Archives for September 2012

500 Push-Ups

 

Ask me to share my dreams with you and one of them will be the tale of the castle I wish to own. I don’t mean that in a metaphorical or figurative sense. I want a castle.

Really, who wouldn’t want to own a castle, private island, private jet and all that comes with it. It is not as silly as it may sound because I am interested in it. While money isn’t how I measure happiness it is a tool I can use to gather more experiences under my belt and owning a castle would be quite nice.

I would be good to the serfs and the peasants in the villages on my land. Lord Jack Steiner, the master of all he surveys- may his vision extend a thousand miles.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it.

Back In The World of Things That Are Easier To Obtain

There was a time in my life when I could 500 push-ups in a day without much effort. Hell, I got to a point where I could picture doing 1,000 but I got bored.

Ok, that is not true, my girlfriend got bored and when you are 19 you listen when your girl says she wants to be part of your exercise session. So I was silly and I listened. Doesn’t mean I gave up exercise altogether because I didn’t but things changed.

Didn’t happen overnight but it feels like it and unlike my dreams of owning a castle this is something I can fix in a relatively short period of time.

Retsu06

Retsu06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I am working my way towards being able to do 500 push-ups a day again. And for those who are curious I doubt I am going to try to hit 500 in a row.

I have done that, but I was still in my twenties the last time I did it and I am more cautious about what sort of strain I place on my body. Yep, I just admitted I am not invulnerable anymore.

Please don’t share that with anyone as my fragile male ego can’t take it. I’ll probably end up hiding under my desk and once the shame wears off I will come find you and kick you right in the butt with my size 12 boot.

Why 500 Push-Ups?

When and if you ask my why my response is going to be why not.  Maybe it is because I consistently work on my motto of Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control and this fits perfectly.

Maybe it is because sometimes the best way to win the war is to pick and choose your battles. Small victories add up over time and they help build confidence.

Maybe it is because I spend far too much time sitting behind a keyboard and I need to do whatever I can to combat the sedentary lifestyle so many of us have fallen into.

Besides we are in the last quarter of the year and I feel the need to make a big push. 2012 hasn’t been terrible but it hasn’t been great. It hasn’t had enough high moments for me to want to look back upon it with a smile.

I intend to continue to do things to change that. The only question is will my good intentions come to fruition or will they stay here as words on a screen.

The Wii U

Last week I got to participate in a Wii U experience along with many of my fellow Nintendo Brand Ambassadors. I think it is a great unit and that it is going to be hell of a lot of fun to play with.

I played a bunch of different games but my favorite by far was the Batman game. It was really cool and I had great fun being the Dark Knight. If you click on the link you’ll see the video and I am sure you’ll be impressed. Trust me, the Wii U is on my list of things to buy.

But when I got home I looked in the mirror again and said, ‘self, you are soft.’

That is not what you want to say or think. Honest and realistic, but still not what you want, or at least not what I want.

Change is coming and 500 push-ups is part of my process. I owe it to myself and I want my kids to see we aren’t ever too old to take care of ourselves or to try to improve things.

Besides, when I own my castle I want all of the guards to know the Lord of the Manor is a badass who can take them all down. 😉

Write Better Posts & Have More Sex In September

I have bad news for some of you who want to take my headline literally, September is about to end. Yep, pretty soon it won’t matter how well you write or not so you are going to have to come up with a new plan.

During the last few days I have added a number of songs to my collection. Some of them were added because I see them as being part of the The Story of My Life as Told through Music and some just because they resonate with me and help me write.

Today I listened again to The Wedding Song by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash’s cover of If You Could Read My Mind. Simply awesome. They are spectacular and I love them for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is they tell a million different stories.

That is the goal of this blog- to tell stories and to help me become a better storyteller. I have said it multiple times because it is important to me and I want to hold myself accountable.

Out Of Control

At the moment it feels like a few things are out of control and it aggravates me. It makes me feel unsettled and I am working on fixing that. It is kind of similar to driving like Fred Flintstone. Remember how he uses his feet to stop the car? Well I feel a bit like I am doing 75 and trying to use my feet to stop a big honking SUV.

Don’t like these friction burns.

That is not to say I am not in control because I am, but not with the sort of fighter pilot precision that I want.

Contradictions right? Yep, I agree but that is me and I am good with that because I am used to it. Doesn’t mean I won’t carp about it upon occasion or try to make adjustments because I will.

Adjustments are a part of life or maybe it is just a way of saying change is a part and sometimes I am better at dealing with it than others.

The good news is I really do feel like I am on my way and these moments are a part of the experience. Just get impatient sometimes and wish I could work through them faster.

This was part of Stream of Consciousness Sunday. You ought to try it.

Questions Fathers Hate To Answer

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsbur...

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to a game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I confronted the future, past and present but I don’t know how well I did. Not sure that it matters, but for some reason I keep thinking about it. More on this in a moment.

One of the boys and I had a conversation earlier this week about whether I could tackle Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben is the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers and his name suits him.

