I’m in a dilemma. Again.
I recently purchased a book called Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher and now I know what’s wrong with me.
I’m a Scanner.
A Scanner is someone who is interested in a lot of things. They research these things intensely and when they learn what they want to know about it, they move on to something else and research that intensely.
Scanners drive the people around them nuts. They seem flighty and unfocused. Some people call them a Dilettante. Webster’s definition of a dilettante is, “A person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge.
But what Barbara Sher brings to light is that Scanners have a very curious and are highly creative people. They also can get bored easily.
Here are some things I’ve looked up this week (but mostly in one day) and spent anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours researching it this week:
1. Birthstones, specifically blue ones: Aquamarine, Topaz and Sapphires
2. Gamification—how to make learning fun. I even sat through an hour webinar from the VP at Adobe.
4. I made a list of all the cool things I’ve done over the last 10 or 12 years: the birth of my child, places I’ve visited, jobs I’ve had, houses that I’ve bought and sold, college degrees, too many things to list for this post.
5. Lyrical Essays for a possible submission—the “braided essay,” is the type I’m going to use.
6. That got me into looking up things that were related to writing in general and that brought me to Stephen’s King’s On Writing…
7. …which lead me to looking up, “How to submit to blogs for being a guest writer.” Hint: Google “Write for us.”
8. I checked in with this blogger named ViperChill who wrote a really long article on: How to buy Facebook likes for less than a penny each.
And then he described how to make two business pages on Facebook, send out the same stuff as the other one, but link the two together and somehow this gets more people to share your content because Google will index it differently.
9. Then I decided I needed to look up houses on the waterfront here in the St. Louis area, which in case you don’t know, is in the middle of the United States, so…there’s either rivers, creeks, ponds or lakes.
Well, I found a house that’s less than $100,000 on a lake by where I currently live and I didn’t even know it was there. But the bad news, it probably needs another $100,000 in work.
Somehow I let this take me out of the game for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour.
11. I went to her blog which lead me down the rabbit hole for another hour because she’s that damn good and what she does. Besides writing her own stuff, she writes SALES LETTERS for other artists and they are just irresistible. No wonder she’s helping so many people make money from their art.
12. So of course I had to look up Bob Marley stencils, because you know? I like to make art. And I like to make money. And I’ve made a few stencil art pieces in the past.
13. So then I went to Ebay and looked up how much stenciled Bob Marley paintings are going for. Answer–$12.00.
So I decided to write this post about Scanners instead of painting a Bob Marley painting to try to show you what it’s like to have this kind of brain.
To some it’s a curse. To others it seems like, “You can never pick one thing and stick with it.”
To me, it’s just what I do and this blog is my outlet for it. I hope to be able to harness the full potential of it one day. Until then, I’ll just keep being curious and keep on writing.
I saw an old friend recently and he said, “Hey, how come you didn’t write about your new ukuleles you got on your blog?”
“I think I did,” I said.
“No. I just searched it. You don’t have anything on there,” he said.
Most of my friends and readers know that I grew up in Hawaii and that I play the ukulele. I own five or six of them. Some uke players say that I have U.A.S. or Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome. But the good news is the last two new ukuleles I have, I got for free.
Well, they were free money wise, but not time wise. See I received the two new ukuleles on a barter and I’ll show you how you can do it too.
Most people have forgotten about the age old tradition of bartering. Back in the day, everyone bartered. Maybe they gave a quilt for some food or a blacksmith traded their services for a tailor’s service.
Today you can go to Craigslist and they have a “Barter,” section. Most of the times people list specific things they are looking for. For instance, I saw a guy looking to trade fishing gear for “things that go bang.” It’s illegal to advertise firearms on Craigslist. Most of the times an add like that would get flagged.
So how did I get involved in the barter in the first place? I contacted an overseas ukulele company to see if they would consider me to be a distributor for their ukuleles. I also mentioned politely that their site could use some help with the English translation. (“Wood make very good tone, nice looking.”)
I said, “I’m sure you speak better English than I speak Cantonese, but I would be willing to fix your ad copy for two custom ukuleles.”
The owner of the company got back to me to say that they are not interested in distributing to the United States right now. But he also said, “I happy to trade you a custom ukulele to fix site words.”
He agreed on the trade after seeing a writing sample. After going back and forth about for about 3 months, I now have custom ukulele. The guy even laser-etched my Polynesian tattoo design into the fret-board and the body of my ukulele. If I were to have a luthier make an ukulele here in The States with as much detail as this guy has given me, it would run $2000 to $3000.
I figured out a year or so ago that it doesn’t really matter where you go work-wise, you will probably end up not liking it somewhere along the way. You might like the profession, but the job itself will suck time to time.
