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"I got more views in one hour than I got in a month." -Mariano
I'm sitting on my back porch looking out over the snow-dusted Blue Ridge Mountains of NC... I've threatened to start writing for years. Now I've done it, and if you're reading this you're one of my first "customers." Please accept my congratulations... or condolences, depending on how you like it.
You should never begin any task without a goal, and I have one for this blog. I want to make you think, and in the process I hope to entertain you and inform you... and hopefully make you laugh now and then.
I'll write about lots of different topics. I was a political science / history major in college and still have a strong interest there. I spent over 30 years in a career that required face to face contact with the public every single day, and believe me, that has given me enough anecdotes to write several books. In fact, I think everyone should have to spend a year dealing with the public - it would make for a kinder, gentler world. Why don't we start right there?
I called my life insurance company this morning to ask a couple of questions. The phone was answered by a machine and gave me a couple of choices on the "menu." I was on hold for less than 20 seconds when the live representative answered and immediately began apologizing for the wait. My response? "I thought it was really quick." She seemed stunned but went on to answer my questions quickly and (I think) accurately. As we finished our conversation, she began to apologize again for taking my time but I interrupted her and said, "I can't imagine getting any better service than you gave me."
Silence on the other end... I asked "Did you pass out?" She began laughing and said, "No, it's just that not many people are nice to us." I explained that I had spend hundreds of hours dealing with people - some nice, some not so nice, some complete jerks - and that I had always promised myself I would never be rude to a customer service rep. We chatted for a couple of minutes and hung up laughing.
Since I have the day off from work, and Princess doesn't have any school, we decided that we would mo together.
As always, if you feel like donating to research for men's health issues, you can do so through my Movember site. Thank you and Happy Veteran's Day!
“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.” Lily Tomlin
We signed up for a race, but we can’t seem to find the finish line. However, when we’re fresh out of college, we can picture it at least...
LEARN TO BE HAPPY WITH LESS (Minimalism)
Dear friends and family,
I'm sorry that I didn't tell you about my reality sooner, I just couldn't find the right time or place to tell you any of this. I'm sorry that I built up my walls and kept you on the outside of my life for a while, I just didn't know how to tell you. The truth is, I've been struggling for a while now and I don't know myself how to explain my situation. You all know that my knee's and my wrists have been in pain. What you don't know, however, is that I really do know what is going on with my body. I've known for a few months now. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. It's hard, I will admit, mornings especially, but let's not get into too much detail. See, at first I really didn't know what was happening to me, I thought that maybe I'd just caused some stress on my joints or damaged the ligaments in my wrists. When we found out that it was JRA, my previous situation offered for a perfect cover story. When I was first diagnosed I was a little ashamed to be completely honest, don't ask why because I don't even know myself. I've finally convinced myself to open up about my disease. Now my classmates will understand why I missed so many days of school, sometimes the pain of JRA just gets to you and I couldn't make it most days. To my family members, I'm truly sorry for keeping this from you all. And to my best friends, I'm sorry to have kept this from you the most. The truth is that I'm going to have a hard time with a lot of things from here on out, and I'm going to ask for help once and a while when I need it. I hope you all understand why I kept this on the down low for a long time and I honestly kind of regret not saying anything.
Thank you for reading this post.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask, I'll answer everything to the best of my ability.
This is a post I've been wanting to write since I started this blog, so buckle your seatbelts, it's a doozy.
I'm a Software Engineer by trade. I never completed college(or even got close). In fact, I've never had a computer class in my life. I learned at a young age that traditional schooling just wasn't for me. I'd spend all of my free time teaching myself things at home, or outright skipping school and hitting the library for the day where I'd read things from art theory all the way to classical mechanics. At the time I wanted to be an artist. I found myself doodling in class constantly, and the tests I turned in were covered with my artwork. Some of my teachers loved that, but most didn't. I was indifferent.
At the time I had an account on an online art community: sheezyart.com. SArt was an awesome place at the time, and had a great, thriving community of amateur animators. Everyone was very supportive of each other, and it was a great environment to improve yourself. Though, sometime in 2008 things started to noticeably go downhill. The moderatorship became corrupt, and because it wasn't a commercial venture, the owner had no real incintive to fix things. In fact, he'd all but left the community entirely, letting the leftover moderators battle amongst themselves. Bugs accumulated in the codebase, really good users were banned for ludicrous reasons, and the community started to fall apart.
When I was fourteen I was enamored with two things: animation and building an animation community. I browsed the Newgrounds programming board constantly, sapping up as much good information as I could. I wanted to make the next newgrounds.com. Little did I know, this teenage fascination would turn out to be the most important thing I could've done with my life at that time.
Between not speaking English, living in West Point, MS, and operating a restaurant, there's just not much time or opportunity for my dad to make friends. The few friends my dad has usually come from something work related or from hanging out at the casino (I guess gambling and work are two things that overcome language barriers). One of my dad's friends, Gunn as we call him, ate at the restaurant today. Gunn drinks water with "a lot of lemons" and always sits at the big table at the back, and my dad usually sits with him, drinking coffee, reading a newspaper, and shooting the shit with Gunn.
