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What’s it all mean? – End of the Day for July 31, 2014

July 31st, 2014 Comments off

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There are times in your life when you suddenly find yourself asking that existential question, “What does it all mean?” I have been wondering lately if I have wasted a large portion of my life on things that didn’t really matter. First, there are the silly little quirks and foibles I mentioned in the “Stranger in a Strange Land” post. These have stopped me from doing a lot of things over the years and I begin to wonder if there wasn’t a better path — or better paths —  to be followed. Then there are all the things I spent my time on over the years, often many years of focus and work. I thought, and still think in most cases, that that time was well spent, useful and productive, but when you see where these projects end up, you have to wonder if it was really worth it?

I suppose questions like this are only part and partial of being a certain age. You need a lot of time and experience in order to be able to look back with any sort of perspective. The worst part is, though, that while you may have perspective to understand the past, it is just that — the past. You can’t go back and change any of the decisions that brought you to where you are today. The best you can hope to do is learn from your past and use this knowledge to build a better future. I guess this is where I am today.

So today was filled with thoughts about endings and beginnings and next steps along the way. I must admit, it can feel really crappy thinking about ending something that you have been working on for over a decade. While I had no great ideas where this project might have led when I started it, I know I wanted it to become more than it has. Instead, I think it has been limping along for quite a while, more out of habit than any real possibility of success. Of course, wild success was necessary to keeping the project going. I helped a few people along the way and it really didn’t take anything more than my time, so each time I reevaluated the project over the years, I was able to find some reason to continue. So it goes with many long running projects. They sort of continue under their own power.

Sun and Moon - Photo-A-Day for October 18, 2006

Finding new beginnings is more problematic, I find. On the worse days, I can feel like nothing I dream up is really worth doing. Given the poor success rate of my previous projects, I can be very reluctant to start anything new. This is a horrible place to find yourself, though, at least if you are me. I have a constant drive to be learning and creating something new. When that runs up against my own misgivings, worries and fears, it can be a difficult situation. I end up with a day like today — forcing myself to do things instead of wanting to do them. This is the way I typically work through these times. Keep plodding forward until traction grips again. There are times when I wonder if I will ever find that traction again and that is scary. What if there isn’t anything after this? What if this is ALL there is? Yikes! That doesn’t bear thinking about  unless I just want force myself to crawl into a cave for the rest o the my life.

Tomorrow is another day, as Scarlett O’Hara said in Gone with the Wind. She had at least that one thing right. Each day is another opportunity to start over, start moving, start something new and end something old. So, here’s to tomorrow and all the other tomorrows to follow. They give us hope and allow us to keep moving forward, even if we don’t really feel like it right now.

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Video: Dog Days of Podcasting 2014 – Risotto Rosso – Day 1/30

July 31st, 2014 Comments off

Video: Dog Days of Podcasting 2014 - Risotto Rosso - Day 1/30 

Today I show off what’s on the stove for dinner. In this case, it is one of our Recipes in Rotation, Risotto Rosso, a tomato-based risotto with italian sausage.

The original recipe for Risotto Rosso comes from the cookbook, Cucina Rustica by Viana La Place and Evan Kleiman. It is now available new in paperback from Amazon.com and others.

For all of or family Recipes in Rotation, check out this free cookbook, Recipes in Rotation, available via the web or for your iPad using the Cookbook Cafe app.

Previously in the Dog Days of Podcasting 2014:

What is the Dog Days of Podcasting?

“Essentially, it is a challenge to do a podcast for 30 days in a row.

In 2012 Kreg Steppe was looking to give himself a little push in regards to recording his own personal podcast since he wasn’t recording it very often. That turned into a challenge for himself to record a show everyday for 30 days believing that after 30 days it would turn into a habit. Once it was mentioned to Chuck Tomasi he took the challenge too and they decided it would be a great idea to record starting 30 days before Dragon*Con, culminating with the last episode where they would record it together when they saw each other there.”

