Resistance . . . I Haz It. HELP!!

Before the beginning of the year I wrote some goals for myself: making money online, losing weight, keeping up with Real Life, that type of thing. I was sincere when I wrote them, and still mean to carry them out; but here it is the start of the Second Quarter of the year and I’m still over 200 lbs., my house is still a mess, and I can’t seem to get myself to post anywhere on a regular basis. I spend my days keeping up with the social media I’ve subscribed to, reading my RSS feeds and tweets (and swearing when they come in 6 at a time when I’m trying to get something done — like right now) and keeping up with things to the point that I don’t get anything else done. A great excuse, ain’t it? No it’s not. I hate it. Yet I keep doing it. Ick. (I wrote a blog post about it over on LiveJournal.)

I ran into a book a while back with the title What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, and got to read the first few dozen pages in Google Books. It talked about Resistance, and how your own brain can stop you from making any progress. Of course, the sample at Google stopped before offering any concrete suggestions. I’d go out and buy the thing, if I had any money. Which I don’t because I’ve been frittering. Boo.

I’ve never been any good at the “Sheer Willpower Method” — force yourself to do it, Gorramit! — and apparently trusting myself is SO not working. So I would love any suggestions my wonderful readers might have. Please leave me a comment (let me know this gets read!), or add suggestions to Friendfeed for this post. Please? I need all the help I can get! 8-)

How I Spent My Holiday — “Grandpa Got Retarded”

Another wonderful piece from the Writing Tips newsletter published by write101.com:

After Christmas, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their holiday away from school. One child wrote the following:

We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live in a big brick house but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Florida.

Now they live in a tin box and have rocks painted green to look like grass’ They ride around on their bicycles and wear name tags because they don’t know who they are anymore.

They go to a building called a wreck center, but they must have got it fixed because it is all okay now. They do exercises there, but they don’t do them very well.

There is a swimming pool too, but they all jump up and down in it with hats on.

At their gate, there is a doll house with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out, and go cruising in their golf carts.

Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. And, they eat the same thing every night — early birds. Some of the people can’t get out past the man in the doll house. The ones who do get out, bring food back to the wrecked center for pot luck.

My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday, too.

When I earn my retardment, I want to be the man in the doll house. Then I will let people out, so they can visit their grandchildren. (Thanks to Joanna for passing this on.)

8-)

This Week I’m a Babylon 5 SuperFan

My StepDaughter had never seen Babylon 5. What?!? She’d thought she’d seen parts of it, but it turned out she’d gotten it confused with Stargate. WhatTheFrell?!?!? We remedied this situation immediately — we pulled out the pilot movie, The Gathering. She was immediately hooked (no surprise), and in the last week and a half we’ve gone all the way through to Sleeping in Light. Next up: the movies and Crusade.

I wrote an Ezine article on B5 and Social Media that got accepted today; I just put a Babylon 5 post up at Popular Delusions to go with it. Why am I being such a SuperFan, especially when the series is over a decade old, and there is so much else going on in science fiction these days? I can give you three reasons.

One: as someone trying to do the internet marketing thing, the story of how Babylon 5 was made, and the communication lines that Straczynski kept open with the fans, holds a lot of lessons for building a fan base and a personal brand online. jms (as he was known in the newsgroups) constantly kept up with and answered fan question on UseNet, as well a GEnie and CompuServe; things he heard online made their way into the show. He gets credited with creating the first “internet marketing campaign,” before such things even existed. Good stuff.

Two: as a lover of SF, Babylon 5 is simply a smart show. The characters are smart, the human space station and craft are all things that we currently have the technology for, the ships move in space as if they’re really in space. B5’s future is a “real” one; by that I mean that the quarters have bathrooms, the situations have complications, and the answers are never easy. Every action has consequences, and some of them are not pretty — and there’s no “reset” button at the end of the episode either. Consequences continue. Just like real life.

