Archives for August 2014

How Do You Identify Your 5 Best Posts?

There is truth in this.

There is truth in this.

If someone asked you to identify you 5 best posts would you be able to do it?

What would you use to make that determination? Would it be based upon your personal feeling or do you have a different set of metrics in mind?

Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Why Do Clowns Make Better Lovers Than Mimes?

Clown

Today we are asking a question many have wondered about and few have tried to answer:

Why Do Clowns Make Better Lovers Than Mimes?

I’d like to know the answer to this because you never know when you’ll be on Jeopardy and you can tell that angry Candian Trebek it is the answer to the Final Jeopardy question.

That would be a legendary finish and if you won it all you’d find yourself on Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and other late night talk shows not hosted by men named Jimmy.

Of course the likelihood of such a thing is small so you might want to study some of the more likely topics to appear on that show like things that come from Egypt, names for silverware and famous Yodelers.

I imagine some of you might be wondering what you have stumbled upon here. Some of you might wonder if you fell down the rabbit hole of the blogosphere and are probably asking yourself who the hell is this Jack Steiner guy.

Does he really want to wreck Christmas? Did he really write a story about a flying clown? Can he really teach you how to deal with mean moms and mean girls and for the love of Pete, how could he fight a man with a salami and a guy named Jersey Santa.

About Those Links

A reader asked why I have been linking to older posts with such frequency. The answer is it is good for my SEO efforts and because I know many readers haven’t read some of those older posts and I think some of you will find them entertaining and or interesting.

Entertaining and interesting are important elements of content. They are the material that keep your readers interested and willing to continue reading.

If you entertain and inform people will subscribe to your blog and keep reading your content and maybe if you are very lucky one of them will offer you a big book deal or tell you about a great MLM plan that you can participate in.

Sorry, not a big fan of MLM schemes. Fact I find the question I posed in the headline to be more interesting to me than hearing about MLMs.

About those links again. I like testing things out. I like embedding links in the content and then providing a list of links you might enjoy reading.

Why?

Because I am curious to see which is more effective.

Long Useless Meetings

Thus far I haven’t found a way to answer whether clowns or mimes are better lovers but if I had to go with my gut I’d pick clowns because the mime would get stuck inside one of those invisible boxes.

Speaking of getting stuck I just sat through a 129 35 minute meeting for my son’s soccer team. Have I mentioned I hate long meetings? Have I told you that when I run meetings they have a point and purpose because I am prepared.

This last meeting would have been better had we not been staring into the son on a day where the temp passed 100. I like heat but I don’t like listening to people babble while staring into a giant white orb.

Hell maybe I’ll write a letter to the universe and ask for this situation to be corrected. Because I sometimes try to be super Dad I turned this interminably long meeting into a opportunity to educate Steiner the Minor.

Teaching Moments

I told him I was unhappy with the way the meeting went and explained why. I explained to him that not everyone has experience running meetings and it’s possible that his coach doesn’t. We took a couple of moments. to run through how to prepare and run a meeting and moved on to school.

He told me today was better and I just listened. When he voiced some concerns about whether the incidents of the recent past would repeat themselves I suggested he not worry about it unless and until it happens again.

Then I gave him my ‘A’ game fatherly advice:

You have survived every bad day you have ever had and you’ll get through many more with a perfect record.

And that my friends is advice I listen to as well. What say you to all this? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it.

Life & The Middle School Blues

Old Video Games at the Manitou Arcade

It is easy for me to relate to my 8th grader’s experience in school but the reverse isn’t entirely true. That is because until a few years ago he went to a private school that worked very hard to make sure that everyone respected each other.

That doesn’t mean that no one was ever teased or bullied there because that stuff happens everywhere but timing, luck and whatever gave my son a clear path so he didn’t experience any sort of negative banter until the tail end of 7th grade.

A group of kids started teasing him and he didn’t like it. When he told me about it I listened and suggested that it didn’t sound malicious in nature and figured since the end of the school year was about a month out it was best to just ignore it.

“Don’t react to what they say. Just smile and go about your business and they’ll find other people to mess with.”

He said ok and asked me what happens when school starts up again and I said let’s not worry about it unless and until it happens again.

“On more than one occasion I have responded to their inquiries with “because I said so” or something similar. And one more than one occasion I have thought that Einstein would kick my ass and then I remember that I am not afraid of dead pacifists.”  Children Shouldn’t Be On Facebook- Dad Said No

The Value of a Father’s Advice

I have used “because I said so” or “don’t worry” as responses and advice more than I like to. It is not the kind of response that made me happy as a kid and I don’t necessarily like it anymore as an adult but sometimes it is the best response for a particular moment.

School resumed a few weeks ago and so has the teasing I am told that there are two or three girls doing it. Since they are playing with his name I suspect that one or more of them are doing so because they like him and not because they are being mean.

This makes me him squirm a bit which makes me think his protests about not liking girls isn’t real. Matter of fact I am 96% certain the guy has discovered that some girls might be fun to play with and is wrestling with that.

Reminds me of the way his old man started to squirm when hormones and puberty started to mess with me. But it also reminds me of some things I went through and that some wounds take longer to heal.

I was never the cool guy growing up so I don’t have cool moves he can use to fix things. But it hasn’t stopped me from offering some advice about dealing with people in general.

Tips that I am very confident about and one that might be a big mistake.

I Am Ready To Fight

Last night he told me he is tired of being ignored when he asks people to call him by his real name. “I am ready to fight, let’s get the shirt.”

The shirt is a reference to an idea I had where he would make a shirt that says, “Hi I Am Insert the name he dislikes here.” It was an off the cuff remark I made about ways to own the name and make people recognize it doesn’t bother him.