Categories: Food, New Media, Podcast, Podcasting, Show, Video Tags:

Photo: Santa Agatha, Catania, Sicily

July 31st, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Photos-Photography Tags:

Pushing yourself – End of the Day for July 30, 2014

July 30th, 2014 Comments off

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As I mentioned a few days ago, tomorrow marks the beginning of the Dog Days of Podcasting Challenge where we create 30 podcasts in 30 days. As I recorded and edited the Introduction podcast today, I must admit I was feeing a bit stressed. Since I signed up for this year’s challenge I had been feeling a bit worried that I was taking on too much. Along with all the regular podcasts and blogging I do, including this daily post, did it really make sense to add in another daily commitment? Perhaps not, but I also had to remind myself that sometimes you have to challenge yourself in order to change and grow. That is exactly what something like Dog Days is all about. Sure it is going to be challenge, but you never know what you might learn, what you might discover, what might happen. This is just one reason to push yourself — at least some of the time.

Push to Walk

That fact is, I had been planning on gearing up for more videos, podcasts and blogging anyway, so this challenge will be a chance to test out some systems and procedures to see if it is possible to create more output or if I am already at a saturation point. Since the challenge is something greatly critical — nothing will suffer except my ego if I miss a day, it is a great, low pressure way to see what I am capable of. If you are going to working hard, you should at least make it as easy as possible on yourself, right?

One of the tricks to new media productivity is making use of those down times to actually be doing work. Like the old 1960’s Easy Off over cleaner advertisement, where the lady sits reading a magazine in a comfy chair, “I’m cleaning my oven.” Its the same for me, really. To be the most productive, I need to use my sleeping time, my consulting time, my out of house time, etc to be doing something like rendering video, uploading video, mixing audio, uploading audio, photos, whatever. Every minute I sit waiting on my computer is time I could be spending creating something new, Of course, this requires preparation and planning to be most effective. I have to have work prepared so I can let it work while I am otherwise occupied or that time and productivity is lost. This is where I am trying to focus my attention in the coming weeks as I produce these special Dog Days podcasts as well as my usual output. Where I can I find ways to conserve time and make the best of what I am given. This then allow me to push myself a bit further without breaking something important.s

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Stranger in a Strange Land – End of the Day for July 29, 2014

July 29th, 2014 Comments off

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I came across this article in my reading today, Practice Self-Compassion to Improve How You Feel About Yourself, on Lifehacker and it got me thinking about the topic again. I have read about self-compassion over the years, but I have never really been able to apply it to myself. Anyone who knows me also knows I can be tremendously hard on myself. I take mistakes, missteps, failures and disagrees fully and deeply to heart. I often say that I can feel just as disappointed, embarrassed or angry about something that happened 40 or more years ago as I can about something that happened moments ago. The cold fact is, I find myself lacking in countless ways, be it personally, professionally or in any of my life roles. Because of this lack of self-esteem, I find it very difficult to practice self-compassion. How can I when I am constantly feeling that I am not living up to my own, probably impossibly high, standards.

Part of this comes from, I’m sure, the fact that I am a bit of an odd person. There are times I think I was born out of time. Perhaps I would have been better off living at some time in the distant past or sometime in the distant future. I am not driven by those things which seem to drive most people. I do not feel rewarded by the same things or in the same ways. I harbor an innate hatred of unfairness to the point of being dysfunctional at times. I am a “sensitive” person — probably overly sensitive in most people’s eyes. I am — and always have been — different and this makes it very difficult sometimes. Like “a stranger in a strange land”, I always carry an odd feeling around with me, like wearing odd clothes that I can’t shake off.

That said, I have tried to become better about curbing my own worst habits. Recognizing a problem is not the same as solving it, though. In some cases, reacting in ways I know I shouldn’t — but cannot stop — brings on yet another wave of anxiety and disappointment in my own behavior. Sure, there are methods and tactics for controlling things — which work on occasion. I also tend to order my life these days in ways that try to limit or avoid triggers for worst behaviors. I always need to know where we are going and how to get there. Being left without clears directions, parking locations, etc gives me an itchy anxiety that turns me sullen and, in the worst cases, frightened. Crowds — too much stimulus in general — can quickly top out my ability to cope, so I avoid them or only engage with crowds when the reward for doing so it high enough to counteract the anxiety — like out trip to the Hollywood Bowl the other evening.

Along with all of this, though, I try to be more compassionate with myself. I know we all make mistakes, we all have failures, but knowing this doesn’t help dissuade my own disappointment in myself. I keep focusing on this even so, in hopes that eventually it will become a habit — a good habit — some time in the future. Like the battle with my weight and my career, I fight this battle every day — sometimes less, sometimes more — but it never goes away and I know it probably never will. It is up to me to find ways of dealing with it that let me continue to grow and achieve without burdening myself with past disappointments. They only slow me down or stop me completely and thankfully, the fear of that — not accomplishing anything anymore — gives me the drive to keep working at it — to keep trying.