I don't know how Gunn follows what Dad is saying. As far as I know Gunn only speaks English, while my dad usually has to communicate using some blend of English, Spanish, Chinese, and charades. Dad doesn't even use the right words to describe the right things, but Gunn knows what he's saying nonetheless. I remember one time my dad saying something about a "lavel" and "lawnmower" and then it turned out they were talking about a busted water pipe... Somehow Gunn understood, even though I had no idea.
I don't even really know how these two met, but I remember Gunn ever since I can remember. He's always been around since I was a wee-baby. I remember playing hide-n-go-seek in the restaurant after closing hours. Gunn was "it". He found me and chased me until I was out of breath, giggling as little kids do until tears were rolling down my cheeks. He was also there when we lived in a "shack" behind the restaurant. I still see the pictures Mom took all those years ago, with me and my brother standing around Dad, barbecuing on a broken grill, and I think Gunn is somewhere in there. I always remember him playing games with us. If it wasn't hide-n-go-seek, then we'd be playing basketball with a flat ball on a net-less goal that still hangs behind the restaurant (though the shack is gone and the goal is in a different spot). He was even there to help us build our current house out in the country.
Feeling humbled, honored, and more than a little scared about this trip to Nepal, working with Gloria Simoneaux and Harambee Arts. 12 women from around the world will meet in Kathmandu to work with Gloria and her volunteers to help and support the training of 7 women who will in turn provide Expressive Arts Healing to groups of survivors of human trafficking.
Just completed the audiobook "Sold", that Gloria suggested I read prior to the trip. I could only listen to small bits at a time - it was quite intense for me. One woman's story, a life so different from anything I could imagine. Doing my best to listen and hold without blame or judgment.
Final stages of packing, taking very little for me, filling my bag up with items for the groups - small pads of paper, pens, items to make plastic jewelry...
19 hour trip to Singapore, 6 hour trip on to Kathmandu. Other side of the world, other side of my head, same side of my heart.
And I'm back!
Sorry about the delay, I've been away for a bit but now I'm throwing myself back into this little project, which is of course my attempt to learn how to draw.
In a nutshell I have a picture of myself which I am going to draw again and again until I get it right!
So here's how I did in my second attempt!
The huge quantity of the agricultural crop wastes are easily converted into the high quality fuel using the biomass briquette plant. In many developing countries which have agriculture background, have ample quantities of agro-crop wastes available. These agricultural biomass waste are also directly used as a fuel in many rural areas, but the direct burning cause environmental pollution and also loose biomass waste provides less energy as they burns inefficiently. So, one way to properly utilize the energy present in the agricultural biomass waste is to convert them into a high density energy source briquette using the briquetting press machine.
The agricultural waste like groundnut shells, almond shells, coconut shells, rice husk, cotton stalks, sunflower stalk, pine needles, coffee husk, and other waste from forestry like fallen leaves, tree bark, sawdust, jute waste etc. are directly supplied into the briquette press machine. The briquetting machines are used to convert any kind of the agro-forestry waste into the best quality and best alternative fuel biomass briquettes without any binding agent. This machine does not generate any hazardous gas emissions and ash while briquette manufacturing. That’s why the briquetting plant is called the green technology for energy production. So, install a briquette plant to make the totally clean and pollution free climate.
The biomass briquette plant creates a highly sustainable fuel briquette which can easily replace any of the fossil fuels. The use of biomass briquettes instead of the wood and other traditional fuel is beneficial to all the industries as bio fuel briquettes offer more energy compared to others. The cost-effective fuel briquettes are used to generate heat and power in the industries and power plants. The briquettes can save the boiler cost up to 40%. So, the industries in many developing countries want to use the biomass briquettes. Also, these eco-friendly energy source briquettes are used in the domestic applications like cooking and heating.
By seeing such features, various governments also support this project by providing different subsidies to the briquetting press manufacturers. So, use white coal briquettes for developing an eco-friendly green world.
I love lists. I really do. The seventeen cutest dogs of all time? Yes please. The ten best magazine covers of the year? I’m clicking the shit out of that.
That being said, I recognize that these lists are not that intellectually nourishing (sorry Buzzfeed!). They create the illusion of objective order where objective order does not exist. In short, they are not useful.
The annual US News and World Report college ranking guide is not useful. It has not ever been useful, and I doubt it ever will be. In trying to achieve a holistic formula for ranking, it ends up obfuscating rather than enlightening. What does it mean that Rice is ranked two spots higher than Emory? I have no idea. No one does.
Anyway, if you want the cheat sheet for why these lists are a negative force in the world of higher education, click here to read this excellent takedown by The Atlantic’s John Tierny: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/your-annual-reminder-to-ignore-the-em-us-news-world-report-em-college-rankings/279103/.
Malcolm Gladwell provides a more in-depth critique: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/14/110214fa_fact_gladwell