Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Life is hard.


Today I watched as a young couple sat stoic and on and off in tears at the funeral of their 20 month old little girl.

The viewing was hard.

As a mother myself it tore me up and I cannot imagine how that young lady must have felt. Probably so beyond pain and deep into that place where nothing hurts anymore. The numb spot.
It made me think a lot about life, and how it can be as cruel as it is kind. I sat through slide after slide of this beautiful little tiny person whom everyone in her life had just started to get to know. She was just at the point of developing her own personality and sharing smiles and laughter with everyone around her. I wept along with her friends and family.

It made me think about what's going on in the world right now and about how heavy life seems to be at the moment.

Life is hard.

We go through this progression of life hoping for...for what exactly? Riches? A nice pretty car and a house to keep it in?

Life is hard.

We fight with one another...why?  Because hundreds of years ago some old men decided to DIVIDE themselves into political parties? Different times, different rules.

Life is hard.

We argue over who can use a bathroom, not thinking that if we just create singular bathrooms with a lock on the door that anyone can indeed...use the bathroom.

Life is hard.

We bicker about having the opportunity to hold a gun out in public...why? Are we that afraid to physically defend ourselves these days? Why do you feel so threatened?

Life is hard.

We complain when a child excels in the classroom because she is an undocumented immigrant...why? Our children all have the same chance to excel, many just choose not to because they know mom and dad will be there to blame the teachers and educational system. Why don't they want to excel?

Life is hard.

We think it's funny to see people all over the internet beating up one another, or being cruel to people and animals. Those videos go viral...why? Are we really that sick? Just who are the animals really?

Life is hard.

We say that we are Christians or religious, and then treat others that are NOT as if they are all lepers and prostitutes...Why?  How is this living your life through Christ...or your God?

Life is hard.

We blame everything wrong with one another on Government officials....why?  The President of the United states (whoever they are) doesn't force the hand that kills someone or makes us hate others.

Those are personal decisions.

We have a choice.

Life is hard, but it doesn't have to be.

While we argue over this awful and really stupid stuff... a couple is thinking about how their lives will be without that little ray of sunshine in their lives.

I call that perspective.

Life is hard...but LOVE isn't.

Live well people. Be kind.



Friday, April 22, 2016

Genius

What is a Genius?


Is it someone who can name all 50 states at age 3? A 60 year old scientist that discovers a cure for some disease? An artist that can paint a masterpiece even though he can't see color? A musician, who creates and then shares his musical prowess with the world? The answer to all of these scenarios is yes. Yes is is. 

Musical genius Prince, died yesterday in his home outside of Minneapolis. Many will remember him as the Purple Rain guy...many others will remember him as a friend, a son, a lover. I think that what he let us, the public, see of him was his legacy. It was what he wanted all of us to remember him by and what a legacy he leaves! 

Countless songs, performed to huge success by countless artists all written by him, movies, performances, legendary song lyrics like "The kind you find in a second hand store...", or "I only want to see you laughing in the purple rain." He was a genius. A lyrical genius. 

Why did people around the world react so quickly to the news of his passing? Why did it feel as if a member of our own families had passed? We related. To his story, to his music and to everything he shared with us.


Prince was a storyteller.


From the Video When Doves Cry

He viewed his world and created magnificent ways to tell us all about it through his lyrics. We learned about the people and places in his mind. He took us all on a journey with every song. Many had heroes... the young clerk at the grocery store watching a beautiful girl come through the door, or a man that falls in love with a girl that ultimately leaves him, to living just a little bit dangerously driving that fast  little red "car" (that's a metaphor too kids, google it).

Prince and the Revolution

We all related to those songs. He told the stories of our lives as we were living them. We played his music on our boom boxes, in our walkmans (google it kids), and sang them whenever they came on the radio. Many of us still do. The iconic sound, and large presence of this minute man reverberated through us and the songs he left us allow us the opportunity to return to a time when music ruled the airwaves.



Prince was different. 



He knew early on that he was something special and he wanted to let the world know it. From is outlandish dress, to his gender bending makeup, he knew he was different and reveled in it. It made us stand up and notice. During a time where long haired metal bands were in season, Prince made a statement that it was ok to be who you are, screw everyone else. Throughout all of his various phases and name changes, remember the time he changed his name to a symbol, one thing always remained the same. His music. The genius that is Prince's musical talent transcended any outfit or tabloid fodder. 


