Release the Hounds!

Deborah and I, well, as hard as it is for me to toot my own horn, I am going to try this, again.

I, at the behest of Deborah, have been looking at the avatar issue. I now know a fair amount about avatars in WordPress and the Avatars plugin that is used on the www.authenticwritingprovokes.com site. Far to much, if you ask me. Here is the end result.

Avatars now seem to be working. Here are the rules that are used in displaying avatars.

1. If you have a Gravatar, from gravatar.com, that should load. That will be the primary source of avatars.

2. BIG NEWS!! Release the Hounds! I fixed the directory problem associated with uploading avatars. Feel free to update whatever avatar you would like to use in your profile. If you do not use a square avatar, it will look all stretchy. The rectangular image will be forced into a square. There is a warning about limiting images to 10k. That is not quite true. I do not know what the limit is. That does not grant permissions to everyone to upload 4 MB images of themselves for there avatar. The avatar will still be scaled to 100 pixels by 100 pixels. To minimize server space used, It would be best to scale the avatar to 100 pixels by 100 pixels before uploading.

3. If you do not have a Gravatar or an uploaded avatar, but do have a Twitter avatar, your avatar will be grabbed from there.

So, pick an avatar that represents you well. Let’s try hard to eliminate silhouette man. No offense, silhouette man, but you are pretty boring.

Be warned: in our testing, we noticed Twitter avatars disappearing and reappearing for no good reason what so ever. Let us all keep an eye on that and try to discern how much of an issue this ends up to be.

Your slayer of Avatars and humble servant,

Stephen Magladry

iTechieguy

Personalized Mac consultant for your business and home.

What is a Paraprosdokian? Just for fun and just in time for the holiday parties

This post is dedicated to William Dudley Bass, Scott Bell, Paul Zohav, and Steve Kenagy who routinely make me break into laughter as I read their posts.

Forty six years and counting, this working writer is still learning, still enchanted, still amused by how we “label” language and develop a writing style and tone and voice.

“Experience can be a tough teacher. You get the test first and the lesson later.”

Apparently, this is an example of a paraprosdokian. Don Burrows who knows his way around the English language quite well, sent this my way and I am effectively reprinting what he shared and I am wondering what is the source?

From Wikipedia: Paraprosdokian: “Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation.”

I don’t ever recall learning about this special figure of speech in high school or college and lover of words, phrases, and clauses I am (School House Rock “rocks!), I happily chased etymologies of words from 14 year of age on for fun. I tackled learning haiku as a poetic form, wrote odes and sonnets (badly) and I even took a year of Latin in high school but was cursed with a monotone and humorless teacher (sigh). In college I audited a Linguistics class that routinely filled up every time (that teacher was so great!) I was happy to audit. I continue to love specialty dictionaries ever since I discovered them in high school.

THE POINT IS…I believe I know some people who are natural users of these paraprosdokians and may not realize that they are, and some of them even write on this communal blog. Honestly, I don’t see myself as a humorous writer that much and I know that I would be struggling if I was expected to come up with a paraprosdokian of my own. All the more reason to try, my “I Can Do Anything Part” is saying right now.

Care to try your hand at it? As a bit of comic relief, I wonder if this literary technique has a useful place in business writing?  Worth a try at least once or thrice?

“Where there’s a will, I want to be in it,” is a type of paraprosdokian.

1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

2.  The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.

3. Light  travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many  is research.

10. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is  where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

11. I thought I  wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

12. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put  ‘DOCTOR.’

13. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with  a bald head and a beer gut, scratching their crotch, and still think they are sexy.

15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

17. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a  bike and asked for forgiveness.

18. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

19. Money can’t buy happiness,  but it sure makes misery a hell of a lot easier to live with.

20. There’s a fine line  between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.

21. I  used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.

22. You’re never too old to  vote for something stupid.

23. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

24. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

25. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

26. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes  you a car.

27. A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.

28. Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.

29. When tempted to fight  fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

30. The only way to fight the government is to vote all the idiots out.

Final Words of Wisdom “The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese”.

