Poetry Saturday: Between the Lines

I actually remember the story behind this poem! This is the first poem I ever wrote, and interestingly enough, the first poem I ever had published! It was published in an issue of Teen Ink when I was 16 years old. I, or my parents, still have a copy of that issue somewhere. Now I just need to find the poem that took Top 10 in that competition my senior year of high school. I think I won, like, $50 for the honors.

Anyway, the inspiration for this poem was the instance where I looked at a friend and realized that she looked older even though she looked familiar to me. I'd only known her for a few years, and there wasn't any major gaps in those years where I would have an old memory of her appearance. She didn't look drastically different either. It was just that she really didn't look like a little kid anymore.

Between the Lines


As I gaze at my old friend,

I begin to wonder where

Yesterday had gone

Because I've noticed something there.


Her face held something different

Until now it stayed unchanged

Childhood had left

And adulthood set up stage.


No longer a child

As "thou unrelenting past"

Didn't drift away

Be engraved itself to last.


Her face is still the same

Yet etched between the lines

Are the events of yesterday

And the future keeping time.

I've Written A Lot of Crap

improving your writingIncluding this blog post, there are 221 blog posts in this blog that have been written over the course of three years. Granted, there have been plenty of gaps over those four years, but three years is a long time. Two hundred twenty one posts is also a lot of posts. As I went through those posts to update the categories and to choose the best posts to tweet over the next several weeks, I noticed that within those three years and 221 posts is a lot of crap.

In More Ways Than One

Some of it is crap as in horrible writing. My blogging and overall writing skills have come a long way since I starting blogging and freelance writing in 2010. I've learned tons from my clients, as well as through reading articles, reading other blogs, practicing, and watching a few webinars and videos. However, I think most of my writing is crap because it doesn't add much value to the world. it's must me rambling or discussing nonsense. Most of the articles are posts that I really don't want to share on Twitter. I barely care about these posts and their content, since much of the posts are me talking about doing all sorts of things. As I've explained in my previous post, I have as much of a track record of NOT doing things as I do about sticking with something and achieving something great.

Yet, as I write this blog post, I can't help but feel that I'm writing more crap. Adding noise to the blogosphere when it doesn't need any more noise. Just more rambling, discussing nonsense, and not offering too much value to the world.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Come Alive Or Merely Exist

I suppose it's possible to come alive and to still write a lot of "noise" that clogs up RSS feeds and simply increases the number of web pages on the Internet. If you're coming alive blogging, then more power to you. Am I coming alive by blogging? Can I accomplish more than just chronicling my ideas only to look back and see how many of those ideas I never executed upon? Yes, I can do better. I can come alive through blogging. I can contribute excellent blog posts that other people find valuable. Lately, a few have found my Geogussr post valuable and have beaten my top score. I should go and try to beat their top score, but that game just overwhelms me now. It used to be fun. Now, I just throw my hands up when I realize I'm in South Korea or Japan because I have no way of knowing where I'm located within the country. I can't read either language, so I can't possibly tell what city I'm in or what's near me.

Perhaps, a blog always starts out as noise. Only after someone influential links to you, or retweets you, or talks about how great you are is when the blogging takes a whole new level. Not everyone wants that.  Depending on the topic, the blogging may never reach that level. It's too niche, or it's a personal blog with no desire for fame or a wider audience. But, the only way to come alive is to do what you love and to pursue your passion. For some, there are plenty of passions and all must be pursued. For others, there are only one or two passions. Not everyone lists blogging in that category, and some may find blogging a means to an end, the way marketers do by using business blogging to generate leads.

I Wrote Crap Because I Wasn't Alive

I was trying to, and I was having fun. But, I write my best stuff when the act of writing makes me come alive. It's the act combined with the ideas i.e. having something important to say and unique to contribute. Ensuring this combination may mean writing less, or even finding more things to talk about and thinking about more things to cultivate a unique perspective. Essentially, writing about my day or my goals for the next month or my new ill-fated plan isn't going to cut it.

1st Post of the New Year!