Prince was an amazing musician.

Prince appearance on the Muppet Show 2015 (Disney)


This is what it all boils down to really, the fact that this person could come up with any music anywhere at any time! A true storyteller has this ability to draw inspiration from anything and put it in a form that captures people's imaginations. It begs for our attention and creates day dreamers out of us all. For 2-3 minutes we are transported into their world and seeing things through their own eyes and hearts. Musicians can heal, they can steal, and can always create memories. 


Prince is a genius. 



He was aware that what he was doing here on Earth was a special thing. He knew that the songs he wrote and the music he brought to so many would live on long after he was gone. He loved us all so much that he saved a little for us and future generations to adore. Somewhere in his Paisley Palace there lies a vault. In this vault are countless music compilations, songs, and videos that Prince made. Songs that were never released or didn't get to see the light of day because the timing wasn't quite right for the perfectionist that is Prince. Instead of tossing them out with the garbage as many artists are known to do, he saved them for later release. 


Genius.



So genius comes in many different forms. We now have to live in a world that has been left a little less beautiful and a little less full of the genius that exists here. Let's hope that in the coming years we see new genius arriving in the world. People that emulate Prince, and others with no fear. We need a little more genius in this world and a lot less pain. So rise up kids, let your genius show. As for Prince, wherever he may be in death (the afterlife), I'm sure there is an amazing sound coming from the place that musical genius' go. So please say hello to Michael, David, and Glen for me would ya?

ELECTRIC WORD LIFE...

IT MEANS FOREVER AND THAT'S A MIGHTY LONG TIME...
BUT I'M HERE TO TELL YOU
THERE'S SOMETHING ELSE
THE AFTER WORLD 
- Prince, Let's Go Crazy Lyrics

Genius






Friday, April 17, 2015

April 21st Google's New Website Optimization Update


The current word on the social media circuit has the potential to effect anyone that has a website on the internet. Google is set to release an update on April 21st that will effect how the search engines view and pick up on your website if it isn't optimized for mobile devices. 

What does that mean? 

Well since almost 80% of websites that are currently on the internet get all jumbly, cannot function on a mobile device properly, and just aren't adjusted well enough to handle such devices they will see falls in their search page rank. That's a lot of people that could potentially be affected by this update.  

Why are they doing this? 

They have noticed that more people are conducting searches for websites from their mobile devices vs. a standard computer browser.  People visit the pages only to find that they are not optimized for the device that they are being viewed on.  This looks bad for business not only for the business with the janky webpage, but also for Google which has a high standard of awesome search results in the world. This means that reputable sites that appear in search results currently might want to step up their mobile optimization game if they want to remain high in those search results.

What could this mean for your business?

Well, after the update you might notice a dramatic drop in your search rank.  Which means that you could potentially lose visitors or worse...move to the dreaded 3rd page of the search engines, you know along with stuff like edible perfume and the guys from Color Me Badd. Nobody wants that. 

Ok, What can I do to see if my site is optimized Elaine?  Tell me!! 

That's simple.  You simply click the link below and enter in your website address and click ANALYZE 
This will perform a scan of your website or your clients' websites and let you know of any potential problems with them. 


My site is NOT optimized...NOW WHAT!?

The fix is simple.  All you must do is talk to your web designer, or the person in charge of your website IT and have them make the fixes that were suggested through the link and then re-analyze it. 

Don't have a person to do that?  (shameless plug time) Give me a call and I can help get you through this update. 

And there you have it folks...the short and the sweet of Google's new fangled Optimization update. 

Hope this helps!

This Optimized post was brought to you today by the letter E...have a great day!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

HATERS



Life isn't fair sometimes. People will never cease to say things to make other people feel awful and humiliate them. I have reached the point in my life where I have no tolerance for hateful people. I have seen too many beautiful and good people die to know that life is fleeting. These are lessons that you learn as you grow up. I have lived in the Frisco/McKinney area for over 8 years now, and in that time I have read story after story about young teenagers taking their own lives because of bullying that they have been dealt at school.

AT SCHOOL! You know the place where we send our kids to learn? Yeah that place. It has become a place of difficult transition from young adult to adult hood now for kids everywhere and it makes no sense. It takes a second to be kind and smile at someone to make their day better...but haters don't know that.  They only know how to belittle a person, laugh at them, gather around them, take the video, post it, and make that person feel shitty about themselves at any given opportunity.  For what? Follows? Likes? Plusses? It's times like this that social media sucks....and SUCKS hard.