P.S. If you’ve got the paraprosdokian mastered and want a bigger challenge, try understanding this set of terms!

 

*We never SPAM. Remove yourself at anytime.

I’m going to take a stand and give some marketing/business development/sales advice. And I won’t be suggesting it in a roundabout  way through asking a question.

I’m just going to state:

Please don’t opt me in to your list just because you know me or met me (and I trustingly gave you my card.)

As many sites that announce that they honor privacy, I sometimes find a mixed message as I did on a site recently, that is the blog title. Catchy huh? Effective at gaining people’s full trust? I wonder? Is there a promise of too many emails awaiting me if I register?

And, please don’t scrape my email from my site. (Yes, I mean you, all you SEO and digital photo retouching companies abroad)

Why must you do that? Where did you learn that either of these tactics was okay? (What might the parent who taught you good manners say?)

If you never asked if I wanted your newsletter, and you just signed me up, then that choice has consequences. (All our choices do.)

I’ve personally got this “thing” about relationships that are based on trust and permission. I like to be the one to sign myself up for your updates because I am curious. You choosing to opt me in pretty much kills my curiosity, but I will remember that you helped yourself to my email if someone ever asks do I know what it is like to work with you.

In short, as one who actually does sign-up for many a new and interesting newsletters and blogs, rest assured I’ll opt-in, read-up and even recommend new sources found in a heart beat. I follow a little or a long while depending on my interest level in your content. But what if our professional relationship doesn’t start with a mutual agreement…?

I get that there seem to be two major schools of thinking on “growing lists” and I for one am in the camp that asks “permission” in this case. You over in the other camp will be asking “forgiveness.”

And as for the retort of, “well you can simply unsubscribe yourself with the click of a link,” I don’t think so. And I will unsubscribe myself, if I must.

 

Creative. Collective. Collaboration.

12.15.2011

Michael Jordan ~ American NBA basketball player, widely considered to be the greatest player in the history of the game, b.1963

 

What we are up to here on this community blog is many things.

Courage is accessed.
Commitment is fostered.
Community develops not only because of how we write but how we read and comment thoughtfully.

Creativity is but the tip of the iceberg from where I am reading. I thank each and every contributor for what they share of themselves as they educate and entertain.

As we approach the end of the year, a second month of dedicated efforts and a holiday fortnight, I personally await with anticipation the writing to come. There is talent in this tribe who notice details, weave disparate ideas together gracefully and capture snapshots of live experienced with words vividly.

A writing practice WILL develop us as writers. With intentional practice we will become more agile and aware of what authentic writing (for self-expression) feels like for us. It is an individual writing journey we each take made better by the community of writers we are.

The conversation we co-create each week on Tuesdays continues to set some of us on fire and to writing even more and with more purpose. For what is it that blocks us from writing?

Recognize it, name it, release it and feel the urge to self-publish return with a whoosh! We will grow skillful at removing these rocks in our path.

Critic and Critique aside, we are active in the name of creating something meaningful each time we mold words that reflect our experiences professional and personal. Are we getting to better understand ourselves as well? I know I am gaining ever more clarity myself.

And if you are joining this writing community’s escapade of “no longer reticent bloggers,” as of now, “Welcome!”

Your first offering is eagerly anticipated!

Deborah Drake – Lover of Words

Authentic Writing Provokes

Mommy, Are You Emailing Santa?

Mommy, are you emailing Santa?

No honey, just checking it to see my new emails from other people.  Nothing from Santa this morning.

Mommy, when you call him today you can tell him I made two good choices already this morning?

Okay, what were they?

I went potty all by myself.

That’s really good.

And I played by myself while you got ready.

Those are great choices.  And I see that you brought all of your toys and stuffed animals onto my bed.  Is that where you were playing while you waited for me?

Yep!

Wow, I can barely find you in there.  You have a LOT of toys and friends in there.

And my books, too!  I was singing them because I can’t read the words yet.

Oh, I see. Singing the words.  Fun.

How did you get them all in here?