Three: as a quote collector and lover of Good Words, Babylon 5 is a gold mine. There are tons of great quotes and words to live by all over this series, in every season; whether it’s quick one liners (Garibaldi: “You know, if I knew who God was, I’d thank her”) or beautiful thoughts (Delenn’s “Star Stuff” speech), you’ll find an absolute ton of great stuff to think on in this part of the Multiverse. One of these days I’d love to go through the entire series with the pause button and my laptop, and write down all the good stuff to be sent to jms for approval and then published as “Good Words: The Wisdom of Babylon 5.” Whether written chronologically by episode or arranged by character, if nothing else I’d love to own that book. It would sure make quoting things easier!

For example, from Marcus Cole: “You know, I used to think it was awful that Life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if Life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the Universe.” Isn’t that a neat thought? I like it. Just like I like most of the wisdom the charactors spout on Babylon 5. Man, that jms can WRITE!

So I’ll quit now. This should be about enough from me about B5. But the show, the universe, really is that good. I haven’t even mentioned the CGI (incredible for its time), the unique aliens, the incredible space battles, or the truths underlying the whole Earth civil war thread. There is too much — I can’t even sum up. Suffice to say, I highly recommend watching it, beginning to end. Then you’ll love it too. 8-)

Babylon 5’s Declaration of Principles: Good Words

We’ve gotten to Season Five of the Babylon 5 education of my StepDaughter, and I discovered that I still had a file I typed out of the Declaration the first time I heard it. G’Kar (and Straczynski) can really write. In the introduction to the Season 1 on the DVDs, jms mentions that he’s heard from pagan circles that use these words in ritual; and I’m glad to hear it. They’re Good Words, and should be spread around. So I’m sharing with you. Enjoy.

Declaration of Principles, Interstellar Alliance (Opening):

The Universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice. The language is not Narn or Human or Centauri or Gaim or Minbari. It speaks in the language of hope. It speaks in the language of trust. It speaks in the language of strength, and the language of compassion. It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul. But always it is the same voice. It is the voice of our ancestors speaking through us, and the voice of our inheritors waiting to be born. It is the small, still voice that says: ‘We are One. No matter the blood, no matter the skin, no matter the world, no matter the star. We are One. No matter the pain, no matter the darkness, no matter the loss, no matter the fear. We are One.’ Here, gathered together in common cause, we agree to recognize this singular truth and this singular rule: that we must be kind to one another. Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us and each voice lost diminishes us. We are the voice of the Universe, the Soul of Creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future. We are One.

– Citizen G’Kar of Narn, for the Interstellar Alliance (Babylon 5, The Paragon of Animals, 1998)

My EzineArticles Swag — and How it’s Affected Me

Friday before last, @ChrisKnight asked for a ReTweet of his “Follow @ChrisKnight” post, and promised swag to those who did. Because he is a great guy to follow on Twitter, and because I do love swag, I retweeted him; and, true to his word, he asked for my address and this last Saturday I received a box in the mail. In it were an “I Heart EzineArtcles.com” coffee mug, a T-shirt and baseball cap, stickers, a pad of paper (“My Next 10 Article Ideas”), stickers and a monitor rearview mirror. The baseball cap, rearview, and stickers all include the words “Expert Author.” (He must have looked me up.)

I’ve had a brief and stormy relationship with EzineArticles.com; I’ve only published one article with them, and it took me three tries to get it through their editorial system. I’ve been less than excited about trying it again, although I’ve been following @ChrisKnight and @EzineArticles on Twitter for the great advice they give. But now I’m finding the printed words “Expert Author” in front of me to be a great incentive; I’m actually thinking again about how to tie articles to the subjects I’m covering on my blogs, and just typed up a rough draft of what will be my first submission in a long time. The back of my brain seems to want to earn the title I’ve been given.

I was just looking for free stuff; I’ve come away with motivation and incentive to create. Mr. Knight was looking for more Twitter followers; he’s gained not only those (I hope), but one more site member coming off the inactive list. Which just goes to prove that giving things away is not always a “no return” expense. The return just won’t always fit in the account book. 8-)

NewsCrows

I’ve mentioned NewsCrows a couple of times, so I thought I’d explain myself. You’ve probably heard them too, but never thought about it.

