starak defines it, in my words, as a long article that actually details a process for something that will have residual benefits over time. His initial post on the subject said articles more than 500 words, but it seems some folks believe you need to get to at least 3,000 words for a real pillar article. I’m not sure I want to go that far with it, but who knows, right? I know it’ll be an article my buddy Beverly probably won’t be reading, but it’s an interesting concept over all. And heck, it might be what I need to have an article that can surpass the infamous cleavage article. Turns out that was probably my pillar article for 2010; I’m so proud. lol

5. Increase my influence through this blog towards helping other business goals long term. I think that’s fair overall; a little something for you, a little something for me. What kind of business am I hoping to create? First, my professional speaking business. I already have two scheduled locally this year, but those aren’t paying so they don’t count. I thought about adding a new blog to my SEO site but that would be starting something from scratch that I already do here, so I’m not going that route. Instead, I’ll work on finding new ways of creating interest in this blog, especially locally, in my quest to increase my influence, which I wrote about a lot this past year.

Okay, there are five goals I’m shooting for. But I did add “other stuff” to the title of this post, didn’t I? One of those things is that I’m not going to be adding a product to the end of every single post in the coming year. Over 3 years I’ve made two product sales, and both of those came via a post that talked specifically about that product. Dennis once questioned this process of mine, and though I don’t think it’s such a big deal overall, I figure I can use my time in other ways. The images will be staying, though. I think an image breaks up my posts nicely, and sometimes I get to add a second one. By the way, today’s image is a gift I got from my friend Scott this holiday season, a lava lamp, something I’ve always wanted; thanks Scott!

Talk about advertising on this blog has been a topic over the years. I’m not going to stop advertising, but a few things will probably be eliminated. The affiliate ads on the side might go. Some of the products might be added to a sales page on this site that will have links to products I’ve talked about that I market, like that book to the left on 20 Ways To Make $100 A Day Online, which actually helped me figure things out and was worth buying. I’ve also talked in the past about my Services & Stuff site and things I need to change about it, and I think I’m going to work on setting it up more as an online store while still retaining some of what I’d originally set out to do.

One thing I’m going to do is more reviews of stuff such as books that I think would be of interest to some folks here. After all, I do read enough, and I’m planning on creating a sales page of only books I’ve read and recommended in some fashion on my S&S site, and I’ll probably link to it from this site as I have some of those other links to the right for specific affiliates.

All that, and hopefully I’ll still be entertaining, thought-provoking, educational, and all around unpredictable in the coming year. My hope is that you’ll benefit more than I will, but I want to benefit as well.

LAVA LAMP PENS

LAVA LAMP PENS






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