Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Azaleas, spend most of the year looking just

inconspicuous enough to not get ripped out of the garden.

They take our breath away for less than a month.

But who could say that they do not earn their place.

Socially Awkward at Media.

      My reluctance to become part of the social media madness has become a running joke among my friends and family. Considering my love of technology and fascination with how the internet is constantly changing the world, I should be neck deep in tweets and have Facebook friends out the Pinterest. I suppose I could give in to the pressure, get a Facebook page and never update the damn thing but now it has just become a matter of stubborn principle.

      I have a whole host of reasons I list for my digital hermitage whenever I am confronted with a Facebook zealot. My desire for privacy and concern for online security are my usual go too defenses in the case of The People of Facebook vs Adam. FInally when I get pushed into a corner I will indulge in the classic hipster tactic of indifferent disdain.

     My Facebook grudge aside, I sign up for other forms of social media all the time and usually as a very early adopter. I had high hopes for my twitter carrer but they have withered on a hashtag of #mehhh. I still have my account and I still read twitter from time to time but I find that it only adds to the clutter I have to sort through in my life. My one decent contribution to twitter was "If brevity is the heart of wit, Twitter has proved that forcing one does not guarantee the other."If that can't get a retweet then I have nothing else to offer the twits.  Turning the other cheek on my bruised ego, Twitter's role in recent world events has solidified it as a changing force but I have yet to figure out how to make it change my world.

    Google + was able to sneak into my life by leaching itself onto my gmail account and so you can find me there, but you won't find much. I made an attempt to set my digital house in order at Google + but keeping tidy and uncluttered digital existence seems an impossibility.  Open the door for an actual friend and before you can close it behind them they have infected your online existence with every piece of digital dust or bacteria of passing interest that clings to them.

    You will find my email address attached to a dozen music/social media abominations with another host of startup ideas meant to connect me to someone because of something. Perhaps that is the equation that social media operates on. Me + Someone x Something = Startup.  A detailed list of all those services would be a fun and funny exercise but like all things relating to exercise, we can do that later.

    I can keep handing out valid reasons that I don't have a Facebook page or never send a Tweet or only check my LinkedIn account every other week or I can just tell you the truth. The truth is, I don't get it. Whatever that thing is that makes people enjoy and connect over social media, I do not get that thing. Four years ago that was a truth that was no big deal. Four years ago not being relevant in Social Media had about as much impact as not being good at Polo. Now, it matters.

    Understanding people is something I have always been good at. Give me ten minutes with a person one on one and they will probably like me. Making friends and putting people at ease has never been a challenge for me, and it is a gift that most of us take for granted.  When I was in school, those kids who would have obviously been diagnosed with mild to severe Aspergers today were just the weird kids. I think I am beginning to understand a little how they must feel.

    The fact that I did not want to be part of Facebook was actually irritating to some of my friends and family. It kept creeping into conversations and then for a while it became the conversation. It made me realize that me being uncomfortable with certain types of social media made me the weird kid.  Then I started hearing about potential employers that will look at you with suspicious concern if you do not have a Facebook account and started wondering how big of a problem this might be. My concern grew after reading this article http://mashable.com/2012/08/07/no-facebook-psychopath/ and seeing myself as the harried outcast in a near future cyberpunk novel.

    The truth is that I do not understand people and how they behave in social media. I never feel like I need to add a tweet and the thought rarely crosses my mind to see if other people have.
I am going to read my article on Bitcoins and not feel compelled to like it, plus it, rub it, spank it, or share it with anyone in anyway. I understand the language but I do not understand why they use it. I am just awkward with social media.

   If Aspergers is a condition that makes it hard for sufferers to interact with other people face to face, I must suffer a digital variant. I would like to be the first to make people aware of a condition I call Dickhotdogs.

If you suffer from low to no Facebook friends, Tweets that never get retweeted, and a fear of people viewing your profile, then your personality probably falls somewhere on the Dickhotdogs spectrum. At the moment Dickhotdogs is no big deal. But I can see a day where it might be. A time when my made up condition with a funny name and the real condition with a funny name have similar effects on the quality of a persons life.

I guess it's possible that I do not have Dickhotdogs. I suppose it's possible that I just don't like the products being offered. Perhaps not liking the way everything in social media gets cluttered and demanding some shred of privacy does not make me socially awkward in media.

I am not in the majority but I think there are a lot of people out there like me. Some put on a brave face and do what must be done to keep up appearances and some will never put a face on it at all. Maybe we all suffer from an undiagnosed condition with a hilarious name.  I find it much more likely that I and others like me want a better product. We want it more intuitive, more meaningful, with better design and more user control. I want a product that will not pimp out every detail about my life and some guarantee that what I say will never reasonably be used against me for any legal purpose.