A new Gallup Poll came out in the last month or two that said, anywhere from 48%-60% of Americans do not like their jobs. And that number is closer to 70% in other countries.
So what I’ve been doing is researching why that is? Does it make sense to live in, “The greatest country in the world,” and more than half on average hate what they are doing?
I will say for the record, I don’t hate what I’m doing. I just hate some of the attitudes of the people I’m dealing with. I also feel like those same people have an attitude of, this will get done, because they aren’t the ones who have to do the work.
Employee engagement, self-employment and follow you passion, these are three of the biggest search terms in Google. Tens of millions look these three words up every month and I plan on figuring out how to help these people, including myself.
This was my first time at Word Camp. For those who’s never heard of this, it’s tech seminar on using WordPress.
WordPress is a content management system and this site was built using WordPress.
I made this blog posting in a blog lecture. The speaker said we should blog during class.
Do the prices at the gas pumps have you asking, “Is this 1995 or what?”
If so, you’re not the only one. For years I thought that election years almost always kept gas prices low. Then as soon as the election was over, prices would shoot back up, which never sat well with me.
I was discussing the gas prices with a friend of mine and he informed me that I didn’t know what I was talking about. “The election has nothing to do with oil prices,” he said. “The Saudi’s are pumping at full capacity right now.”
This article explains the low cost of oil and after reading it, I realized that my friend was right. It has nothing to do with it being an election year. The biggest reason prices are so low is because Saudi Arabia is flooding the market, keeping more expensive oil that the U.S. and Canada in the ground.
Click here to read the article.
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We are in the third week of the New Year, how are your New Year’s Resolutions holding up? If you’re like most Americans, they’ve either come and gone or you’re still waiting to get started.
I decided not to do New Year’s Resolutions this year. I did however make five goals that I wanted to try to accomplish this year. Below is the list and how I’ve attempted to integrate them in my life:
1. Cultivate relationships with people I want to keep in my life.
Sometimes we let people go in our lives. Usually it’s not done on purpose. Although sometimes it’s blatantly obvious you need to cut them out of your life—like when they stole your change jar and crock-pot while you were out of town and they were supposed to be dog sitting.
But usually it’s less dramatic than that. Your friend will call and invite you to a party, but you already had other plans. Then you call several weeks later and invite them to a dinner you’re having with a group of friends that they don’t really know that well, but you invite them anyway because you’d like to see them. But they decline because they’ve got to take grandma to bingo…then several months pass by before you try again, but again they’re busy, then the next time you run into them, it been a few years. Next thing you know, they are asking about, “the old gang,” and your response is, “I see them on Facebook,” which is exactly the same boat you two are in now as well.
I noticed this happened to me with a few of my friends and I didn’t like it. So a few days after New Year’s Day, I picked up the phone and called them. I let them know I was thinking about them and they agreed we should hang out sometime soon. Well, it’s roughly three weeks later and I’ve only seen one of the four people I called. But hey, one’s better than none.
2. Be closer to 200 lbs. than 250 lbs. by the end of 2016.
My second goal is health related. I wanted to lose weight, but this time I broke it down to smaller goals like, “drink more water and eat healthier.” So I joined a “Biggest Loser,” contest at work and weighed in. I was surprised to see that I was slightly closer to being 300 lbs. than I was to 200 lbs. (250-something)
I then worked out twice right off the bat and lost 9 pounds in one week. After that, I immediately stopped working out, gained back 6 of the 9 pounds and the weigh in is in 2 days. This post is a wake-up call to myself.
3. Write at least one story, poem or blog post at least once a week.
I have written at least one story a week so far this year. I was given a writing prompt book called, “365 Days of Joy,” or something like that. Every time I see it lying on the table, it reminds me I need to pick it up and writing something. (I wrote most of this post while waiting to be helped over the phone with my web-hosting company. I was on hold 38 minutes, which brings me to my next goal…)
4. Get a side business going this year, preferably doing something fun.
I have been working with a lady over the last few months who is a creative career coach. I have gone through her training and am now licensed to use her material. The two types of people I will be working with are: People who know they want to start a business, but don’t know what kind. Or they know what kind of business they want to start, they just don’t know how to get going. I will mainly do this online or over the phone, which is why I was on hold for 38 minutes trying to get my website going. More on that later in upcoming posts, which leads me to my last goal…
5. Be a better guitar/ukulele player by the end of 2016 than I was at the beginning of 2016.
My last goal of the year has been my most successful so far. I have played the guitar everyday this year so far. (It’s only January 18th.) I’ve also watched dozens of guitar tutorial videos on YouTube. It’s amazing what you can learn on YouTube.
