Food & Drink

15 Things I Am Horrible at Doing, and Why

things I'm horrible at doing This exercise is another snippet from Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More than Your Peers Ever . The point is to find things that we may be horrible at doing because we never really made the effort to be good, or we decided in our heads that we were horrible at those things before making any effort to change that or to show ourselves that we could be good at those things. It's interesting to think about our failures and shortcomings in a new light, especially since it's very easy to focus on what we are good at and to work on those. Here are 15 things I am horrible at doing, and why I'm not any good at them:

  1. Sales - I have an excellent grasp of marketing, but what to do with a lead once I got one (the beginning of the sales process) was where I got stuck. What do I talk to these people about? What if they don't want to talk, or don't give me much to talk about? Perhaps I just need to work on my elevator pitch.
  2. Riding a bike - I've tried, more than once, to learn how to ride a bike. Never quite got it. Now I'm just scared the neighbor kids will laugh at white girl trying to learn how to ride a bike.
  3. Singing - I think I'm getting better, at least I think I'm getting better. But, no one ever considered me a good singer, or someone capable of winning American Idol, or anything like that.
  4. Driving in Severe Weather - I think I only suck because I don't have much practice. Also, they don't cover driving in snow, hail, or icy roads in the Hawaii state driver's manual. Those things don't happen where I'm from.
  5. Cooking - Now that I think about it, I don't think I'm horrible at cooking. When I follow a recipe it comes out fine. I think I just dislike cooking that much. My mother can attest to this. I never took an interest, although, I do think I could find a niche as a soup chef. I've been making my own soups lately and they are delicious while being so simple to make!
  6. Accounting - I know there are programs like and Wave Accounting that can do this for you, but when I set up my business account, I set it up with a very small bank. Therefore, these programs couldn't upload my account information and do everything by hand. However, I couldn't get my number to match what was actually in my account. That made things harder than they needed to be, and I never could figure out why my numbers didn't match.
  7. Roller Blading - If you've never tried it before, then you would be horrible at it, right?
  8. Folding Bed Sheets - There's a trick to this that I have yet to understand fully. I try to fold bed sheets and I just can't have the edges line up and have a neat pile of bed sheets. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. By the way, bed sheets is two words and not one.
  9. Sewing - I think I know how to sew. The needle scares me.
  10. Pumpkin Carving - I have no idea how some people manage to carve such amazing pictures into their pumpkins! I can barely get the knife to cut, let alone execute one of these jack 'o lantern ideas.
  11. Drawing - Falls into the same category as pumpkin carving. Much of the visual arts are beyond me.
  12. Focusing on One Thing at a Time - I'm always full of ideas. I still have this problem even as my business coach worked with me on this and forced me to pick one thing on which to focus. It's hard to pick one, or to pick one and see it to the end.
  13. Putting Things Away After I'm Done - I think this one has a lot to do with the previous thing I'm horrible at doing. See, I'm never done with something. I'm more, distracted, or in need of a break as I do something else and come back to this other thing later.
  14. Swimming - I know how to swim, and I've been swimming since I was a little kid, but my technique is all over the place. You'd think I'd be good at this since I grew up next to an ocean, but growing up next to one and spending time in it are two different things. Also, swimming in a pool and swimming in the ocean are also two different things. You don't have much visibility in the ocean. It's not fun.
  15. Speaking Russian - Well, I'm horrible now, that's for sure. I never as awesome Russian speaker during college, either. I was okay, although my host mother in St. Petersburg did say my Russian was terrible. It certainly wasn't as good as my roommate's skills.

Pick 3 and Give Them Another Try

Here are the three I'm going to pick and to give another try:

  • Singing
  • Driving in severe weather
  • Speaking Russian

Well, I don't really need more things to do. I still need to learn history, and to learn how to drive stick (which should lead to learning how to drive in severe weather). Now, I need to figure out how to give these three things another try to get better at them, and how to measure that progress. I feel like, in another week or two, I need to review my life up to this point and sort through the loose ends. I'm going to have a lot of loose ends.

It's Too Late to Be Having Coffee at This Hour

But, Coffee Cartel is Open 24/7! Doesn't This Mean Coffee is Great at Any Hour?

coffee at this hourThat's the line of reasoning and justification I tell myself when I want to have coffee after 10 or 11 p.m. or so. I don't know why it matters, since a lot of people burn the midnight oil to get things done, or burn the midnight oil because they cover up the daylight. There's plenty of things that I need to get done, and I haven't gotten too much done today as it is.