Just one by one, running really fast.  That is the best way.  I am just little and my arms are short.  See?

I see. Wow.  I am totally impressed, that is a lot of work you did.

How do you plan on getting them back into your room?

Can you do it, Mommy?

Well, I can help you do it.  How is that?

Mommy, that is a really good choice!  If we do it together, Santa will see us and we both will both get presents.  Do you want Optimus Prime, too?

Hmmmm, I’ll think about it.  I can think of a few other things I might like.

Okay.  Daddy and I want to get you a bike, but it is a secret.  And Mommy?

Yes, honey?

When you talk to Santa, can you tell him I like red?

Sure, honey.  I will tell him you like red.

 

 

We’re All Grown Up Now

This past weekend I had a chance to see a cousin who I hadn’t seen in over ten years.  Since, grandma passed.  We always spent time together as kids during the summer months.  Getting out of our parents hair and giving them a summer vacation of sorts.  Huh, little did we know.  He’s a bit younger than I am and when we were young he didn’t get to hang with the big kids.  He had to stay home with grandma.  And when we’d allow him to tag along he had to sit on the side and watch.  It’s funny how time levels the playing field sometimes, especially as we get older.  Some things matter more.  Some less.  But, family…is sometimes just right.

I remember the day he went into the military.  I think I was just getting out after 5 years abroad.  Just as things were ramping up for the first gulf war.  They even called me back as an alternate in case they needed my specialty.  Scary times.  Since then, my cousin has seen the war I never got a chance to see up close (six tours to be exact).  I joked with him that my cat wants to know his secret.  He smirked and said…I’m just lucky I guess.  That’s just his way.  He’s over six feet 2 inches tall and 250 lbs of  solid muscle with a zen like calm.  Maybe seeing some of the things he’s seen has scares all the cockiness and stupidity right out of you and you learn to live day by day, realizing we can’t control anything accept ourselves.  We’ve talked occasionally over email, so it was really nice to get a short notice text that said I’ll be in Seattle soon.  That’s it.  You know the military.  Everything is on a need to know basis.  It was still good to see him when he called and told me the flight he’d be arriving on a particular day.  As we said our hellos and goodbye’s I could help but smile as we spent the day together laughing and talking about days past.  So when I left him at the airport and walked away I had this thought in my head.  We’re all grown up now (smile).

I was thinking about our conversations tonight and this is what came out.

 

We’re All Grown Up Now

It’s good to see you again.

We’re all grown up now.

Talking about days gone past.

We’re all grown up now.

Haven’t seen you in forever.

We’re all grown up now.

It’s over ten years.

We’re all grown up now.

Remember racing each other at night under the street lights?

We’re all grown up now.

Better not tell mom and dad I smoked that cigarette.

We’re all grown up now.

How’s your life these days.

We’re all grown up now.

I’m still a soldier and saw friends die.

We’re all grown up now.

I remember you left for war when I came back.

We’re all grown up now.

How’s your sister and brother?

We’re all grown up now.

Doing well and said hello.

We’re all grown up now.

It’s good to see you.

We’re all grown up now.

Heck you’re taller than me.

We’re all grown up now.

Yeah, but you’re still ugly.

We’re all grown up now.

Nobody ever calls me that anymore.

We’re all grown up now.

Guess you gotta go back again, huh.

We’re all grown up now.

One more time then I’m done.

We’re all grown up now.

Stay safe over there and look sharp.

We’re all grown up now.

I’ll be back again soon.

You better, we’re all grown now.

Words by: Gerald Grinter

 

Shameful, Pitiful and Pathetic

To punctuate my rant from 11/23/2011, regarding the Super Committee, I present Fools On the Hill.

If a picture is worth 1000 words, this should satisfy my December quota.

I’m looking forward to the movie.

