Blogging is Becoming Really Technically Challenging for Me!

So I’ve been blogging now for nearly 4 years and the internet is getting more complicated.  I mean you can not simply put up a website / blog and walk away and hope that it stays up on it’s own for that amount of time.  I pay for hosting service for my blogs and what I had noticed is that the price for hosting steadily crept up.  Much of the time I was too busy with other things to pay attention and sort of just paid what I was being billed.  My latest host seemed to intentionally rachet up my price because they seemed to want to get rid of me as a customer.

They said I was putting too much load on their servers.  Since I first started with this hosting service they increased my price by 5 times!  What were they talking about “too much load?”!  I mean I type a blog entry at most once a month, I’m not selling anything, and few readers actually make comments.  When I asked them about their claim my websites were creating too much load, I got total silence except for an occasional email with words to the effect of “Dear Wilson we understand that you may not want to pay our high price tag so we wish you well … oh by the way let us know when we can take down your websites” — feels sort of passive-agressive customer service.

So I had a bit of lesson in boundaries.  If I was wealthier I’d probably pay their high price tag and “beg” they keep me since I was quite scared about the effort to move 4 year old websites to another host.  Instead I took a deep breath and slowly started reading tutorials about moving blogging websites and shopped for a new host. Too make a long story short … I managed to find a host that was 1/5 th the cost of the previous host and furthermore provided great service.  In fact they moved my websites for me!  But you know the previous host used to be 1/5th the cost and provided great service?

So the overall effort to conduct the website move was NOT TRIVIAL.  I probably invested a good 10 hours spread out over several weekends and felt like I had to make use of some of the best of my technical abilities having worked as a computer programmer for well over 20 years to orchestrate the move.  Now I have to admit some of this blogging that has become so technically hard might just be do to my age.  I mean I used to be a heavy duty computer geek, but for at least the past few years I’ve fallen out of touch with computer programming and my energy level is not as high as it was in my late teens and early twenties — part of the “tired middle aged man” thing.

So on November 1st, I celebrated a successful move of the old host to my new hosting service.  Whoopee!  Then in one day I’m surprised my hosting service partially disables my websites with a message that it been under internet attack.  So a light bulk went in my head.  This attack of my websites is probably the “heavy load” that my former hosting service was complaining about.

So my new hosting provider sent me instructions on technical things I needed to do to beef up security in order to stop these attacks and then allow them to stop disabling my websites.  These were things that looked technically cryptic and scary.  I mean if I did them wrong I could knock out my websites for a long time and if I didn’t do them my hosting service would continue to have to partially disable my blogs.

So once again I spent several hours watching training videos and doing some reading.  And now my websites are more secure but in the process I sort of learned that I had about 4000 people subscribing to my  blog.  And unfortunately I think I may have deleted all of them as well in my effort to increase security — oops.  But then again I’m not sure if it was really an oops, because some of what I read suggests that it’s not a good idea to have so many subscribers.  But I’m not really sure … I’d probably have to spend some time doing research on that.

There’s the fact of “self esteem” that I have to admit gets a boost when I think about several thousand subscribers that I used to have and have now deleted — sigh.  In a way it’s like having several thousand friends on Facebook.  It makes me feel popular.  But then again many of those thousand subscribers might not be actual humans but computer programs intent on causing harm.  So I’m conflicted with personal emotions getting mixed in with an increasingly technically complex things one needs to due to keep a website up successfully in the midst of a lot of internet attacks on websites.

I just want to blog.  I just want to to share my thoughts and experiences as a middle aged man.  I’m just typing words — nothing fancy or sophisticated.  I’m just want others to be able to read those simple words I type, nothing more.  But this simple act seems to be getting more and more complicated even if I do nothing.

Does anybody else out there blog and I’m curious what do you think?  Is blogging getting easier or harder?

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What’s the Maximum Sleep Debt Possible?

So during the past few months as I’ve pushed the hours I stay awake I’ve started feeling a bit like a zhombie during the day .  I’d drink increasing amounts of coffee to help counteract sleepiness.  However, using coffee has only worked well for temporary boosts of concentration and alertness for a single day, but it has had a downside of giving me less restful sleeps.  So then I’m more likely to wake up in the morning feeling tired. It gets compounded by the fact that I often try to use coffee to wake up even earlier.  The end result is I’ve generally always get less sleep than I’d like.

But lately the coffee seems less and less effective.  I’ve been feeling a different kind of burnt out than I’ve experienced before.  I’ve definitely been neglecting my body.  This is what science would call sleep debt.  I came across an article that suggested that many people in America are regularly accumulating sleep debt as a result of working increasing hours.

So during the past week I’ve been making a conscious effort to reclaim what I believe is my sleep debt.  But what I’ve found is that one good night of sleep is not enough to eliminate my sleep debt.  In fact a whole weekend of sleeping late, napping during the day, and going to bed early doesn’t seem like it’s enough.  In my effort to allow myself to sleep more, I’ve been a bit disturbed at the fact there seems to be no limit to how long I can sleep.

About 10 years ago I remember one of my former supervisors describing how  his vacation was going during the Christmas holidays.  He described this as his first vacation where his kids had all moved away, and he had nothing much to do.  He found himself getting bored and replacing that boredom with a little extra sleep.  And that little extra sleep turned into endless sleep.  He was sort of glad his vacation was over to take him away from this endless sleep.  His conclusion is that if he ever retired from work, he be concerned he could easily sleep his life away.

So I started to wonder if there is any limit to sleep debt.  I mean lets say you routinely sleep one hour less than you need a day every single day.  That would kind of mean that in about one month of this kind of sleep neglect you’d accumulate more than 24 hours of sleep debt.  If sleep debt really worked this way then you’d kind of need to find a way to sleep for 24 hours solid to eliminate that sleep debt.  But say you never find that extra time and you also continue to neglect yourself one hour of sleep every day.  Could you accumulate several years of sleep debt?

If you’d accumulate several years of sleep debt, then it would seem you’d fall into the category of perpetual zhombie.  I mean what does it look like when you let your boss  know that you are taking several years time off and by the way also let friends and family that you will not be leaving the house or bedroom much for several years.  In reality it would probably look more like “nervous breakdown” going into a “catatonic” state or some other form of physical or mental disorder that would require some form of supervised care.  What if you lived long enough accumulating sleep debt so that you have more sleep debt than the remaining years of your life; what happens?  Do you die then?  Do you go into a coma?

There are some theories that prolonged accumulation of sleep debt is how Alzhiemers manifests.

I did some quick math to see how much sleep debt one could accumulate over many years of life.  According to the math, if I cut my self short of one hour of sleep per day every day for 10 years straight, I’d accumulate 5 months of sleep debt.  Hmmm?  That kind of starts to agree with how I’ve been feeling.  I’ve probably been doing something like that for 10 or more years in my life.  So yes it’s rather challenging to figure out how to plan to get back 5 months of sleep.  If I decided to crash out on weekends and put in an extra 16 hours of sleep per weekend, it would take me over 4 years of doing this to recover 5 months of sleep debt!

I wonder how much sleep debt is related to one’s biological or perceived age.  If I somehow managed to lose 5 months of sleep this year, would I look about 10 years older?  Would someone say “Man, Wilson you look like you haven’t slept for 5 months!” or “Man, Wilson you looked like you aged 10 years!”  ?



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Fear Temporarily Suspended by Compassion


So I drove back into my garage today and noticed one of our bug glue traps was just outside the garage.  I actually had seen that trap there yesterday but was too lazy to but it back.  I parked the car and got out intending to place that trap back inside the garage, when I was stunned to see a snake hanging out of the glue trap.  I immediately tensed up in defense.

I carefully thought about what I would do.  I could just pretend it’s not there and close the garage door and let it slide away.  But wait.  It was directly in the path of the garage door. If I closed it, it might squash the snake.  OK.  I’m a bit squeamish about having a half squashed snake at the front of my garage.  Not to mention the guilt for knowingly killing him. So I thought more.  … I grabbed a special long reach grabbing tool and then prepared to scare or fend the snake out of the garage area then just close the garage door.

And as I approached the snake stretched out away from me and stood still.  He was trying to get away.  Then I realized he was stuck by the glue inside the bug trap. And then I suddenly felt sorry for the snake.  He wasn’t too big, maybe about a foot long.  I picked up the trap with the grabber tool with the snake writhing away, trying so desparately to get away.  I looked inside the trap and saw a good part of him was stuck all over, along with a bunch of dead bugs.   Oh man … he’s really stuck.

I thought more.  I ran inside, grabbed scissors and some leather gloves.  I picked up one end of the trap and asked the snake: “please don’t bite me”.  My plan was to cut enough of the trap away from his body so that he could at least crawl away.  I mean when I placed the snake in the grass, he could almost pull the entire trap with him.  But he was mostly stuck and would certainly die if left him that way.  So I started to cut, hands inches from his body, being careful not to harm his body with the scissors.  But then the scissors started getting stuck in the glue and then each cut started to cause the trap to flail around slightly and also flail the snake around back at me … ahhh!

Oh boy.  What a predicament.  I looked inside the trap and his body was even more wound up.  It looked real bad.  Then I thought briefly that I’d just carry the entire trap with snake into some remote bush and leave him there to perish.  But I couldn’t.

I looked at the print on the outer part of the bug trap and it described all the bugs it would trap, as well as small mice and snakes.  Then a brief critical voice blamed me for not putting trap away the day before. If I had done this the snake wouldn’t be here and now I’m faced with having to knowingly put a snake to a slow eventual death.  Another voice says this is nature and if you were smaller and the snake larger, he’d have no problem killing you.  Besides out on his own he’d always be at risk of being eaten by a large bird or run over  by a car.

I was turmoiled.  The snake actually started to look a bit cute. He was definitely terrified.  So I thought if there was some way to maybe dissolve the glue.  I read the directions on the outside of another bug trap and saw a paragraph on “human release”. The directions mentioned using vegetable or mineral oil and then using your hands to loosen the animal off the glue — WHAT!! I thought.  YOU WANT ME TO PEEL A TERRIFIED SNAKE with my fingers off very sticky glue!!  I could just see me starting to peel away snake skin from glue.  That’s got to hurt for the snake so that snakes going to lash all over me — This was not going to work.