You know that crow that sits in the tree three houses over, yelling like his life depended on it, who after a couple of minutes flies a block away and then does the same thing all over again? That’s a NewsCrow, spreading the latest headlines to whoever’s listening. I’m a little more aware of them, since the biggest tree in the neighborhood sits in our back yard. Sometimes half a dozen of them will gather in that tree, all croaking at the same time, catching each other up on the latest news and gossip; at other times, it seems like we get the entire “NE Quadrant News Crew” in the tree having their periodic NewsCrow Union Meeting. Boy, does it get noisy! They sit for about four minutes, catching everyone up on what’s happening, before they all fly off to go do their different routes and keep the neighborhoods informed.

If only I could speak Crow, I’d know what’s going on. Of course, news to a crow is probably a lot different than what I get through the local newsstation RSS feed. They’re probably talking about which critters have new younglings, the weather, which trees are being trimmed and which formerly-empty houses have a new cat in the yard. It’s news the squirrels and raccoons need to know, but not necessarily us humans. Oh, well — I’m just glad they’re around. Listening to them makes me smile. It’s a teeny bit of Mother Nature that carries through the windows and reminds me that there’s a world out there, and other concerns than mine. And that’s a good thing. 8-)

25 Things that Prove I’m Weird

In imitation of the “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” FriendFeed meme, but without putting it all there . . . here I go! (In no particular order)

  1. At the age of 4, the pastor called my parents to come get me from Sunday School, and suggested that I not come back. (Know anyone else expelled from Sunday School? Glad they didn’t send transcripts when we moved!)
  2. I once went to Girl Scout camp for the weekend, and my family moved. (They kept the same phone number, though, which is why they had to come get me when I got back.)
  3. For high school graduation, I got luggage.
  4. I didn’t start college until I was 22. I ran out of money after a year and a half, and never did get that English degree.
  5. Our pets include four cats and two corn snakes. Past pets have included rats, hamsters, mice, parakeets, and fish (gold and tropical).
  6. We have 1 1/2 rooms of books in the house. A library (floor to ceiling shelves) plus a wall of shelves in the bedroom.
  7. Both my last serious relationship and my current spouse had a relationship with the same person before they got together with me.
  8. There are 5 computers, 2 PDAs and 2 cell phones in this house (3 people). You can often find us all in the living room, each on their own laptop.
  9. I went to 6 grade schools in 7 years. (We moved a LOT.)
  10. We have a Video Wall; there are over 600 movies at last count. Our favorite type of movie? “Previously Viewed.” (Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself!)
  11. I don’t possess a drivers’ license, and don’t drive. Being at the wheel of 1,000 pounds of moving destruction scares the crud out of me. (So do the other drivers!)
  12. We own the complete sets of Star Trek Classic, Babylon 5, Firefly, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Godzilla movies, and James Bond movies, among others.
  13. I’m into divination: cards, dice, runes, basic numerology and astrology mainly, but have played with others.
  14. I own every song “Weird Al” Yankovic has put on disc. (I may not own the compilation albums; but I do have copies of “Polkamon” and “School Cafeteria!”) I’m particularly proud of my vinyl copy of “Peter and the Wolf.”
  15. I think office supply stores are as much fun as Toys R Us.
  16. I’m a wanna be hippie, and my mother saw that early; she once told me I was born in the wrong decade.
  17. I have three younger brothers, all of whom are leading perfectly normal family lives and have good careers. They don’t talk to me any more.
  18. I’m a Doctor Who fanatic, and have seen episodes from all 10 Doctors. (Favorites: Tom Baker, Paul McGann, and David Tennant, not necessarily in that order.) Also keeping up w/ Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures. And I own two modern Sonic Screwdrivers (One is a flashlight). Why oh why does the classic replica cost $250???
  19. Despite being over 40, some of my favorite music is recent; I like Disturbd, Rammstein, System of a Down, Blink 182, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, and stuff like that. My “classic” music can go from Styx to Adam Ant. My shuffle feature brings up some interesting combinations.
  20. I’m diabetic; or at least I was when I last saw a doctor. I’ve lost 50 pounds since then . . .
  21. I’m an Oregonian, but I’ve never seen Crater Lake, and I’m not all that fond of salmon. (Heresy!)
  22. We own every Muppet movie, and are working on owning every original Muppet Show episode.
  23. When watching Ivanhoe or Robin Hood, I always boo the Normans and root for the Saxons. I named my cat Harold after the “last true king of England” and always refer to William “the Conqueror” as “William the Bastard.”
  24. I hate shoes, and only wear them outside the house. I think socks are for cutting off toe freedom, and only wear them when it’s really cold.
  25. I don’t sleep well. I tend to wake up in the middle of the night, and often don’t get back to sleep until nearly sunrise. Which is why this list was written at 4 am. 8-)