I'm Thinking about the Food Stamp Program

For my next two articles with International Political Forum, I'm covering the food stamp and welfare programs in the United States. The food stamp article will cover changes to the program, while the welfare article will focus on how to get more recipients into the job market. In my opinion (of which I still need additional research to support), I think both have similar solutions that involve getting organizations that are hiring into the mix. According to a survey from CareerBuilder, 35% of employers have been struggling to fill a position for 12 weeks or more. This same survey also says that many job sectors are poised for growth, even as companies struggle to fill positions. These sectors include sales, assembly, nursing, truck driving, accounting, and IT, and aren't necessarily jobs that require college degrees or unique skill sets. People to fill these positions can easily be found on the rolls of food stamps and/or welfare. It's a matter of ending the rat race and getting companies to go these people, instead of having these people apply to job after job and continuing throwing applications into the black hole of recruitment.

I Think I Actually Need to Go to Bed

Like, four hours after I started this blog post, I didn't get much done and I've barely made any progress on this post. I guess the coffee didn't really help. After all, the past few days have been socially packed, and socially-packed days can be very tiring, especially if they happen without much break in between. At least for me that's the case, as it just gets too much. I need time to myself, to recharge and to do what I want and what I need to do. Right now, what I need to do is go to bed.

This Week's Questions Absolutely Suck

the questions are questionableIt's probably a little fortuitous that I didn't answer any questions from last week because this week's questions are absolutely abysmal. Some of the US questions are out of left field, the international questions are somewhat interesting, but incredibly difficult to tackle if you don't know anything about what's going on. Which I don't, so I should start using the free printer at work to print out articles. My parents won't like that idea, but I assure, the office is cool with it.

This Week's Possible Questions

I actually left all 20 here to show the weirdness I'm refusing to work with here. I'm probably not going to pick any for this blog, but I might do one or two for the Amnesty International St. Louis blog. Therefore, I don't think it's worth it to spend any time narrowing the list down. Since I'm working on getting that file cabinet, I think I'll spend more time doing research and preparing myself to do this weekly (or more often). I have yet to make good on my word. I'll probably stick with the questions I wanted to answer last week. The nice thing about these questions is that, for the most part, they are relevant past their initial week.

  1. If not Hillary, then who? (I'm presuming for presidential nominee in 2016, but the question is phrased rather vaguely.)
  2. Will attempts to unionize America’s fast food industry succeed?
  3. Has Obamacare’s implementation been a disaster?
  4. Will leaks about NSA surveillance activities lead to significant revisions of government anti-terrorism powers?
  5. How should the U.S. respond to allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria?
  6. Is America’s housing market on the road to recovery?
  7. Will the Playstation 4 have a more successful release than the XBox One? (I mean, really? What does this have to do with domestic policy? Does anyone care besides gamers and industry analysts?)
  8. How can Steve Lonegan defeat Cory Booker? (Too localized for my tastes.)
  9. Will Texas’s redistricting plan pass constitutional muster?
  10. Does Chelsea Manning have a constitutional right to hormone therapy while in military custody? (No, because the Constitution doesn't say anything about this. Not sure what to say or argue here. I don't think there's much on the issue from this angle).
  11. What should the Russian government do in light of new reports of chemical weapons usage in Syria?
  12. Will the release of Hosni Mubarak make Egypt’s interim government extremely unpopular?
  13. What can missile defense planners learn from Israel’s Iron Dome?
  14. How can the UN’s MONUSCO mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo improve its effectiveness?
  15. Will recent revelations about radiation at the Fukushima nuclear plant doom attempts at reviving nuclear power in Japan?
  16. Do European governments need to take stronger actions against neo-Nazi movements?
  17. Why is economic growth in India slowing down? (My initial gut instinct says that it's either one or two big reasons, or many little reasons. The latter would make this question hard to answer.)
  18. Should Ukraine sign a customs agreement with the European Union or Russia?
  19. How should the Brazilian government deal with rising illegal immigration?
  20. Would consolidation improve European banking? (Consolidation of what? Would research tell me?)


About that Niche

choosing a niche I still haven't chosen a new niche for this blog yet, although I have given it some thought. There are a few ideas in my head that I'm mulling over, trying to figure out which one would be the most interesting and enjoyable to pursue while needing a reasonable amount of work. I don't want this to take away from my digital content work, but I do want it to contribute to my personal branding and expertise in a substantial way.