He is about 6’5 and they say he weighs about 241 or so. Well, he has a chunk of height on me and though I weigh more than 200 I bet he is an honest 241. We’ll ignore the fact that he is a professional athlete who has been playing a sport in which men who are bigger and stronger than I am have trouble catching him.

It is not because he is fast, it is because he is elusive. But I still maintain I can take him down. My buddy isn’t so certain. He says that he is certain most places I go I am among the strongest men there, but Big Ben isn’t your average guy.

I’ll concede it might be difficult and that I may need a good massage afterwards, but I can 241 isn’t beyond my ability. I can still throw around a lot of weight and even if he drags me a dozen yard I will take him down. It would probably be easier than the conversations I had today.

Dads and Daughters

My daughter is a precocious 8 year-old girl who is fearless, smart and determined. She is a force of nature and I love her for all of these things and more.

She is also like me and prone to asking/saying things that are designed to get a reaction. Today she hit me with a bunch that caught me off guard. I admit to not having thought much about them because they were things women know in a way that men simply can’t.

“Dad, do you know what a period is? Can I get it at 8 and what will happen if you are around and not mom?” “Will I die if I bleed too much and if mom is not around how will we handle this?”

Yep, those questions came fast and furious and I was semi-speechless. She told me one of the girls in her class brought “periods” up and several of them discussed it at recess. I don’t know what prompted this, can’t say whether someone’s mother or older sister talked about it and that is why it came up. I just know I wasn’t prepared at all.

I was happy she felt comfortable asking me about it but I sort of punted. I told her I knew what they were and what to do. I said I didn’t think she had to worry about it happening any time soon and that she should talk to mom about it.

The funny thing to me is I grew up with 2,398,281 sisters and I couldn’t tell you when they first got theirs, haven’t a clue. Don’t know that it is important, but.

And Then Came The Son

Later on I sat down with my son and asked about his day. He told me about he bombed a test and explained how the teacher had them take it while they were sitting outside waiting to see the Endeavor fly over head.

I told him not to worry and said it happens. When he asked if it ever happened to me I said yes. That prompted the follow up questions of when, why and how and because I wasn’t thinking I answered in more detail than I should have.

Her name was Kathy and she sat across from me in Chemistry.  It was Spring. She had on black shorts and this top that was modest when she sat up, but when she leaned over to write it was…less so.

I got lost staring at her. It didn’t help that I had a crush on her any more than it did to see her wearing something that gave me all sorts of ideas.

Actually things were ok with my conversation with my son until I used those four words, “all sorts of ideas.”

That was enough to make him want to know what sorts of ideas I had. I was cautious in my response because he really doesn’t need nor want too many details. Even if he wasn’t short of 12 he doesn’t need to know, but I owed him an answer.

Again I was happy to see he is comfortable asking me these questions, but it was a different sort of conversation than I remember having with my dad. When he asked me what sort of things men like to with women besides kissing I told him that one day when he was married he would find out.

And then he asked me if that means he has to wait. Something tells me he and the boys are having some conversations too.

BTW, he thinks I can tackle Big Ben and every other quarterback in the league. Remind me to tell him how smart he is.

Somewhat related links

What Happens If You Don’t Post Every Day?

Field of Sunflowers

Someone asked me what would happen if they didn’t post every day and I told them the sun would stop shining and the moon would hide behind the clouds.

But no one told me the sun was going to try to make me look like a jerk and a liar. Fuck you  Mr. Sun and your silly rays of light.

Ok, that might have been uncalled for but I am feeling extra ornery and  I am ready to battle. Yep, the Taurus horns on  my head are lowered and I am pawing the ground.

It happens. Or maybe I should clarify and say that real life happens. I have been ridiculously busy and have been working extra hard to find time to write and to respond to comments.

That frustrates me for multiple reasons:

  1. I love writing and when I don’t get to dance with my muse it makes me sad and lonely.
  2. It is rude not to respond to comments and it doesn’t encourage people to continue leaving them.
  3. Perhaps this should be 2a, but it also makes it less likely they will come back and respond to your response. That is a shame.

Why Is It A Shame?

The reason it is a shame is it makes it harder to build a community and a community is what make a blog into something special.

One of the reasons why I have agonized a bit over switching back to Livefyre. I think Danny makes a great case for doing so and I can’t say I won’t do it again sometime. I pay attention to what goes on and I enjoy reading posts about how to build community.

I love the community that has formed around my blogs and appreciate it more than you know. That is because I have developed real friendships, learned and grown because of the community.

And part of what makes it so very interesting and important to me is because it is composed of people I probably wouldn’t have ever met. Blogging has shrunk the world.

It is where Midwesterners speak with British expats about old school blogging and where we talk about what it takes to be successful in business.

Some of you might read posts about how to get readers and miss seeing how what is contained within can be applied to lots of other parts of our lives.

I Want To Be A Raconteur

I like stories and one of my goals is to become a raconteur. I want to tell a story that is captivating and compelling. I want to be so good you turn off your phone and forget to check your email.

