Category Archives: Personal

Some Quick Hitters For A Sunday

In less than an hour, the United States hockey team will take on Canada for the gold medal, and yet I wanted to get a post out before then. So, this is one of those posts where I’m going to talk about a few things on my mind, without any consistent theme. Stay tuned.

Let’s talk about the hockey game first. I don’t normally watch hockey. If it’s the NHL professional league, I will watch it if I’m at someone’s house, or if it’s the finals and possibly the final game of the year. I don’t know almost any players anymore, especially since the New York Rangers started playing bad hockey after winning their last Stanley Cup. I used to be a Boston Bruins fan when I lived in Maine as a kid, but once you can’t watch your teams play anymore, you sometimes tend to move away from those teams. I’m glad I still get to see a lot of Boston Red Sox games; I hate the Yankees!

Anyway, whether you care about hockey or not, this is big. The United States versus Canada, the two best teams in the world, are vying for the gold medal. When the U.S. won last week, we had a mini Mardi Gras party in the states, and we’re hoping for more of that today, even though Canada is favored. Hockey is supposed to be their game, like curling, which Canada did finally win the gold medal for (men’s team at least; not sure how the women ended up). This is interesting in that it pits professional teammates against each other while they’re representing their countries. Should be a lot of fun as the Olympics is finally ending its two week run.

Locally, our big story was last night for the Syracuse Orange vs. the Villanova Wildcats NCAA basketball game. Syracuse ended up with the largest on-campus home crowd ever in the nation, 34,616 people, and they crushed Villanova 95-77. They could be the number one team in the country come Monday; that would be something, especially since this team was barely picked to finish in the top half of the Big East conference at the beginning of the season.

I’m glad I wasn’t at the game, because I wouldn’t have been able to see replay after replay of some marvelous basketball. That, plus knowing what the roads had to have been like after all the snow we’ve had lately and many road closings; nope, I enjoyed it right where I was, camped in front of the big screen in the bedroom. That picture is showing what more than 30,000 people looks like in the Dome; wild!

On another front, I can’t believe I never heard from 101Phones regarding the commission they didn’t pay me. I did hear from Commission Junction finally, and wasn’t really happy with their response, but what can you do? I have dropped these people from any advertising, and I went to the site and delisted myself from them as well. Stay away, folks; if this is how they treat affiliates, your business is worthless to them. Even their Twitter account was canceled, if it was them to begin with. Man, I hate being taken advantage of.

That was something else I had to deal with last week. Imagine waking up and seeing a lot of trackbacks to your blog, and figuring out that they’re all your own posts on someone else’s blog.

That’s what happened to me, as this blog based in Egypt had come in and stolen 7 of my posts, verbatim and image wise, without attribution. That was the second time this month I’d had my content stolen, although the first time, supposedly, it was from a site in the British Territories (whatever that is) that was supposed to be something like StumbleUpon, only they took the entire post and didn’t tell anyone who wrote it. Even the ISP wouldn’t intervene on that one, telling me my only recourse was to write the company and ask them to remove the post, which they didn’t.

Man, I wish I knew how to report the ISP to someone for not doing their duty; that’s the problem in trying to overcome foreign companies sometimes. Anyway, the guy in Egypt finally did remove all my posts, so I commend him on that and won’t out him, although I did out him on Twitter when it looked like he wasn’t going to do the right thing.

Man, am I going to have to start adding a disclaimer at the end of every post so people who visit these guys will know they stole content? I haven’t seen a lot of people doing that, but maybe it’s the way to go.

And finally, let’s talk snow. Some of you, like Sire, have no real clue as to the kind of mess too much snow can cause. Here in the Syracuse area, we’re usually well prepared for snow, but Thursday and Friday were something else. It was a heavy, wet snow, which adds a lot of weight to the effort of trying to remove it. This was one of those snows where small snowplows, those on trucks your neighbor might have, actually got stuck in some places; now that’s wild. Thursday I was able to get to the snow before it got too high. Friday, however, my back wasn’t having it, and even with my wife home, in 20 minutes we’d barely made a dent in the driveway, though I made it my mission to at least get a thin trail to the street, just in case there was some kind of emergency. Many people missed work because large plows couldn’t get into their neighborhoods, and even if they could there was no place to put the extra snow. The thing about snow is that people sometimes disregard it, saying it’s just snow, but when snow is heavy it takes out more people over a larger area than any other natural disaster can. This last storm took out the entire East Coast; not even a hurricane does that.