I ran back inside and found a bottle of mineral oil and started pouring some over the snakes body where he was stuck to the glue.  There was no way I was going to get my fingers on his body, but I was hoping maybe the mineral oil would possibly dissolve the glue.  So the snake was covered in oil, writhing and still stuck. I then noticed his skin seemed to be getting slightly looser.

So I picked up the trap with writhing snake with my grabber tool.  I walked over to a remote bush area, oil dripping off the head of the snake.  I placed him on the ground and immediately the snake started pulling with all his strength towards the nearest tree.  He dragged the trap with him, started crawling up a tree with more of his body free.  He actually was getting loose and was almost completely free, except for one tiny area that I didn’t put oil on,

I thought briefly if I should bend down and put in more oil … but I waited because I could see he was very mobile and capable of striking me hard … So I silently prayed and cheered on the snake.  “Go go go … pull harder … pull harder”

And then he was free!!


He went up the tree slightly.  Then he dropped down and moved so fast along the grass away from me.  He was runningly so magnificently away from me into safety… Yeah.  I felt so happy for him.  But probably more for me as I didn’t have live with having killed a snake, I over rode a fear and I treasured life.

I thought more that this was also a creature that might prey on small birds and maybe someday scare or bite a small loved pet or human.  Oh well.  “The circle of Life” I thought to myself.  I don’t have much wisdom but much confusion and conflict.

I am content to have for about 20 minutes of my time offer great love and compassion to a creature I will likely never see again and no one else will ever have witnessed or known.  Oh well I better get ready to mow the lawn.

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Facing the Inner Conflict with Violence in Entertainment


Since child hood I have been very big into watching movies.  I was a sucker for blockbuster action movies and still there is something about a movie that goes “KA-BOOM … POW ….  BAM!!!” that tickles the male part of me.  But lately I’m more conscious of a desire to avoid the block buster movies if I know or sense that it’s going to be violent.

Some say that such movies is like eating junk food.  But actually junk food doesn’t bother me.  Something else about violent movies bothers me.   It’s probably the trend I see with the need for movies to give that extra bit of punch or shock factor and “go over the top.”  It really bothers me when shocking violence is mixed with comedy (example: Inglorious Bastards).  So while I had mild curiosity when I heard about the movie Hangover 3, I felt a strong “NO” voice speak up inside me after I saw previews of decapitation of a pet giraffe being turned into shock humor. I don’t think I want to train myself into making that funny.

I have memories watching this very violent movie “The Town” back in 2010.  It centered around a group of bank robbers, but gave it a very gritty mix of bitter anger and brutality. The bitterness and violence felt quick shocking to me, but it turned out the audience was a bit on the wild and raunchy.  So their was laughter emerging in response to killing.  And that bothered me.

Dahleen Glanton from the Chicago Tribune posted an article about why people may laugh in serious movies.  She initially is disturbed that our society is just becoming insensitive to violence.  But finally Dahleen tries to leave us some assurance that people laughing at violence are just nervous reaction to something that is overwhelming.  Honestly back in when I was watching “The Town” my sense is that the audience was not expressing mere nervous reaction.  To me it really felt like an act of densitization at work.

I remember when I was in my early teens and I could definitely feel the need to act and look tough.  There was something cool and attractive about being a bit rebellious, and “bad”  In being popular with others having that element of “Bad” made you kind of the “in group” and being “Good” made you part of the “uncool-nerdie” group.  So in trying to be “in” you may decide not to get caught behaving scared or horrified by terrifying violence.  No instead show your toughness by laughing copiously in the face of terrifying violence, especially if it’s just a movie.  At first it sounds like harmless pretending.

But I believe that very act to pretend to be tough in a way actually does make our skin a bit thicker.  And somehow it seems much of society respects “tough skin”.   We akin toughness to being straight forward and honest.  And maybe sensitivity to being evasive and complicated.  I mean what could be a more straight forward conversation than:

person 1:  I will kill you!

person 2: Ha!  No you won’t, because I will kill you!

It’s straight forward and believable.  And even if one of the persons doesn’t want to really kill the other they’re kind of locked into fear of life to consider having to kill the other.  And so if one “accidentally” kills the other, it’s kind of OK in a distorted way because in the literal show of words there was no lying.  In the aggressive conversation we have all put on our “thick skins” bracing ourselves to minimize feelings.  It’s like a statement I heard in one of the “God Father” movies when a hit man says to his victim just before he kills him … “Nothing personal … Just business”

Now compare the aggressive conversation to a conversation like:

person 1: I like you a lot.  I would never hurt anyone.

person 2: Oh I really like you too, and I would do anything for you.

That sounds like a one-to-one relationship conversation filled with vulnerability to making mistakes, disappointment, looking like a fool, possible betrayals, and having strong feelings.

Before I ramble too off the topic, my point is that I really believe there really is a kind of “evil” being fostered in this world and but it’s not the simple “good versus bad” kind of evil but rather the “numbing and desensitization” kind of evil. To have feelings, pleasant or unpleasant, is to L-I-V-E but to consistently numb feelings is to un L-I-V-E   It’s interesting to note that L-I-V-E spelled backwards is E-V-I-L.  Because once you start numbing you not only numb out discomfort, but start numbing out simple pleasures.  And so then you have to seek something more shocking so that you can start feeling.  You have “thicker skin” and so in order to feel you need an event to have a bit more amplified shock and drama factor.  And then once you feel the shock you will likely numb it out, even maybe laugh at it, so that possibly when violence (verbal or physical) hits closer to home you’ll be ready to handle it, with a mature thick skin.

I recall some years ago visiting a friend who came back from military duty in Iraq.  He was playing a military combat game with another friend who was on leave after he himself was wounded in Yemen.  It sort of blew my mind how so enthusiastic and intrigued two soldiers traumatized by real life violence seemed to be relaxing the hours away killing virtual people with guns on a their Xbox video game.  But you know most block buster video games are about killing (as of June 28th 2013 the #2, #3, #4, #6, #7, #8, #10, #12, #13, and #14 best selling games on the Xbox were military combat games)

It’s a bit more chilling when you think that modern military combat is now occurring with drone aircraft warfare.  Now military pilots can work a domestic kind of job, driving to an office in the morning, combating remotely with real humans on the other side of the world with drone aircraft controlled by video screen and joystick (actually probably something more advanced than a joystick), and returning home in the evening to enjoy dinner with the family.  A bit not too different then those two soldiers playing on their X box.

And I’ve heard many times the debate on whether violence in entertainment be it a video game or a movie can promote real life violence.  Many say the violence we see in our entertainment is only a reflection of our real world violence, that it’s really only a mechanism for us to stop living a fantasy “Cinderalla” world and toughen up to the realities of a tough world.  But I say even if I were to accept that the very idea that violent reality inspires violent entertainment and not the other way around I find the idea of “toughening up” disturbing.  Toughening makes us numb.  And then numbness promotes the acceptance of shock and even the need for shock just so that we can feel something thru thicker adult skins. So for me I have strong value in things that promote sensitivity, love, and even naivate.

So I’m now starting to look for source of entertainment that promotes emotional sensitivity and trying  to stay away from things that encourage numbing.  For me movies like “Up”, “Despicable Me” and “Les Miserable” are more up my ally.  And it’s not just in choice of movies but also choice of any video game (I like this game called “Sprinkle” on my iPhone) and TV shows (Sponge Bob, Duck Dynasty).

But I’m still conflicted with the male voice of toughness. A little part of me for some reason likes the machismo of something like the movie “Fast and Furious” with lots of “Zoom Zoom and Kaboom”.  But a lot of me sides with the lyrics to a song by Jewel: “Please be Gentle with me.  I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that way” stick with me.

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This World is Getting too Advanced or I’m Getting too Old and Feeble

So recently one of my worst fears finally happened an early morning business meeting I was hosting totally flopped.  I mean I was ready and able to host the meeting except there was a combination of technical and human brain failure.  Everyone was there but I was no where to be found.

In modern corporate life meetings are often done over the phone, by way of a teleconference service.  Come to think of it even spiritual schools such as the Barbara Brennan School of Healing have hosted meditations over teleconference services. So I guess I shouldn’t even single out the modern corporate life.  Teleconferences may very well be mainstream normal middle America.

But I wanted to take a moment to pause and express my feelings that something has gotten too advanced and complicated for this once “on top of the world” techno geek.  Hmm.  I hear a song in head playing to a familiar Beatles song:

” … Yesterday, technology was such an easy game to play

… Now I need a place to hide away ..

Oh I believe in Yesterday”

So recently I was taking advantage of the fact that thru the wonderful power of my teleconferencing services on my laptop I could host a really early morning meeting from my home allowing me more time to rest up after a really late night meeting at work.  And 10 minutes prior to my meeting, the unthinkable happened my laptop computer was missing! I was so tired the prior day at work I totally forgot to bring my computer home.

Fortunately thru the miracles of modern technology I have an iPhone that can also host my teleconferences.  Saved by technology … At least I thought.  The AT&T iPhone App I was using complained that since I hadn’t used in recently it was going to require me to login again.  Hugh?!?  Login?  I’ve never had to login?!  I remember some months ago preparing this App with the  proper password so it wouldn’t require me to login, just like it works on my laptop.

So now I then I went to my password wallet App which has listing of the passwords of all the different accounts I have.  Fortunately, I still remember the password to the password wallet App.  I find the proper password in my password wallet, but the passwords don’t work!  In fact it seems like the teleconference app itself has change and been updated that it looks and works so different … so nothing works and I’m lost.  I get so flustered and now I’m feeling so embarrassed that I invited people to a meeting held over the phone early in the morning some of whom might have gotten out of bed early just because of my meeting!!

So I finally give up and manage to start sending emails out from my iPhone.  Normally the email on my iPhone will automatically start remember email addresses if I type the first few letters, but not this time.  So I have to search for old emails that I received from each person I invited and start replying back to them with apologies.  I think they all reply it’s OK, but part of me feels really bad.

