Archives for February 2017

987 Silly Bloggers & Stupid Readers

Purple Rain is playing but the thunder from outside is the reason my windows are shaking.

The song set off a pinball inside my head and there is a memory from long ago floating around inside my head.

I am 14 or 15 years old and standing in the corner at a school dance watching the girl I want to dance with kiss some other boy.

She kissed me, not tonight, but maybe a week or two before and I am just learning about how quickly a girl’s fancy can move from one boy to the next.

That is not to say we don’t do it too, but I am too naive and inexperienced to have any idea how that works, let alone that it exists.

All I know is one moment she was pressed up against me, holding my hand and telling me things that I thought made me special and now I am just another guy.

987 Silly Bloggers & Stupid Readers

Saturday night finds me doing some early evening shopping at a local Trader Joe’s.

The store is almost empty which is part of why I have chosen to be there now. Parking is plentiful and I can fly down the aisles with reckless abandon.

Or so I think.

There is a guy standing in the middle with a woman and they are busy trying to snap the perfect shot of something for their joint food blog.

I know this because they have told me that if I can just wait they’ll be done and it is really important to give them the time because their blog is really important.

I look at them and tell them that in 2011 I was one of the sexiest dad bloggers and that if they looked at the list now I might even have moved up from number 4.

They just stared at me and I told them that I have been out here in the wild and wooly blogosphere for 13 years and followed it up by saying I started before they hit puberty.

It is fun being old.

And then I told them if we are all really lucky we can be among the 987 silly bloggers and stupid readers.

Don’t ask me where that came from, just accept that I tried to come up with some really cool line and failed miserably.

It happens.

Just Go For It

My teenage son and I are talking about life and I am telling him about how sometimes we have to ignore fear of failure and just go for it.

He wants me to give him an example and I share a couple of work stories but they don’t seem to be resonating with him.

I tell him how about a couple of presentations and a project that didn’t go as I wanted as well as one that did but I know I am not getting through.

So I tell him about a girl who made my heart pound and left me tongue tied.

I tell him about how every time I talked to her I felt stupid, awkward and couldn’t ever do the right thing.

He surprises me and asks for more details and I tell him about how one time I was so flummoxed that I had trouble looking her in the eyes.

“What happened dad?”

“She thought I was staring at her boobs.”

“Were you?”

“Yeah, but not really. I wasn’t focused on them. I just couldn’t look her in the eye and was sort of staring through her and she snapped at me.”

“What did she say?”

“I don’t kiss men who don’t look me in the eyes?”

“Does that mean she kissed you?”

“Nope, I told her she would be lucky if I kissed her and she got pissed off and walked away.”

He laughed and asked if I ever talked to her again and I told him we ended up dating but that was much later on.

“How did that happen?”

“Sometimes you have to just go for it. A long time later I ran into her at a fraternity party and she made sarcastic remark about me. I told her I’d make it up to her, but that she’d have to kiss me.”

And then my kid reminded me he wasn’t really interested in hearing that kind of thing. I get it, I wouldn’t want to hear those stories from my parents.

Funny thing is my daughter wants a complete dossier on every woman I ever dated, but girls are different than boys so…

The Stories We Share

I have been thinking about the stories we share and the things I can blog about.

Since the kids are getting older I have made a point to try and be more cautious about the stories I share about them, but my stories are different.

My stories are mine and the choice to share or not is my own.

Been playing around with sharing more, if for no other reason than I can use them to practice my writing.

It is one of those things bloggers do.

The Cost Of Blogging

Timing is a funny thing and not always in the “this makes me laugh so hard my sides hurt.”

I can tell you a story or two about how bad timing helped or hurt potential relationships but today I am more concerned about it for professional reasons.

Spent most of last week in meetings on the East Coast and came back with a mixed bag of nuts.

Could be more specific than that, but just in case the powers that be find this post I prefer they don’t hear me asking WTF they were thinking.

Prefer they not know many of us felt like they tried hard to refill our batteries while stealing our mojo at the same time.

I know that wasn’t their intention but sometimes it is just how it goes.

But the real point of my frustration is I came back with one hell of a nasty bug that and have been doing battle with it for days.

What You Can’t See

What you can’t see if me lying in the middle of the road having been run down at least twice by the horses and their mad rider.

All you know is that they beat me silly and I am too dumb and too stubborn to just lie down and take it.

Somehow I struggled to my feet, got knocked down again, got up again and got knocked down and somehow found myself lying in bed covered in muck.