Finally, it’s the last day of February, and I said I wasn’t going to post financial numbers anymore until I made at least $500 in a month. Nope, nowhere close to that, but I still hate that I’m not getting credit for that one affiliate sale. I need some free time to do some extra stuff, but it’s fleeting. I’m expecting March to be a great financial month offline, as I landed a short contract that will pay a lot of money in a short time, so that might bode well for April; guess we’ll see.

I hope everyone else has a great Sunday and last day of February; go USA!
 

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When Opera Isn’t Opera

Friday night, I went to the Syracuse Opera production of The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner. I would say that I went to the opera, but that would be a misnomer, based on what they did to it.

Let me get this part out of the way. The singers were fabulous. The lead, Greer Grimsley, was spectacular in the role of the Flying Dutchman, and his counterpart, Peter Strummer, was also great. The leading female role was sung by Lori Phillips, as Senta, and she was fabulous as well, although, if it were me, I might have wonted more of a lyrical coloratura in the role, someone with a higher pitch, but that’s me.

The orchestra was also great. The conductor, Douglas Kinney Frost, is new to me, and though he did a competent job with both the orchestra and the choir, it seems that conductors might be doing something different these days than what I’m used to. Instead of being animated when the orchestra was supposed to be hitting accented notes, he would do it first, and then a beat later the orchestra would follow him. That was bothering me early, as I kept wondering if maybe he was off the beat in some fashion. Eventually I decided to stop looking at him and to close my eyes when nothing else was going on.

So, what was missing? The opera, that’s what. This was more of a choral version of the opera Flying Dutchman than an opera. It wasn’t a production. There were no costumes, no acting, no sets. Instead, they decided to do something they said was innovative. What they called it was a multimedia production. They got some Syracuse University students to put together video montages of, well, pretty much whatever they wanted to do, and they showed them on screens behind the orchestra throughout the performance.

Talk about distracting. For those of you who don’t know the story, it’s a tale of a ghost sailor who made a statement so bold that the devil decided he would have to sail the seas forever unless he could get a woman to give her true soul to him in love, and thus he and his crew cold finally die. This means you might expect that there would be some things in a video such as boats, maybe pirates, bad weather, etc. There’s one point in the opera where there’s supposed to be a feast, so maybe there would have been exhibits of food and the like.

Nope, none of that. Oh, there was some water, a tree once, someone pouring beer, and a mixer beating batter that eventually becomes a cake. Other than that, none of what they came up with had anything to do with anything that was in the show. That, plus they kept replaying some of these videos over and over. It was really distracting because above all of this was the translation of the German libretto, which also at times was confusing because when two singers were singing different lyrics at the same time, you weren’t always sure whose words were being printed above, and every once in awhile they wouldn’t put up any lyrics at all.

So, the opera was a mixed blessing at best. If they had done this entire thing without the video, I wouldn’t have been as disappointed. Not having the entire colorful production, I feel kind of cheated. There are pictures online of this production with some of these cast members, and in costume this would have been spectacular. As it is, I’m now a big Greer Grimsley fan, and I was elated to have the opportunity to tell him 30 minutes after the production ended how great I thought he was (I knew someone in the choir), then today at the mall, in Macys, I ran into him again and thanked him again for his performance.

Oh yeah, one more thing. For those of you who might not know the Flying Dutchman, I’m betting you know What’s Opera Doc; same music. Unfortunately, seems it’s against copyright to show you the cartoon here (really?), so here’s a live performance of the cartoon for you:


 

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What Do We Expect For Free?

A few days ago I saw a comment on another blog’s posting that made me start thinking about this concept of the word “free”.

It was a fairly innocuous comment stating to the writer of the blog that he would have liked to see a little bit more information on some of what she was sharing with all of us to get her insight as to why she was recommending some things that she was recommending. I wrote back that I thought she was giving us a lot already and that I was at least happy for all the time that she was putting into giving us what she was giving us.

However, it got me thinking about it just a bit more because I realized that there are times when I am like everybody else in expecting a little bit more than what I’m getting from something even if it happens to be free. There were a few people who made comments on a review post I wrote on Six Figure Blogger Blueprint wishing that the author had given us a little bit more detail on how to specifically do something, and I remember thinking at the time “hey, it’s free, what do we want?” And yet, when I think about it, there are a lot of things that I get for free online that I’ll write about.