“Junior, if they don’t think it bothers you they will find a new person to annoy.

What concerns me about this is what happens if it blows up in his face or goes sideways in some fashion. He hates being the center of attention so bringing attention to rid himself of it might be dicey to begin with.

It makes me wonder if I was an idiot and gave him bad advice so I have sort of dragged my feet about helping him do this.

I don’t expect him to skate through life unscathed. Fact is I think something like this might be helpful, as long as it stays at this level and doesn’t continue all year round.

It is important to learn how to deal with people and adversity but still it grinds on me a bit.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart.

Do You Dare To Ask The Important Questions?

The most important part of the castle is who shares it with you.

The most important part of the castle is who shares it with you.

I knew a boy who once asked a girl if she would dare to ask the most important questions about life. He listened to the Moody Blues sing Your Wildest Dreams and occasionally turned on All I Ask of You from Phantom of The Opera and wondered about the castle they had talked about building together.

He didn’t wonder or worry about whether it would happen because in his mind it was a question of when and not if.  When she asked him how he knew he told her he simply knew things.

She said that it was a nice sentiment and suggested he live in the real world. He smiled and told her he could picture her walking upon the ramparts and asked her if she understood he would pull down the castle walls to get to her.

“Some people would call that scary and say it sounds like a stalker.”

He smiled again.

“And others would call it romantic. I don’t care what either think or say.”

She nodded her head and told him he was crazy and he said maybe she was too or that maybe they were the only sane people in a crazy world.

“Our time will come, just you watch.”

She nodded her head again and watched him drive away.

Do You Dare To Ask The Important Questions?

You can consider the top part to be the warm up for this next section. It is the place where I take five minutes to share some notes I jotted down with you.

Do you dare to ask the important questions refers to the thoughts many of us have when we reach a certain age and a certain place in life.

I took five minutes to write the notes below because I wanted something raw and unedited. I didn’t want to try to portray myself as anything other than who I am.

A man who has lived long enough to learn a few things about himself and life but hasn’t done enough to be satisfied with what he has accomplished so far.

Truth is I would be very disappointed if at this young age I felt like I had done it tall. The world is much too big for me to say that.

So I like to think of what I have done thus far as part of the warm up, sort of similar to the writing exercise I did in the first part of the post. It is all stream of consciousness and all part of me saying what do I need to to do right now to take a good life and make it extraordinary.

What questions do I need to ask and then how do I respond to the answers I come up with.

“It is not a middle aged crisis, though some would call it that. The reason is it is not is it suggests a man running around doing all that he can to fight the inevitable, I am not fighting. I know exactly how old I am but I do not know just how far I can push myself.

I have an idea. I have a sense of it but I don’t really know.

Where is my place? Where do I belong? What is best for me?

These are questions I am asking now and things that I couldn’t have addressed before because I hadn’t had enough life experience to know the answers to them.

You may say I am being foolish when I say I don’t know how far I can push myself but I don’t. It is not ego speaking either. I know physically I can’t do as I once did but I don’t know what that really means. I don’t know what life would be like if I bore down and worked on changing my body so it resembled the one I had when I was 19.

It might sound silly to you. It might sound ridiculous but I know I can get that body back. It is a question of will desire and work.

But what I ask myself is do I need to do that? Is asking the question me trying to come up with an excuse not to work hard because even though I can get it back it won’t be exactly the same. The work to get there and recovery time are not going to be like they were.

What benefits are there from trying to do so? Is there is a middle ground that makes more sense to focus upon? What has prevented me from doing this?

And then in the other areas it is about looking at all I have done, all I have accomplished and all I want to do so that I can figure out what it means to be me as I am today and who I want to be in the future.”

More to come in a later post. This is too important to me not to revisit and too important to my children for me not to think and respond to.

Back to School night, calls, see you in the comment section.

Writers Need Pinterest

Butterfly On Fire

Sometimes The Shmata Queen tries to pick on me for using Pinterest but I always remind her that a good writer finds Pinterest to be exceptionally useful.

That is because my boards are filled with bits and pieces of things that interest and inspire me. The opening quote I used in  This Post Is Not About Sex Or Blogging is one that I filed away there.

Pinterest is a cyberspace filing cabinet for putting together ideas for posts. It is not just the flotsam and jetsam of a mind or the silly ranting of a man who has a fire in his belly that never burns out.

It is a series of parts and puzzle pieces and collections of ideas about things that I can write about now and stuff I haven’t come up with yet.

A Giant Puzzle

I rarely use outlines to help me write my blog posts. I prefer to compose at the computer on the fly. I do it because the blog isn’t supposed to be so polished it is devoid of feeling.

These are supposed to be raw chunks of emotion.

If Pinterest won’t work as a proper tool for saving a puzzle piece I’ll drop words into a separate blog and make a post a placeholder.

I have an idea. I have a sense of it but I don’t really know.

Where is my place? Where do I belong? What is best for me?

These are questions I am asking now and things that I couldn’t have addressed before because I hadn’t had enough life experience to know the answers to them.

Writing a post/story/essay reminds me of a giant puzzle, it just a matter of figuring out where to put the pieces so that you have your beginning, middle and end.

Writers Need Pinterest

I rarely struggle with writer’s block. More often than not I don’t have enough time to write about all the ideas that are floating around inside my head but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to prepare for the times when it is harder to come up with something.

Writers need something  to serve as the repository of ideas and inspiration. I figure there is no reason to work harder when there is something like Pinterest.

What do you think? How do you come up with ideas?