I Could Do the Blogging Case Study Again

I could, and I have thought about it. My only issue with it is that I feel like I would still have to choose a niche, so it doesn't remedy the problem I currently have. Without a niche, I would trouble ranking for keywords (kind of tough to have keywords to rank for without a niche) and I would have trouble determining how many visitors came from search engines (because I don't have a good grasp of the keywords). It might not be a bad idea to combine the two, choosing a niche that doesn't have a strong business blogging presence and needs some barrier busting, but perhaps we'll do that if the niche works. I don't want to limit myself to a niche that would work with the blogging case study. Although, if I did do this, I don't think I'll blog every day. That's too much for me.

I'm Leaning Toward Identity Theft and Credit Repair/Scores/Reports

My identity theft protection client just reduced my workload by two-thirds. I'm okay with that, since I wasn't too fond with their business blogging methodology anyway. I've been writing for them for about two years now, so I've developed a wealth of knowledge in this arena. It's information that's badly needed in today's society, as how identities are stolen is constantly changing. Credit reports and scores and one of the few ways we can find out about identity theft, but our credit reports and scores aren't always accurate and can be used against us if we don't know what's on them. Also, things like scams, malware, phishing etc. also jeopardize our identity theft risk.

I'm Also Considering Something to do with Activism or Political Issues

It was my maternal health critique that went viral, even though all I did was critique the book reviews of a book I was reading about maternal health. They were misrepresenting the facts and the issue.

The point is that I think I could do well in this arena, even though I do think I have to choose a specific issue or a specific format. I've considering answering U.S. and international extemporaneous questions, since I know there is an audience for that type of analysis (and I would have wished to have such analysis when I was doing speech and debate). This niche also allows me to cover a broader array of topics. The hard part with this would be the workload. I would have to spend the time doing the research and sourcing my arguments. It would also be hard to choose only a couple of questions each week, when 20 new ones are introduced each week.

I could also do an overall advocacy or a consumer advocacy blog, where I'm covering the news while primarily introducing materials to help people to take action and to advocate for their rights or for certain things to happen. I'm thinking something similar to the business idea that my business coach and I drew up a few months ago (not sure if it would a been a good business because I'm not sure if you can sell this sort of thing. You also can't appeal to everyone, so you'd have to choose to narrow your market substantially, which isn't good). It fulfills a huge need, and I know I would absolutely love doing this work. I also have the experience and expertise to back it up.

What to do? I still need to think about it. This helps a lot though.

I Think I Need to Work on My Niche Again

choosing a niche I feel like this blog lost a little something, that it's not what it used to be. I understand that part of it might be that the move to the domain name, where few followers transferred over from the Wordpress site to this one. The switch also prompted a swarm of spam comments, of which I have abated with an Akismet purchase, so that at least takes away the frustration and the time to clear these things away. But, I also think that it's more than that, and that primary something is the niche.

What About Identity Capital?

Although I love the idea of building identity capital, this site is meant to be more about building my own identity capital instead of helping others build it. The theme of chronicling my journey of building identity capital is just awkward unless I pick one or the other. I mean, we should be constantly building and thinking about our identity capital. Essentially, it's a fancy way of turning this into a diary, and this isn't Xanga so we don't need that sort of thing. I need a better theme, a smarter theme, a theme that does more than provide a good online presence and overload the search engine rankings with my random musings (there are worse things that could overload the search engine rankings). I need a theme that actually builds identity capital and positions myself as an expert in that theme/topic. Besides, the tagline for this website is awful.

So, Once Again, I Need a Topic

This part of the process is going to take a long time. I really shouldn't be having this glass of Almond Breeze Mocha Iced Coffee, but I am (and it's delicious) because this is going to take a while and it requires some serious thought. There are just so many topics to choose from, but the point here is to choose a topic that I want part of my personal brand. It also has to be a topic that isn't too competitive, or is something where there's an open niche. I could easily do a blog on content marketing or business blogging, but the competition is outrageous (and I don't really want those things part of my personal brand anymore). It also has to be something that I could reasonably position myself as an expert in. Sure, I could do a poker blog, but I don't play often enough to have anything to say about it or to have anything unique to contribute.

I don't know why I'm forcing myself to pick one right now, or even in the next few days. I might have to take the time to sort out my ideas, and save the ones that have the most money-making potential for the business and ultimately choose one that has little in the way of revenue but lots when it comes to audience value and current need.

Part of My Personal Brand

I need to recognize that this website is part of my personal brand, much like Stirring Media and Gateway Grounds are going to be, although I hope that those entities will become bigger than myself and will eventually not need me to survive. The same can't be said for this site, and even though it's not going to be the same as those other two, I think the perspective ended up constricting me. Because I didn't want this site to turn into another business venture, I was a bit more willy-nilly about the whole thing, when this site should have been given the same rigor and attention when it came to choosing a niche and to choosing a topic. That's all changing now.

