Good at Everything Guys

You go first.
No, YOU go first.

I think one of the greatest rules of success, is to be second.

Smart people let somebody else go first.
Leaders must be followers first.

This week, Apple made their newsworthy announcement for the new Apple iPhones, finally giving in to the public demand, and releasing a bigger version of the iPhone. Immediately, people started posting jabs at them welcoming them to 2012 and other attacks that they’re not quite cutting edge, coming late to the big “phablet” craze.

Sometimes Apple does lead, but more often, they follow, and then make it better.  At least Apple’s version of better, which true Apple fans crave and love and drool over. It occurred to me, that a great leader stays alive because they don’t always go first. They send somebody else into the cave, or over the hill first. They learn from the early adopters spending their money, and then innovate with improvements.

It is much easier to improve on a product than it is to invent one.

Some people – or companies lead with invention, and are first. Sometimes they are a success and they take the market by storm, making competitors scrambling far behind. Whenever possible, I like to support the people I believe were first to market, rather than the imitations. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. We use brand names of some products as if they were the product itself. At least in my country, we call use words like Kleenex, Rollerblades and Coke as if they are the item names, not product brands. I’m not sure these guys were first, but they certainly are the famous leader. You may be surprised to learn that windbreaker, escalator and elevator are also brand names.

Many people try and fail, even with great ideas because they’re not ready for business. I personally was part of an Internet startup company that could have been huge. I might have been one of those millionaires you read about if luck and management had gone differently, but instead – I failed, and somebody else made a fortune off my ideas.

Only lucky bustard are a success the first try.

Some people are no doubt are great success all through life, at everything they try. I hate those guys. I knew a few in high school. People who were good at every sport they tried, even first try. They were magical creatures, actually fascinating to observe. The good at everything guys.

We’ve all known a few
None I knew are prime minister yet. Maybe that magic fades after high school.

 

 

+1 Pleasure Points

A new idea is exciting. It actually feels good. +1 Pleasure points.

As I was thinking new thoughts the other day, I was able to actually feel the good feeling and sensation that comes with a new idea. Learning something new – at any age is good, and figuring it out on your own is even better. I can actually feel it.

When I learn a new fact, I am pleased. It happened this weekend, and I was with somebody. I actually said; Pleasure +1

That made me smile even more, and I felt the joy of a new idea. A new slogan.

This little slogan has two meanings I can think of. The idea of “+1” is a gaming term meaning a point, or add to your health or some other accomplishment of some sort. In games, we also refer to points of battle or skills. +1 Armour makes us better equipped in the game. +1 Experience makes us wider. I assume +1 Pleasure makes us very happy.

When reversed, as I said it originally, “Pleasure +1” can also mean more pleasure – up to 11. Maximum plus a bit… infinity +1.

A lot of pleasure. We’re adding to it.

We’re not always able to detect the feeling of pleasure when we succeed, but sometimes we do. An actual feeling of well being and happiness floods over our brains and we smile. Getting praise, doing well at something, winning are all things we can feel good about and actually FEEL pleasure.

Or at least I do. I may even sigh a little bit. A happy sigh. MmMmMmmm

I am even more pleased when I see happiness and pleasure in others. The pleasure I experience when I have made another smile – or laugh is the best. It almost warms me up. When I see happiness in others, I feel it so much, I unconsciously mimic it.

I only noticed I do this recently. When you smile, my lips mimic a smile. When you laugh, I laugh. This may be true of you as well, and you didn’t think about this way. Smiles and laughter are often shared and spread contagiously. I noticed the mimicry factor perhaps unique to me, when I detected I also seem to mimic kisses. I pucker my lips when I see others kiss, every single time. It’s an instinct reaction. Whatever you do with your face to show joy, I mimic, and feel joy too.

+1 Pleasure point.

I can’t help but smile when you do. My face just does it, and I feel it.

Justin Beaber had it right when he sang; “You smile, I smile”.

Profound lyrics from the Canadian son.*

* The above is to be italicized or written in the Sarcastic font when it is finally invented.

Punch Line Warfare

The other day on Facebook, I was reading a thread on the news feed of one of my American friends from youth. We’ve known each other since our teens, but I’ve never been super close. He posts a fair number of political messages, and I am never whether he is posting in full seriousness, or in jest. I don’t know many people in my life who are far on the other side of the spectrum from me. Some of his posts seem absurdly conservative, almost like Stephen Colbert mockery. I try my best to continue to have respect for him, but his Facebook posts paste him as a conservative straight line believer. He loves his guns and less government, and hates Obama… or I’m just not getting the joke, and he’s toying with us.

