Category Archives: Personal

How Do You Value?

Today I had to take my wife’s SUV to Goodyear for an evaluation of her car battery. Turned out she needed a new one, and when the guy told me $190, I was in shock. He said that Hyundai’s used a particular kind of battery that was powerful, but cost more. Nothing I could do but go ahead and pay it.

At the same time, I happened to look up on the wall and saw that service per hour is now $94 per hour, and that shocked me also. I think the last time I had service anywhere other than my dealership, it was around $60 an hour, and at the time I thought that was kind of high.

Today, however, I started thinking about this concept of value just a little bit more. I wondered why I thought $94 an hour to pay for people to fix my car, which I know nothing about, is too high. After all, for my main business service in health care, I charge at a minimum $150 an hour to do what I do. Some hospitals pay it willingly; others balk a bit at the price until they realize just how much money I’m going to make for them. When you balance $15,000 against the opportunity to make an extra $1 million a year in revenue, it has to eventually seem like a pretty good deal.

Yet, it doesn’t always pay well. I’ve had some big years, but this year, with worries about a potential health care plan, as well as reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, I haven’t worked in that industry all that much. The people who would hire me haven’t quite figured out how to value what I do against what their needs are. When you don’t have a lot of money, and you’re not sure of what someone else tells you are guaranteed results, it’s hard for you to determine just what value really is.

I’ve suffered at times with trying to figure out how to price items I’ve created, along with some of the services I provide. Last week, for instance, I sold my very first Mitchell Manager Training Program online for $39.99. That bad boy is around 150 pages long, and I’m selling it for less than $40. Last year when I was talking with Lynn Terry about my ebook above, Using Your Website As A Marketing Tool, which I sell for $20 based on her recommendation of how many pages are in it.

In a way, this question of value is what I was talking about in my last post about writers lying when talking about secrets. They’re not offering anything new, just saying the same exact thing someone else has said before most of the time. There’s no real value in that; it’s just a waste of our time.

There’s also this thing about how we value ourselves, and how we value others. Value isn’t always about money after all. On my business blog in June, I wrote about a lesson my dad gave me on a personal value issue, and how I was glad to have learned such a lesson even though I was over 40 years old. I’ve also written there on how some people have either positive or negative values, and get to decide which direction they want to go.

So, how do you value yourself? How do you value your time? How do you value the worth of others and what they have to offer to you? How do you value your own products, or services, or anything else you have to offer or sell or even write on your blogs? It’s something to think about as you’re deciding how you want to write your blog, how you want to market your products, and whether the products other people market just might be something you may feel you’ll get some kind of value from.

And it’s something I continually think about as I work on this thing called affiliate or internet marketing. I don’t have that particular answer myself.

September 11, 2001 – I’m Still Mad

Today is the 8th anniversary of the planes hitting the Twin Towers in New York City, and I’m still mad and upset about it. The last time I wrote about it was in 2007 on my business blog because this one didn’t exist yet. Last year, I just avoided the day pretty much, but decided I wanted to write on it again this year.

Though I’ve been advertising some 9/11/01 things over the past couple of days (not yesterday, though), I have to admit something. I’ve not watched a single 9/11/01 related program in all these years. I tried watching one in 2007 and 2008, but I just still am not ready.

I have to explain something here. I’ve only watched Roots once in my entire life. I was mad the entire week that movie was on back in the 70’s. Of all things, it was the one week when even school bullies decided I wasn’t the person to mess with. I didn’t talk to anyone during the entire week; I was mad every single day. I saw Amistad on a fluke, and I was mad at white people the entire next day. I take this kind of thing to heart; that’s why I refuse to even entertain the idea of watching Ghosts Of Mississippi or Rosewood; it’s also a good reason I don’t have any weapons.

I’ve also only watched one movie that would be considered a war movie in my entire life. That would be Pearl Harbor. My dad was in both the Korean War and Vietnam. Some military kids will watch these movies because they want to know what their parents might have gone through. For me, if Dad wouldn’t talk about it, I don’t want to know. I did try to watch Saving Private Ryan once, and only made it 4 minutes into the movie before I realized I just couldn’t deal with it. Sometimes, the sensibilities run deep.

Yeah, I’m still mad about what happened on that day. And I’m mad about what’s happening now. I’m mad that so many people think 9/11 was the result of something President Bush did. He wasn’t my favorite president, I’d have to say, but that’s just ridiculous. There’s no way I would ever believe the President or Vice President of the United States, or any senator or congressman or woman or military officer would have allowed that kind of thing to occur. I’m not even entertaining that thought. It was horrific, and I guess being only 5 hours away and wanting to go, but knowing they’d never let me into the city, had always bothered me. What would I have done anyway?