Where Did This Evening Go?

where did the evening go I have no idea. It felt like I sucked into Facebook at 8 p.m. or so, only to look up and realize that it was 10:30 p.m. already. Now, there's 35 minutes left in today. I'm hoping I can get this blog post done before midnight, or else I technically would have gone two whole days without blogging. That's not good, especially since I do have some really good numbers right now (at least good for the blog. There's nothing really to brag about here). I need to keep the momentum going.

Gateway Grounds

I should announce that Stirring Media has changed direction and its first media property is finally up and running. Gateway Grounds is dedicated to finding great coffee and sharing it with you, whether it's in St. Louis or around the country. Right now, I'm focusing on getting a new article up every Tuesday and Friday as well as opening up my revenue streams. I have a few affiliate partners in place, but now I need to review some of their coffee so I can put those links in place. I also might consider banner advertising, but that's a little farther down the road. In the meantime, check out Gateway Grounds! Hopefully, you'll find something work adding to your morning cup!

So Much Work to Do!

I've totally screwed up my sleep schedule and I am now more night owl than ever, if there are degrees of "nightowlness" or "circadian rhythm disorder", or what not. I"m still getting all I need to done, partly because I'm going to be up for four more hours (at least) and will spend that time working, so on that note it's not really a bad thing. However, I feel judged for this behavior. It stresses me out a little because I can't as easily go to Lab1500, even though they should have 24-hour access soon. Once they start the access, I'll be a little less stressed out about the whole thing. My productivity will go up, and I won't worry so much about being judged, even though no one who really matters who really cares that I'm doing this. I'm getting what I need to done and I'm doing my work well. I have the peace, quiet, and privacy to do things. I also have the freedom to get myself into this position in the first place. I'm not getting up at 6 a.m. because I have to.

I've gone through this whole debate in my head before. Several times in fact. I think if I can maybe mimic most of my day after the day in the life of an Inc. 500 CEO, I'll be okay. The guy who runs the company at number 26 on the list goes to bed at 4 a.m. and wakes up at 10 a.m. He's number 26, too! Running on six hours a day each day seems tough. Although, typical behavior of these CEOs is to spend about five hours per day on personal time (primarily exercising, relaxing, and spending time with family). Nothing says I can't throw a nap into those five hours. Yeah, I think I'll be okay.

I Missed the Midnight Mark

Oh well, probably just another thing that no one really cares too much about. I mean, the blog did originally go like three months without a post, and here I am worrying about two days without a post. I'm getting things done, as I've made clear in my previous paragraphs.

All right, I hear a cat meowing outside. I see it. I am going to investigate. The neighborhood has had several missing cats in recent weeks, and besides, cats are cute.

The Texas Senate is Back in Session

maternal health abortion bilAnd I Am Prepared to Stay Up All Night to Watch the Shenanigans

The Texas Senate reconvened at 2 p.m. today, and have been debating since then about HB2, the anti-abortion bill that received national attention for Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster a couple of weeks ago. It's been two-and-a-half hours since I started "watching" (I'm more listening and getting other things done), and the Senate has just finished going through 20 amendments to the bill (all of which have been tabled, although some of them were very good and sensible amendments). Nothing is happening right now, but a vote is expected to happen today, and this session is predicted to end "late in the evening". It's possible debate could continue into Saturday, but it's unlikely that any filibustering or parliamentary maneuver could stop it this time.

I Think This Stuff is Quite Fascinating

It really is, and it's also very productive too. It's neat to hear all the different sides of the issue, all the little points you need to think about when putting together and passing a bill, and all that happens when our representatives convene in session to get something done. I just finished Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government (great book, and another book off of my summer reading list), and the closing argument in that book is that it will be up to local governments to collaborate amongst each other to improve transparency and to utilize data and technology to make government better and to make it engaging. It's events like this that bridge this gap and make government engaging. It'll be the local issues, state governments, and city governments that are going to be the ones to take the town square digital and to reinvent government.

I wouldn't say entertaining. There's a lot about this that isn't entertaining, but I'm not here to be entertained, even on a Friday night. Even though this bill and this issue is only about Texas right now, it's very likely it will go beyond Texas. It's projected that abortion-rights groups will file a federal lawsuit as soon as Perry signs the bill into law. I'm interested in seeing how this issue will progress as it moves to the national level, as well as how the technology and the activism will remain as well. So many previous cases and issues have moved from the city and all the way to the Supreme Court, but if this lawsuit and this issue does get to that level, I'm interested to see how social media and technology play a part in relaying what's happening.