I’ve been teaching other players some techniques that I’ve learned and if I didn’t already have two blogs, I would start a third called, “The evolution of a guitar player.” If I had the time, I’d spend the year showing my progress.
I’m not doing that though because I don’t need another project. I have bitten off more than I can chew many times over my lifetime. I now realize that in order for me to be successful, I need to set small goals and do something to achieve them on a consistent basis. Writing a post helps me keep on track. I hope that reading this will help keep you on track as well.
On a different note, Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day. Lately I’ve felt like we are taking a giant step backwards in race relationships. Here is a post I wrote 4 years ago on Martin Luther King Day. It seems like things have gotten worse than they were when I originally wrote this: Click here
Here’s the link if you’re getting this through email.
Every year around this time I start taking inventory of my life and looking back at what’s happened over the last year. This year was a bumpy ride for me and my family.
I haven’t written about it up until now, but after 10 years of marriage, my wife and I separated at the end of last year and we have lived apart for over a year now. We sold the house we lived in and moved to separate apartments. Our daughter splits her time with both of us 50/50 and I think that we can all agree that the current situation is better for all that’s involved.
Having said that…I’ve started dating again and overall it’s been a great experience. My daughter really likes her and I’m grateful I don’t have to go through the nightmare of them not caring for each other.
I also got a new position at work. I’m now in charge of a team of 8 trainers and am responsible for 800 people’s training. I now know first-hand that it’s not easy being in charge and there are some days I wish I could go back to not being the boss. But most of the times I’m happy to jump in with both feet and stay busy working and teaching classes.
Every year many of us make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve stopped doing that a few years ago because I know that long-term change for me happens when something hits me randomly and that’s never been on New Year’s Day. Although this year I will still make a goal list. I will probably hang it up next to my desk and it will look something like this:
1. Cultivate relationships with people you want to keep in your life.
2. Be closer to 200 lbs. than 250 lbs. by the end of 2016.
3. Write at least one story, poem or blog post at least once a week.
4. Get a side business going this year, preferably something fun.
5. Be a better guitar/ukulele player by the end of 2016 than you were at the beginning of 2016.
Anything more than that is just wishful thinking for me.
If you’re going to go out this New Year’s Eve, be safe out there. And if you’re going to drink, don’t drive.
I’ve been keeping busy with my writing project. I’ve had two rounds with an editor that I found on Fiverr. $40 bucks for 80 pages. I hope the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” doesn’t apply here.
In the past I used an awesome editor. But this is just a little side-project that I’m trying to churn out fast. The girl I’m using is a Univ. of Florida graduate who majored in English, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Here’s a little sample from the collection. It’s a flash-piece I wrote when I was volunteering for Lumina–a group of volunteers who write hospice patient’s life’s stories right before they pass away. (If you can make it on time.) This one has nothing to do with a patient.
That Great Gretsch Sound
Looking at the old orange hard-shell case, you can tell that what’s inside has been around a while. Scratches run deep like a road map of the places it’s been.
Opening the worn brass latches unleashes a waft of smoke that gently hits the nose. When the lid folds back, the crushed-orange velvet encases a dark orange sunburst 1939 Hawaiian-style Gretsch guitar. The floating tortoise pick-guard is held on by a small brass bracket that violently protests when you strum too hard. The neck tappers from the body to the black head stock, which suits my small fingers as I press down the silky smooth strings on the ebony fret board.
But the best part of all is the harp like sound when the Old-Girl is strummed ever so gently. The vibrations call out, “Please don’t put me back in that case Mister. I’m beggin’ ya.”
It’s really not as interesting talking about making something as it is actually doing it. Yesterday, Day 3 of my project, I spend time looking up e-book cover designers on Fiverr. If you don’t know what Fiverr is, it’s a website where people all over the world will do things for $5 bucks. A word of caution, it can get a little addictive.
Want someone to write your girlfriend’s name in the sand at sunrise for her birthday and send you a pic of it? You can find that on Fiverr. Want someone to dress up in a hula skirt and sing a Happy Birthday song? You can find that too. But you can also find normal stuff like guys who will design book covers and proofread your stuff. So that was yesterday’s project.
Today’s work? Editing pieces. Fun stuff I know, but it’s got to be done. Do yourself a favor and do something a little more interesting than I am today.
Today I registered my domain name. It’s
There’s nothing there yet. But I’m doing one task a day for 30 days. And I kind of feel like since the book is already written, I’m way ahead of the game.
I did spend a several hours pouring over old stories and essays. Just looking through old memory sticks was a chore itself. I kept getting tied up in old memories. It also made me remember that I want to write a memoir on my 12 years working in jails and not to include those essays in this project.
I have a long list of stuff to do. And I’m already thinking about what I need to do tomorrow. Either way, I did my work for the day.