I mean if I could prepare more I guess I should have had a special card in my wallet with the special phone numbers, and host password that I could have manually dialed my teleconference number and password.  But of course I remember times that even when I had everything I might still have to contact technical support to do things like fix a technical snafu on their end that even gave them a challenge to correct. I’m just saying no matter how much I try to get my technical things all squared away and set so that it is easy for me to use, inevitably the software, the service is going to be upgraded and updated and unless I constantly use the stuff and keep my brain trained and updated on the newer way of using the software or remembering my usernames or passwords the technology is eventually going to fail on me.

And I as I return to the present I even think about this blog entry I’m writing.  And you know I’m starting to feel like this technologically is hard stuff. I mean it’s cool that with “advanced” technology I can more easily share my thoughts with multiple people and I can do so from any computer that has an internet connection.  … As long as my brain can remember my password though.  But then I have to prepare myself to update the blog software so that it can still work with services such as Facebook, and each time I do an update something could go wrong and then I have to take time to debug, which inevitably involves me being able to remember another password .. Ahh.

So yes this stuff is sort of complicated, but at the same time I sort of believe that if I was back to being a teenager or even early twenties I’d be a techno geek on top of all this stuff.  So I think part of this sensation that technology is getting too sophisticated is maybe I’m getting old and my brain cells are dying.  I’m taking my part to enter the ranks of old senile geezer … Fortunately I’m not talking your ear off with “You know when I was a kid I used to …”  Or maybe the fact I’m writing a lot in this blog is actually  me talking your ear off with useless rants.

A long time ago I thought I thought I was pretty techno smart stuff because I could program and hook up any ones’s VCR (Video Tape Recorder ) and I could figure out how to work any digital watch. Now I’m a bit frustrated with figuring out how to enjoy TV with hundreds of channels and internet features and multiple remotes for my HDTV flat screen TV.  It’s kind of neat I’ve been able to get my iPhone hooked up so that I can see TV listings, touch something and my TV goes straight to that listing, but sometimes it doesn’t quite work, sometimes because I need to remember a username and password that I don’t remember having to use.  And sometimes it’s hard to see the tiny print on my iPhone screen — I think I need reading glasses.

Now a days when I go to a meeting at my work place I leave my computer behind and just bring a paper notebook and pen. My notebook doesn’t need to recharge it’s battery, it doesn’t freeze up or reboot unexpectedly, and it doesn’t need a ton of stinking passwords that I need to remember.  I kind of like that.



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Is it Really Possible to have Enough?

A couple years ago I contemplated my future financial situation.  I was living in an apartment for many years and had steady income from a corporate job for well over 20 years straight.  Back in 2010 I was forced to think about long term unemployment.  What I realized in 2010 was that I had no debt and that I could literally have survived off of my 401K retirement savings for many years without a job.  That was my first appreciation of the idea of living in a “retired” state.  So for just a bit it almost seemed I could almost “have it made” by being layed-off and then just living live day-to-day without worries of deadlines or having to lose lots of sleep staying up late at night or getting up really early in the morning.  I almost seemed to “have it made.”  I almost seemed to have enough.  Except …

 … for the fact that it was getting really cramped in space.  I had been living in apartments for around 15 year.  In the apartments I found it hard many times to get into a state of expansiveness, exploration and creativity as every table top or desk surface seemed to be covered with papers, books, boxes, computers or appliances of some sort.  I longed for a room with that empty space that I could just sprawl out completely on the floor and flail my hands and legs freely without bumping into anything. 

Fast forward to today and I now live in my first house.  I love how our house manages to come across as modest-middle-classed sized yet has been renovated to feel spacious.  I now can find rooms where I can sprawl on the floor and swing my limbs freely.  I now have enough space.  And its a house that is right-sized for my income level.  However, unlike my former apartment,  it’s no longer the situation that if I lost my job that I could keep up the monthly payments for years.  In my prior cramped apartment I felt more financial security but with a shortage of everyday space and quality of life.  Now in my roomier house I am now satisfied with the everyday space and quality of life, but am starting to feel some financial insecurity.

You see when I leave my job, either by choice or being layed-off I really need to have my house paid off.  But, it seems that now in order to consider paying off my house I will need to continue working for another 20 years!  Sigh.  I’m back to my state of not having enough. 

Now my mantra is “if I could only pay off my house” then I’ll be set.  Then I could afford to leave my corporate job and only be making monthly payments for property tax and utilities.  I’d be set.  If all that could occur then I’d have enough. 

That there’s a part of me that’s wise enough to know that such a statement is often short lived.  Most of humanity has made the “If only …. then I’d be satisfied” only to get what they wanted and then discover they still want something more.

But I’m different, I’m very spiritual. I’m enlightened. I’m evolved. Right?  … I’ve gone to several spiritual retreats.  I’ve been going to the Barbara Brennan School of Healing (BBSH). I am an older and wiser man that’s been thru hell and back more than once.  This time it’s different.  I do not really need more income.  I have been very satisified with my income level.  My ideal state would simply to stay at the same income level but just work fewer and fewer hours.  That’s all. I ask for no more. 

It’s just that I observe how fickle my emotions are.  Just yesterday I had a wonderful start of the day with a short run, followed by meditation in sun light of one of the empty rooms in my house.  I felt full.  One of my computers then failed on me and then I’m thrown off a bit. And that thrown off state kind of grew thru the evening.  And then this morning I lose that momentum and sort of felt like calling in sick and staying in bed.  I then pushed myself out of bed started my run, felt terrible in the beginning and noticeably better at the end of my run.  I must accept that a large variety of emotions throughout the course of a day is part of being human.

So with a large variety of emotions that can occur within just a couple of days, who can say where my emotions will be in several years an how that can influence things being enough.  Can I really say that if 20 years were to come and I manage to pay off my house and maybe qualify for full retirement I won’t say something like: “I wish I had a bigger house”  “I wish I had more land” “I wish I made more money … even if I have to work more hours”  I’m not saying that’s where I’m going .  But what I am saying is that so many people go that way.  Whose to say I’ll be any different?

But I’ll just leave it that I hope to achieve the state of “I have Enough” now and as many nows to follow afterwards.

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Preparing for my Mac to go away

So for over twenty years I had been using a Macintosh in a corporate work environment.  Back in the mid 1990’s those of us who worked in the corporate work place we got used to the idea that the Macintosh was a rogue computer that our IT department was trying hard to wipe out. So maybe back then I was younger and had more energy to be a little bit of a rebel using a Mac in a growing sea of Dell laptop computers running Microsoft Windows.  But it seems so many things have changed in this world. Least of all is the fact that after I’m probably going to give up the fight and allow my Mac to be taken away and conform … sigh … to become another Windows computer user.  My Mac and it’s great features including a pair of super large 30 inch monitors will be shoved aside by something much smaller and more appropriate for someone conforming to the standard appropriate behavior.  Suddenly something that used to give me a bit of pleasure will be no more.

But as I slightly mourn this transition, I also wonder if the true mourning is not so much that my Mac is going away but that I’m not even wanting to put up a fight for it any more.  I have some good sound arguments for it.  But you know I’m so so so busy at work managing projects that I don’t have time to fight.  It’s just so much more stressful not sticking out like a sore thumb, just conforming and fitting in.

In fact maybe to some extent I don’t really care that much about computers.  Maybe all I really want to do is take a really long time off and rest my tiredness away.

I wonder is aging the number of years that my body has aged.  Or is it the degree that people and the rest of the world around me has changed?  The adult idols in my life are passing on.  My Mom has been gone for over 10 years.  Some of my school mates have kids who have kids.  Many new employees in my workplace are young enough to be my child.  And they seem to be so bright, enthusiastic, creative and having fun.  I’m somehow jealous of them.  Because I’m not quite sure how to be like them.  Because in a way it feels no longerappropriate to be bright, enthusiastic and creative with my age and responsibility.

I recently moved into a house for the first time in over 20 years.  Owning a house is so so neat compared to renting an apartment.  Then the other day I had to ask a bunch of school kids to not jump all over my front yard.  I started to wonder if I was now going to become just another “Mean old crabby Mr. Wilson” to a bunch of  bright and energetic “Dennis the Menaces” .

Or maybe it’s really the energy of the year 2012 that it really is a key turning point as many may say.  Is 2012 the end of the world, or is just the pinnacle of the end of the world as we know it, rapidly changing into a new world.  If so, I feel like maybe this change is becoming so rapid that this tired old overweight body can’t keep up.

My anthem song to this transition is below:

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I miss being Ten

This morning I took my dog out for the usual walk just before getting ready to drive off to work.  The temperature was moderate, it had just stopped raining and was overcast.  It was a quiet Monday morning on the road next to a wooded area. And when I listened to the insects ringing I was suddenly taken back to when I was maybe ten years old.  And this wooded area was now an unexplored wonder filled with yet unknown wild life and wonders.  It was at that moment I wanted so badly to just cancel the day and the many days afterwards and just explore the woods.  Maybe I could survey the creek I knew was there. Maybe, I could build a stone bridge, look for fish, or consider my option for building a small hideout.

I have been reading the biography on Steve Jobs and am finding that despite the fact that he had a reputation for being very nasty and insensitive, he was something so precious to witness his humanity.   The part that had me in tears was when Steve recounts his 20th wedding anniversary writing a small note to his wife.  Steve reads the note to the author of the biography and starts crying uncontrollably.  The final quarter of the book was a witness to a very driven human surveying his life, his children, wife, close friends and close rivals.  Steve talks about his son, Reed, who physically looks like him when he was in his 20’s.  Steve is proud of his son who is showing the early signs of maybe becoming a future cancer researcher.  The final pages have him in a wheel chair reading a note to the board of directors announcing his resignation and essentially saying goodbye.  Some board members are in tears.  Then they all huddle around him to give him a fairwell hug.  I start to tear again as I visualized this scene.   Not long after Steve’s resignation Apple announced Steve Jobs had passed away from cancer.

I then hear about two more deaths of icons from my childhood.  Two singers from the 70’s disco era: Donna Summers and then Robin Gibb (died of cancer) passed away over the week.  And it’s wierd to witness the modern day draw that the Beatles still have, to see photos of them in their 20’s on album covers, and then to know that only one person: Paul McCartney is left.  Yet just last year I watched Paul perform live at the White House and he sounded just as vibrant and fresh as when he was some 40 – 50 years younger.