At the moment this is too much to ask, but I will keep looking. I want to fit in, I really do. Until then, I will be lurking on Reddit wearing my Dickhotdogs awareness bracelet.



Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dissecting Joy

Dissecting Joy

Last Wednesday I picked my daughter up from school for an early dismissal and went fishing.  My daughter will declare any fun day to be the best day ever at the drop of a hat. Myself being much more jaded will happily declare that it was indeed one of the best days ever.

There was a surplus of smiles that day but I was not able to take a picture of the smile that sticks with me. This particular smile touched a spot that only the fathers of amazing little girls have.

On the way to the pond I looked over in the passenger seat to see her with the window down, arm reaching out to touch the passing world. A look of pure uplifting joy on her face. I know kids are not supposed to ride in the front seat but that was part of what was bringing that smile to her face. Leaving school early, sitting in the front seat, silly rules did not apply that day and part of the joy she was feeling was freedom.

We have always enjoyed riding in the car with loud music. We have been doing it since before she could walk and if she ever has hearing problems I will feel horrible but blaring fun music with your kid is a joy all its on.

That days selection was Bob Marley and it was just the right soundtrack for a perfect day.  She was singing out-loud "I'm a rainbow too."

I watched her with an expanding spirit of pure happy love in my chest. She knew she was being watched but kept singing loud and smiling louder. He aura of happiness was infectious and I did not ruin the effect by thinking to much about it.  But that evening I took a moment to dissect that perfect slice of time in the hopes of being able to create more of it.

I think the most important thing is being with someone you can be happy. A friend, lover or family member you feel free enough to express uninhibited happiness with sets the stage for joy.

The second ingredient is action. The doing of something, the going of someplace.  A totally different kind of happiness is found in a lazy day but as great emotions go I will take adventure and discovery every time.

Lastly, the feeling that you are doing something special. This gives you the ability to appreciate what you are doing because you would normally be doing something more mundane.

I think as a Father, Spouse, Boss, or Friend we all have the responsibility to give this kind of joy a chance. To set aside the time, to pick a destination or activity and be the kind of person someone is not afraid to share happiness with.

This kind of joy is rare and making all  of these efforts will rarely produce the moment I am talking about, but that moment is not what you should be chasing. This kind of emotion is a byproduct of just doing the right thing. We should be chasing time with people we love and like. We should be chasing the desire to make someone else feel special.  The chase will be worth it.  There is no distance I can't run to give to give her all the chances in the world to feel it.

I'm a rainbow too. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


(This is a working first draft.  Typos and bad writing abound, beware.)


