4.26.2016

When Your Boss Reads Your Book & Other Book Reviews

That surprising moment when your boss says he bought and read your book; and the split-second mental spasm that follows at the realization of being found out for the things you think that you don't talk about at work, plus a quick mental scan to make sure there was nothing written that could get you fired (and you brought all this on yourself by recommending the book!). 

That was most definitely a moment, and I got to experience it this past weekend.

The good news is my job is secure and the book was well received, as I suspected it would be which was precisely why I recommended it. Not only did Boss Man like it, but he used one word in particular which stood out to me since it has been used by others in regards to my writing and photographic designs; and that word is the 'I' word: Interesting.
As a practitioner in serenity, being that I can't control what people think but only how I roll with the punches, I am following people's lead on this and am embracing Interesting as the word, or at least a word, to use when describing my book Unpopular Opinions

For all the words there are in the dictionary, there are many worse words to have one's book described as than Interesting

So, being the stenodidactic wordsmith that I am, I realized that I didn't know unequivocally how Interesting was defined. I had my assumptions, but I wanted to be sure, or as sure as anyone can be about anything these days, so I did what I know to do and looked up the definition(s).

My final result is a definition compilation for the word Interesting (see image above) based on research from a few online dictionaries: Engaging, Exciting, Not Dull, Not Boring, Arouses Curiosity, Attracts Attention. Interestingly enough, after reviewing the definitions, I can't argue against my book being Interesting, so I won't.

Along with the book being interesting, it is also thought-provoking, as was mentioned there were ideas presented which Boss Man had not considered until reading my book. Now that is what I am talking about when I talk about the power of the written word and that words matter...especially when there are no typos to decipher.

Again, there are far worse things to be in this world than a provoker of thoughts who introduces ideas which people may not have thought of prior to reading a book. 

In fact, that is the precise purpose of writing and why I write: to put ideas into the world that may not have been there before, and to share them with others so that they may (1) learn or consider something new, and (2) know that they aren't alone.
So. As if being interesting and thought-provoking wasn't enough of a review, I was next told something I had never heard before: That my writing, in certain areas, had a dry wit style reminiscent of Steven Wright. Well, call me Bucky Goldstein and buy me a pony. I could not have imagined that kind of feedback and I will not object to it.

I was once told I look like Tina Fey; I prefer being told my writing makes one think of Steven Wright. Although, when I apply a little serenity, a description of 'the looks of Tina Fey with the dry wit of Steven Wright' couldn't be more...interesting, could it? 

Honestly, who else do you know who can describe themselves in such a manner? Exactly. So, roll with it I will.

While it was validating to be told that my book is interesting and thought-provoking, it was made even better to be told that certain parts conjured up the sound of Steven Wright's voice delivering the lines.

I love to make people think, and I love it when I can make people laugh at my wit; so when someone tells me my book made them think and laugh and they paid for it, it is the ultimate writing success. It's almost like...I am a writer. Whoa. 
While this write-up serves as a book review from an in-person conversation, I highly recommend the first online review of Unpopular Opinions, provided by Christopher Yurkanin, available at GoodReads and Amazon

It's a brief and bold summary that accurately states what the book is all about (see image below for partial review); his description is exactly what I hoped someone would see in the book. Plus, it was written under no duress, which makes it even better. Thank you, Christopher!

In conclusion: People do not have to do anything in this wicked world. Trust me; I sat through enough court cases to know this for fact. So, when someone of their own free will and volition does buy my book, does think, does laugh, and does give me feedback, the serendipitous beauty of it all is overwhelming and in a class of its own...just like me. 

Thank you all for your support. Now go buy my book, pretty please, with sugar on top.
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4.18.2016

Life or Debt: Real Reality TV on Spike

Waking up in a black hole of debt is no way to start the day, especially when you feel stuck and are unable to dig yourself out due to underemployment or no employment. 