I’m also mad that we’ve never gotten either Osama Bin Laden or Omar Mullah. I’m mad that Al Queda, no matter how it’s spelled, has gotten away with what they continue to get away with. I’m mad that we went to Iraq when we should have fixed Afghanistan instead, even though I’m not upset that Saddam Hussein or his sons are gone; the first President Bush should have taken him out back in ’91. We didn’t need to be in Iraq; now we’re working hard to get out, but think about how much money we’ve spent in Iraq that we could certainly use now. With the extra troops, we could have cleaned up Afghanistan and already had those troops back here also.

I’m also mad that both Egypt and Saudi Arabia basically got a pass on all of this, but Pakistan was roughhoused. Yeah, we all know that many of the Afghan criminals escaped into Pakistan, and some of them may still be there, but every person on those flights were either from Egypt or Saudi Arabia. And I’m still mad because those people cheered, as did the Palestinians. It’s the only three days I ever hated those people and wished we had sent the planes over and wiped them out; now I’m just still mad. And the price of oil isn’t helping my mood any.

So, we head into another 9/11/01 ceremony day, none of which I’ve ever attended. I was lucky; I don’t know a single person who was killed on that day. But the scary thing is that I’d bee on top of the Towers 2 or 3 times, and always wanted to go back. In a random moment, I, and many other people I know, could have been up there on that day. Now we have terror alerts of all sorts of colors, and we still can’t protect our borders, and Iran and North Korea almost have nukes. That’s all a result of 9/11/01 also.

I’m not ready to let it go. But, in a few days, I will let it abate, and then deal with it again next year.

Post #500; Something New For Me

This is my 500th post on this blog. It’s taken me less than 2 years to get here, and if I keep up the pace, I could hit #600 by December.

I don’t usually write a post acknowledging a milestone post on that day. What I usually do is wait until the post afterwards, where I usually give stats about the last 100 posts. I’m still going to do that, but I decided to go freestyle for this one, which is a pretty big deal in my mind.

When I started this blog, it’s intention was for me to talk about whatever I wanted to talk about. At some point, it turned into a blog that was about something. That something was more than one thing; well, is about more than one thing.

I’ve written about affiliate marketing, or lack thereof. I’ve written about websites and about internet things in general. I’ve written about social media, especially Twitter. I’ve written a lot about blogging. And I’ve written about writing, both books and articles. Every once in awhile, I’ve written about my businesses, diabetes, and of course my monthly income.

What I haven’t done is written much about personal types of things. Out of the first 499 posts, I’ve only written 16 personal posts. I think I got caught up in the money thing early on, the niche thing most of us like to talk about. I think I had high hopes that if I concentrated on more internet, computer, web stuff that it would give me the best opportunity to make money on this blog.

After awhile, I realized I wasn’t going to make any money off this blog. It its way, it’s considered a “make money online” blog. Nothing really wrong with that, except this isn’t the market that normally buys anything from anyone else, because we’re too busy trying to make money ourselves. In a year and 9 months, do you know how much money this blog has made? It’s made less than $5. Not only that, but in checking my stats, the products I’ve created, over there to the top left, have generated almost no clicks, and I get almost no clicks on the affiliate ads either. As far as making money, the blog is a dud.

Then there was the kind of pitiful attempt at trying to get more RSS subscribers by holding a contest. Well hey, we all try a contest at some point, right? I was trying to go from 54 subscribers to 250 subscribers in that contest, although I really was hoping to just reach triple figures. Instead, it “jumped” to 65 by the time I ended the contest. Pitiful indeed.

Even now, though I posted that article the other day showing that I’d actually hit 100 subscribers, finally, as I write this I’m back down to 90. And, according to Analytics, I’m averaging less than 30% on visitor loyalty, as in repeats visitors; it seems the days, at least for me, when CommentLuv, commenting on blogs where people wrote on mine, being a dofollow blog and basically trying to please everyone but myself, aren’t bringing folks back.

Where am I going with this? It’s a good time for a bit of reflection, and a minor change of direction. In the past week I turned 50 and I’ve now hit 500 posts on this blog; I’ve crushed the average. I’m close to milestones on my business blog also, almost 600 posts there. But the business blog must stay the business blog.

It’s time to get more personal. It’s time to talk about issues and things I want to talk about more often, such as the rant I had earlier this year. It’s time just to write, to not always have to research. I may get a bit more political or philosophical. I might rant a bit more often, or tell more funny stories. Heck, I think I’m going to turn into our friend Sire a bit more, only I won’t be writing poetry. I may share some old song lyrics, though; a couple of them I thought were pretty good.

I’m going to talk feelings. I’m going to talk society. I’m hoping I won’t start talking religion, because I don’t have one, and trust me, anyone who does really doesn’t want to get into it with me because I go for the jugular. Let’s just leave religion alone.