Then on the other end of the age spectrum, going from people passing away to people emerging, I hear that another emerging icon in the news, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook just got married.  He is in his twenties, emerging as an icon, much like the Beatles, Steve Jobs, Donna Summers, the Bee Gees, Michael Jackson and so many others who were placeholders of people I learned to admire or dream of emulating when I was some 20 or more odd years younger.  Only now I’m in my 40’s and I’m feeling too tired to admire him.  I’d be much more interested in anyone who was planning on exploring this “exotic” patch of wooded area next to my apartment.  Anyone interested in building a tree house, and forming an secret club — no grown ups allowed, OK?

So I feel like I’m at the cross roads of time, having a sense of how very short a lifetime is.  It almost seems that it’s not very long for a infant to grow up, mature, become independent, maybe have kids of his/her own, try to achieve dreams and then prepare for leaving this Earth.  More and more I can see the wonderful little boy and girl faces within larger shells of 50 to 70 year old adults.  And then I’m amazed when I see marvelous adult men in little boys faces, and the beautiful adult woman in the faces of little girls.

A mature adult at the end of his journey is still capable of dropping back into youthful immaturity.  A young child may awaken a inner wisdom that belies his age by many many years.  So in this strange cross road I would no longer be surprised to witness a precociouis 10 year old impart wisdom upon a struggling 60 year old adult. For somehow I can see more clearly how we are so much the same, in wisdom and knowing, regardless of our age.

I shift focus back to my electronic gadgets.  I hold my once highly prized iPhone.  It’s now so ubiquitous of a device that it’s passee.  I almost want to seek the next new thing, but it doesn’t seem like there is going to be one.  But even more, I’m really getting disillusioned and tired with cool electronic gadgets.  Thanks to the marvelous vision of Steve Jobs I have a device that allows me to quickly look up things on the internet anywhere and anytime. I can even talk to my iPhone and it will do the search for me.  It’s the kind of convenience and control so many modern life consumers, like myself, have always wanted.

But in my crossroads I think I’m tired of being consumer of ever more meaningless gadgets that have lost their thrill.  As I finish my walk with my dog next to the woods, I think about a future where I return to that wonder of building that hideout, that tree house, in that small patch of wooded area with many hidden wonders and unexperienced adventures.  I think I might want to return to being 10 years old, when I knew less things, and so felt less expectations and could simply day dream more.  I imagine tossing out my iPhone and all computers and being out of touch.  I imagine returning to the magic of living the uncertainty in simple things of little consequence when I was a 10 year old boy.



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Help, I’m Lost. Please Find Me. — iPhone Tip

For the past couple of days I’ve been sipping large quantities of freshly ground and brewed coffee at work.  Mmm, mmm, mmm.  It tastes so good, but I’m definitely getting very buzzed.  I started to bringing my own pot of coffee to work and it’s much more powerful to my brain than when I used to bring in chilled bottled coffee (more info on chilled coffee).  Now the “techie” part of my brain has been humming real fine.  So I’ve been inspired to share a tip that I think most people will value assuming that you, your loved ones and or close friends have an iPhone.  I’m actually too busy to be writing this blog, because I’ve got a ton of work to do but I don’t care cause it’s kind of fun (to all my BBSH friends and teachers out there might there be a bit of negative intention here?). 

But let me digress no more and share a useful tip. Here are some situations. 

– A loved one has just learned some emotionally overwhelming news, he’s out on the road somewhere and he needs you to find them but he’s too overwhelmed to describe where he is at. 

– A friend is somewhere else in the same town as you, but neither of you is familiar with the town.  You want them to meet you where you are. 

– You’re traveling to a new location and you want to check in with a loved one with your location as a just in-case precaution.

It turns out that the Maps app on the iPhone offers the solution to send your exact location to others and allow others with iPhones get exact directions to your exact location, be it by foot, public transportation or car, even if where you are at has no address.  So here’s a brief demo on what you do:

 To send someone your location do the following:

1) Start Maps and you’ll see something like below:


2) Press the little arrow button on the lower-left hand corner and Maps will locate you by GPS with a blue dot like below:

3) Now touch the blue dot and Maps will popup with “Current Location” similar to below:

4) Now touch the blue circle with the “>” inside it that’s next to the words “Current Location” and you’ll see something similar to below:

5) See the button “Share Location”.  Touch that and you’ll see something like below:

6) Select how you want to send your location to others: Email, Text/iMessage, or Twitter.

So here’s what it looks like to the person receiving your location.  Below shows what it my look like when you received a GPS location by email on your iPhone.

So in the above we see what looks like an address.  In some cases if say the person is in the middle of an unmapped area, it will may say “Unknown Location”, but it will still work to pinpoint your exact location.  The receiving person just touches the underlined words in blue and the iPhone automatically locates them with a red colored dot/pin in Maps as shown below.

That red dot is the exact GPS location of the person who sent me the message.  Next  just touch the red dot and you’ll see something like shown below:

To get directions to that location I touch the blue circle with the “>” inside and you’ll see something like shown below:

Next just touch “Directions To Here” button and I’ll see something like below:


Touch the icon for a Car, Bus, or Person depending upon if you want directions by Car, Public Transportation, or Walking.  Then touch the Route button and you’ll get directions.

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I managed to settle down and get smarter again

So today I found myself at work doing lots of computer upgrades and relearning how to work with a Microsoft SQL database I had started to forget how to use.  After about some 5 hours in the office racking my memory cells I was able to relearn some technical skills I had forgotten.  So once I got back home, it was like some old brain cells got revived and I started feeling smarter again.

I almost felt as smart as I was a few years ago when I was working full time as a techie website administrator.  So I got brave and decided to service the blog software (wordpress) behind my blogs.  I relearned how to properly update my wordpress blogs as well as wordpress plug-ins.  Fortunately, I had taken good notes from a year ago that told me where the non-obvious snafus and hiccups would occur.

A was slightly disturbed to find that newer software upgrade had added new features, deleted old features, and rearranged other features.  These kinds of inconsistencies let me know that in time my notes would eventually become obsolete and that the health of my website requires me to regularly and carefully coordinate the upgrade of different software modules.  Despite the fact that my brain felt smarter the upgrade still had newer hiccups and snafus.  I’m so thankful I was able to perform the upgrade, because honestly it is far from what I could call easy.

I almost need a full time IT person to keep up my websites.  Well for now I’m too poor/cheap to pay for any IT support that I can still do myself.  I also still don’t trust the competency of most IT services.  So for now my brain still seems fairly competent, and I am still computer self sufficient.

So I wonder again as I start getting older is my brain going to get dumber or is it just that computerized things are going to get more and more complicated?

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Computers getting more complicated or I’m just getting dumber

So a few days ago all my websites went out of commission for almost 3 days.  The end result was I started contemplating the possibility that all my blogs over the past couple of years had been wiped out and lost.  At one point things got so bad I was starting to think my web hosting company was actually going out of business without notice.  Eventually with a lot of upset emails coming from me, my service was restored and my latest blog post was gone and lost,  sigh, oh well.  One thing that got me frustrated was that it was a result of my service provider upgrading their equipment and in the process they sort of lost 3 different websites I maintained.  I think up to now I was operating under the assumption that if you pay a company to host your websites and they operate 24/7, they should be able to assure you should have worry free service.

However, I now believe that this assumption is a bit of a delusion.  Website hosting services are getting less and less expensive and the incentive for quality service is dropping.  A couple of years ago if there was a technical problem I could contact someone and they would get it resolved in a couple of hours.  Now it seems that if I contact someone they more likely ignore me unless I start to raise a stink over it.  It’s like the customer support people on the other end have to handle so much more work for the same pay that get easily overloaded allowing them to only have time to handle the customers that yell the loudest.

So this brings me back to the fact that having my own blog is actually feeling too technically challenging for me.  All I ever wanted to do was just write.  But lately what I see is that I have to constantly work with something called CPanel, perform software upgrades that seem to occur every month, and with each upgrade have to worry about incompatibility problems that inevitably occur.  Now on top of that it seems I may need to do data backups of my blogs after every post to cover myself in the event my websites go down or even if my web hosting company goes belly up without notice.

MY BRAIN HURTS!  I do not want to have to constantly worry about how to back up my websites.  I do not want to have to constantly figure out how to update my website software and software plug-ins.  I do not want to have to figure out who to bug to determine why some features work sometime and not others.  It all feels so messy.  I JUST WANT TO WRITE and have the computer figure out the rest.

It’s not just with my websites, but even at work, as I watch how technical support in many areas is dropping in quality as corporations outsource to lower paid workers in India.  And this is not a statement about the quality of support in India, but more the quality of support when you want to pay less and less for it.  I’ve witnessed how quality workers in India, discover that they can get paid more for their higher quality service, and move on, always sort of assuring that the person filling in the lower paid positions is going to be the least knowledgable and experienced person.  Because as soon as the junior person becomes more knowledgable and experienced they will want higher pay and will move on.

But, let me stop ranting.  I guess I’m starting to sound like a GRUMPY OLD MAN.  If I keep writing on this topic I’ll probably be starting my paragraphs with:  “You know when I was a kid  …”  Hmm that gives me some ideas … suppose in the future I experience another technical snafu and I lose the entire “tiredmiddleagedman” blog and website,  maybe instead of trying to restore my website I’ll just start over with a new website.  I’ll call it or  In the newer blog I’ll recant stories of the past, repeat them over and over again with added embellishments until readers beg me to stop.


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Avoiding Super High Cell Phone Charges while Out of the Country

Recently, I came back from a mostly relaxing cruise from the Baltimore, MD to Bermuda.  After several days it’s been hard for me to get myself back into the swing of things as I’m constantly in perpetual nap mode and feel like I can sleep 24 hours a day.  I thought I could get myself back up to speed naturally without the aid of caffeine, but no good.  So on a Sunday afternoon I had to intervene and down 3 full cups of chilled coffee (I chill it so I can drink large quantities of caffeine fast).  Furthermore, I tried to get my mind active again by turning on my computer and thinking about something rather intricate.  So I thought about writing what I learned about the use of my cell phone on my trip to and from Bermuda and sharing my knowledge.