It is not the heroic tale we wish to tell about ourselves but sometimes it is what happens. I’ll even admit I called out not for mom, but mommy.

****

Anyhoo, here we are days later and I feel like a shadow of a person but a person nonetheless.

That is progress and I’ll take it while telling you that I am furious about the timing here because I have a big meeting next week and this illness has stolen a chunk of time.

Doesn’t mean that I won’t figure out a way to make things work but there are no guarantees and the hammer upon my skull makes it hard to focus.

The Cost Of Blogging

Your fearless author Old Jack Steiner teaches his children to remember there is a cost for everything.

It is not a lesson in negativity but a reminder for fiscal sensibility and awareness. It is important to pay attention to what we spend money on as well as how and where.

So I try to practice what I preach and remind myself that doing so means I ought to take time to look at the cost involved in some of my hobbies, such as blogging.

Certain things are easy to identify, such as the costs for hosting which reminds me I am not certain that I am getting enough out of Synthesis anymore.

Don’t take that to mean they don’t provide a solid service because they do but I am paying more for hosting two sites than I like.

Hosting doesn’t take into account the cost of themes which for me isn’t bad because although I use premium themes I tend to hold onto them for a while so the cost is amortized over time.

Time

Time is a cost which is why it gets its own subhead.

Our time is worth something and because it is finite I am always cognizant of it.

I pay more than I have to for hosting because I believe the service I get saves me time that I might otherwise spend elsewhere.

And let’s not forget to account for the time it takes to write and publish these posts because that is significant too.

I am faster at composing and publishing than most people but that doesn’t mean there is no cost centered around it.

None of that changes the cost tied into blogging or makes it easier to pretend it doesn’t exist, because it does.

Anyhoo, I have been thinking about how much time I have to invest here quite a bit and I keep coming back to the same place.

Not enough.

Or maybe it is more accurate to say, I still love blogging but not as much as I once did so I am going to have to get around to making some decisions about whether to combine blogs or keep both going.

Decisions, decisions.

The Great Social Media Crash Of 2017

I shouldn’t be writing this blog post of taking time to read Facebook, pin things on Pinterest or Tweet at the Conman-In-Chief.

That is because Old Jack Steiner has to finish packing for a business trip and this blogging thing isn’t going to help him finish the job.

The thing is that Old Jack Steiner has one hell of a stomach ache which may or may not be related to the trip.

Blame the uncertainty on the beauty of having a dysfunctional digestive system, sometimes you just don’t know.

The Great Social Media Crash Of 2017

Given the enormous anger and rage surrounding the US and much of the world I am wondering if 2017 might mark the year the social media crash.

In other words, will it be the year we run out of energy and time to be outraged and or outrageous on social media.

You might wonder if I am mean that to be tongue-in-cheek and the answer is, sort of.

If I take some of the comments friends and family are making there is some truth to the question of whether it has become exhausting to hang out on some platforms.

As a father I find myself wondering how much of the anger is spilling over and into the platforms my kids use.

Are they seeing/feeling it and if so, what sort of impact is it having upon them?

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When my kids were really little we were very careful about what we said around them because we didn’t want them to be exposed to certain things before they had to be.

That changed as they got older, especially once they got cellphones and computers because once the barn door opened we knew the horses would go running.

That is not to say we stopped monitoring because that never happens but our and your ability is limited, especially in the middle and high school where it is common for kids to have easy access to the ‘Net.

Fight Or Flight

The kids and I have had multiple conversations about when to stand and when to run.

We have talked about figuring out the value of winning the battle and losing the war and vice versa. I have always thought about it as being important, but lately it has increased in value.

That is because when people tell me they find social media to be exhausting I ask why they are still there and what they hope to accomplish.

If you are not paid to be online then your presence is a choice and if that choice hurts you, well you know where this is going.

Anyhoo some have told me they think it is important to keep pushing out certain messages and fear what happens if they take time away from the platforms they reside upon.

My response is always the same, we’re in a marathon and not a sprint. If you want to last you have to find a way to take care of yourself.

It is really not any different from the conversation I have with the kids.

Don’t mistake that to sound like I am saying I am better or smarter than the next guy because that isn’t it.

Hell, I am the guy who likes to argue and will fight for months but as I have grown older I have learned to be more judicious in who gets my time.

*****

Speaking of flight I have to go finish getting ready for mine.

I used to love flying but it is not something that I particularly enjoy anymore. We’ll save the how and why for a later date and say I hope the plane isn’t stuffed to the gills.

Be good to each other and I’ll see you around the comments.