I’m looking forward to a Congress that works for a living.

ciao,

Pete

http://www.peterdisantis.com

 

 

Over Meditated

After four days away in the woods of Cloud Mountain, a Buddhist meditation retreat center down near Mt. St. Helens, Washington, I’m back in the Emerald City of Seattle surfing traffic in my four-wheeled kayak. With fiercely serene contemplation my breath guides me to all the sweet spots between grinding dump trucks and vrooming sports cars and teeth-gnashing morons, oops, excuse me, peoplyps, wow, post-meditation Freudian malapropism there smashing together people and polyps! Oops, back to the breath. Breathing in, breathing out. Good thing we worked with our nasal orifices and not any others. Indeed.

During the retreat, we focused on Samatha or Concentration Meditation with Jhana practices. Samatha is “the other twin” to Vipassana, or Insight Meditation, and is little known in North America. It’s beginning to take root, however, as it is rediscovered by many practitioners. For me it proved to be the missing link. For the two middle days I spent at least nine to ten hours in sitting meditation, or attempting to, and the rest of my time awake meditating while walking, eating, and during tasks such as brushing my teeth or working as one of two “soup yogis.”

As part of trading work for money to get myself into the course, I set up and maneuvered giant soup contraptions for the cook. It wasn’t hard, especially as a tiny woman with a head-spinning mane of hair who once spent five years as a bald nun on a silent Zen meditation retreat handled those big soup gamdoodles even faster than I did.

While Vipassana cultivates mindfulness including self-awareness, Samatha is sustained concentration focused into singularity of awareness aligned with purpose. As I understand these matters, of course. Our teachers warned us reentry “back into the world” may be challenging at times as we juggle competing responsibilities, demands, and sensory overload. They reminded us we would not have hours everyday sitting in saintly contemplation with screaming ankles, shouting hips, numb legs, and throbbing backs.

Instead expand the practice from time on cushions and chairs to “markers,” tasks such as brushing my teeth and washing the dishes to brush the teeth and wash the dishes. Every act becomes one of meditation. One of concentration and purpose. If you slip away fantasizing of cheeseburgers and svelte lovers and then panic over your to-do-list, return to the breath. Return to my breath and brush my teeth.

So Tuesday morning I stood in the bathroom. I stared at the bathroom mirror with purpose. With conscious intent I raised my right arm, reached forward, grabbed the cabinet door, felt the texture of wood, pulled open the door as I lifted up my other arm, reached in with my left hand, wrapped my fingers around a tube of toothpaste, felt the difference in texture, noticed it was peppermint-flavored Tom’s of Maine, picked up the toothpaste tube while reaching for, taking, and retrieving my toothbrush with my right hand.

Through all of this I inhale and exhale, breathing in, breathing out, feeling the flow of air in the regions between my nose and my upper lip.

Carefully as I stared down in mindful concentration I moved my blue and white colored Oral B toothbrush into position over the edge of the white, porcelain sink with my right hand as I maneuvered the tube of toothpaste into squirting position with my left hand.

Oh, I’m getting really good at this meditation thangy! What a powerful way to celebrate the absence of absentmindedness! Woo Hoo!

With intense deliberation and immense concentration of focus, I squeezed the toothpaste tube with my left hand as I held my toothbrush with my right.

A huge blob of peppermint toothpaste launched out onto the hard, flat backside of my toothbrush, which I held upside down. Globs of paste galooped down onto the edge of the sink and parted in two. Half slid down toward the drain, and the other half plopped into the shag of a shaggy, green bath mat.

“Damn!” I said as I lost my composure and laughed. In all the times of unmindful teeth brushing I’d never ever squirted toothpaste onto the wrong side of my toothbrush.

I imagined an impish Buddha grinning as I learned my lessons in being so cocky, so sure of myself, and over meditated.

When was the last time you did anything like that? When you carefully put your pants on backwards? Well, later today I had to pee really darn bad, so I rushed to the restroom fumbling and grumbling oh where oh where is the daggone ZIPPER? As I began a weird little fidget of desperation, I realized I’m wearing my last pair of blue jeans, the ones I wear ONLY when all the others are in the wash, the one pair some one gave me after the Fire with BUTTONS instead of zippers…buttons I have to fubble with to properly undo…

Yeah, what happened the last time you had a day like that?