Cold Veggie Pizza Recipe

At the family gathering for Christmas, my sister-in-law showed up with “veggie pizza.” It’s tough to describe, but it’s delicious, and so much cooler than trying to wander around with a plate of veggie bits and dabs of ranch dressing. I asked her for the recipe, and this is what she sent:

Veggie Pizza

2 pkg cresent rolls (you bake kind)
3/4 c mayo
1 pkg dry ranch mix (your choice of flavor)
11oz cream cheese
veggies of your choice chopped
1/2 c. each kind of cheese, cheddar and jack shredded and mixed together (I cheat and buy predone)

Unroll and connect all cresents together on baking sheet and bake following package instructions. Cool. Mix all other ingredients except veggies and cheese, spread on baked crust. Chop up veggies and spread on dressing layer. Add cheese. Press all layers together and either put in fridge or serve.

Enjoy!!

The Motivational Quotes on My Wall

In preparation for 2009, I’ve been reading a lot about goals and time management and self-help and whatever I could get my hands on. I’ve distilled it for myself into three “Motivational Quotes” that I hope will help me get my act together next year. (That’s tomorrow — yipes!) And, surprisingly, none of them are from my self-help reading! But they sum up stuff for me . . .

  1. Plant Your Seeds. My fellow Hippie-wannabes might giggle at this one — in the 60s, they were talking about a totally different type of seed — but for me it sums up some of the stuff I’ve been reading. If a farmer planted seeds expecting them to produce within 24 hours, he’d get laughed out of the Grange hall, right? Yet in the world of the Net, people expect their Virtual Real Estate to instantly produce all the time. Really, all you can do is plant your seeds — your blog posts, forum and other blog comments, your twitters and conversations on FriendFeed and FaceBook or wherever you hang out. You can’t tug on the plant to make it grow faster; all you can do is keep planting. You can’t harvest unless you plant first. So keep planting.
  2. Be Stronger Than You Were Yesterday. This quote is actually from Godzilla: Final Wars:
    “Kozama! No need to feel proud.”
    “But I won the contest, sir!”
    “The point is not to win. The point is to be stronger than you were yesterday.”
    I may not feel like exercising today, but that will leave me weaker tomorrow; I may not want to clean, but it leaves a bigger mess for later. Every step towards my ideal life makes me more able to live it; just like planting seeds in my virtual real estate. The goal for both of these is to take little daily cumulative actions. Trying for the Big Deal all at once, for me, is a sure road to procrastination. And I can’t afford to do that anymore.
  3. Keep Moving Forward. This one’s from the Disney film Meet the Robinsons, and is apparently taken from something said by Walt himself. You’d think that the last two sayings about small daily actions would be enough, but for someone prone to depression and occasionally obsessed with playing games like, “I Shoulda Known When” and “What the Frell Was I Thinking?,” this particular point needs to be emphasized. Looking back just shows your footsteps, where you came from; it is NOT going to help you get where you’re going. As any farmer can tell you, throwing the seeds just any old where is not the way to farm; any body builder or martial artist would say that just doing any old exercises is not going to get you the physical attributes you want. You need a plan; you need to be able to point to the horizon and say, “I want to get over there, and I have the map to do it.” I’m great with plans; I know just where I want to get. It’s actually getting there that I have issues with. So I want to remind myself to KEEP MOVING, and to MOVE FORWARD not backward.

So there they are, the three “motivational quotes” that are on my whiteboard at the moment. Only I would pick quotes from hippies, Godzilla and Disney to make a point for myself! But hey, it’s what works for me. What works for you? I’d love to hear what you use to keep yourself going. You can share by leaving your favorites in the Comments! And have a happy, prosperous and forward-moving New Year! 8-)