Donald Trump Can’t Do The Hokey-Pokey

There is a long list about 140 characters long of the things that Donald Trump can do, but the Hokey-Pokey isn’t one of them.

Nor is the Bunny Hop, Cabbage Patch, the Monkey or the moonwalk.

It is not because he keeps tripping over a tie that is always too long or because he dreams of turning that tie into a sash he can pin fake medals on.

It is because he is too busy playing Simon Says and crying when people don’t do precisely as he instructs.

Blame Ma & Pa Trump

Parent bloggers write lots of posts about not being judgmental of other parents and talk about how it is ok to have a different way of doing things.

But I am not just a parent blogger, I am a dad who has worked his ass off to try to raise children of good character who know how to go along and get along.

A father who has taught them to stand up and push back when needed but to understand that we shouldn’t be outraged by everything.

And to learn how to share and cooperate with others.

I blame Ma & Pa Trump for not doing a good job of this with little Donald. Maybe that is unfair and or untrue, but

Maybe that is unfair and or untrue, but I haven’t anyone else to blame but Donald for his behavior. Wonder what Donald would have to say about that because he is usually pretty good about blaming others for what he should be responsible for.

Wonder what Donald would have to say about that because he is usually pretty good about blaming others for what he should be responsible for.

Someone needed to tell him years ago that he is not that great, but if they did it didn’t stick.

Realistic Parenting

It has been a long while since talked politics here and I am not necessarily going to dive back in full time, but I won’t ignore it either.

The same way I won’t ignore bad behavior from my children or pretend they are always perfect. They are good kids but they are human and prone to human mistakes.

Sometimes they screw up, same way we all do and I hope they continue to be good about being accountable for their actions.

I don’t expect or need perfection, but I want them to be honest with themselves about who they are and what they do.

When the lights go out at night and they are alone with their thoughts I want them to feel good about their actions and their efforts.

They’ll have good days and bad, but hopefully the good will always outnumber the bad.

And hopefully most days they’ll go to sleep knowing that however things went they know they did their best.

Learn From Mistakes

The other thing I want them to differently than Donald is to learn from their mistakes.

Ok, that might not be fair, he might learn from his mistakes but you’d never know it from his response because it is always about what someone else did wrong and not him.

So I want them to be accountable, responsible and willing to spend their entire life learning.

That is not too much to ask, nor is texting them to turn down the damn music because this modern stuff sucks. 😉

The Great Google War of 2016-17 Is Over

I never thought it would happen but it did.

Google slapped me with a penalty claiming I had some funky links that didn’t meet their Terms of Service.

I didn’t expect it because I have done very few sponsored posts and those I did came from reputable companies whose names you know.

Nintendo, Subway, Kenmore and a few others.

I made a point to make sure I disclosed my relationship and went about my business but old man Google didn’t like it.

He/She/It told me about the penalty last October or maybe it was November and said that until I cleaned things up they would not crawl my site.

Since they didn’t tell me what was wrong it took a bit of time to cull through 10,000 posts and guess at what needed to be fixed.

Apparently, I figured it out and was reinstated.

The Great Google War of 2016-17 is over.

Push Forward

I was irritated by the penalty but it didn’t stop me from writing or trying to push forward.

My kids hear me talk about the importance of being relentless and of chasing down our dreams and I do my best to live it.

It is part of why I haven’t been as active here because I have been pushing forward in other places.

*****

I am a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt…quotes.

 

If you are among the long time readers you have seen me use a bunch of different ones on numerous occasions.

Ideally, they have done a good job of helping to illustrate a point and or add some depth and layers that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

That has been a part of the push, becoming a better writer/storyteller and I feel like I am making progress.

Stories To Share

Got a bunch of stories locked up inside my head that I want to share but I haven’t figured out the who, what, where and when.

Haven’t decided if I want to do it here or elsewhere.

Haven’t decided if I want to test things out here with my pseudonym or if I should do it under my real name.

There are bigger and more important decisions that occupy my days, but this one holds some weight.

Circle back to the quote about courage and you have my biggest issue.

The other stuff that is going on in my life is tiring me out and my reserves are low so my willingness to put some personal stuff out there is a bit lower.

It is not that I can’t handle criticism, but I kind of don’t want to right now.

That is not a good recipe for success but it is a good excuse for not doing anything right now.

So I am working on balancing things out by giving myself a little break. Doesn’t mean you won’t see anything new here, but it does mean that I might continue to wait to produce some new fiction.

We shall see, in the interim I am exhausted after a long day of Superbowl watching and other stuff so will end this now and say see you tomorrow.