I have always had a hard time taking conservatives seriously. I somehow feel they’re all mocking themselves. I feel better if I believe nobody can really believe the shit they come up with. It must be a joke. Maybe they feel the same way about me.

This particular post is just like so many of his messages. It quickly gathers a lot of comments from both sites of the story, re-hashing the exact same arguments they did in the last 6 posts. One side says blah blah blah, and the other side says LA LA LA I can’t hear you. They’re just talking at each other, unwilling to listen – or believe. Neither can believe the other side can actually believe what they’re saying. It seems absurd.

The media seems to be the same. It shows us that the United States has two sides. Red vs Blue or right vs left. We are lead to believe it’s almost binary. The country is either one or the other. Crazy on one side and crazy on the other. The extremes are what they show us. My friend seems to be one of them, at least in Facebook world.

I’ll admit it. I like to play. I don’t mock so much, as throw in some humour. I am punch line guy.

I enter my reply: I don’t trust any white people.

A non sequitur punch line I throw into the mix without setup or follow up. A blanket statement added between a reply about how we’re all evil gun stealing regulation happy, and they’re all hicks with pickups or nutcases who have become addicted to the feeling of guns.

Oddly, I wasn’t expecting it, but the punch line ended the debate. People stopped. It was a thread killer. Nobody replied after that. They didn’t even rebut my remark with more ramble. It just stopped. Perhaps everyone realized they were being silly, and calmed down, retreating to their oposite corners awaiting the next fishing lure post by the same guy next time.

Sometimes a punch line can stop a war.

Adult Nap Time

For many of you, the last time you took a daytime nap may have been in kindergarten, when nap time was enforced. That’s too bad.

Once we hit grade 1, we are encouraged to make it through the day in one continuous state of awake. In fact, napping at school is not acceptable behaviour at all, for students or teachers. You can actually be fired for napping at work especially if you drive for a living, or operate heavy machinery.

One of the greatest ticks in the PRO column about self employment, is that I get to schedule nap time as frequently as I want. I have no rules to follow,  and no boss to catch me.  I often wake up before 6am and start working instead of going back to sleep for another hour like many people would.  I’ll rise and shine till 10am or so, being very productive in the hours before many people start their jobs, and then go back to sleep for a short nap.  Right around the time some of my office job buddies are mentally fading and needing a caffeine pick me up,  I get to take a lay me down.  It’s glorious.

If I miss my 10am “second sleep”, I may have one after lunch, or mid afternoon. Unlike kindergarten, my naps are not on a set schedule. Sometimes I’ll have two in one day, or three – even as late as 630pm.

The Spanish had it right. Nothing refreshes a body and mind like a middle of the day Siesta. If you’ve read my blog before, you may know how much I like fresh starts. Monday is my favourite weekday, and the first day of the month is like a mini January 12 times a year. Any excuse to start over is welcome, and a nap can do that for me. A new day resolution to do it right this time.

My brain often drains it’s excitement quickly, and when you live and work alone, lost motivation can be a problem. I won’t say I need a nap and an excuse to return to work, but I won’t deny that often, it works wonders. I lay down, and 35 minutes later,  I re-emerge with a new outlook and clear mind.

I’m lucky enough to be able to nap well. No matter what stresses or depressions or concerns may be on my mind, they fall away quite easily in my rest. I fall asleep faster for a nap than I do in the evening. Insomnia doesn’t really effect napping for some reason.

For a few years, I was amazed at how often my naps ended up being exactly the same length. Like magic I was consistently taking 39 minute naps with no alarm except my internal clock. These days, it’s not as regular, but each nap is usually between 30 and 50 minutes. Rarely do I sleep for longer, unless the nap is from exhaustion.

I can nap with the light on, with the TV on, or even with people in the room talking, although it may take me longer to fall. Music or silence is preferred. It’s like a special power I have. The power to sleep.

I recently got a wrist band that can detect my sleep patterns and figured out a nap is one sleep cycle, which for me, during the day, is less than an hour. At night, when I fall asleep, I really am just performing 3 to 5 consecutive naps.  I fall asleep and wake up all night, but because my brain knows it’s not yet morning, they happen back to back, and eventually some of the sleep cycles last 90 minutes or so, but seldom much longer. My wristband records it on a nice little chart. Nap, wake, nap, wake.