This beautiful thing called the internet and social media should be used to spread positive vibes and lift one another up and to a better place. That's how a society succeeds, not by trying to be a badass and thinking it's ok to treat people like shit and then hoping that no one notices you being a jerk.

I must apologize. To my readers and followers for sounding so negative in my quest for justice, but this latest incident of teen suicide has just pushed me over the freaking edge and I'm not sure what to do with the angry words in my head...so my blog will take the brunt.

Raymond Howell was a beautiful 14 year old kid that I never knew that as of a few days ago, everybody knows. 1st page of Google Search when you type his name...



Raymond Howell was found laying in a ditch with a self inflicted gunshot wound.

Raymond Howell was a freshman student at McKinney Boyd...that's 9th grade y'all.

Raymond Howell had a mother and a father, and a sibling.  Amber Howell...

She has a special request for the assholes that thought it would be awesome to earn some followers...

Posted on Facebook by Amber HowellR.I.P. sweet baby brother. No one can hurt you anymore, I love you so much. I want to say something to those kids who jumped him, for trying to do the right thing. To those despicable cruel teenagers who posted it all over social media, who made fun of him in class and online. I want you to realize the weight of your actions, I hope you understand that with every cruel word from his so called friends, you helped end my baby brothers life. The boy who would have stood up for you without a second thought, because he cared. I hope that sits with you forever. And to the parents of these children, in these videos, in those classes, I ask only one thing; remove those videos. You can't reverse the damage done but you can at least honor my brothers memory.
Mobile Uploads · Yesterday at 9:43am · 

I think it's time to stop treating people like post material and start treating them like the actual people that they are.

Kids...it's time to stop being assholes.

Kids...it's time to START defending those that don't defend themselves, if you don't that makes YOU an asshole too.

Kids...when you see someone being treated < do your best to make sure that they feel like they are not alone.

I'm sure that in his last moments, Raymond Howell felt like he had no other choice. He had already been humiliated online, people at school treated him like crap, and he felt trapped. At 14, everything feels like it is urgent and at 14 your world revolves around your friends.

My heart aches for his family left behind.

Time to change people....for the better. 

A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO THOSE HATERS...

SOMEDAY YOU'LL LOOK BACK AT THE ACTIONS YOU TOOK THE DAY THAT THOSE VIDEOS WERE MADE.

WILL YOU LAUGH? WILL YOU SAY "AWW THAT DUDE WAS A WEAK ASS PUNK?"
WILL YOU BE REMORSEFUL?
PROBABLY NOT...but mark my words...KARMA has a way of finding it's way back to people for the wrong that they've done to others....and you guys are in line for a MASSIVE dose someday.

One day you'll all have kids of your own, and one day they might come home and say that they want to change schools too...on that day I want you to all remember Raymond Howell, his parents, his sister, and wonder how you could have been such an asshole.

Because you are.

Take down those social media posts that pushed this kid to his end.  It's over now and it's the decent thing to do.

You DO know what decent is don't you assholes?

No? Google it.


For those of you that are feeling trapped and bullied like Raymond was, please don't. Tell someone and know that school is just school and there is SO much life ahead of that. Once it's behind you it's behind you and a whole world of opportunity awaits.  You'll grow up and find that there are other people just as awesome as you are who will not hurt or belittle you or make you feel shitty about being the person you want to be. Those people will support you, and high five you, and be the people you call at 2am when you want to hang out and eat a pizza. True friends, don't treat you like you're nothing...and they don't post videos of other people humiliating you just to feel important.


REST IN PEACE RAYMOND HOWELL


 images were borrowed from Google Search and Amber Howells facebook 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Success: A Lesson in Failure