Happy 2014!Happy New Year! Last year, I pledged to blog every single day, and that lasted about a month. Ever since then, my blogging has essentially been a series of fits and starts. I do it for a week or two, only to run out of time, ideas, or both. Even with my 50 blog post ideas list, I've only done about 15 of those articles, and maybe about 25 posts total since I wrote that list.

What To Do This Year

I'm really not sure if I want to pledge anything to the blog this year. I feel that 2013 was full of plans, pledges, dreams and not a whole lot of action. I didn't follow through with many things I said I would work on or accomplish. Partly, I don't want to pledge anything because I don't need another goal or task on my to-do list. I also don't have any clue as to what I would want to pledge or would want out of this blog. The focus of it has always changed, and I've never been able to settle on an idea to which I want to commit. That's something I want to work on this year, so consider "commitment" my chosen theme for 2014. Since I spent so much time planning to do things and not actually doing those things that I planned, I'd like to change that by committing to a few things and following through with my plans. Since I restart my business coaching next week, and part of my coaching involves daily journaling, I'll probably be blogging much more often to chronicle the coaching and my growth process. I think that's more fun than doing it all in Evernote, as my coach prefers, so I'll journal here and then put the links into her Evernote.

2014, Here I Come!

I am still excited for the New Year, however. Things have started off swimmingly, and I have high hopes for the next few coming months. My news gigs are steady and a lot of fun, while get to spend the time informing myself of what's going on in the world. I also still have steady work from my clients, so I have plenty to keep me busy and afloat. Time management is going to be key for me, but because I restart my coaching next week, I'll have an accountability buddy in my life to help me stay on track and to hold me accountable to all these plans.

One goal/resolution that I have for 2014 is to get an iPhone. I know I'm late to the party since it's 2014 and I don't have a smartphone yet, but I definitely need to get one this year since I work for a news app. I need to be able to buy the app and use it on my phone. I want to be able to show the app to people when I tell them about the app and my work. I want to see the app working in real time and use it the way a normal customer would use it so I can be better and more customer-centric when I do my own work. It'll be nice to have a smartphone finally and to take advantage of this amazing productivity tool. The iPhone is one goal/resolution that's certain because I can't work for an app but not be able to access the app. For most places, it's not acceptable to work somewhere but not to use the product or service of your employer.

I don't have anything else set except to stay the course and to work hard. I need to do a lot of building and rebuilding this year since I hardly did any of that in 2013.

What to Do Tomorrow, and in 2014

2014 goalsEarlier today, my brain was mush. I wanted to write but I didn't have any ideas. I was stressed about work and money, which just filled me with worry instead of creativity. I wasn't in the mindset to get things done or to focus on a task. But, I've worked my four-hour news shift and I feel much better. Reading and summarizing the news made me okay again. Took my attention away from everything else, i suppose.

I Really Want to Set Goals for 2014

I really do want to think about next year and set some goals, but I first want to read The Desire Map by Danelle LaPorte and consider what she has to say about goal setting and the feelings that you are chasing. I think LaPorte is on to something and I do want to read her book and perhaps invest in some of her other materials if I find her message to be helpful. My gut says that her message would be life changing and very eye-opening for me. Essentially, she says that goal setting is typically about things: successes, accomplishments, accumulating items, when it's really about how we want to feel when we get those things. This is part of the reason why I wanted to revisit my poker goals and put them aside. I didn't necessarily want a WSOP bracelet or a WPT title. I more wanted what I would feel if I got those things. LaPorte says instead of setting goals toward the things, we should set goals toward what we want to feel. Set the goal to feel auspicious, liberty, knowledge, joy, or whatever your desired feelings are. It's not only less overwhelming, but you know that if you set your goal to feel auspicious, then you'll know feel auspicious once you reach your goal.

I Didn't Hit Any of My 2013 Goals

The whole idea of blogging every day for an entire year failed, although I know that it's possible because great thinkers like Seth Godin and Mitch Joel blog every day. Granted, Godin primarily writes very short posts (but posts that make very effective use of those words) and Joel does spend one post a week sharing his most recent podcast (which I listen to when there's a guest I'm interested in), but they have at least one idea to share every day. I'm sure I have at least one idea I could share every day. It's a matter of capturing the moment of the idea and committing it to writing. It's also about having the courage to share the idea, and the discipline to do more work to support the idea. Sometimes, I'm afraid to share the idea because I don't want criticism (primarily from my mother). Other times, I don't want to do the necessary research or analyze articles. I think LaPorte's work will help with this as well, since I don't take a lot of time to consider my feelings. I prefer to keep things intellectual and logical.