I’ve never really had a problem with sleep. I enjoy it, and really enjoy my dreams, many of which I remember and journalize when I wake. Remembering dreams is a skill you can learn with practice. Nap dreams and night dreams seem different, at least for me, and weather and food influence them greatly. Nap dreams are my favourite.

NAPS RULE, and don’t let anybody tell you different.

It’s one of the luxuries I get that I use to gauge myself as a success.

Post-A-Day

When I first started my Giveit100.com project in January of 2014, it was a great motivator of creativity and energy at a time in my life when I needed it. Through the process of making 100 consecutive 10 second videis everyday, with follow up YouTube videos, I found a purpose, and a new community if fruends/fans.

SShortly after that, I created a second instructional project and created 100 10 second videos of Microsoft Windows tips and tricks. It was a lot of fun. When those two projects re theur course, I took a break, and in the month or two that followed, I felt listless without a goal. I had no project to commit to, and my daily obligation took a lower priority until I just stopped one day.

In the first 100 days of this year, I went through a lot. I changed my way if working with a new structure and a daily to do list, which I shared with others, thus turning it into more of a responsibility rather than just a list I could ignore. It helped. In addition to that, I got a new doctor, and  new social worker councillor to guide me through some needed life change. Most important of all changes, I also started on a new medication that was to really help me with my over obcessive thoughts and calm the negative low self esteem thoughts a bit.

All in all, it was a year of some significant change.  I turned 50, and made the move to make this decade a better one than my last.

Eight days ago, I decided it was time to start again, and give myself a new project. Instead of video blogging to my YouTube channel, I’d take the step to let my creative juices flow in a literary context, and blog a post a day.  I have been writing occasionally for as far back as I can remember, but I have never committed to a routine of doing it every day. Setting aside some time to write is harder than just pointing a camera at my face and talking.

TThe main problem I find isn’t content or topics. I have a list that grows each day as I walk around and live my life.  So much of this universe is awesome and profound and journal worthy. The problem I have is keeping the energy and excitement I feel at the start of my writing, through the middle to the end. At some point,  my brain just feels like giving up. In conversations, I’d change the topic and move on, but in writing, you need to have an end. That seems to be the hardest part for me.

Starting is easy. I can pick up a  pencil or a tablet and start typing quickly without hesitation. It’s the later parts, after I’ve said my concept and lost my mood, I lose interest and excutem0and at that instant, the process becomes a chore. It’s the way an A. D. D. Brain works I think. It starts looking for the next big thing, and abandons the lesser thoughts mid sentence. In writing, there is nowhere to run.

As part of this 100 day project, I hope to improve on that. I intend to mix up my blog posts and offer some variety from personal history updates, to philosophical viewpoints, to TV show reviews and lunch time observations. I may even try my hand (or finger) at creative fictional writing. I am strongly considering taking a class and learning more. Writing may have a smaller audience in the blog work than video, but it’s a good challenge for personal growth.

Ideally it could lead to a new book, or even a new career.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Fake Monday

Fro some reason, we North Americans tend to like our long weekends to favour Monday, rather than Fridays. Somehow it seems like a longer holiday when we get an extra day AFTER Sunday, rather than taking Friday off and going back to work on a Monday. I suppose some luxury livers often take the Friday off too, and enjoy a 4 day weekend, but the majority take a holiday Monday as a relief, since they hate Mondays anyway.

In Canada, we have a long weekend most months of the year. Not all (yet) but most. The majority of them are on a Monday.

As I write this blog, I am supposed to be enjoying a free Monday. The labour day holiday, which comes on September 1st in 2014, making all the school children feel a little cheated that they have to go back to school so much sooner than last year, when the Labour day was later in the week.

I too feel cheated, although for a different reason. I work for myself, and Mondays (as I’ve blogged about previously) are usually my favourite day. A fresh start to my work week, and the day I try to get a lot of stuff done. When it falls on the first (the Rabbit day),  it is an especially great fresh start., It’s “happy new week” day and “Happy new Month day” combined into one. It should be an incredible fresh start day where I get a whole whack of work completed.

However – it’s a holiday, although the term, in technically irrelevant to a single self employed guy, it still “feels” different. I can twist my mind into relaxing and taking it of, and then starting fresh Tuesday. The day I call Fake Monday.

Starting fresh on a Tuesday doesn’t work though. It’s not the official start of the week – or month. It’s like I skipped a day and am already behind.