I’m not going to go for controversy; I don’t want to become that type of blog because, frankly, I can be thin-skinned. I will express my opinions, though, and allow others to express their opinions, as long as we keep a sense of decorum here. I won’t call any commenters names, and I won’t allow any commenters to call anyone else names. Those posts will be gone in a heartbeat; call it censorship if you will, but I’m paying for this blog, so it’s my prerogative. And it’ll all be clean; I don’t curse, never have, and I’m not going to allow anyone else to curse either.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m going to negate some of the other things I’ve written about all this time. After all, those things affect me as well, to a degree. It’s just not going to be my focus so much. I’m still going to market my affiliate programs, and any links you see attached to a word that’s not linked to a source or internally is probably linked to some product; hey, you did know it’s football season, right? 😉

So, here we go. The next 100 posts should be interesting, just to see what I come up with. Oh yeah, that next one will be the recap, so that’s something that won’t change. After that,… the skies the limit. I hope you stick around, and I also hope more new visitors come and subscribe. We all want to be famous, right? Okay, maybe not John. 😀

In Memoriam-NYC 9/11/01

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Poker Tournament, The Follow Up

On Thursday, I posted about going to my big poker tournament. Instead of responding to the comments on that post, I wanted to write an aftermath post, which is this one.

I didn’t sleep well the night before, though I went to bed early, for me. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I wanted to do well; heck, I wanted to cash. But I had no real idea what I was in for.

I got to the casino 45 minutes early, hoping to walk around the room and get acclimated to it. No such luck; they didn’t open the door to the poker room until 15 minutes before play started. I actually felt like I had to go to the bathroom, you know, #2, and went to a place I know is kind of a secret hideout (yes, I know the casino pretty well), and I realized it was just my stomach kicking my behind literally. This was a big deal, it seems.

Play started right at 11AM, and at my table, there were only 3 of us. I asked the dealer what would happen, and he said some players are always late, and that the table would eventually fill up. I won the first three hands, mainly because the other two players didn’t want to play the first two hands, and I actually won something on the third hand. So, a nice start, but only three players. A fourth player joined the game, and in a few minutes he asked me if I was wearing my shirt inside out for good luck. I looked at myself and indeed, my shirt was on backwards; groan! I got up, went to the bathroom, and flipped it around; what a start to the day, right?

Eventually the table was full, and now it was grind time. It was ugly. I started with $15,000 in chips, got up to $15,750, and then dropped. I mean, I only had a few good hands in the first two hours, as blinds increased 3 times, and on my good hands it was as if they knew I was holding aces, which I was. I let one guy beat me out of a hand I probably had, but couldn’t take a chance at; that irritated me. I eventually got him back twice, though.

At the end of the first two hours, we got our first break. I was tired and tense. I just couldn’t relax, and I had position #1 at the table, which meant I was sitting right next to the dealer. I don’t like that position because I always feel like I’m not really playing the game with anyone else from that spot. I had just over $10,000, which meant I was still in it, but only 12 people had been busted out at that point. That was surprising to me; usually, poker education tells people to play somewhat aggressively early on to take advantage of low blinds and build up their stash. I got the feeling that most of the people in the room were just grinding it out; no breakaway stars. I called my wife, then I got something to eat. I didn’t eat much, because my stomach was yelling at me, even though I’d only had water while sitting at the table, and I’d eaten breakfast, though it was 5 hours earlier.

When we went back in after the break, I saw that the average in the room was around $16,200, so I wasn’t really all that far out of it. We all sat down and started playing again. I still couldn’t relax, and I didn’t feel like I was breathing all that well either. The room was cool enough, yet I felt it was stuffy for some reason; I think it was just anxiety. And my stack kept getting smaller and smaller, and that was without my playing all that many hands. I actually lost almost half of my chips on one hand, when I decided not to challenge this guy for the rest of my chips, even though I had a pair of aces, but the other card in my hand wasn’t all that good. That might have been the worst play of the day for me, but so be it. I made it to the second break, barely hanging on, and knowing that the blinds were going to really start escalating after the break.

When we came back in, that’s when I learned that because we only ended up with 175 people, they were cutting the prizes off at 20th place. I knew there was almost no way I was going to get there without taking some risks, but I didn’t have the money to take any risks. That is, until I got into this hand with the same guy who dealt me my early beat. I went all in with a pair of 5’s, he called with ace-king, and I won, which doubled my money and gave me new life. He lost the very next hand with another ace-king and was gone, just like that. That meant two people from my table had gone before me; two others would end up going before me also. Finally, nearly six hours of play in, just before another break, I was going to be gone in two hands, rather have it taken out of my control, so I went all in with ten-jack of clubs, against a queen-seven caller. The flop gave me a pair of jacks; the turn gave him his queen, and the river gave him another queen, and I was done.

