Tag: Personal

I Won! I Won! ElegantThemes is Now My Playground!

Last week, I entered a drawing held by DesignHash, a great Web design site where professionals display their wares. I ended up winning! My prize? A developer subscription to ElegantThemes, where there are 80+ WordPress themes and some awfully nifty-sounding plugins.

I don’t know how many winners they drew (nor do I care). I just like winning. This is actually only the third thing I’ve won online in the 18 years I’ve been doing Web design and development. So that’s exciting in and of itself.

But this drawing also shows the power of having such events to build traffic and awareness. I’ve told a half-dozen of my artistically inclined graphic designers and artists about DesignHash and at least four of them were impressed enough to investigate.

Meanwhile, I have access to some very nice professionally designed WP Themes. And did I mention their plugins? Sexy!

 

 

My Speaking Schedule

For those of you who live in the Monterey area, you might want to know that I'll be speaking at local events in the coming few weeks. 

  • Wednesday, Sept. 19 – "Self-Knowledge", 7-9 p.m. at Unity of Monterey Bay. Lecture and discussion.
  • Sunday, Sept. 24 – "Nurturing Heart-Centered Politics", 10 a.m. at Unity of Monterey Bay. Sunday lesson and informal discussion following the service.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 26 – "Grace and Free Will",  7-9 p.m. at Unity of Monterey Bay. Lecture and discussion.
  • Friday, Oct. 5 – "Be A Peacemaker: Oneness and World Peace". Monterey S.O.B.'s (Spiritually Oriented Businesses) 12-1:30 p.m. at Tarpy's Roadhouse. Reservations required. Details at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SOBsMonterey/events/.
The two Wednesday classes are part of an ongoing series entitled "The Mystic's Journey" I'm co-facilitating with Rev. Vicky Elder. Suggested love offering is $15 per class but nobody is turned away for inability to pay or a desire to pay more than $15!

My Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. It is a time for us to remember (to re-member, to rejoin our spirits with) those men and women who died on fields of combat throughout this nation and the world in defense of freedom.

Or so we claim.

I am a Vietnam vet. I spent two tours of duty in Nam in 1964-66. I arrived when the U.S.presence there was minuscule and we were all part of what was called the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG). Not long after my arrival, we were renamed Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) about the same time the first U.S. combat troops– the First Marine Amphibious Force — arrived in supposed secrecy at a rapidly constructed airstrip south of DaNang. The troops were greeted by dozens of young Vietnamese boys and girls selling Coca Cola on ice, not one of whom should have known of the landing.

During my two tours in Nam, I was a correspondent for two military publications — The MACV Observer and the Daily News Briefs — and traveled the length and breadth of the country doing stories on the Americans fighting and advising there. I saw some combat myself but that wasn’t my primary role. I lost a dozen good friends, two of them when I was physically present. 

I don’t spend any energy touting my status as a veteran. I don’t belong to any vets’ groups (though I was a VFW member and post officer at one point). I don’t march in parades. Few of my friends even know I served in Nam. About the most lasting change I can attribute to the experience is my alcoholism, which uprooted and destroyed my life and then became the reason 40 years ago this year that I found sobriety and renewed my life.

But I remember and acknowledge the men and women with whom I served and all who, since then, have sacrificed years, body parts, mental stability and life itself, on the too-many battlefields this country has chosen to create in the nearly 50 years since the Vietnam War fizzled to an ignominious end.

Today, as a quiet, invisible veteran, I am ashamed of my nation and the way it has maltreated those brave souls who were willing to sacrifice everything for freedoms on which politicians today spit with stern visage and righteous pomposity. Our basic human and Constitutional rights are being trampled under freshly polished oxfords and latest-fashion heels on the feet of people who have no understanding of, appreciation for or even belief in the principles for which so many have sacrificed over the years.

Today, veterans returning from multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan — two wars of choice, neither of which will produce a decisive or useful outcome just as Vietnam did not — cannot get medical and mental health care without long and damaging delays. They can’t find jobs in an economy destroyed by greedy people who think the only freedoms worth having are the freedom from conscience and the unbridled freedom to accumulate wealth at others’ expense.