Even though it is only 9:40am on this holiday Monday, and I could certainly step into working mode and start my task list, my brain is too smart for me, and I’m just not feeling that Monday spirit. I don’t have the Monday motivation. I feel like going back to bed.

Labour day. How ironic.

I think holidays should be on Fridays. An extended weekend that doesn’t screw with the system. We always go back to work on Monday… but Friday is a free day. It’s so close!  It inspires the whole week. Weeeee….

Then back to work Monday.

Oh well… I will rest now, and wait for Fake Monday tomorrow.

 

 

 

Society Evolves

The Internet has become a form of education we never expected. For the first time, we are globally seeing more and more real people. Reality TV started it, but the Internet is King, where every human can broadcast themselves or their neighbours, and we can see, for the first time in many cases, how stupid and rude and obnoxious a society we all live in. There are more recent data in this publication. Who knew? I believe this knowledge will change us, and we will evolve into a more aware, responsible society.

We are learning about injustice and class.
We are learning about poverty and drugs and crime.
We are learning how much of society are stupid sheep.

The shocking lower class intellect we didn’t realize is everywhere. There are a lot more stupid people than I ever imagined.

Society has a place for everyone in the puzzle of life. We make a place. We invent roles for each and every one of us, no matter how stupid or abnormal you may be. It has always been this way. Farther back than we can record history, it seems obvious we have had roles for the workers, the thinkers and the artists. We have accepted that art is a valid life choice, and we paying great sums for art, allows creative people to profit in the society as well as the thinkers, and the labourers.

Every decade or so, we give more fair and equal rights to a group of society that didn’t have them before. Races, Women, Gays and the handicapped have all seen their lives improve towards equality in the last 100 r so years. We’re still not perfect, but it is certainly harder to be a socially acceptable bigot in today’s world than it was in my Grandfathers. We still need a few generations of hate to fade away, and sadly they keep teaching their children the ways of hatred, so it’s taking longer than we’d hoped.

The Internet is instant and much less filtered than we’re used to. When somebody does something stupid, we all get to see it, comment on it, debate it and frequently laugh at it. We do however get to learn from it. We’re seeing racism and homophobia almost daily now without looking for it. It’s there, in the news and online and we’re seeing the reactions. Even die hard bigots at least know they’re not going to get praise for being openly racist. They’re learning it’s wrong in a whole new way.

I am loving getting old.

I get to watch the world go through it’s infinite loops of time and get better, each passing year – or generation, like practicing for a play.

All the world is a stage and I’d like to think we’re still in rehearsal. We’re getting better. We’re evolving.

I’m Sundaying

Sunday is a special day in our culture. It used to be the official day or rest for society, based I supposed on Christianity – but really meant as a day off for everyone… until it wasn’t, and we got greedy. Now almost everything is open on Sunday, although some still have limited hours. We all need a break day, even if we don’t work very hard the rest of the week, and it’s convenient to share the same day off as others. It just makes sense.

Sunday is a concept.

I like the idea of Sunday, even when it isn’t actually Sunday. I often post on my Facebook wall that “I am Sundaying” as an expression of laziness, no matter what day it is. If I’m not doing my usual routine, and just sitting at home taking a day off, I call it a Sunday.

Perhaps laziness isn’t the right word. When done right, a Sunday isn’t about being lazy so much as just setting aside a day to not do the stuff you do the rest of the week. For those of you that work 5 or 6 days a week at a more regular job, a lot of Sundays are filled with hard work. I’ve seen people with hobbies or the urge to build spend every weekend remodeling a basement, or rebuilding a car, or off-roading into the forest to hike a mountain or shoot a deer. The point is, to many people, Sunday is a very active day.

I don’t work a regular job. I don’t leave my home to earn my income, so there is often no difference to me between a Tuesday and a Sunday. My weekends can be any day I want, but I still choose to celebrate weekends with everyone else. Neat things open on a weekend, and since I don’t have a real hobby. I enjoy street festivals and fairs and other walk around events, and many of them happen on a Saturday or Sunday.

So I alternate as schedule permits and sometimes I have my Sunday on the Saturday, like I did today. Today is Saturday for everyone else, but I Sundayed it up, doing very little. I went and bought some meat and veggies at the market, and then just stayed home inside all day watching movies and TV. Relaxation. Sunday.

Tomorrow on your Sunday I’ll be out on Saturday adventure.