So I will start off by stating this.  Having an active cell phone during a cruise can become the most expensive thing you can do on any vacation in a foreign country, even if you never make a call.  If your cell phone is capable of receiving email and connecting to the internet it’s possible for you to rack upu costs in in excess of a $1000 during the stay of the cruise without ever making or receiving a call!  A simple solution to this is to simply leave your cell phone off completely as soon as you leave home.  But if you’re like me you may want to leave some option of keeping in contact.  Say there’s an emergency and someone needs to reach you.  Or maybe the act of you being out of contact for several days straight could end up with you losing a client.  If you simply leave you’re cell phone off and you’re on a cruise ship then your only option to keep in contact is using your ship’s phone which runs about $8 a minute!  It’s safe to say that the communicating on a cruise ship is probably more expensive than anywhere else in the world, because you’re communicating on a satellite service and you’re completely at the mercy of what the cruise ship company wants to charge.

There is a middle ground of options on ways to keep in contact with the rest of the world while you’re on a cruise without the risk of super high roaming charges, but there is no single best answer.  I thought I’d outline some options I found on my recent vacation cruising on a Royal Carribean ship to Bermuda using an iPhone and trying to allow my dog boarding service to contact me if my dog gets sick, or allowing family members traveling in China to reach me, or allowing the body shop thats fixing my car to contact me to authorize repairs as needed. So here we go in terms of options to consider to avoid getting unexpected nightmarish phone charges.

1) Turn off cell phone and keep it off. This is the simplest option, but you can never keep in contact.  As long as your phone remains off you will incur no charges.  But do not think you can just turn on the cell phone periodically and avoid costs.  For example, if there is back log off missed text messages or email while your phone was off, the moment you turn your phone back on you could get hit with a bunch of charges as your cell phone gets caught up on those missed texts and email.  If you are not able to live strictly by keeping your phone completely off on your vacation then you want to read further.

2) Turn on Airplane mode and keep it that way. This is strictly for iPhone users.  It allows you to continue to use your iPhone to listen to music or use Apps without worry of being charged.  It’s almost the same as turning off your cell phone as you will not be able to send or receive calls, and you will not be able to use WiFi for internet.  But do not think you can just turn off Airplane mode periodically and avoid costs.  If you are not able to live strictly by keeping Airplane mode on your entire vacation out of the country then you want to read further.

3) Make sure data roaming is off. This is mostly for smart phone users.  On the iPhone you can go into settings to keep data roaming off.  This is normally the default setting.  I did a recent test on light use of my iPhone and if I had data roaming on during my cruise I estimate I would have racked up over $900 in charges as my iPhone automatically got updates on my two email accounts and my Facebook account.  Note that with data roaming off you will not be able to use the Google Maps or many GPS Apps on your iPhone as they depend on constant connection to the internet.

4) Use call forwarding.  Did you know that if your cell phone is on, then if someone calls you and you don’t answer YOU CAN get charged a bundle for that missed call?  If you don’t answer your cell phone it will go to your voice mail. If that caller chooses to leave a message you will get charged for every minute of that voice mail message at the roaming rate, plus possible additional long distance charges per minute.  On my cruise that amounted to around $3 a minute.   And after paying that amount you can’t even listen to your voice mail without paying that same $3 minute to listen to your voice mail.  Ka-ching Ka-ching Ka-ching.  Don’t bother contacting your phone company about disabling your voice mail.  They can do this but then your caller will listen to a message from your phone company that your voice mail is disabled and you will pay for every minute of that message that tells your caller that you voice mail is disabled.  The best solution is to enable call forwarding on you cell phone.  Call forward to a local land-line telephone number.  Then all calls to your cell phone are intercepted before they ever reach your cell phone and you can never get charged roaming fees for the missed calls.  Furthermore, if that local land-line telephone number has a voice mail or answering machine then here’s a way for people to leave a message for you at no cost to you. Oh one more thing– on your voice mail or answering machine don’t let them know you’re away on vacation as it would tip off potential burglars that it’s safe to rob your home.  Finally, do note that call forwarding is technically not completely free.  Call forwards on your cell phone get treated as if you were at home using your cell phone to make a call to the number you are forwarding to.  That’s why you only want to call forward to a local land-line number.  If you subscribe to a monthly cell phone service plan then call forwarding time just counts against the allotted minutes in your plan.

5) CAREFULLY CONSIDER if you want your Text messaging service on or off. If you generally DO NOT get many text messages, then text messaging may actually be a very good and economical way of communicating with family.  On AT&T roaming rates are 50 cents to send a non-picture text and 30 cents to receive a non-picture text anywhere in the world and on a cruise ship.  BUT IF YOU HAVE FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO LOVE to send you lots of text including picture texts (which generally run $1.30 per text), then you may want to TURN OFF texting service to your phone, because the moment you turn your phone on during your vacation your phone will connect and receive all missed texts, keeping you up to date on texts, and charging you for every text whether you want it or not.  Your normal texting plan will not cover these roaming rate texts.  If you really want to commit to lots of texting then subscribe to an international roaming texting plan.  For AT&T if you pay $50 a month your covered for 500 texts.  However, if you subscribe to such a plan note that you probably wont get the full 500 text allotment.  Instead you’re account will be charged some prorated percentage of the full $50 and you’ll only get a prorated percentage of the 500 texts.  This is just how the billing works. To disable texting you will need to call customer service and have them remove texting service from your account.  So you will want to do this before you leave on your trip.  Once you return then you can call back and have them turn texting back on.

****** Below are more advanced options to consider  ***********

6) Consider using email to keep in contact. If you’re willing to work a little harder to communicate, then look for ways to communicate by email. The key thing is to finding internet service.  If you have a laptop, iPhone, iPad, or some other internet device you should look for free or low cost WiFi (wireless internet) service.  If you don’t have anything then you can look for a local internet cafe and rent time on a computer, and use a web browser to access your email.  However, it’s better if you can bring your own laptop, iPhone or iPad, because you can better control costs by connecting to WiFi long enough to download all your recent email messages, quickly disconnecting from WiFi and reading your email offline when you are not being charged.  When I was on the Royal Carribean cruise ship they offered both WiFi service or rental time on a computer for about 65 cents a minute.  This is not cheap but it’s much cheaper than $3 a minute for cell phone service or $8 a minute for the cabin phone use.

7) Consider paying for voicemail service. If you are planning to use option 4 and 6 above, then you also want to consider paying for a voice mail service.  I did this myself as it gave me peace of mind.  Once you’re willing to work a little more and spend a little more, this opens up more options on keeping in contact economically.  If you make use of call forwarding to avoid getting charged for missed calls while your phone is on, you can make use of a paid voice mail service to take messages for you and send them to your email.  You can usually get a voice mail service like this for around $7 a month.  You pay them the $7 a month rate, and they give you a local phone to which you can call forward to take voice messages.  If you already pay for a Skype online phone number then you can use your Skype’s voice mail service. You may ask why pay for voice mail service when your cell phone comes with voice mail.  Because with your cell phone voice mail you will pay a bundle for roaming fees (read my description in option 4).  A separate paid voice mail working with your cell  phone call forwarding will NOT incur roaming charges and you get the added benefit of being able to listen to your messages where ever you can get email.  Listening to voicemail by email is a lot less expensive than calling in to listen to your cell phone’s built-in voicemail. There are even voice mail services that will type out a transcript of the voice mail in the email.

8 ) Use Skype over WiFi to call people. If you can get ready access to free or low cost WiFi service, Skye is possibly the best way of communicating.  With Skype you can have video phone calls with anyone else with Skype for free, or make or receive phone calls from any phone anywhere in the world for very low rates.  You can make Skype calls from your laptop, iPhone, or iPad.  However, DO NOT expect Skype to work well on a cruise ship.  The cruise ship’s WiFi is generally not fast enough to support good quality voice calls, and please DO NOT EVEN think of turning on data roaming and using the cruise ships cell phone provided data service for Skype.   I managed to get a few lucky minutes of somewhat choppy phone calls on Skype using the ship’s WiFi, but in the end I think the cruise ship blocked my Skype service over their WiFi as I was probably chewing up too much bandwidth.  So eventually my Skype no longer worked.  I’d say Skype is only good for WiFi service you find on land.  So for me when our shipped was docked in the Bermuda it was possible to find a local WiFi service where one could use Skype.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find this out until I was about to leave Bermuda.  HERE’s a tip just for those cruising to the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda (also known as Kings Wharf).  In the Dockyard there’s a lesser known WiFi place called “Internationally Connected” near the Dock Yard Pastry Shop.  As of the writing of this blog, “Internationally Connected” is located on the 2nd floor of a small building and they charged about $5 for 30 minutes of high speed WiFi.  This is great for economical use of Skype as well as for options 6 and 7 above.

******** Even more advanced options to consider.  Probably not worth investing time here unless you plan to stay in a particular foreign country a lot.  ********

9) Buy a prepaid SIM card for your cell phone. If you can get this to work you get the ultimate in economical and convenient communication.  I’d only consider trying this if you plan on spending a long time in a foreign country.   There’s significant risk it may not work. Firstly, it won’t work with all phones.  GSM phones use SIM chips.  CDMA phone like those from Verizon and Sprint don’t.  Also there are currently two different sizes of SIM cards: the regular SIM and the micro SIM card.  Most prepaid SIM cards will be of the regular SIM size.  If your phone only takes micro SIM cards you’ll need to invest in a micro SIM cutter so that you can trim down regular SIMs to fit in a micro SIM slot.  Finally, your GSM phone may be locked to your cell phone carrier so you would need to invest in unlocking service.  Are you getting a headache listening to my explanation?  That’s why it may not be worth trying this.

10) Rent or buy a prepaid cell phone. This avoids all the complications involved with a SIM card described above, but now you have to contend with paying for the cell phone itself.