My business is also nonexistent, nearly, and I didn't do any of my business goals. When money got tight in the middle of the year, I had to make changes and to consider a new direction. I'm hoping to find that direction in the news industry, and use my current experiences to find a way to fill in what's missing in the news & information landscape. I did finish reading Information Diet, and I do think that it's a good read. But, I don't know if the solutions provided are ones that ultimately solve the problem. Yes, keeping ourselves focused and tuning out distractions when possible is very important to limiting our information intake, but I do think there's nothing suggesting how to manage, sort, and to think about the information we do get. Alas, that's another discussion for another day. Perhaps tomorrow.

The Next Few Posts are Pre-Scheduled for My Convenience

scheduling blog postsI do leave for Las Vegas tomorrow morning, so while I'm out-of-town, I've scheduled some posts for the next few days. I don't want to worry about posting while I'm visiting family and playing poker, so I've posted some articles that I've written for previous clients a year or two ago. Might as well, right? These clients aren't using the content (at least not anymore, as a few of them have closed up shop) and some of it is great content. Although I'm not going to include these pieces into my portfolio, some of them are still relevant and could be valuable to a few people. So, I've scheduled a few posts, and will return to extemporaneous blogging on the 10th. Or, the scheduled posts will at least stop by the 10th, as I won't guarantee I will post something next Thursday.

The Topics Might Be a Bit Off

When choosing which posts to schedule, I went with articles that were written well, that were still relevant today, and that were about something that my current audience would find interesting. An article about Facebook Places doesn't mean anything today, and I wasn't a big fan of this article I did offering tips for an effective websites (it might be worth doing over and publishing somewhere too). So, with the exception of one article, the blog posts scheduled all have something to do with the Internet or technology. When I first started freelancing and blogging for money, technology was a niche. It still is, but it's much more strongly considered a business topic than previously. I don't write about the latest iPhone rumors, or computer code, or how certain technologies work. I more cover technology as how it relates to business and how business owners and professionals can use it.  You know, the practical stuff. Hey, it's what I got.

What to Expect After My Trip

Well, I'll probably do at least one post about the trip, probably discussing my poker escapades and what I want my future to hold for poker. After I get that out-of-the-way, I do need to tackle several other posts I've started and haven't finished. These include my list of things I suck at, what I would do if I were the CEO of AOL, my list of empowering songs, and my wrap up of what I've learned in U.S. history. I have made progress on this venture, but finding the answers in a book is a little tougher than I anticipated. I don't want to look up every single thing online, but I am looking up more online than I wanted to, as I don't want to do borrow several books just to answer those questions.

Once I finish those blog posts that I've started, I can get to those on my list of 50 blog post ideas that I haven't started yet, primarily those questions regarding politics and international affairs. Since I'll be at my office more often, I will have more consistent access to a printer and can spend time doing research. It will help if I get that file cabinet that I said I would get a few months ago, and it looks like I would be able to get it by the end of November. I do have one last payment to a vendor this month, so I will have that money in November if I can't do it this month. I do need to work on my niche and keeping up with it. I also need to work on blogging in general. I think it's best that I consider myself similar to a musician, who is always going out to find gigs and to build an audience. I should do that but with words.

Embracing Being a Night Owl

i'm a night owlI do have a 10 a.m. phone interview tomorrow for an incredible marketing position. I'm nervous, partly because I should be in bed now and I haven't been in bed at this hour for months. I'm not sure if I'll be able to sleep. I don't want to be sleep deprived for the interview, since tomorrow is a very busy day. But, I do think everything will work out. If I do get this position, I would be able to embrace my night owl schedule and lifestyle because this is a work-from-home position (one of the many perks of the job).