Being Funny in an Empty Room

emptyI have posted before how I compared twitter to doing stand up comedy in an empty room. You can be funny online, but your jokes and comments don’t get a reaction as you type – but rather minutes, hours or days later. In this way, I think I was wrong in my analogy, because an empty room will never give you a laugh if you’re a solo stand up comedian. A joke told, and missed doesn’t make a sound. It’s like a tree falling in a forest.

The thing that I’ve learned about the Internet, and the thing we’re going to be discovering over and over again as time moves forward, is that a single joke or cat picture on the Internet may in fact generate laughs forever. An Internet pun could be immortal. It can be shared and passed around the world virtually for years to come, long after the original author has vanished.

In a way, it’s sad, because a great joke deserves the reward of applause or laughter. If I’m funny, I want to know you agree. I want to know I’ve made you laugh. It’s not the sole reason I am funny, but it’s the reason I’ve built my personality around humour and making people smile. When I am funny on Facebook, I don’t hear a sound. I make a joke, or a comment and I put it out there. I have to then wait for it to propagate and some people will (hopefully) choose to reply with Facebook’s version of approval; the like button.

It’s not the same guttural feeling as laughter or approval, but our brains are adapti9ng, and accepting it was similar. When we bomb, and nobody likes, we feel that rejection, but not in as harsh a way as a silent comedy club, and we move on to the next joke. Some people have monetized the like button and bases businesses on it, but I just like to know people smiled when I made a joke. A like is the online clap.

Err.. perhaps applause would be a better choice of word.

The neat thing about the timelessness of the Internet that wasn’t the same as a comedy club, is that a single status update, or blog can continue. We can read it today, or we can read it tomorrow, or we can dream of it being read in 2030 by people in silver jumpsuits, and still finding it worthy of a smile or a like click.

Blogs are like this too, and a well placed keyword or hashtag can make any published work live on and be laughed at by anyone, anywhere at any time. It’s neat to think that a knock knock joke I tell here in my blog, could be laughed at a year from now. I may never know.

I have mixed feelings. I’m happy to be able to make people smile forever, but sad I may never know.

Knock Knock?

Who’s There?

Control Freak, now you say Control Freak Who?

 

 

 

I don’t want to be famous. I just want a few fans.

In my previous writings, I have stated this many times. I don’t want to be famous. I just want a few fans. Fans are usually great, but being famous can be a terror. On Monday of this week, I started a new goal to write a blog of some sort every day, and the truth is – I really don’t care if anybody is reading it. In fact, the idea of people reading this blog changes the way I write it. If I start to care about being famous, then I have to worry. I have to feel insecure about whether it’s worthy of fame. What will people make fun of? Did I spell things correctly or use my comas in the correct place. Would me parents or 6th grade teachers be proud if they happen to see it.

Fame has changed a lot in my life time. It used to be that famous people were part of an industry. It was a hope and dream for many, and most of it happened in sports, or the movies and television made in only 4 cities (at least for North America). You might be lucky enough to be interviewed in front of a house fire n the local news station, but apart from the entertainment industry, most of us would live our lives without being famous.

Being famous was never a childhood fantasy of mine, although I did dream about being a writer on Saturday Night Live.

The Internet changed this, and showed us that just about anybody can become famous, and many of them do so without wanting it. Instant fame was a new thing. You could be a sensation just because somebody happened to film you falling down, or being drunk. Andy Warhol’s vision of 15 minutes f fame for anyone was becoming a reality more and more.

When I was young, I wrote things down, and put them in a drawer. I wrote to myself mostly, and called it a journal because diary seemed more structured. I never intended these things would be shared. Today, I write things down still, but some I do share. I put online, for the public to see and judge. I have mixed emotions. On the plus side, it opens up a new audience I can help and perhaps make smile, but the negative side of me thinks it’s also letting people in, and allowing them to see the sides of me I usually keep quiet. I become critical of my own work, and often delete whole sections. I write less freely when I know it will be seen.

The ideal mix of both, is to write in the public area, but not to tell anyone. I’m sharing with imaginary friends… people I don’t know. People who can judge me all they want, as long as they don’t post a comment telling me what an idiot I am.

This blog is an experiment. Some posts may be a huge success, and some with just be an obligatory piece. This is only day 3, and I have a checklist of ideas to write about, so it won’t start getting hard for a while. Taking away the obligation (in my mind) to be good at it helps. I don’t care if you like it.. I’m doing it for me. To exercise a mental muscle and get better at it.

I don’t want to be famous. I just want a few fans.