For instance, I’m running a WordPress blog. There are times when I’m complaining about something, such as those constant updates that seem to irritate most of us, and every once in a while I remember that this is a free program. There are a couple of other things I’ve written about that I absolutely hate, such as Disqus, Intense Debate and Blogger, but when you think about it those things are free also. Of course, I’ve chosen not to use any of those things, and instead pay for my hosting and my blog, and don’t filter my comments using either of those other two things I mentioned or anything else, but it’s not much different than just openly complaining about something that’s free.

What should we really expect from “free”? Should we expect that everything we get for free give us full details as if we were paying for it? I’m thinking that’s what blogs are for, because there are a lot of us who give a lot of information out to people absolutely free. I think I’ve done some tutorials on this blog and one of my other blogs on how to do things step by step, and yet I don’t get paid for any of those things. I don’t mind that because it’s a blog after all, and I like sharing information whenever I can. At the same time, you notice over there on the left that I have three things that I’ve created, and each one of them also has some step-by-step information that I am expecting someone to pay for if they want that information.

Here’s the thing about “free”. “Free” still takes a lot of time to create. Whereas I can write a blog post usually in less than five minutes, there are people who take upwards of an hour or more to put together a blog post. How many of you have actually written a book? How many of you have actually written a report of some kind outside of school work? These things do take time to put together, especially if someone is trying to do a good job. If they do it like I do anything, they probably start off with an outline, then a brief sketch as to what each outline point is supposed to contain, then they write or create the thing, then they edit the thing, then they might take the time to pretty it up somewhat before it’s ready for delivery. I’m bad when it comes to the “pretty up” part, but I’m not so bad at the rest of it.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t have the right to have some kind of expectation that what we are either going to use or read at least in some fashion addresses the topic we’re hoping it does. Getting something free and finding out it has nothing to do with what it said it did is diversionary and sneaky, and that’s not right. But for everything else, I think we have the right to try it out, and if it works for us or we can get something out of it then great. If we can’t get anything out of it or it doesn’t work right, then at least it didn’t cost us anything and we should probably be happy for that. It doesn’t mean that something free can’t be criticized, but it does mean that the level of criticism should match how much it cost us.

It’s just something I’ve been thinking about over the past few days as I remembered something I had written a while back ago asking the question How Do You Value. How do we decide when something we get for free is valuable even if it doesn’t give us everything we want?

Three Warnings Or Fears

There are three things I feel compelled to talk about, none of which has anything to do with internet marketing, but one does have something to do with social media, so I’ll start with that one.

A few days ago, a federal judge decided that high school students should have the right to blast their teachers on Facebook or anywhere else because of the 1st amendment right to free speech. I was astonished when I read this, and it seems there’s a lot of folks, including the American Civil Liberties Union, who believe this is proper.

Sorry folks, but I’m not one of them. We had a local incident just like this, and the student who created the page was suspended and every student who signed up for it got detention. I agreed with suspending the student, but not for punishing everyone else who signed up, especially since some kids never said a word.

Here’s the thing. What this moron basically did was give license to anyone to find someone they don’t like, create a Facebook group in their name calling them whatever they want to do, then invite other people to come in and join the ugliness. And that person has no recourse whatsoever because of this bad interpretation of the 1st amendment. By the way, the first amendment doesn’t say everyone gets to say whatever they want whenever they want, which is why we can’t go around screaming “fire” in a crowded theater and many other things.

I wonder who he and the ACLU are going to feel when the first person either gets killed or commits suicide because of this ruling. And allowing kids to do that against their teachers is absurd; imagine the repercussions of this type of thing later on. If I’m the teacher, I’m failing this kid. And what happens when one kid starts doing this to another kid?

I can tell you this; if I knew someone was doing something like this to me, I’m going after them in more ways than you can imagine, and the last way will definitely be physical. No one has the right to slam an individual without expecting consequences, and whatever they are, outside of taking out anyone else who’s around, isn’t off limits. If you’re in the public eye, or a company, that’s different. Allowing students to publicly slam teachers… I see trouble brewing.

The next thing on my mind is news this week that the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY, this week produced a substance that was 250,000 times hotter than the sun. This is another group that’s trying to create things that should remain in space and far away from Earth, in this case mini-stars instead of a black hole. Now, maybe I’m just an alarmist, but I’m thinking having substances on the Earth, even if they don’t last long, that are hotter than the sun is a bad thing. I don’t care how far underground it is, that can’t be a good thing. For my own comfort, Long Island isn’t far enough away from me for them to be doing that kind of testing anyway. Does anyone else think this is a bad idea?