What the Night Owl Lifestyle Actually Entails

It really just involves starting and ending the day at different times, although being this different makes it hard to do some of the normal things in life, like review coffee shops and get to the bank. But, it also means that when you do work, you can ensure that you are working at your best. You are working during the hours that are comfortable for you, and you are also working during quiet hours, when you don't have to compete with many other distractions. The night owl lifestyle is constrained by society in that many things aren't open at 10 p.m., but it also means that you forced into a a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, or any other work schedule that you didn't choose or design yourself. Few people have such a luxury, but if you're able to do that (and be disciplined enough to work without a boss or a set infrastructure), then it's likely you can be more productive that before.

A Client Actually Approves

I had a client notice my night owl schedule last week, which was a relief because I always wondered if they noticed the messages coming in at odd hours of the day. Now, I know at least one client has noticed and has said that he is willing to keep it in mind in the future for scheduling. So far, this client hasn't been disappointed with my work, even though I'm completing it in the wee hours of the morning. That's what should count anyway: that the work was done well. The time it's completed shouldn't matter, unless the deadline has passed. Having this happen is also great because it's nice knowing that one client doesn't see this as a big deal or as something that has to get in the way of getting good work done.

Night Owls Can Be Successful Too

The early bird gets the work, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

It seems like the attitude is that only early birds can be successful, or will be more successful, than night owls. It's kind of like the bias toward introverts, where society and workplace favors characteristics that are more associated with extroverts than introverts, even though introverts aren't necessarily worse at their jobs or unable to contribute or anything like that. But, night owls can be successful too, with their own set of tips and tricks to work during the late hours. Although it seems like the night owls in this article just don't sleep very much at all. The point of being a night owl isn't to sleep only five hours a night (even though there are a few people in the world who are that way), the point is that we sleep during different times of the day. That can't be all bad, can it?

Goals, Updates, and What I'm Capable Of

goals for this weekMy parents say I shouldn't be so negative on this blog, referring to my previous post on how I'm so horrible at this new niche (and considering that I haven't written a single post this week, I'm still very horrible). However, I say that it's important to be open and to be honest about these things. Besides, if I put my mistakes and shortcomings into writing and admit them to the world, then I can acknowledge them and fix them. If I just go one pretending they don't exist, then I'm probably not going to do anything about them.

Goal for this Week: Do One Post, Just One Post

Apparently, two was much too ambitious for me. I couldn't discipline myself to do the research. I also got busy and distracted, although I was way more distracted than busy. Below are the 10 possible topics that I might do for my one post (since these are rather engaging and interesting topics, I might actually do more than one like I'm supposed to. Some of these actually sound fun.)

  1. Will Cristina Fernández de Kirchner succeed in amending the Argentinian constitution so that she can run for a third term?
  2. What reforms are needed to the Mexican judicial system?
  3. Should India avoid an upcoming meeting with Pakistan due to the recent violence in Kashmir?
  4. What changes should Hassan Rohani make to Iran’s nuclear program?
  5. What role should the European Union play in the Gibraltar dispute?
  6. Is America winning the fight against obesity?
  7. If you were the chief executive of AOL, what would you do to make it relevant again?
  8. How can the U.S. make itself less dependent on foreign oil?
  9. Is the GOP’s refusal to participate in CNN and NBC 2016 presidential primary debates justified?
  10. Will privacy rights be a major issue in the 2014 midterm elections?

I'm So Close to My File Cabinet!

My main goal for my inferno of productivity is to accrue 300 points so that I can get a file cabinet! I ended the previous week with 271 points, and after tallying this week's points, I have 322 points. This means I can finally get that file cabinet! I am excited since I've need a file cabinet so badly, and never got around to getting one. Now, all I have to do is redeem those points and get one. I took a quick look online and there's nothing that I really like. I'd really like a wooden file cabinet to match my a little bit, but perhaps I'll settle on a metal one because they are cheaper.

Once I achieved my goal, I said that I would evaluate my inferno of productivity to see if it really worked at boosting my productivity and to make a decision as to whether or not to continue the game. I think I will continue it because it's a record of what I accomplished each day as well as a fun way to work toward rewards and to give myself those rewards. Also, by assigning points, I can prevent myself from overindulging on these rewards One of my prizes is eating out, and eating out is much less appealing when it means I have to give up points and it means one more week until I can get that file cabinet, or that haircut, or whatever it is I want.