Today, I mourn for those who will continue to bleed and to be sucked dry and to die for no good reason as they continue the military tradition of doing their duty by following orders of men and women who have no clue. 

I am glad to be alive. I am not proud of my service but I am fiercely proud of those I knew who “gave the last full measure.” I hope against hope that this nation will sooner than later find its moral compass again, stop inciting global conflict, know when to use the weapons of war and restrain their use to the accomplishment of worthwhile goals to which Americans assent.

Blessed Memorial Day.

I’ve Added News Coverage to my Blog World

I've just added a new blog to my Posterous arsenal, which now boasts nine of my own blogs and one blog I share with my business partner. The new blog (linked on the left as with all the others) will give me a place to comment on current events and news items I run across.

I will, however, astutely continue to avoid U.S. politics. One of my favorite topics in the news is how the news folks do news, so expect the occasional outburst on that raw topic!

You can subscribe just to the News blog or you can sub to the main blog and get all my posts on all topics. Either way, I appreciate your followership!

Magnificent Maya

My wife CJ and I went to see Dr. Maya Angelou last night in what is apparently to be her only West Coast appearance of the year. She was in Santa Cruz, about an hour north of our Monterey home.

She was magnificent. Not only is she one of the most eloquent and lucid speakers I've ever heard, her story-telling ability is unmatched in today's American society. She wove a collection of delightful, humorous, insightful anecdotes from her nearly 83 years on Planet Earth, around the theme of "rainbows in the clouds." By that phrase she meant personalities and voices of those who are sources of inspiration, guidance, help and compassion in the worst of times. Her tapestry was so softly and elegantly woven that you were only vaguely aware of it until near the end when she brought it to a symphonic crescendo.

What a treasure she is. I'm going to spend some time this weekend reading her poetry and watching YouTube videos of her. 

My New Network of Blogs is Alive!

Tonight I completed the transition from a single blog hosted on WordPress to a new network of blogs based on Posterous.com. The transition was painless but it took me a bit of time to get each of the six blogs, this all-topics aggregator and five topic-specific blogs, designed so that I’m reasonably happy within the limitations of the platform. Here’s a list of the five topical blogs, each of them linked. Some of them don’t yet have any posts, but they’re coming soon.

You can subscribe to any one or several of the blogs. Or you can subscribe here if you haven’t already and drink the entire fire hose.

A fair warning: I occasionally write posts that transcend these not-so-neat little borders. In such cases, I reserve the right to do the unthinkable and cross-post to multiple blogs so that nobody who even might be interested in the subject misses it.

Why did I make this drastic change? Because I’ve discovered in my research into online marketing in the past few months that topic-specific blogs create better opportunities for cross-links and backlinks (and thus improve search engine ranking without being dishonest). I also believe it will make it more likely for other people with blogs on related topics to be willing to link to my specialized blogs. If you’re a sports blog host, you might find something I wrote worth linking to but if you see that my blog for that day had comments on several other topics that are uninteresting, or even off-putting to your readers, you’re likely to take a pass. I want to avoid that.

I’ll be interested in hearing what you think of this move. 

By the way, I intend to keep cross-posting everything to my WordPress blog as well, so if that’s where you’re reading this, nothing changes.

You’re welcome. 🙂

My Spiritual Book Has Launched!

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I am excited to announce that my newest spiritual book, "The Power of I AM", has been released through PathBinder Publishing and can be purchased on Amazon.com in printed and Kindle formats. 

In this book, I share two important spiritual teachings:

First, I discuss the critical nature of statements that begin with the words "I AM" in shaping our experience of the world around us. I explain how simply changing the way we say things to ourselves and others that describe who and what we are can dramatically alter our lives. As the book's subtitle says, it is all about "Claiming your inherent power to consciously create a life of purpose, meaning and joy."