You Suck:  As defined by Me.
A derogative slang term designed to imply that someone administers fellatio. The modern meaning Is that the person who sucks is less than adequate at a certain task or skill.
Example: “The author of this book sucks at making up definitions.”
If you the reader have decided to pick up this book (I know it looks more like a pamphlet but I am calling it a book), I am going to go out on a limb and say that you are under the impression that things are bad. At least bad in terms of how you see yourself or the life you are living.
First off, let me say that this book is not designed to motivate you. This is more about dissecting my own shortcomings and making myself feel better about it by pawning them off on you. This book is also about staring yourself in the face and recognizing that You Suck and that you have sucked long enough and then outlining some ideas about how to go about not sucking any longer.  If by chance this happens to motivate you then so be it.
Make no mistake, if you are reading this with a real hope that the life you have created can be recreated just because you read some words on a page, written by a guy who is not all that amazing at putting words on a page, then you have plenty of shortcomings.
I myself have never read a self-help book, and I have never attended any kind of motivational seminar that I was not made to.  And If I want to be brutally honest with you, I loath self help books and to some degree the people that love them.  I am not saying that they are all bad or that some do not find great benefit in them but they all scream of disingenuous canned garbage.  They are designed and redesigned a thousand times over to attract the consistently dissatisfied and lost consumer who is ever in need of a pep talk.  If I just described you and you have found yourself offended, being offended by something that is the obvious truth is the first issue you should work on.
According to Amazon.com, at the moment there are several thousand books dedicated to the art or self-help. I will say that probably none of them are going to tell you in no uncertain terms that you are not good enough.
 Not everyone responds well to being told they can do anything. That they are super duper special people who make the world shine. Sure it feels good to hear it, but for some people it does not help. For me, I need to hear the truth, and maybe the truth with a little negative lean on it.
The best pep talk I ever got was from my C Team basketball coach in eighth grade. I had tried out for the team and I did not make it. It was the first time I had ever not been good enough.  I was crushed and humbled and did not want to talk to anyone, much less the coach who had just tore my dreams to shreds.  But I had to know why. So I pulled myself together and asked the questions anyone who has ever been rejected by another person askes, WHY?
 His reply was not mean or meant to hurt but it was harsh.
“You are just not good enough. But you are not done growing, so go get better.” Was all he had to say to a pudgy fourteen year old kid. He was not being mean, he was being honest and I knew it.  
The Truth is, if you are motivated enough to spend money on a book and actually take the time to read it or go sit in a Marriot conference room on a Saturday afternoon of your own free will, listening to some big headed twat talk loud and excitedly about how you are really special and awesome then you are already motivated.
You desire something other than what you are or have. The problem is ( and I say this without a drop of animosity and all the sympathy in the world),  You probably suck in one or multiple important areas of life.
I do not mean that you are not a decent human or that you kick puppies and eat kittens. I mean, you are probably not that awesome at what you are currently doing and it drives you crazy.
With or without justification you feel that something in you deserves better than your current circumstances and this book along with many others is you’re half assed attempt at correcting it.
Now that everyone is warm and fuzzy we can move on.
If this was a Saturday afternoon at the azalea conference room at the Days Inn in Des Moines Iowa and I was speaking,  it would be at this point that someone who felt his or her money had been wasted would raise a hand and inquire as to how I was sure everyone here sucked.
My reply would be, you are here. You know that you are not where or what you want to be so lets stop pretending. From this point on I shall be going under the assumption that a large part of your lives has fallen beneath the cracks and been asphalted over.  I am sure there is the tourist among us, the rich, the successful, the content, even the self-help groupie that was able to make it work. But more than likely that is not you.
If you were hoping for some great selling techniques or twenty ways to organize your life then I am sorry. Talk to someone about getting your money back. See, that is a joke, you are not getting your money back. Let us consider it a life lesson and move forward.
If you are looking for affirmation, from a total stranger to make you feel really cool for being you? Then you will once again find the truth offers no refunds.
The Truth is only a path with the obstacles laid bare. You still have to walk it (Please take note. This last line sounds really good and I made it up all on my own and as far as I know I am the first one to say it and want all the credit.)
This is not the story of a man at the top, yelling down at you from a pinnacle of money, contentment and prestige. This is the story of the guy next to you, clawing his way, up and over his own flaws and shortcomings. It’s about the people I have seen climb up and over and what I saw as they went past me. It is about the ones who lay at the bottom wallowing and why they cannot seem to grasp that first hand hold.
It is my hope that this will be the last money you spend on trying to get motivated. I will probably in one way or another rehash all the good advice you have read in other books and maybe there will be an original idea or thought that you take to heart. Whatever little gem you manage to mine from this book to store along side all those other fantastic ideas and sayings, I want you to cling to one gleaming thought. The thought that almost anyone who has the freedom to do as she or he desires will get exactly what they want. You are plenty motivated to go after what you want, but you are conflicted on those wants. A part of you thinks that you should be successful, wealthy and proud of things you have accomplished. However if you were to take an honest look at your life at the moment, it should be obvious that you do not want those things at all. Nothing is stopping you from achieving all those goals you have probably written down on a sticky note that you have lost somewhere its just that you really want something else more.
You do not go seeking motivation to help you achieve what you want. You go seeking to be sold on what you think you want. So before we go any further, lets stop here for a moment and just settle this shit right here and now. Write it down, tattoo it on you’re ass, put a message in a bottle, whatever.
If what you really want is to sit around playing video games all day, figure out how to make it happen and get happy with it.  But if there are some real tangible things you want to achieve in this life and you are just not good enough, you are still growing. Go get better.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Let me reintroduce myself.

        For the two people that actually viewed this blog in its first inception I have spectacular news. I have more stuff to say.

        This blog is fair game for any thought I want to get out of my head, but I will try to keep the post related to enrichment as opposed to bitching. Please do not misunderstand me,  I can be prolific at bitching and it is much easier to write about but I think the internet has that topic covered pretty well. Expressing ideas and thoughts on more enriching topics will make for more thoughtful writing.

        Anyone that knows me has heard my tone of distain when speaking about the cult of self help, motivational speakers and the gobs of wide eyed mouth breathers that are addicted to them.
The truth is, I could use a lot of help on myself, and daily intravenous doses of motivation. It's just that I am stubborn and will not trust anybody else to do the task. So I decided to write my own non motivational/motivational book.

       I will be posting chapters on the blog from time to time to receive praise, and smiley faces. Actually, I would appreciate anyones dire criticism of anything written here. One of my few good qualities is a tough skin and a willingness to listen to criticism. I also would like to become a much better writer and I think doing it and having it torn to shreds by others is about the only way to go about it.

       If you read something on the blog and hate it, love it or just had a giggle please let me know. Feedback is the best motivation I know of for me to write more and that is really what this blog is about. Hopefully I write something worth your time.