It's also a good way to ensure that I purchase things that I've been intending to purchase for a while, such as that file cabinet. It's really easy to forget those things and to work around the problem (the problem with the file cabinet being my papers and files are in piles on the floor, unattended and dusty). For my next goal/reward, I want a haircut. I badly need a haircut, as my hair is way too long. It gets in the way when I sleep at night.

Speaking of sleep, I should go do that.

There Should Be Live Feeds for Every Single Legislative Session

Sen. Wendy Davis It's after midnight, so the Texas special session should be over. But, the live feed is still rolling and 160,000+ people watching are wondering what's going on here. We're all wondering why people are still moving around, why the tape is still going, and why people aren't just walking away and going home. The latest from AP is that the Republicans were able to pass the restrictions, although it's unknown if it stands because the vote started before midnight but it did not finish. Even though the session was supposed to end at midnight, it's technically still open until it is closed by the chair, so now it's a lot of procedural arguing or who knows what. I'm actually sad that I didn't watch more of this thing.

As what's going on is getting figured out and settled, I think there should be a live feed for every single legislative session, no matter what's on the table, whether or not there's a filibuster, and whether or not it's a special session or just a good 'ole normal session.

What a Way to See what Our Elected Representatives are Doing

Yes, these things are open to the public and we can just sit in and listen, but most of us can't do that. We have jobs to go to, children to raise, and errands to us. Many of us can't take the time out of our day to drive down to a legislative session and to hear what's going on. However, with a live feed provided by news organizations, video bloggers, and even non-profits, more people would be able to listen and to hear what our elected representatives are voting on. We would be able to hear what these people are saying and hold them accountable to their votes and to their constituents. We could watch or listen passively while we're at work, or be able to catch bits and pieces in between things.

More People Would Be Engaged in Government

Senator Wendy Davis, who started the filibuster, announced that she was going to do this only the day before. LOOK  AT THE TURNOUT AND THE BUZZ! Not only was the gallery filled the entire time, but thousands upon thousands of people watched the live feed from all over the world. Imagine what kind of engagement we would have if legislative sessions were available in this format all the time, where representatives could announce what they were doing to rally support or people could come together if they new certain issues were going to be introduced. If this was accomplished in a matter of hours on the issue of abortion, then throngs of people could also show up for other issues as well. Even if it just opens up one additional way for people to know what our local representatives are doing, and what kind of legislation they are working on, that's a huge step forward for us when so few us vote or pay attention to what these people are doing in the first place.

It Helps When Crap Like This Happens

Reports are currently conflicting, as the Republicans say the voting started before midnight, but Democrats and reporters are saying it started after midnight. Many people are confused, as it was thought the last roll call vote was on ending the filibuster, not about voting on the bill. However, it looks like the bill passed, according to news reports from several organizations. Although, this is probably not the end of this, as legislators and the people will protest this bill and the shaky circumstances in which it was passed.

Well, the live feed is over now. I think I'm going to go to bed.

I Spilled Water on My Laptop

what a weekI write this from my fiance's computer because, as my headline says, I spilled water on my laptop and it's out of commission for at least a day. Maybe forever, but I'm hoping there's still something to salvage through all this. I just tried turning it on and the keyboard is still wonky. I hope that's the only thing that's wonky. I tried to unscrew the keyboard so that it would be easier to dry, but as far as I know, we don't have a screwdriver that's small enough. Besides, the underside of the keyboard could use some cleaning. There are tons of food crumbs and fingernail clippings under there.

I Don't Like My Fiance's Computer

He's 6'2", so his computer setup is designed for someone who is 6'2". I am not that tall, so it's a little awkward and uncomfortable. He's also disabled all the scripts and cookies, so getting some websites to load properly is a hassle. I can't even use Wordpress unless I turn off the scripts because without them much of Wordpress doesn't come up. Never mind that I don't even have any of my bookmarks or passwords, and that I still have work to do. It's just as productive to sit around and do nothing as it is to use this computer to do work. I still have to spend a ton of time finding my links and the right password. I hope I don't have to buy a new laptop. I don't have the money for it right now.