Finally, there’s a guy named George Church who is the top guy when it comes to mapping out genomes. He has actually gotten to the point where he believes we can and should create a neanderthal so that we can see if it might offer resistances to diseases and the like to humans of today. By the way, that link downloads an MP3 file of his interview talking about it. He also believes we should recreate things like dinosaurs and mammoths and the like so we can study them better.

Once again, I’m reminded of the Jeff Goldblum line in Jurassic Park: “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” When this movie came out I thought about how cool it might be to recreate dinosaurs, but it’s now 17 years later, I’m no longer an idyllic 33 year old, and I’m thinking this is a bad idea as well. We have no idea what kinds of diseases these things had or just how lethal or smart they actually might have been, and reintroducing these things into our lives now is a horrible idea. The idea that we can create life that doesn’t exist anymore is scary to me; I can see how this one could get out of hand.

Oddly enough, I’m not against cloning, which one might think is the same thing. The thing about cloning is that it’s not like what people think it is. A clone of any animal is still a distinct and individual life form that will live a totally different existence and life than its predecessor, and we already know what the predecessor was and how we interacted with it.

Anyway, those are thoughts I’ve had today that I just finally had to write about. I know, my mind is in a weird place sometimes. Comments?

Planet Earth 5 DVD Set - Standard version

Planet Earth 5 DVD Set – Standard version

Price – $59.99


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Creatures Of Our Generations

Earlier today I was officially introduced to Google Buzz on Ari Herzog’s blog Ari Writer. That link will take you to his synopsis on it, as well as a video showing what it’s all about. Very informative stuff.

The main thing about Google Buzz is that you have to have a Gmail account for it all to work. I don’t have a Gmail account. Truthfully, it’s never occurred to me to get a Gmail account. Not that I don’t understand how many people use it; I just have my own hesitations in even thinking about using something like that, and therefore I won’t do it.

What are those hesitations? It has to do with giving out too much of my information to one entity. I talk to many people who use things like this, and I notice that overwhelmingly most of the people are much younger than I am, at least 10 years younger. Not that there aren’t some people who are my age or older that aren’t using these things, but it’s not common.

I’ve been wondering more about these types of things, wondering why it seems to be going that route. At what point did the generations decide it was such a good thing to be sharing so much of their personal lives with so many other people? At what point did recognition of such a high magnitude become vogue?

Sure, I guess one could look at me and say “you share things about yourself through your blogging.” I’d have to agree with that, but at the same time, what I share is controlled. The skeletons are buried very deep; not that I have many of them, but there are things that I’ll never divulge anywhere. You know what’s even better? I’m the keeper of secrets for many more people, the one person they felt they could trust with their lives, and since loyalty is at the top of my list of morals, with trustworthy being second, those things are theirs and mine forever.

You don’t see that kind of thing these days, though. I hate to be the one saying this to you folks who are parents, but at some point your daughter, if she’s either attractive or is interested in some boy, is going to have a picture taken of her that she’s going to later wish she hadn’t done, if she hasn’t already done it. Truthfully, it might not even be her taking it, but she knows about it. That’s something I don’t think women from my generation would have jumped at; as it is, there are women my age who won’t even put a picture of themselves up on Facebook or Twitter, for fear that someone will recognize them, and will give very few personal details either. That second part I fully understand, but the first… I guess I get it to a degree, but I’m of the mind that once you establish yourself in some fashion online, putting your image next to it will keep others from thinking you’re someone else with that same name. Then again, I’m Mitch Mitchell in a world competing with Jimi Hendrix drummer, so my take on that would be a little different. lol

I remember being at a seminar in 2008 when one women in her early 30s was talking about a problem she was having with the school her 12 years old was going to. Seems she gave her 12-year old daughter a cell phone so she could call her mother whenever she wanted to talk to her, and whenever she wanted to talk to her daughter. A teacher took away her phone because the daughter was using it during a class, and the mother was livid, saying she had the right to talk to her daughter whenever she wanted to, even if it was during a class. I was stunned at that; when I went to school, parents weren’t even allowed in the classroom, then they were encouraged to come to the classroom after I was gone, then parents can now be arrested if their kids skip school and now parents want to talk to their kids while in the classroom?

Do you notice the differences in how people’s perceptions on things change depending on being in different generations? I’d love to hear it if you’ve noticed it in any way. Oh yeah; Happy Valentines Day!

Microsoft Store

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