**** Finally some considerations on the easiest but most expensive option ********

11) Just use your cell phone. This is by far the easiest but most expensive option.  You can actually make and receive phone calls anywhere on a cruise ship and probably anywhere in the foreign country you are visiting.  I have to admit all the above other options can be really inconvenient and take up a lot of valuable vacation time, so paying the extra for the convenience of using your cell phone as is, may be worth it.  Also on a cruise ship this is the only way to call someone as attempting to use Skype on a cruise ship is likely to fail. Even I had to use this option to call family members traveling in China.  IF YOU are going to ever consider this PLEASE do read option 4 describing the importance of enabling call forwarding on your cell phone. Some things to keep in mind if you are going to actually use your cell phone to make calls.  Your phone company may offer special international roaming rate plans if you’re willing to pay an extra subscription fee.  However, I’ve found that for many countries they offer little discount over standard roaming rate plans.  For example with AT&T without a roaming rate plan calls in Bermuda were $2.29/minute but if you subscribed for $5.99/month you get a discount rate of $1.69/minute.  Finally, the special international roaming rate plans don’t cover your cruise ship.  The rates are strictly regulated by your specific cruise ship.  On the Royal Carribean cruise ship with AT&T as my carrier the set rate was $2.99 a minute regardless of what plan you are on. I suspect that for all the cell phone carriers the rate is exactly the same $2.99 minute, but you should check yourself.

So the above gives you an idea of options to consider before you travel.  You’ll want to plan ahead your options before you travel.  Hind sight is 20/20.  I didn’t fully learn about the best way of using option 8 (Skype) until the final hour in Bermuda before I had to get back on the ship.  But if I had to do this again I would have planned to use option 8 a lot more along with that WiFi service I found in the Royal Navy Dockyard in Bermuda.  In the end I ended up using a combination of option 3, 4, 6, 7, and just a tiny bit of option 11.  I mostly paid the cruise ships 65 cents a minute WiFi rate and in one instance I made very short cell phone calls from my cabin at the expensive roaming rate of $2.99 a minute. In the end I probably invested around $50 keeping in contact while away on a cruise ship for about 5 days.  This is certainly expensive compared to communicating from home, but at least I was not exposed to the risk of a several hundred dollar bill, and it was always possible for someone to call my cell phone and leave a message and have me be able to listen to it and respond if necessary.

I know thinking about the above might give you a headache.  But to avoid getting a surprise thousand dollar bill from your phone company, it’s definitely worth looking thru the above options and planning. Anyway this is probably the most technical I’ve written in a blog, but at least it’s got my brain buzzed up and out of sleepy cruise ship vacation mode.  If you have any questions about the above feel free to ask me by email at Now that I’m much more learned and prepared I can dare say I’ll be able to respond to you within 24 hours anywhere in the world even in the middle of the ocean.

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Thoughts of the Life Suction 2000 Machine

I remember years ago running across this Dilbert cartoon introducing a device called the “Life Suction 2000”.  The cartoon revealed how the boss at your corporate workplace has installed a secret machine into the ventilation system that steadily sucks the life out of employees.  That image has stood in my mind because something about it accurately described a phenomena that I have experienced in the corporate workplace.

There have been many days I can remember waking up early in the morning, not wanting to head into the office.  But once I got going into the hectic pace of the office, I started to feel OK.  I can push thru periods of sleepiness in my office and then my adrenaline kicks in and I’d be back up buzzing away at full speed.  I’m starting on a workaholic roll and once again it’s becoming so easy to stay later and later at the office.  Sometimes I think about stopping back home to eat dinner before pushing to work into the evening, but it seems that a sudden drop in my energy level occurs as soon as I head back home.  Often by the time I enter the door I’m ready to just collapse into bed.

At first blush you’d wonder why I am energized at work and exhausted at home.  I attribute this phenomena to the Life Suction 2000 machine that our IT department has installed at work.  Actually it’s probably upgraded to the Life Suction version 2011 by now.  I have not been able to find concrete evidence of it’s existence, but here’s my theory on how it works.  This machine infiltrates the air you breath with an undetectable gas scientifically indistinguishable from normal air.  This gas acts as a stimulant, boosting your perceived energy level.  You start to become capable of levels of intense work and neurotic brain activity far beyond what you could ever achieve at home.  The side effects are gradually increasing levels of stress and anxiety.  In fact some may say it’s the stress and anxiety that are the stimulant; I mean haven’t you found that if you get really stressed you can’t sleep.  Even if you’re sleepy, when you get stressed, you can suddenly become awake as soon as your head hits the pillow.  This is sort of some of the aspects of how the Life Suction 2000 machine works.

So let’s say your energy level goes on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most energized and 1 being the most depleted.  Say my true energy level at home is a 3 and I’m pretty beat.  I enter the zone of the Life Suction 2000.  I breath the air and suddenly I feel like I’m at a 8.  And as the hours start to fly by I’m still at an 8.  But in reality my true “unstimulated” energy level may be dropping to a 2, but I’m completely oblivious to this under the marvels of the Life Suction 2000.  When you leave the workplace, the effects take about 15 minutes to start wearing off.  So that when you finally get home, you suddenly feel your true energy level and you’re completely exhausted.  If you get a decent nights sleep you may get back up to a 3, but no worries the Life Suction 2000 machine will boost you up to feeling like your at much higher energy levels.

So these past couple of weeks I’ve started to find that coffee is now becoming my Life Suction drink.  It all started with my findings that my coffee machine makes better tasting coffee the larger the number of cups you brew at a time.  I generally only wanted maybe a cup at most, but the best taste only comes thru when you brew 8 cups or more.  However, I don’t like the idea of brewing 8 cups, drinking one cup and dumping the rest.  So I discovered bottling unused coffee, refrigerating it, and adding milk or cream.  Then end result is an excellent tasting iced coffee drink with caffeine effects somehow stronger than when I drank the coffee hot.  The drinks generally taste a ton better than all the premium iced coffee drinks you can buy.  And today I found that when you bottle one of these drinks while they’re hot, they naturally vacuum seal themselves during the cooling phase.  What I mean by this is that when you buy a drink at a store it often mentions that it’s cap should be depressed to show that no one has opened it.  Well my home made coffee drinks look like professionally sealed drinks, caps depressed and vacuum sealed!  You turn the cap and it pops to let you know it’s never been open … and the drink tastes so good … so good …. so so good.  … Oh excuse me  I’m getting a bit off track.  Pardon my excitement on the topic of making my own iced coffee drinks.  It’s the effect of drinking too much coffee.

So the last few days I’d say I’ve been working longer and longer hours, feeling more and more drained and overwhelmed.  But what has been pulling me thru more is my great tasting iced coffee drink, my Life Suction drink.  The other side effects is that I feel less and less hungry.  If I’ve skipped breakfast and lunch and feel exhausted and famished, a good gulp of my coffee drink, and my hunger disappears and I’m awake and alert again.  And then when I get back home I can work and work up till midnight, go to sleep with a restless caffeine charged buzz, wake up with a struggle early in the morning, skip breakfast, grab a fresh bottle of chilled coffee drink. I start drinking and my energy level is back up and I’m clicking away at full speed again.  I almost don’t feel like doing anything but spending the rest of my waking hours stuck in front of the computer screen doing more work on and on and on.  Some part of me does feel exhausted and its only when I’m doing work that I feel alive.  It’s a bit scary.

You know I also thought about this Life Suction 2000 machine.  In some ways it resembles the concept of the machines in the movie “the Matrix” that use humans as batteries.  The machines feed our minds with comforting dreams, and in return we willingly but unknowingly let it suck the energy out of our bodies.  …  Oh I better be quiet!  I think there on to me.  Oh oh it’s Mr. Smith … I oh oh oh..  Help help.  I’m feeling terri ri ri ri …. just fine! I’m feeling great.

I’m think about curtailing a bit on my coffee drink.  But man … it actually tastes so so good.  Mmmm mmm mmm.  Did I tell how neat it is when the cap pops when I open my bottles? Want to come over and try some of my coffee drink?


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Torn Apart and then Gently Reassembled

So over the weekend I had gone away to a Core Energetics “personal intensive”.  In some ways it was a bit like a small retreat to one of those spa’s to help you lose weight and get more physically fit.  Except in this retreat the goal was to become more psychologically fit.  Those of you who have been privileged enough to have attended the Barbara Brennan School of Healing are familiar with the personal process sessions.  A “personal intensive” is in some ways just a personal process session that lasts about 2.5 days.

A general description about Core Energetics is that it works with trying to move and release stuck emotional energy by loosening up where they stored within the body.  It starts off with some discussion to try and push your buttons or bring you back to a painful memory. Then it continues with heavy physical exertion beating the crap out of large pillow while simultaneoulsy saying how you are feeling in terms of any past anger, fear, and hurt.  At times doing this can result in a very cathartic emotional release.

For me I came out feeling an indescribable rejuvenation.  It was a rejuvenation that was different then say going out to a relaxing tropical island getaway.  Because when you simply escape to a relaxing environment you inevitably come back feeling the stress of knowing you must return to whatever you tried to escape.  With the personal intensive the rejuvenation was more “organic” and so the transition from vacation life back to normal weekday work life also seemed “organic”.

In my personal intensive my goal was to find a deeper understanding of myself.  A group of about 9 facilitators/practitioners teamed up to work on my psyche.  I did my best to reveal anything I could possibly think of for all to hear.  The facilitators would team up to try and find and push my buttons, but in a way that felt safe.  In fact I tried my best to work with them to have my buttons pushed, because its in my buttons that I find the doorways to healing.  And during some of my sessions I was quite surprised to find myself vomiting air, purely on emotional release.  At one point I was asked to do a relatively simple Yoga-like exercise and I was triggered into a sensation of indescribable pain and fear. For a brief period I was brought into absolute agony, screaming at the top of my lungs.  But once this happened there was this deep inner smile welling up within me.

I was smiling because I came to be broken and freed, and in many ways that’s exactly what happened.  I was a very satisfied customer.  Within a day I was totally spent physically and emotionally.  My body was becoming so sore all over.  I started to have difficulty sleeping as I my dreams were flooded with more phantom facilitators that would take me through more sessions.  They broke me.  Or rather as my facilitators would probably say: “I broke me, they only facilitated and provided a safe and loving container for my break down”  And then they spent about a day and a half gently putting me back together, healing me with exercises to start implanting new memories of a much happier childhood experience to sit alongside of some my scary, hurtful, shameful or missing experiences.  So now it was like I could survey my past memories and choose new possibilities to my past experiences to better effect my presence in the here and now.