What Can We Do About Women's Health and Women's Rights?

Although the big issue here is abortion, I can't help but think about what else needs to be address when it comes to women's health and women's rights. There are many other issues, such as maternal health, domestic violence, economic empowerment, and equal pay, that matter as well and still need to be addressed (I came across this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from April. Pretty good stuff. I like the points on women with chronic conditions, because I don't think this has been studied or tracked all that much. I also like that St. Louis is being proactive about this.). What to do? What to pick? How do you address it?

This whole thing is actually tiring. My guess it will end in two hours, probably more, but my guess is that it will end at 1 a.m. my time. But, I am learning stuff and feeling productive and I still think this whole thing is pretty awesome. It's also pretty awesome that they've been at it this whole time and they didn't even take a much of the break.

There's No Lenovo Support Center in St. Louis

Lenovo G560 laptop keyboard At least, I couldn't find one when I needed it. About two weeks ago, when I broke my laptop by spilling water on it, I contacted a computer repair service that came up on Google. They suggested that I find a Lenovo Support Center to help me, and that I find it by typing "Lenovo Support Center St. Louis" into Google and going with one of the top results. A support center would already have the part and could do the job right away, while they would have to order the part first in order to do the job.

I thought this was an excellent idea. I didn't know these "support centers" existed, and the possibility of fixing my computer was an incredible one. I could get back to work right away and not have to use my fiance's computer. I wouldn't have to buy a wireless keyboard. But, I was wrong. Below is the summary of the listings on the first Google result for "Lenovo Support Center St. Louis" and my experience:

CompuCom Systems, Inc. 9849 Manchester Rd Saint Louis, MO, 63119-1200 Tel: 888-737-6333 Distanza: 9 Miles

I HATE 888 numbers. I hate automated menus and dial by names and what not. It stems from my short stint of cold calling back in 2010. I once had a dial by name directory tell me I sucked at dial by name directories and it hung up on me. I tried the number, punched in a few buttons to try to get somewhere, but then I gave up. I just want my laptop keyboard repaired. It shouldn't be this difficult.

I do think I should have seen the word, "distanza", as a red flag for this page. I should have also been more curious about the nine miles. Nine miles from what?

CompuCom Systems, Inc. 4227 Earth City Expy Earth City, MO, 63045-1308 Tel: 314-344-3332 Distanza: 17 Miles

This number was a bad number. I don't recommend calling it.

Anders, Minkler & Diehl, LLP 705 Olive, 10th Floor St. Louis, MO, 63101 Tel: 314 655 5500 Distanza: 0 Miles

This listing is actually an accounting firm, so I have no idea why they're on this list. I know this because I've actually been to their offices before, and they helped me with my taxes. I called them anyway, and the person who answered had no idea what I was talking about. She offered to forward me to someone who might know what I'm talking about. She did that, and I got a voicemail. I didn't leave a message. I don't really need some guy calling me back only to tell me he doesn't know what I'm talking about either, or to tell me that they weren't one at all. If the secretary had no idea about being a Lenovo Support Center, and whether they were one and what that means, then they probably aren't one.

Lazerware Inc. 2929 Gravois Ave St. Louis, MO, 63118 Distanza: 3 Miles

Fortunately, someone answered the phone and knew what I was talking about when I asked if they were a Lenovo Support Center. Unfortunately, they weren't taking new clients at this time. Really? I just want my laptop keyboard replaced. It should take an hour. It's an easy $100. What do you mean you can't take me in?

Hawk iSolutions Group, Inc.6349 Plymouth Ave St. Louis, MO, 63133 Tel: 6362567534

First of all, the number listed on the Lenovo Support Center website (the one listed here) and the number the company lists for itself on its website, are two different numbers. They don't even have the same area code. Second, the only number listed on the company's website that has the same area code is their fax number. I decided not to call any number and just fill out the form and see what happens. I didn't get any response. Why don't you respond? I want to give you money! I am a lead! You should want leads and follow-up with them diligently!

When double checking this, I also realized that the business has two different addresses listed too.

Talk to Mike

My ultimate conclusion is that if you need your Lenovo laptop repaired, talk about Mike about his computer repair services. You might have to order a part or two first, but he has been the most helpful throughout this whole thing. It was his idea to check out a Lenovo Support Center in the first place, which was great because he didn't automatically take the business for himself. He knew of a faster, perhaps cheaper, way to help me with my problem and offered that first. It's kind of worked out since he was so helpful, since it looks like he's now the best thing ought there.

As of now, I dub him and his company the Lenovo Support Center of St. Louis.