The goal is to share useful information used usefully. Part of how that is done is by working hard to build that aforementioned community and to give them license to run wild. Let your readers know they are valued and encourage them to share their thoughts.When you do it well it is magical.

My grandfathers were both master storytellers which I suppose is a big part of why I am interested in reaching the same heights they did.

What Happens When You Don’t Post Every Day

If you are me and you don’t post every day two things happen:

  1. People sigh with relief and thank you for not overwhelming them with content.
  2. People email you and ask what is wrong and why you aren’t updating three times a day.

If you have more grace than I do you thank them for you their concern, say “aw shucks” and move along. Or if you are me you tell them you they should make up their mind and they should telling you to slow down because they can’t keep up because once you don’t they still complain.

And for those of us who want a serious answer here is what I have to say.

I encourage people to develop the habit of blogging even when you don’t have something to say. That is because your internal editor will always tell you that your work might not be good enough. There will always be time constraints and excuses not to blog.

Don’t give in to that and teach yourself how to be disciplined.

When you need help reach out to your community and ask. Ask them for feedback, advice and or suggestions. People will help you and you might be surprised with what comes from it.

Never let anyone tell you there is one way to do this or that you are doing it wrong.

Most of all, have fun.

Your turn. What are we missing?

How I Became A Serial Killer- Or The Headline You Hate

Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (...

Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Technically it is the day after Yom Kippur, or the Jewish Day of Atonement, but in reality it is only a handful of hours since I broke my fast.

It wasn’t the most spiritually fulfilling of days for me. I have had other “Yom Kippurs” in which I felt moved, refreshed, rejuvenated and recharged.

But that didn’t happen today. Didn’t happen for a bunch of reasons and now I feel disconnected. Or maybe I felt disconnected before and that is why I didn’t get as much out of the day.

People Don’t Pay Attention To Headlines

Do people pay attention to headlines. I am not really asking the question. I am just sharing a few, random thoughts that are floating around inside my head.

I suppose it is because I have blogged about building community and talked about whether comments are currency. I suppose it is because I have been thinking about my definition of what success is and have wondered if it would change me as a blogger.

If I captured lightning in a bottle would I spend more time trying to keep it locked up in a jar. Would success make me feel freer than I feel now or would it place invisible fetters upon my body.

Sometimes I think it might create the sort of shackles I don’t want, but then again I have a hard time truly picturing that. I suppose it is because I do as I will here.

I don’t spend much time working on headlines because I don’t want to spend my time there. It is not where I want to focus my energy.

That has an impact upon my traffic. I wish that it didn’t, but I am fairly certain it does. If I spent more time there I could probably help bring more people through the doors.

Yet I don’t want to because I want to play with many words and not just a few.

Chagall's Parents

Chagall’s Parents (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a writer but I wish that I could paint. Marc Chagall is one of my favorite artists. I look at the painting above these words and see a million different stories and ask a million different questions.

When I look at the painting it makes my heart hurt and sing. Part of what I love about being a writer is the ability to use words to paint a picture. Much of the time I use words and hope they make you feel something.

Up until now I haven’t discovered a hidden ability to paint, although I suspect I could do a decent impression of Jackson Pollock, but I don’t want to be him. I want to be me.

I Am The Reason Why My Headlines Are As They Are

I am the reason why my headlines are as they are. Old Jack writes them for you and not for the search engines. I write them quickly and hope that you will take the time to read the words that lie below and that the content will captivate you.

Does this make me a lazy blogger. Does this mean I am shooting myself in the foot and sabotaging my effort to be successful, whatever that may mean.

Maybe.

Maybe my refusal to focus on one topic hurts me. Maybe I would be nominated to be the best dad blogger if I did nothing but focus on writing about my children and what it means to be a father.

If my son/daughter wrote these words you have read and asked me to share my opinion I might quiz them about the headlines. I might ask them why they don’t spend more time there when they clearly have the ability to write.

And if they were me they might respond by saying it is because they are irritated about the constant chirping from the ten thousand experts in social media. Maybe they would talk about why they hate the term content marketing and how some bloggers have gone nuts when I have shared that.

Bob Dylan- Wedding Song

You might wonder what Dylan is doing here and how he fits. That answer isn’t blowing in the wind. It is simple, the man is an extraordinary writer. I could share a dozen different songs but right now I am having too much fun with the Wedding Song.

These lyrics paint a picture and I see stories in them. I wish I could do what he does, but I haven’t found that skill just yet. But I have more hope here than I do of becoming that painter.

In the end it doesn’t matter because who I want to be is me. I know who that is today but tomorrow is yet to be defined. I’ll leave you with a few lines to ponder.

“You turn the tide on me each day and teach my eyes to see
Just being next to you is a natural thing for me
And I could never let you go, no matter what goes on
‘Cause I love you more than ever now that the past is gone.”

 It is almost 2 am and the dawn breaks here far too soon. See you on the other side.