Get off of the same old path, and make things happen
There is an old adage that states if at first you don't succeed try and try again. In this authors opinion, it should read if at first you don't succeed, fail and fail again. This might sound a little strange at first but hear me out. If every road that we traveled on were only one way and every time we took that road it led us to the very same place every time we walked upon it we as a society would have a bunch of well worn roads but we would never get to see or experience anything else. I think that the same thing applies to people that want to succeed in whatever it is that they choose to embark upon. 
Let's think about this for a bit.  If every person was successful the first time that they tried anything so much of how we live today would not exist. This pretty mac that I am typing this on, non-existent. The light that I read by at night, non-existent. Think about the empires that people like Walt Disney, and Oprah Winfrey have created.  Think about how everyone all around the world knows who they are. That is a mammoth accomplishment for a little black girl from the South that people said wasn't fit for TV and a guy who no one believed had any creativity. Everything around us was created in part by someone who failed at some point in their creative process. Those two are no different than you or I.
What makes these people different than anyone else?  Money!? No not money, sure some ventures take a lot of capital to get going but that's not why they are successful. Remember, they started with nothing but a dream. So what made them different? The clothes they wore? The people they talked to? NO and NO. The things that made these people successful couldn't come from anyone else but them. These two people had to fail before they could succeed.
By paying attention to those past those failures people begin to notice things about the way that they have been trying to accomplish their goals. They begin to see different approaches to things, and how to tweak their own. They notice people in positions of power and pay attention to the way that they do the things they do. The emulate successful people. They ask questions, they move forward never back. They try again, they fail again and begin this process all over again. In doing this an amazing thing begins to happen to their personal growth. They start to see that they may have failed at the start of it all, but along the way they have learned something. The knowledge that they get propels them forward. They think positive and strive for greatness all the time.
You and I, we're going to fail. We're going to fail HARD and make mistakes and this is a very good thing. I would rather fail and learn amazing things about my journey and process than get everything right on the first try. So when you find that the things you are trying aren't quite getting you where you want to be. Let that idea fail, learn from the experience, and move your way forward to a more and more successful one. Failing, puts you in good company. So don't be afraid. You can do whatever it is you have set out to. Be tenacious. Get off that path. 
The takeaways here?
•Try new things
•Get out of your comfort zone
•It's ok to fail
•Learn something new from each failure
•Work hard
•Never Ever Give Up

This inspirational blog was brought to you today by The Letter E...and Social Mind Media 


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Yerdle - On Trust and Community





Many of us look for ways to be more efficient users of our planet and the stuff on it. We try to recycle, up cycle, bicycle, and every other cycle out there to ensure that we aren't just using up her resources.  That's why when apps like Yerdle come up and offer us a new way of reusing our old items people are quick to jump into it and use it to do just that.  Yerdle was everything that we had never seen before.  It was a unique auction like system that allowed people to post items that they had lying around in closets and the garage and get "CREDIT POINTS" for them.  Then you were allowed to use your credit points to bid on auctions for other people's items.  The highest bidder wins and then pays a small fee for shipping. The poster prints the label that Yerdle sends you via email, then takes the package to their local UPS store for delivery.  That easy.  Well, that was then, and in just a few short months Yerdle has made it very clear that they have other intentions with their site than just offering 'free goods'.  They built up a loyal following of users and deemed them "Pros"...and the pros are angry.

Here's where Yerdle is now:

Recently Yerdle hit yet another bump..a pretty big one with many of the people that they themselves had deemed "PROS" of their system. The pros were all treated to an email where the company stated that they had discovered an "accounting error", and that the pros were the only group affected. Because of this accounting error they would now remove all of the pros credits that they had in their bank and because they wanted to "make things right" they issued them 400 credits in return.
Normally not a big deal, unless you happened to have over 40,000 credits in your bank and now were reduced to 400. Ouch!
Over FB, many expressed their disgust and a LOT of pros headed out. They gave up the yerdle and surrendered credits. Many sat and tried to get someone from yerdle to help them understand what had just happened. It wasn't the consumers mistake, yet they were the ones taking the blow. It didn't seem fair...yerdle was treating their credit system like they were dealing with real money.
yet when repeatedly asked "ARE CREDITS WORTH ANYTHING?" No one replied.
Their terms of service at the time of this incident state that the credits are not worth any monetary value.
Could this whole taking of the credits be a leveling of the playing field because they wanted to monetize the site?
Yes, that is exactly what it appears to be.
HOWEVER...after repeated comments back and forth with someone from yerdle, they finally relented and gave the pros their stolen credits back.
The very next day emails went out informing people that they would be charging money to purchase credits to use on the site.
Coincidence? Who knows...I only know that THIS old Pro...will no longer be using this app as a result of the sheisty feel that it has left me with.
What started out as a happy and good thing has turned into something rather unappealing. Do what you will, but anyone that does this to people that have been dedicated users since its inception, aren't worthy of my trust.