I'm in a Pickle Right Now

I still need to get work done, and after trying (and failing) to get the keyboard removed from my laptop today, I'm crossing my fingers it will be 100% tomorrow. The keyboard still wasn't working properly when I turned it on this afternoon, but I did notice that the corner of the screen that changed colors had improved. Perhaps it just needed more drying. I left it somewhat disabled, as maybe that will improve airflow. I have no idea what I"m talking about here. If it's not working tomorrow morning, I'm going to have to take it in or look into a new one. I won't lose everything, since most of my work is backed up with a program called Trend Micro Safesync, but I would have to reinstall everything and I think the only work-related thing I'll lose is my Quickbooks.

Well, this all puts me in a pickle because on the one hand, I could stay up and get some work done and go to bed late, like every other night for the past month. On the other hand, I could go to bed in an hour or so, get up early and cross my fingers that my computer works. I really want to be moving away from the night owl sleep schedule, but I've gotten nothing done today and I'd like to get something done before tomorrow. However, it's been a hard day and I should probably sleep. If I get up early (if being the key word there), then I could maximize my computer time tomorrow and catch up on some work. I don't know. I'm not sure if I could sleep knowing that I have so much to do. I'd rather lighten my load first. I've never been good at the "go to bed now to wake up early and do work" sort of thing. I tried doing it in college many times and it never worked.

Well, I Think We All Know What's Going On

I'm going to get some work done. I have two blog posts to do that need to go up tomorrow, so I'll work on those first. That might be all I do, but that might be enough.

Passing the Time, Waiting for My Beets to Grow

i am bored I am bored. I haven't been bored in a long time. I really shouldn't be bored, as there are plenty of things that I need to do, or that I could do, but I don't want to do any of them right now. Actually, the one thing that I want to do is play Plants vs. Zombies Adventures on Facebook, but I have to wait another two hours for my beets to grow. Beets are awesome because they headbutt the zombies and kill them really quickly. They are cool, and I do hope they show up in the Plants vs. Zombies sequel coming out next month.

In the Meantime...

I'm blogging because it's something that I can do and that I need do. Perhaps it could get my mind going enough to do something else, like read or work on my business or look for freelancing work. I've already done my chores: washing dishes, doing the laundry, cooking rice, and cleaning the bathroom. I'll vacuum tomorrow. After all, I don't want to be this way tomorrow too. I need to leave myself a few things to do. Actually, putting all this into words make me feel like kind of a loser. I can do so much better than writing about being bored, and being bored of course.

Writing Down the Bones

I've begun reading Writing Down the Bones again, for the third or fourth time actually. I think I need to get back into "writing from my bones", especially since I've spent so much time over the past two years or so writing for other people and writing for reasons other than the personal ones. Also, with content marketing and writing for other people, you often have to take yourself out of it. You're not writing for yourself. You're writing for an audience or what the client thinks is needed for their audience or their purposes. Sure, these things can have personality, but how personal can topics like 'blog article headlines' and 'nitrogen tire inflation myths' and 'military identity theft' get? Even if I did have a personal anecdote to go with these things, you can't always inject that into the white paper or blog post or whatever it is you're writing.

Maybe this blog will be "Blogging Down the Bones"? I like the alliteration, but I feel like that title doesn't make as much sense as the original. I also get the impression that skeletal remains are going to appear within my posts. I don't want that.

Random Facts about Me?

One of the things that I do need to work on for my blogging and my business is to come up with facts about myself and turn those facts into interesting relevant bios. This blog needs a unique bio (it also needs a new tagline, a new blog goal, and maybe a more defined niche) and my coffee blog needs a unique bio too. I've been using the same bio that I wrote a few years ago, one that was needed for the online publications to which I was contributing. I either don't contribute to them anymore, or the bio is probably outdated. If anything, this list would be a lot of fun to do and would also be beneficial toward working on my brand and CEO identities, which I need to do as part of my business breakthrough stuff. I wonder if my business coach expects all that do be done by Thursday? Probably.

Well, since I made rice, my dinner is just about ready. Rice and lots of veggies with a sesame seed dressing. Yum yum! I do think Sean ate the rest of the ice cream though. That's sad. We do need to go to the grocery store anyway.