I ended up finishing in 109th place, and it was around 6PM. The way it was going, the people who were left were going to be playing until 2AM, then leaving and coming back early Friday morning. As I thought about that I realized that my busting out when I did probably did me a favor.

I say that because, overall, I didn’t enjoy myself. I was tense throughout, and not breathing well. I was able to be cool when I was in a hand, but when I wasn’t, I felt like I was grasping at better air. I was staying hydrated, but I hadn’t remembered to take all of my medication before I left, though I did take my shot. I was also really tired, even though I mainly drank water and only a couple of diet sodas. Driving home, I was depressed, tense, and exhausted; I never saw any of those feelings coming on from a tournament where someone else’s money got me in.

What did I do? I put on Donna Summer music, a couple of songs I think are great driving songs, and played them over and over; that did the trick eventually. “Walk Away” then “Dim All The Lights”; you know how some songs just seem to fit the road well? Man, did I need that!

So, were there some lessons learned? Well, maybe. First, I really do hate sitting next to the dealer; nothing I could do about that. Second, sometimes it’s hard to relax in unfamiliar territory; at least I got a newsletter out of it. Third, once I was tight, I forgot some of the rules of the game I know, while remembering others; that didn’t bode well for me long term. One has to remember them all if one is going to play with the big boys.

On the other hand, I learned that I could hang with the big boys. Two players who actually made the trek to Las Vegas to take their shot at the World Series of Poker, and paid the $750 entry fee into this tournament, busted out before I did. Both of them probably had way more fun than I did, because they remembered one of the things I forgot; you never think of chips as money, just as an ends to the means. The money was already paid; ugh!

Anyway, that’s my tale. I did the best I could, and I guess that’s something to be proud of. I just feel I could have done better, but I also don’t think I could have handled another 8 hours of that kind of pressure. One of my Twitter poker friends said I’d do better next time; not if I have to pay for it! lol

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My Big Poker Tournament

If you’re reading this relatively early on Thursday, I’m not home. I’m at a big poker tournament, taking my shot at what should at least be a $50,000 first prize. Let me tell you the story.

Back in early July, I decided to take a Friday off and head to my favorite casino, Turning Stone Casino in Oneida, NY. Okay, it’s also the closest, but I just love going there when I have some extra dollars.

I’m not a bad poker player. Some of you may remember when I wrote about my time in Reno and came back from the casino on my first day up $650. I’ve often come home up $300 or so. I’ve also often come home without any of the money I started with. But most of the time, I’ll break even, or pretty close either side.

On this particular day, I was having a horrible go of it. Nothing was going right on that day. If I’d listened to my inner mind, I’d have left an hour into being there and come back home. But reasoning just doesn’t go that route, and it’s a good thing it didn’t.

I was just sitting at the table, thinking about a hand, when they announced that it was time for “the drawing.” Throughout the poker room, people started yelling out their table and seat number. Not wanting to miss out, I started yelling “Table 23, Seat 5.” Lo and behold, I won! Everyone cheered, and I smiled and felt pretty good about something finally going my way.

Of course, I waited a beat, then asked, kind of sheepishly, just what it was I won, because I hadn’t been paying attention. The dealer told me I’d won an entry into the $750 regional tournament on August 20th. Sweet! Now, the downside is, because I won, I’ll have to pay taxes on that amount. The upside is, if I can make it through the first day, I’ll automatically have qualified for the money, whatever it turns out to be, but the minimum I can come home with is $1,200.

How do I know that if I make it through the first day I’ll make money? What they do is determine how many people are in the tournament first. Then they’ll determine how many places they’re going to pay out. What I’ve been told is that, once they have that number, they’ll play down to that number, and once they reach it then they’ll stop the tournament for the day and start it back up again the next day.

Based on how tournaments usually go, at least 25% of the folks will be gone within the first hour. Many people are internet players, and they’ll take chances that may work while sitting at a table playing for money, but some of them will crash and burn because of those tactics. Online, it’s not about reading people, but about playing cards.

After that, things slow down drastically. I expect that the shortest period of time this will take will probably be 6 or 7 hours. We get a break every 2 hours, which is a good thing. The thing about poker is that if you’re patient, you can last a long time. However, you will have to win some hands here and there, because in tournaments, blinds go up every so often, which will take your money whether you play hands or not.

I say right now that I’m going into this tournament making sure I win. I’m also saying that I’m going into this tournament “knowing” that I’m going to make it through the first day. That’s my first goal; you have to be in it to win it. And knowing that I’ve made the money will make the second day much easier mentally.

So, wish me luck. However, just because you see a post on Friday doesn’t mean I lost and came home, as I’ll have another post ready to go for Friday, just in case I decide to stay there overnight. I’ll let you know what happens.

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