Continuous Self-Improvement

I was talking to my boss the other day about motivation, self-improvement, staff and such. We’ve discussed these topics before – I think we both agree these are important goals.

He mentioned that he was reading the biography of Benjamin Franklin currently. Mr. Franklin didn’t finish school, he learned the hard way – because he wanted to. Benjamin would dedicate 5 hours each week to reading, not just anything either… he would read something different than what he was working on – so he didn’t just read about newspapers or how to discover electricity (they didn’t have “Discovering Electricity for Dummies back then) but things outside his regular wheelhouse.

It’s a good idea – I read a lot actually but mostly stuff I love and work in. Insurance magazines, accessibility information, comic books… but it’s much better to expand my horizons and expose myself to something new once in a while.

So I thought I’d start tonight to try some more continuous improvement – but not with books… I decided each day I’m going to watch at least one TED Talk.

The tag line on TED.com is “ideas worth sharing”and I’ve watched a few over the years…

  • Amanda Palmer – The Art of Asking (a while ago, her husband talked about it on his Tumblr so I checked it out) interesting, I liked it
  • Stanley McChrystal – Listen, Learn… then lead – not what I was expecting but good lessons about leading, failing and not becoming failures
  • Paola Antonelli – Why I brought Pac-Man to MoMA video games as art, if you’ve any doubts about the beauty of video games subscribe to World of Warcraft for 30 days and see some amazing stuff… I’m sure there are other games just as beautiful

I watched a few others that don’t stand out in my mind at the moment… but the bottom two were for tonight and I’m thinking I can watch at least one tomorrow too.. Let us see what these great minds can share with me.

I’ll also likely pick up the biography as it sounds interesting. I had just read an article on Mr. Franklin’s schedule not that long ago and now RBU mentions it… so I think that’s a good indicator of what I should read next. Many moons ago several people talked to me about the Kite Runner in the same week so I read that, well worth it too.

If I find some phenomenal TED talks I’ll share em here or on social media.

Andre

I use writing as a tool to get things out of my head – ideas, conjecture, stories and memories. I can’t seem to move on from one of these things rattling around in my brain until I set it down on paper. Sometimes it’s just drivel, sometimes it’s quite beautiful – at least to me. I’ve been having a rough couple of days and I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to get this out there. But lack of sleep and the flashing of the incident keep bothering me. I’m hoping this will help me to get better, to recover and move on. This is selfish, I understand, but I need to be me again and I’m impatient.

My co-worker and friend Andre was a French Canadian. You could hear the accent especially when you would talk to him for a while. It was just precious the way he would say “pardon” or even “yes”. He would call our mutual friend Guy “Gi” and myself he would call “Jamie”.  Continue reading

Filling Up on Books for the Summer

I received an email today from Amazon about an Apple eBooks Antitrust settlement. Something about price fixing, yada yada yada… well anyway, as a result of the settlement I was given $184.67 in credit to spend on books… now that is a great day right there…

You might have such a credit or more – the email is legit, go check it out on Amazon’s site. Then get reading… Continue reading

Songs Tied to Memories

In the car today the song New York, New York came on. It’s on my iTunes account as part of a Frank Sinatra greatest hits album. I love Frank, he can really get me singing along with songs. New York, New York though brings up a childhood memory that I can’t let go of. So I hit skip.

I was relatively new to a school district, I think in Florida. I had garnered all the attention for a few days. It was pleasant to have the attention, fear and distrust of others focused on me. (I seek attention in all its forms) But just a few days into my new school another new kid came to the school. I don’t even remember his name. When the teacher introduced him to the class she made a big deal about him having been to Broadway and singing on stage. For me, all she did was say “this is James, he’s new here”. Continue reading

Angry Gay Rant of the Day

I happen to be gay.

I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. I didn’t wake up one day and decide “hey let’s be ostracized and hated for the people we love” – I just have always been this way. I happen to like the way I am. Most people know I’m gay, I don’t hide the fact that I like men. I am not overly flamboyant or girlie nor do I wear lots of rainbows, dresses or sparkly clothing – neither do the men I like.

I am not the stereotypical gay male – most of us aren’t the characters you’ve come to know and love on TV or in movies – we’re just ordinary people who happen to love other ordinary people. Some of us ARE more fabulous than others but the same could be said about straights as well. We are all unique and we all have a right to love whom we want – gay or straight, male or female, binary or non-binary… love is love. Continue reading

New Digs

Here are some photos from my new digs. It’s a nice 2 bedroom condo I’m sharing with my friend Anne.

I didn’t going into Anne’s bedroom or bathroom but they are very nice too – quite spacious. We also have a balcony and a small laundry area. we have a space we think will have a dining table and chairs there and we need more artwork in the main rooms. I didn’t want my Superman art to over power the whole condo so that’s in my room… I could put my portrait in the living room, that’d be creepy.

Things seem to be going ok so far.

  • early risers
  • love coffee
  • like men
  • ride bicycles

and likely more than that in common. We might both be (I’m sure I am) tippy toeing around one another to ensure we don’t upset the apple cart too early 🙂

I don’t think we’re doing a house warming party or anything but if we do I’ll let you know.

By the way – friends helped me raise enough money to get my bicycle repaired thanks to all. I’ll post photos when I have it back and am on the safe bike paths again.

Moved

I am almost all moved in – all the essentials are here: iMac, Superman stuff, clothes, soaps, AppleTV, coffee, insurance magazines, some dishes, too many shoes and me of course.

It’s a nice little two bedroom condo – Anne has the bigger room with the attached bathroom. I remembered in the middle of the night to slip on my boxers to go to the restroom that I get to use.

We have a balcony, breakfast bar and our own laundry stuff… all very very nice.. and track lighting which I understand is an indicator that someone is gay (some old movie I think).

I am about 4 miles from the office, the other apartment was under 3. Right next to Papago Park which I enjoy walking.

Now I get to start unpacking and arranging things which is fun. I haven’t had a dresser so I’ll need to think about one of those or hang all my clothes in the closet. My bathroom is very spacious for all my colognes, moisturizers and such… which is good.

Anne already invited a guest to stay with us, her best friend has been here since Friday before a trip to Oz – she seems nice.

I always like to think my favorite color is blue, but the majority of the stuff I own is red or black so maybe it’s red… who knew?

I have until the 17th to be out of the other place and I’ll get the rest of the stuff out one piece at a time, maybe when it’s cooler and I have some energy back.

 

Never Judge a Book by Its Tattoos

I was reading a post on LinkedIn this morning about a manager that requires his team to wear business attire – even if they’re traveling on a domestic flight. The idea behind this  “you never know who you’ll run into and you’re representing the company” makes sense I guess. They say something similar in AA – “you could be the only example of recovery that person will see” so act as if.

For years though I’ve heard the old adage “never judge a book by its cover” – you have no idea what the story is inside the jacket and you might find, by turning a few pages, you rather enjoy the trip down into the looking glass. Continue reading