In one exercise they brought me back into the sensation of being in a deeply unconditionally loving womb.  Intellectually I was still an adult, but emotionally I had yet to be born and I have never felt such comfort and security in my life.  The sensation was of tentacles or umbilical cords connecting with me kind of like the tentacles coming from the tree of souls in the movie “Avatar”


I was blindfolded so I couldn’t see with my eyes.  But I could see with my heart, my body, my ears, my mind.  It was beautiful.  It was safe. Every  sound that I was making as the infant was being echoed in a humanity of souls (my facilitators mimicked my sounds) lovingly mirroring my emotions, and lovingly holding me.  This was a moment that I can’t get enough of.  I was told that this very spot of complete security and love resided in the same “void” area of where by deepest fear and pain resided.  This is something I believe, yet sort of boggles my mind to have such opposites sitting so close together, all suggesting that it’s a matter of my perspective and choice that determines whether an unknown “void” part of me that I’ve never been to feels “terrifying and painful” or “fluid and safe.”

On the last few hours of the final day of my weekend they put the finishing touches on putting me back together with a body massage that words can not accurately describe.  All I can say is it was so loving, so compassionate, and so real. And when it came to me having to drive 3.5 hours back home, I was actually OK.  Well much better than OK.  They tore me apart and lovingly put me back together.

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My Pension is now a Possibility; Is this Good or Bad?

So last week I got to attend the 30th anniversary of someone at my work place.  That’s 30 years working for the same company, kind of a rarity these days.  And so then I asked the person how long they had before they qualified for full retirement benefits.  The person shared with me some information which ultimately revealed I was just under 10 years till qualifying for my pension. This may sound like a long time, but it’s actually close enough to start playing a spin on my future plans.  This is when “good news” sometimes feels like “bad news” because it creates choices neither of one which is obviously better than the other, and such choices can be both good and bad news depending upon how well you can accept being given the choice to create your future.  Responsibility and options can be perceived as both good and bad.

You see I’ve been attending BBSH (Barbara Brennan School of Healing) with the expectation of graduating and starting my own private practice and being able to leave my corporate job.  But here’s the interesting situation that may occur.  You see from what I’ve been told by the time I graduate from BBSH I will be about 5 years away from qualifying for my pension.  And so I might actually find myself in that position I thought was never a remote possibility. I might become one of those uneventful workers that decides to stick it out to qualify for that financial security at the end of the tunnel.

This reality stirs up a bunch of feelings and critical voices.  The harshest voice has shame and says: “Oh Geez you don’t want to be known as a lifer.  Come on Wilson, what a disappointment, you were supposed to have made it big when you were 30.  Man I never thought I’d see you sucking wind to join the herds of the many cowards that were afraid to make the leap and stuck it out for a pension.”  A less harsh voice says:  “Man we always thought to don’t even think about qualifying for pension, that was for really really old people”  Finally, a new voice says:  “Hold on now Wilson this has to be given serious consideration.”

I’d say that one thing that has definitely started to change since I’ve attended BBSH is that my ability to sustain myself in a world that can be rather cold and superficial has increased.  So the irony of an education that might enable me to pursue a full time life as an energy healer also is opening doors to a full time life even creating beautiful healing space no matter where I am.  I mean many graduates of BBSH never go into practice, and I’m finding even those who do, they may eventually branch off into something that’s no longer energy healing.

So in the end it’s all very wierd.  The possibilities of what I will be doing 10 years from now could be anything from a full time energy healer to just another corporate employee nearing his retirement.  It’s now all about options, all actually positive options, but part of me is a bit disturbed because options means I have to choose and having to choose can be very uncomfortable and quite scary.  But I think there’s a good part of me that’s starting to get the message that the when you are in the sweet spot of the good stuff, it’s also the area where things feel most uncertain and unpredictable.

So at the moment I can see strong certainty of hitting this sweet spot of uncertainty and unpredictability. And I can accept the obvious good of it all and embrace the “bad” of the fear and critical voices in my head.

It’s all good.

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The World has Ended Today May 21st

So I’ve seen this billboard for the past several months mentioning that the world will end on May 21st 2011.  If you search the internet you’ll find plenty of sites talking about the end of the word, such as this one from Business Insider.  For me I’ve been so so busy at work that the idea of the end of the world sounds like a really good and well needed vacation from life.  I mean if things don’t suddenly stop I have to face the horror of more tension filled meetings and deadlines in the coming week.  To be fair I think I’ve been getting a bit of the hang of my current job working as a Black Belt Project Manager, but I could sure use a break and the end of the world is certainly a break.

But honestly I didn’t hold my breath keeping my hopes up for this to come.   And probably like many of the rest you, you find this another thing to chuckle and make jokes about.  So did I until I stepped outside and enjoyed the fantastic weather today!

One the morning of the day this World is supposed to end, I started on a typical walk with my dog and was struck even stunned by the fantastic weather.  The sky was absolutely clear of all, clouds, and quite blue.  The Sun was absolutely intense and brilliant and this red flag in front of my apartment was not just red, but now shimmering brilliant red with the crisp sunlight reflecting the threads of its fabric.  I never knew the threads in this large red flag had a smooth enough finish to actually shimmer like that!  The air, the breeze was crisp.  It was stunningly beautiful.  Maybe even surrealistically beautiful.

And then I went back upstairs and stepped out on our balcony to meditate and soak in the beautiful morning.  I sat down and my dog followed me.  I sat down in lotus position and just marvelled at the natural sounds of life in contrast to the abstract intellectual world of web conferences, emails, spreadsheets and reports that make up my work week.  I thought to myself, “Man today is just so so SO beautiful!”  My dog just sat beside me and meditated with me.  She was enjoying the Sun too.

Maybe after an hour just sitting in this Sun, I started noticing some whisps of clouds starting to form above my head.  And so I broke out of lotus position and started lying down with my head staring straight up at the sky.  I watched this whisp of clouds rapidly molt, transform, move, appear, evaporate and reappear.  If you were someone else watching me you might have thought I was “spacing out”, but I’d say I was more just having my head in the clouds in the truest sense.  It’s been maybe more than 20 years since I’ve ever lied down and just gazed at the clouds, marvelled at their shapes and just wasted hours of the day away, like there was nothing really to do.

And so I though: “End of the Day,  Haaa, Really!”  I mean this is about the exact opposite of the End of the World.  Nothing menacing at all.  Everything absolutely glorious, relaxed, calm.  All was truly well, even better than well!  A bit more like Heaven.

Then I thought: “Wait a minute  …. a bit like Heaven?  Hmmm.  Heaven?  Hmmm”.  In a world that has seem so turmoiled to pop into a reality where this picture of my dog summarizes the day.  Notice how menacing the day looks, NOT.  Notice how stressed and agitated my dog appears, NOT.  It’s more like Heaven.

Calm Dog on a Beautiful Day

What if this is Heaven?  Then maybe the World actually has actually already ended?  Like maybe just after you blinked your eyes to fall asleep a cataclysmic event occurred far beyond our wildest imagination.  Our part of the Universe blew up in an instant and so fast we couldn’t even see destruction coming.  Like some kind of Hyper Super Nova blew up humungously faster than the speed of light and in the blink of the eye we were vaporized faster than the pulses in our head can travel in an inch and so death and destruction was shockingly painless and unnoticeable.

And so after death we are all waking up.  Well actually I can’t speak for all of us, but at least for my perspective and all the people I could see from my balcony.   So you might be thinking, this sounds all far fetched and I’m off my rocker, but bear me out.  Could you not entertain the possibility of an instantaneous destruction?  And if so then if this did occur and occur so fast, we’d all have skipped the scary and miserable part of seeing our imminent death and destruction and jump straight to a heavenly existence.  And so I really couldn’t complain about today.  I’d wish every day were like today.  It was in the grand overview of my life, like being in Heaven.

And let me walk you a bit further down the “rabbit hole”  What if every moment we are instantly destroyed and the next instant we pop into a new existence.  What if the end of the world is every moment!?  So like in all moments just prior to the end of the world, you think of treasuring every precious second prior to your inevitable death and destruction.  But then you are reborn the next instant only to face the next end of the world.  And so every moment is very precious.  To be sipped like whatever it is you’d associate with Heaven.  And so in a round about way the message of the end of the world is just one more step towards a message of simply being so grateful of the now, of simply taking the time to be in the present.

So you’ll be seeing more signs about another day as the actual End of The World.   So instead of criticizing them for making so many predictions that never come true.  Why not criticize them for not declaring enough the predictions that have so secretly come true.  They should be coming out with signs that the End of the World will come the next second, and the next second, and the next, and the next ….

But if this is starting to feel too heady and philosophical for you, that’s OK.  It’s just a beautiful day today, and my head is in the clouds.  I think I’ve got a bunch of back-to-back meetings lined up for Monday, but for today I just can’t seem to get worried about them.  I’m just wasting the day away talking to you much about nothing, or nothing about much, or maybe I’m simply relaxing.  So in the meantime consider taking a couple of minutes to watch this video of some clouds I took in this moment of a beautiful day.  Click the picture of the cloud to watch.  Peace! 🙂

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Einstein was Wrong

Einsteins is quoted with saying the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I now beg to differ.

So a month ago I bought a pack of AA rechargeable batteries from to start using in my wireless mouse and keyboard. I figure I’d start being more environmentally friendly as I probably throw out about 40 AA batteries a year. I was kind of psyched about my purchase because I researched to find the best rechargeable batteries around and discovered that most rechargeable AA batteries need to be used right away after they are charged. If they sit around too long for over a month they start to discharge and you need to charge them up, so you constantly need to keep these batteries in the charger. So I was thinking about my total household scenario. Our remote controls, pen flashlights, wireless devices probably amount to about 20 AA batteries, so I’d need to purchase about two sets of 20 batteries, one set to use and the other to be in the battery chargers as standby. That started to look clunky and pricey.

Then I discovered these Sanyo Eneloop brand batteries (Man I should be giving a referral link to Amazon for these batteries, but alas I’m too tired to do this right now) that you could charge up, take out of the charger and not use for a year without worry of loss of power. So the brilliant consumer that I am proudly realized that I only needed to purchase a single compact charger and simply adopt a household procedure of 1) all used up batteries get put into charger 2) all charged up batteries get put into small container in closet 3) whenever you need a battery just grab them from the bucket.