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Photo: Bee on Echinacea at Oberlin College, Ohio

July 29th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Garden, Photos-Photography Tags:

Friends and Podcasting Plans for the Dog Days of Podcasting – End of the Day for July 28, 2014

July 28th, 2014 Comments off

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An unplanned visit from family friends today put me off my schedule a bit, but it is always important to remember to take a some time to just exist for a while. Work can subsume everything else that we do and overwhelm any sense of life or balance. When I get “heads-down” on a project, the world can disappear and I can work just a bit too hard. I wake up one morning just mentally beat and wonder what happened. I did it to myself, of course, but we can all get lost in our work without realizing it. We sat and talked, visit PizzaRev for dinner and then shared birthday cake with our long time friend Liam C. I met Liam during my first semester of college, just about the same time I Rosanne, so it is am important relationship to maintain. We have seen much together and I expect will se much more in the coming years. Cheers, Liam!

This means, though, that I needed to sit down a little later than usual to write up my thoughts on the day and finish a few tasks that are usually done earlier in the day. That can make it seem a little overwhelming — so much to be done before bed time. Still, I have found it important to capture my thoughts each day. I think it helps me frame my days well and gets things off my mind so I can sleep well. I highly recommend it for each of you, too. You can write text such as this or record audio, video, dictate into your phone, whatever makes the most sense for you. We all have our own preferences. It is more important that you do it, rather than how you do it — as I often say about a lot of things in life.

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Next week I will be adding another element to this daily madness(?) when we begin this year’s edition of The Dog Days of Podcasting. This is a 30 podcasts in 30 day challenge where podcasters look back to the earlier days of podcast and try to capture some of the magic of time. We focus on newly created content, typically audio (although I will probably do a few videos, too). Much of this is slice of life material, audio blogs, interviews with friend and family — many of which I have been wanting to interview for a while — comedy, music, whatever strikes out fancy over the 30 days. I’ll be posting these podcasts on the Careers in New Media blog and sharing some of other blogs as they fit the topic and theme. You can find out more about The Dog Days of Podcasting — and even join in — on the web site. I hope you’ll check out my podcasts and some of the other folks, too.

Previously on End of the Day:

Improvisation – End of the Day for July 27, 2014

July 27th, 2014 Comments off

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There are times I wish I had the precision of NASA as I launch into my week each Monday. I make lots of check lists and plans, but life is never something that respects plans greatly. There are too many unknowns in life to allow too much planning, so we come up with a few scenarios, a few goals and hope that circumstances go along with those plans.

As you might imagine, while circumstances and our plans sometimes match up, it is much more common for life to fly apart, go chaotic and make us improvise perhaps a bit more than we might like. This can be very stressful depending on the cause of the chaos and the results, but without these improvisational moments life would certainly be a lot more dull. We might not enjoy it much when we are in the middle of a crisis but in many cases it can make our life better — if we let it.

Playing music with Lorilyn

Life chaos requires the ability to let go of trying to control what you cannot and make the best of what you given. Fear and our own arrogance can often cause us to flail about and fight against what is happening, even if would be better for everyone involved to go with the flow. The ability to recognize chaotic moments and ride them out with style is definitely one trait you should look to cultivate. I can guarantee that it will do more good than all the authoritarian bluster you can manage.

Plan your life and your actions,of course, but then treat each day like a Jazz tune where all the musicians follow a basic track, but then are encouraged and challenged to make their own song in and around the basic framework the songwriter created. Life is often nothing but improvisation, so the more you cultivate it, the better off you will be.

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: Music, Writing Tags:

Video: Sunday Morning Pancakes — with recipe

July 27th, 2014 Comments off

 

Video: Sunday Morning Pancakes -- with recipe

I had a craving for pancakes this morning and turned to my standby, fluffy pancake recipe, which you can find in the video and also on My Word with Douglas E. Welch in the blog post, Recipes in Rotation: Fluffy Pancakes.

Music: “Slow Burn” by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) by Creative Commons License

Photo: Bees on a Zinnia via #instagram

July 27th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Garden, Photos-Photography Tags:
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