This smaller post brings me to my point.  Trust. Consumer trust must be earned, and should never be taken for granted. It is probably a written online rule somewhere...oh yeah here:

TRUST AGENTS by CHRIS BROGAN

Chris Brogan wrote the book on trust, and the Yerdle folks might want to pick this one up for each other for Christmas.  Trust is hard to come by and when you start to develop it among a mass following of users of your application it might behoove you to take better care of them.  This incident left me feeling like I had been shafted.  Given the once over, punched in the gut, bent over to grab my ankles...you get the point. It didn't seem right nor fair that this company that I and others had been so loyal to could just treat us like WE made the error then try to "REWARD" us with a menial pittance of our former credits.

It doesn't seem right that YERDLE is now making money off of the goods and services that people are trading out of the kindness of their cluttered hearts.

Trust is difficult to come by, easy to keep, and SO HARD TO GET BACK ONCE IT'S LOST!

I hope that Yerdle can see the error of their ways and try to make an effort to keep the new people that use the site happy.  I know that I won't use it again and I know many others who have opted to start offshoots through facebook groups that shall remain nameless.

If you choose to use YERDLE, please take the time to read their Terms of Service and take note of what you are getting yourself into. What seems like a good thing, isn't always so.  I had to learn that the hard way.

This disappointed blog was brought to you today by the Letter E...


Monday, December 1, 2014

The New Aesthetic: The Great Pretenders


Let me begin by stating that I have not had such difficulty assimilating the contents of an article in quite some time. I am referencing the WIRED article written in 2012 by Bruce Sterling titled An Essay on the New Aesthetic.  As I read, I found it difficult to keep up with all of the various and turbulent metaphors in the reading.  It was like watching a bouncing super ball in a concrete room. Did you see what I did there? I began to wonder if in fact Bruce Sterling really knew what he was trying to talk about in his descriptions of the New Aesthetic.  I managed to gather a few key points from his essay that make an attempt at defining the New Aesthetic. The article is older, but the ideas presented are timeless.
The New Aesthetic is according to Sterling;
  • A creative movement
  • A Collective
  • Internet based
  • Built by and for working creatives
All very true points, I like to take this one step further and say that not only is it these descriptive terms but the New Aesthetic also has a TECHNICAL DYNAMIC to it.  It is an ever changing design faction of technically professional people and their ideas all trapped within the semantic web. Sterling makes note of the traditional definition of aesthetics as being how beauty is perceived by the human senses and says that no amount of programming or data beautification will put the human in the New Aesthetic.  That the human side can only go so far to create a new technology, or art from that technology.  
The machine, by itself cannot create.  Artificial intelligence isn’t going to happen.
This idea, gives credence to the thought that the New Aesthetic is therefore different than any other movement in the history of movements. Other art movements by comparison were created by visual artists using tools to propel design into new eras. People were behind the brushes, and ink blotted presses and their works were visible and understood by all.  I think that the New Aesthetic might be faulty as it takes a highly technical knowledge to visualize and understand the output of a New Aesthetic visual creative.  While it is created as open source and highly visible to the entire world, people may not have an understanding of what is being presented to them.  Coders and designers understand it perfectly, the other billion people around the world might not.  So IS the New Aesthetic really happening or is it just a small segment of creative people that are becoming the great pretenders?  The great pretenders that have created and coded themselves into positions in the workforce over the years so much that they have grown bored with their cubicles and feel the need to stretch their creative wings by starting a New Aesthetic. That remains to be seen, but Sterling does say that The New Aesthetic is here to stay and the niche is gaining momentum so fast.  I for one, am excited to see what comes next.
I do think about the previous art movements and how each had it's own definitions and sets of individuals working on creating sort of an outline of what each movement would be. There are clear definitions and clear rules of applying a particular technique for the movement.  With the New Aesthetic, there are none.  This may be what Sterling was trying to say in his article, that because the New Aesthetic is so different and includes new methods of creation that there really is not a definition that fits. It is vague and far reaching and ever inclusive of new technologies that change constantly.  If we were to assign a new 'movement' to every new technological development we would find tat movements would overlap and cross over and lines would blur as a result.
So until the thinkers and the tech tinkerers get together to formulate an ideology of the New Aesthetic we are left to try and discern genre and movement on our own. We will see where the technology takes us.

Please take a moment to view just what examples of the new aesthetic are at the tumblr site that Sterling shared with us!