Second, I teach you a simple but very powerful meditational technique that I have been developing and using for more than a decade and which many of my students and clients have told me has helped them begin or deepen a meditational practice. You can use this I AM technique as your entire meditation or simply as a way to open a meditation experience in a way guaranteed to bring you to deeper levels than you've experienced before, more quickly than you may believe possible.

The book's Web site contains an excerpt (one that's different from that offered at Amazon.com) and a video trailer that explains the book's purpose and use. You can also sign up for my new free newsletter that will provide answers to your questions about meditation, the I AM principle and other spiritual matters.

You can also follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook if you want to stay in touch with developments on this book and other upcoming spiritual titles that will be released in coming months.

Dick Golden, A Great Friend, Dies

One of my best friends died yesterday morning. Dick Golden, known to his friends as Dickie or RIG, passed away in Arizona where he had recently been taken by his lovely wife Sandie. She called us yesterday to let us know the news.

Dick, Sandie, my wife Carolyn and I hung out together for years and years when we all lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nearly every NFL Sunday Carolyn and I would drive over to their beautiful home in El Granada, just outside Half Moon Bay, to watch the Niners' game and enjoy some of the best food I've ever eaten in my life. During baseball season, the four of us had season tickets at the new Pac Bell (later AT&T) Park in downtown San Francisco. For several years, Dick managed a football pool involving the four of us and, later, two of his grandsons. In recent years, age and distance conspired to keep us from such regular contact but I know we both considered ourselves best friends right up to the end. Sandie remains among our best friends and favorite people.

I first met Dick when he and his wife were living in New York City, where they spent most of their abundantly creative years. Sandie had developed a HyperCard stack called Cleo the Clownfish with the help of her son Michael (who remains one of the most talented programmers I've known). I was at that time a sort of HyperCard guru and superstar, having written and published the first book focused solely on HyperTalk, the scripting language that made HyperCard smart. I delivered a keynote at a Mac conference in New York and then trekked to the Goldens' apartment where we ate Chinese take-out (what else?) and became instant good friends. 

Dick was one of the most creative guys I ever met and I've met a lot over the decades. He had a quick mind that could grab three ideas floating around a room and create an ad campaign or a slogan or a new product idea seemingly instantly. He and Sandie spent the last few years of their advertising career together as Synectics consultants helping companies figure out how to deal with changing times and shifting product landscapes. Dick is famous for having created the "Reach out and touch someone" campaign theme for AT&T. 

But for me, Dick was just the kindest, gentlest, funniest curmudgeon on the planet. He was as quick with a brilliant bit of sarcasm as he was with an expression of love or concern. The world is a better and richer place for his having spent a brief time here and a little the poorer for his departure. 

One of Dick's last lucid moments came when his beloved Giants, whom he had supported even before they moved to San Francisco, won their first World Series in more than 50 years. Even in the depths of the illness that robbed him of his memories and his cognitive brilliance, Sandie tells us he understood the feat and "clapped his hands like a happy two-year-old." I'm glad he lived to see that and that he had the good sense to move on before the Niners disappointed us all once again with dismal play from a talented roster.

Dick wasn't a religious man and he didn't believe in an afterlife. That's OK, I have enough belief for both of us and I am absolutely certain he and I will run into one another again in our next experience where the Giants and the Niners will be perennial champs worthy of the great love Dick had for them, for Sandie, and for life.

God is blessing you now, my friend, like it or not.

Veterans Day “Holiday”

Today is Veteran's Day here in the Good Ol' USA. It used to be called Armistice Day. It's one of those partial holidays: everyone who can justify closing, does. Banks, Post Office, courts, municipal offices, etc. But strangely enough, veterans like me don't get the day off unless we work for one of those places. Seems kind of strange, doesn't it? (Well, of course, to be honest, I could take the day off. But I work for a tyrant. Myself.)

So since most of us don't or can't take the day off, let me salute my fellow service men and women who have served their country over the years in so many different ways and who form an important element of the lifeblood of America. Let's salute one another.

OK, enough celebration. Now back to work!