Once you have done it for so long though, it becomes easy to not see a way out of debt nor to even conceive of the possibility that there is a way out. Thus, debt becomes an accepted way of life with no end in sight until death, which can make death sound better than it should. 

I now understand from experience why the US government doesn't have debtors' prisons any longer: Because having debt is the prison.

The thing is, debt's impact doesn't end at the debtor as it can extend to family members; such as domestic arguments about finances that can lead to divorce, or children who stand to inherit nothing but debt-inducing habits, or parents who lose money to bad investments in their children's poorly-managed businesses. 

Debt negatively impacts people of all ages. Debt kills hopes, dreams, lives, souls, and libidos. Debt is a dirty secret that few talk about yet millions struggle with; and one of the few is Victor Antonio on Spike TV's new program Life Or DebtFinally, a real reality show that I can relate to! 


As I learn time and again, if something is helpful to me it most likely will be helpful to someone else. That's why I am passing on my personal recommendation to watch and study Life Or Debt; for anyone struggling with debt, or anyone who has to watch a loved one struggling with debt, or anyone who thinks their debt situation is hopeless and helpless. Victor Antonio, personal finance consultant, offers a light to guide the way.

Debt is a serious epidemic throughout America and one that will not go away by ignoring it. Tonight's episode (Cuban Fiscal Crisis) made me recognize the recurring trend in each episode: People hide their finances and debt from family; it's as if they hide it in a closet and do not want the truth to come out, thereby making it the new taboo. Incredible!

Debt will only go away after it is recognized, accepted, and tackled with the proper tools through persistent hard work, as is demonstrated on Life Or Debt.

I enjoy Victor Antonio's no-nonsense business approach with the couples/families on the show. He delves into the gritty finances and unorganized, anxiety-causing filing systems; he gets down to the cold numbers and lays out the harsh truth people do not want to hear, that they will be wiped out sooner than they think; he pushes people to see what they really want, what they are made of, and how much further they can go, all while analyzing their strengths and weaknesses in order to restructure the family roles that will work for everyone to ensure the best results. 

It is not always easy or pretty, but the families who follow Victor's advice and do the hard work get the best rewards by reducing debt, increasing income, and creating security for themselves and their families. Those are the happy endings I like to see!

Every episode leaves me feeling a little more hopeful that I, too, can lessen my depressingly-deep black hole of debt by employing the tools and techniques Victor offers throughout each episode. I am also utilizing the Life Or Debt website and blog resources; the information/insight provided on them reminds me that I am not alone in this struggle and that others have done it so I can do it, too.

It's also worth following Victor Antonio on Twitter to see his live tweets during the show and all the retweets he shares from followers (including me!), which only offers more insight to help inspire others to keep working to get out of debt. 

Sure, it could be argued that the sharing and retweets may be to promote the show; however, I sense nothing from his tweets but honest sincerity to help people take control and stop debt from destroying their lives. 

In recent years, CEOs have been demonized throughout America mostly due to their high salaries. Granted, there are always a few bad ones in any bunch, but Victor Antonio is refreshing proof that not all CEOs are evil nor want to see others fail in life. 

America needs more CEOs like Victor Antonio: Successful people who recognize that in order for unsuccessful to become successful, a successful person must reach out to offer help; and that, possibly, the more successful people there are, the better off the people, and America, will be. 

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4.15.2016

Family Fun in Sequim @ Dungeness Valley Creamery

My aunt and cousins are visiting the Olympic Peninsula for a spring break getaway, so I took them to one of my favorite places, Dungeness Valley Creamery, to see the baby cows (and to buy milk, of course). 

Luckily the cows were out and they were as adorable as could be, just like they are every week when we make a milk run. I think they enjoyed the new visitors, too.

These are some of the new baby cows that have cycled in since my last photo posting about Dungeness Valley Creamery. Captions are added beneath each photo, including names of cows. 