 

William Dudley Bass

December 13, 2011

Seattle, Washington

(NOTE: “Over Meditated” was first published in the Author’s blog On Earth at the Brink @ http://williamdudleybass.com/MyBlog/.)

© Copyright 2011 by William Dudley Bass.

Mommy, Does Santa Claus Know Baby Jesus?

We rock back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Mommy, does Santa Claus know Baby Jesus?

Yes, honey he does.

Mommy, do they both live in the North Pole.

Well, no.  Let’s just say they are neighbors.

Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Mommy, does Santa bring Baby Jesus presents?

Well, in a way.  We celebrate Jesus’s birthday, called Christmas and we give gifts to each other.

Mommy, does Santa watch Baby Jesus?

Kind of.

But Mommy, how can Santa see in my heart?

Well, he knows what is happening in your heart by watching the choices you make.  You have such great ideas and make great choices.  He loves watching you.

Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Mommy, did you call Santa on your cell phone today?

No honey, not today.

Mommy, I was upset earlier today but I calmed down real good.

That is great news.  I am sure Santa saw you.

Mommy, can you call him and tell him?

Sure, I will call him in the morning.

Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Good, ‘cuz I want Optimus Prime. Can you tell Baby Jesus to make good choices so he gets presents, too?

Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Sure.  I’ll give him a call, too.

Time to sleep now.

Okay.

Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Sweet Dreams, sweet boy!

A Year in Review…A Year to Imagine

Tis that time of year when the savviest of marketeers seem to already be offering us things to register for to jumpstart our new year. Am I the only one that isn’t yet interested in hopscotching over the present space and time, to plan for 2012?

Can’t I relish “Now” a little longer? Maybe I am not interested in what is now called “Hallowthankmas?” I remember a time that Christmas decorations didn’t get put in place till the day after Thanksgiving and Halloween didn’t share shelf space with Thanksgving and Christmas at the same time!!! My daughter may never know this experience (alas).

So answer me this and complete the thought in your own words:

2011 has been a year of  … and I look forward to a 2012 filled with …

Contemplating the themes work/life balance, goals set and attained (or not) and what fresh possibilities arise from the ups and downs and what you have learned this past year, what is your best advice for each other and our other readers large?

Can we simply take a moment to candidly recall and celebrate our highlights?

What is a memorable client experience we’d love to manifest more of?

What did you determine to leave behind December 31st or sooner?

What does the first quarter of 2012 hold in store for you (if you get what you want cuz we say so)?

“Speaking” for myself I can say that I have written more this year than I have for the past three years, the blog post competes for my time where once a private journal got all of me, and I may even be a faster typist than I remember being! I began work on a memoir of  “my adopted life” that has been acting like a petulant child–unwilling to participate and play nice and often.  I’ve had plenty of deep conversations in my head of the fondest and most pivotal moments of my own life BUT those notes are not yet all in one place. They live in notebooks and seem to want to stay hidden there.

Sometimes, books write themselves quickly. They insist on it. And other times there is so much resistance, it really would be easier to give up the ghost and let the memories surface in dreams and in private journals and let them be forever there. Perhaps the challenging themes are being challenging for good reason? Just because I say or think I want to write about them, doesn’t mean it is the right time to do so. (And, yes I know I am a champion of being @ Choice.)

How might it work and feel if we gave up pushing on through all the time? What if we asked instead for ease with an alternate theme? What if we tried writing on purpose but about what we were present to, passionate about and how it related to what we bring to the world of work? I’m honestly not making excuses here: these thoughts are a reflection of my own inner dialogue at times. I “know” I will write the memoir when the memoir wants to be written.

Meanwhile my ramblings and writings on creativity, authenticity, community, cultivating awareness, confident self-expression, leveraging self-publshing (because we can with ease) and more transparency in our business have no issues with springing forth without hesitation. If I was to state a resolution for the year to come, I’ll keep it simple.

Write. Love. Be.

Deborah Drake – Lover of Well-Spoken Words.

Authentic Writing Provokes