So I was kind of obsessed with trying these new Eneloop AA rechargeable batteries. When batteries in my wireless mouse died I got excited. Whoopee! Like the geek I have been at heart I eagerly tried out my hard researched Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries. My mouse comes to life and then dies. Hugh? I take the batteries out and pop them back in. The mouse comes back to life and then dies. These batteries are supposed to be precharged, but I decided to stick them in the charger. I plug them into the charger, and the charger doesn’t seem to work!

Eventually, I put in a set of new akaline AA batteries and the mouse came back to life and all was well. So much for the rechargeable battery idea. I start to get very frustrated. I find out that rechargeable batteries are rated at 1.2 volts while regular akaline batteries are rated at 1.5 volts. I thought drat, this suck, now I might have to return these batteries. And so for the past three weeks I’ve been putting off returning the defective battery charger along with unusable rechargeable batteries. The only problem was I needed to find a box to return them and it seemed hard to find a box.

Then last night I had a dream where some of the things that were niggling me started to come to life. In particular I had a dream about these batteries that I needed to return to Amazon soon or else I’d be stuck with some $40 of new batteries never to be used, because they don’t work and I was too tired to return them. In this dream I was struggling to find a box and I woke up wishing wondering why these stinkin batteries just won’t work. But my dream inspired or more likely taunted the frustrated tired me to try something, something insane, according to Einstein’s quote.

So I searched the internet on other people’s experiences with rechargeable batteries. Everything I was reading was of the opinion that these batteries should always work. And then I visited the Apple store and they were selling rechargeable AA batteries for use in a wireless mouse and they were rated at only 1.2 volts, just like the Enelop brand batteries I had. Then I read about other people initially getting frustrated and concluding that it was the lower voltage of the rechargeable batteries at fault. But then others countered that argument. Finally, I read where the one frustrated person tried one more thing and suddenly he was doing well with his rechargeable batteries. And so in frustration I challenged Einstein’s definition of insanity and put those rechargeable batteries into the mouse, and the mouse suddenly worked! I don’t understand why, because a couple weeks ago I tried many times to get them to work with no luck. (Notice I’m using words like “luck” telltale signs for someone to accuse me of insanity) Now suddenly for now reason these batteries were working well.

To top things off, I started to think about the defective battery charger. And then my eyes caught on to a small paper strip that was covering one part of the battery charger. I don’t ever recall seeing this before. My analytic Electrical Engineering trained mind immediately lit up and said “Dugh?!, Paper blocks electricity, Why didn’t I see this so many times?” I then removed this protective strip and suddenly the charger was working.

So all I can say is this. I repeatedly tried to get these rechargeable batteries to work and they repeatedly did not work. In my small moment of instanity I stilled continued to try. And then suddenly it worked. I tried to do the same thing over and over again, expected different outcomes, and sure enough different outcomes happened. So one could say Einstein was wrong, I was sane, and if at first, second and third something doesn’t succeed try, try again, or maybe I was insane and like the song by Seal goes, “We’re never going to survive unless we get a little crazy”

Oh, by the way I managed to get that amazon link working. Click the advertisement below to order your own set of eneloop batteries along with charger. As long as you’re only interested in AA batteries get the below 🙂


… And after you order the above you can then just order as many extra AA batteries as you need by clicking below for more 🙂


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Starting to Catch up on Sleep

It’s been a few weeks now that I’ve actually not worked thru the weekends.  I think the nice weather has been enticing me to just lie, sit, walk or stand in the sun light.  The days of Summer are long and great.  And although the longer days could allow me to work longer hours, they only seem to entice me to take shorter days.  In my darkest work-a-holic days I was putting in 100 hour weeks and lied to my co-workers about how many hours I was actually working, because I was too embarrassed to be working so long.  I was working as long as physically possible, until my head would fall into the keyboard and it was clear that I was typing gibberish and then I’d push myself to wake up as early as possible, hype myself up with strong coffee and do it again and again and again all in response to fear of being yelled at for not meeting everyone’s high expectations.

But now I’ve faced the fact that everyone’s expectations are actually unrealistic.  As part of my training in the Barbara Brennan school I see a therapist regularly.  Therapy typically helps you accept the fact that your perception of reality is largely how we choose to perceive them.  And so something that is scary or terrible often only gets that way because we choose to judge it that way.  However, everytime I describe my long work hour situation to my therapist, he actually points the problem with corporate work life rather than me.  He’s dealt with many other clients that are getting overworked and doing so willingly for fear of losing their employment in a time where its generally hard to find employment.  According to therapy the expectations made of me at my work place are very unreasonable.  My predicament of working long hours is understandable when just a year ago I was so close to being layed off only to be rescued by a crazy workaholic job.  However, here’s the kicker, in the end it is my choice to work the long hours, even if it’s doing so under implicit cohersion by my supervisors.  I could choose to risk losing my job in an attempt to get needed rest and preserve my health.

I remember a couple weeks ago attending a company sponsored safety meeting and the topic was health.  And I failed miserably on questions related to exercise, recreation and sleep.  You see my company takes safety seriously enough to fire you if you’re unsafe.  And yet my company has high expectations that require me to work unhealthy hours to meet them.  But if I work unhealthy hours I’m implicitly being unsafe.  As I looked at my peers, including some of my newer supervisors taking leisure time or having time to exercise, I recognize that although external events of a work place with unreasonable expectations is very real, the choice to react in fear and give up my personal boundaries, of health and safety is my own.  And that choice is actually an unreasonable choice to make in an attempt to satisfy an unreasonable demand.  The reasonable choice is to not satisfy and allow for the disappointment of those unreasonable demands.  The healthy choice involves disappointing others, while still having empathy for that disappointment.

I’m more now taking a deep breath and gathering the courage to work less hours and potentially disappoint people.  I gather the courage to face people who will get angry and vent on me for failing them in some ways or taking the blame for their predicament, because I wasn’t on the ball in pushing the pace of my projects.  And so what’s at risk is really just me experiencing lots of disappointment and starting to feel like a failure, and incompetent worker.  There’s also a slight fear that someone else may be assigned to take over some of my responsibilities if I’m perceived incapable of doing my work.  But part of me recognizes that someone taking over my work would actually be a healthy response.

So for me in the face of unreasonable demands, I am starting to make frighteningly scary yet reasonable choices.  I know I will feel the disappointment of others and that’s what makes it frighteningly scary.  So the personal work for me is to not to tie my personal worth to my work performance.  I must start to embrace and know and feel my true worth regardless of how disappointed others become with me.  In fact my true worth has nothing to do with what I achieve or accomplish, it is actually simply tied to my mere presence as a unique beautiful human being.


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Starting to not care as much about my work

So in these past couple of months I’d say that one thing I’ve noticed that’s changed is my fear of my workplace is lessened.  I mean I remember getting a phone call at my office a few weeks ago and some ultimately tells me my work is total shit, and he never liked it before I even got started on it.  Maybe it was from being chastised verbally so much that I got numb, or maybe I was simply just surrendering and letting go.  But what I remember was accepting that my work was shit and listened as the person on the other end of the phone talked himself into supporting my project although with great reservations.  I was a bit beside myself as I observed how much I wasn’t too phased by the ranting and complaining over the phone.

So now a couple weeks back from another week at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing and I’m finding myself bouncing back and forth between not so interested in my workplace or just tired of my workplace.  But it’s not exactly me being defeated, because there’s a bit of an element of me just feeling OK, regardless of what people think of me, or more importantly what I think other people think of me.

My job title is a Six Sigma Black Belt.  I supposedly lead two demanding projects.  The Black Belt normally evokes expectations of tough, but I’m not tough.  Rather I think the title of Black Belt for me allows others I lead to be tough with me.  But maybe this is all OK. Maybe it’s actually better than OK.

Or maybe I’m currently delusional and you’ll see me ranting in my next blog post (which at my current rate of posting might be for several months), about having no idea what I was writing about in this blog post.  Or maybe I’m currently just writing aimlessly for the sole purpose of recording a blog post in a rather stagnant blog.

Peace man 🙂

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Oh Geez. I haven’t posted in 4 months!

Well this is hardly an interesting blog, and I’ve been probably the only reader.  That’s pretty bad.

If I was in my early 20’s I might be clicking away trying all kinds of things with lots of reserve energy.  But I think what happens is that with time you inevitably seek out the things in life that can truly sustain the core essence of you. When you’re younger you have more time, and more physical bounce in your body that you can tolerate ventures that look nice on the outside but drain you on the inside.  But after some time if you can’t find some key things to sustain you, your “youth” reserves run empty and you become tired in you middle ages. So me being tired is also a sign of inevitable awakening, a having to let go of superficialities, and a deepening in with the realness of the present world.

Anyway,  I lot of my time has been invested in my work as a student of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing based out of Miami.   As of this time I’ve been to the school 3 times now and have done energy healings on 12 clients with generally positive feed back from my clients.  I also don’t seem to have too much problem finding clients.  So with me being only 1/8th of the way thru my schooling and feeling this level of success, it feels encouraging that in 4 years I might actually be able to stop my corporate job and work full time as an energy healer.

There is one catch though to that conclusion.  Currently I don’t charge clients because I’m still a student.  So when it’s free that’s one less reason someone won’t turn you down to be a client.  But just the same it’s still a big deal that someone wants to be a client even for free, because energy healing the Barbara Brennan way is a bit of an intimate form of therapy, as it’s a bit like seeing a psychologist and a massage therapist for about 90 minutes straight.  So I find that some people, usually more men, are uncomfortable with this.

The other thing to consider is that at my current pace I only have time to see on average 2 clients a month.  So it’s hardly a challenge to drum up business if you only need to get 2 clients a month.  So I can’t say I really tested the waters of how well I could find enough clients to give me a steady sustainable income comparable to my current salary and benefits.

But alas I’m still a freshman so I feel little expectations.  And what’s more encouraging is that when I do healings I actually gain energy.  I can go into a session a bit emotionally disturbed and almost not wanting to do a healing, and then a few minutes into the healing I enter the zone, and soon I’m in awe and surprisingly the client is feeling so much better and relaxed.  So it’s like we both get healed from the healing.  This stuff is great!

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