Should you find yourself visiting the North Olympic Peninsula, in particular Sequim, and looking for something that's (1) family friendly (2) for all ages (3) that you won't find everywhere else and (4) is free (although it is good karma to patronize the store), stop by Dungeness Valley Creamery for farm-fresh milk and goodies, and to see these little cuties.
Silly Dilly
Morgan strikes a pose
Morgan was all smiles
Happy cows come from Dungeness Valley Creamery
Dilly being silly
I see you
Dilly-lickin' good
The line-up
Pretty Nia
Life is tasty at the Creamery
Nelah is waiting for you to visit!

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4.03.2016

The Tolerated: What You Don't Know About Tolerance

Q: Why should anyone put up with being tolerated?

A: They shouldn't.

Tolerate as defined at Dictionary.com:
1. to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of, without prohibition or hindrance; permit. 
2. to endure without repugnance; put up with.  
3. (medicine) to endure or resist the action of (drug, poison, etc.).
4. (obsolete) to experience, undergo, or sustain, as pain or hardship. 

(There are other definitions in other dictionaries, and some are better, but I always use Dictionary.com for consistency even if my bias favors other definitions. More words are linked to definitions throughout; feel free to click and learn at your convenience.)

Going by the definitions above, I ponder: What is positive about being tolerated? Being 'put up with' is supposed to be a good thing? How? 

Do you know what gets 'put up with'? Flatulence, burping, rude manners, other people's kids, taxes, bureaucrats, and anything else that people don't like but they 'put up with' because they believe they have no other choice. Thus, I reiterate: What is positive about being tolerated?

My answer is that there is nothing positive nor good-feeling about being tolerated. Noth. Ing. How do I know? Because, I am The Tolerated.

As I have learned from experience, you don't always get accepted for thinking your own thoughts, or doing things your way, or not being the same as everyone else, or not wanting to cater to other people's ideals of what life should be when it is your life and not theirs; of course some times you do get accepted, but not always, nor often. 

For most of my life (approximately 92%) I have felt as though the mass of people around me tolerate me for who I am and put up with me in spite of it all; they don't necessarily celebrate or appreciate me for being what I am (subjectively speaking of course). 

It's as if I'm a dirty little secret that stays hidden without approval, until a majority consensus is reached that the dirty little secret is acceptable by trending standards. Sure, it could all be in my mind, but what isn't all in someone's mind? Everything is in people's minds. And does that mean I don't have a right to examine what's in my mind just because it's in my mind? Sheesh. That's what writing is all about. 

I am not writing this as a pity piece. I am writing this to share what it feels like to be tolerated and to provide a dissenting voice against tolerance based on firsthand experience, because not everybody may know. While it sounds wonderful in theory to tolerate that which you do not like, the reality is it doesn't feel good to be The Tolerated. 

Think on it: Would you feel good if you went to a job every day where coworkers tolerate and put up with you? Would you feel good spending time with anyone who must tolerate and put up with you? When they tolerate you they don't necessarily want you, or accept you, or like you, or include you, or support you, or understand you, or love you; they just tolerate and put up with you. Just like people put up with flatulence.

Pardon my dissent, but I don't want to be the flatulence that others have to tolerate. I prefer to remove myself than to settle for putting up with being tolerated by others. I want to be wanted, and accepted, and liked, and included, and supported, and understood, and loved, and many other things before being tolerated. 

Did you notice that in the definition? The word 'tolerate' has absolutely nothing to do with acceptance or appreciation or understanding or love; and none of these words have anything to do with free will, which is a whole separate issue as to whether or not a person is free to tolerate another or love another, or if they are forced to do so out of peer pressure from media outlets and busybodies. But I digress.

So, now, once more with foundation behind the question: Why should anyone put up with being tolerated? That's right, they shouldn't. 

Rather, people should be where they are loved, and accepted, and appreciated, and celebrated, and wanted, and understood, and liked, and included, and supported; and they shouldn't tolerate settling for anything less.

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