How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others (and Start Empowering Yourself)

“Comparison is the death of joy.” Mark Twain “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” Lao Tzu One of the most common and destructive daily habit is to constantly compare your life and yourself to other people and their lives. You compare cars, houses, jobs, […]

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Fast Not Slow

So my life has been a little lop-sided lately. My home life has been quite stressed with some family health issues. Problems in the garden.

Money, Kids, Cars, Work, you name it… things are rough. But I’ve kept an upbeat focus, almost ignorantly. I believe that if you fake it, you honestly have a better shot at making it. So I’ve kept a smile when I wanted to scream, and I’ve talked nicely when I wanted to curse.

This weekend Mothers Day didn’t go anywhere near as planned. It was a like expecting a flu virus and getting Zombiegeddon. Not cool. My wife and I both were stretched to tearing, and yet we still held on. I’m dealing with some serious stuff, and I’m quite lagged in the resources department. I’ve had problems planning things for awhile, sticking with things, dealing with those upsets and interrupts that life is famous for. And then when real problems started rearing their heads my world started to fall apart.

I’ve been dealing with issues with my step-son, for instance. He has a nasty habit of leaving the toilet seat and lid up. Now I’ve informed him that he needs to put it down. Simple. Use the toilet, put the seat and lid down. Simple. Yet it seems almost scary how often he forgets. Now when it dawned on me the danger to our 15 month old, drowning-wise, I started to get a little more firm. Still having issues. I got more firm. The problem didn’t seem to even fade. And now? Now he’s been told he’s not allowed to even LIFT the seat up and he has to sit down to use the bathroom always!

So I head into the bathroom the other day and the fricking, dod-gamn seat and lid are up!

I lost my shit. Totally lost my shit. My wife and I had a very strong disagreement over it and it basically splashed over into Mothers day effectively turning that day upside down.

Ridiculous.

Oh, I feel like an idiot. Don’t you worry.

Do I think he’s being a punk and forgetting on purpose? No. But I’m treating him like that is what he’s doing. Do I think that our toddlers life is really endangered by this activity? Well, I did. But just today I went and researched drowning in toilets and found that roughly 1% of toddler deaths are drowning in toilets. From 1996 to 1999 there were 5 toddler deaths from drowning in a toilet. So… no, I do not think that is likely anymore. But I did.

I could tear apart this ONE example of  the problems I am dealing with all day. I made poor decisions and and continued making poor decisions. That’s the gist. It’s time to wake up. Get myself back in the zone.

See, I used to be IN THE ZONE. My ex contributed exactly 0% to our household running. Well, 5% if you include the occasional meals she would prepare. I did the dishes, cooking, laundry, lawncare, bills, etc. I ran the entire house and I did a fairly damn fine job of it. But doing that for years and not having it appreciated, not being respected for the amount of work I put into it, being treated like trash while doing all of that? It clicked something in me. That button clicked and I stepped aside. I gave up. I stopped.

Now… I’m beginning the rip-cord. I’m re-starting that engine.

I’m on hour 15 of my first fast in a very long time.

I don’t know if it’s the fast, or the fights, or the contemplation… but… it dawned on me. I’ve read some articles on how to parent better. They all say, “Be a Teacher Not a Warden.” And I got it. I mean you don’t be a jerk to your kids. But you still have to expect things from them, you still have to demand things of them, they still have responsibility…

No. Teach.

So I’m gonna give a new idea a try. No punishments. Guiding instead. Lead with the carrot not the stick.

No more grounding from this or that, this and that are privileges and should be earned.

I’m not even hungry and I’ve gone since dinner last night without eating. I have quite a ways to go.

My dad is a chiropractor (keefeclinic.com) and when I asked him about how long I could safely fast, he said a water only would be roughly 2 weeks. That maybe I should consider doing Emergen-C in some of the water to help both my immune system and my brain.

So I’m not eating. I’m hoping it helps. I need some clarity. I need some peace.


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Web Mapping

Well, I completed my FIRST BI Quarterly Release… barely survived it.

See, for those of you that don’t know me I am the Web Map guy for the City of Tulsa. Yeah, I know… I used to be the Address Coordinator, but I evolved. I took this new position in November of last year and it’s been a whirlwind of insanity. Managing various servers, GIS data, laying down groundwork for future development, as well as re-learning my way around Flex (Flash’s sharper dressed cousin) has kept my head spinning. I’m a guy that likes to know EVERYTHING about the work I do, not just what needs to be done and this position is perfectly suited to me.

I’m given responsibility, trusted to complete it, expected to comport myself professionally, and encouraged to have fun while doing it. It really doesn’t feel like a ‘Government’ job somedays… lol. It’s WAY too much fun.

Well, as of this release I have put together the following beauties…

  1. City Council District Finder Map : Click Here
    This map is a simple map allowing you to search your address and then click near the dot that pops up (on the council district outline) and see not only what Council District you are in but who your councilor is.
  2. Working in Neighborhoods : Click Here
    The WIN map is mainly used by WIN personnel to figure out new neighborhood configurations and various other data pieces they use daily.
  3. Park Finder : Click Here
    This map is used to find a park inside of the City of Tulsa’s Corporate Limits. You can search by address, park name, or just by browsing around. You can click on a park outline and get more information on that particular park.
  4. Permit Map : Click Here
    This map lets you search for open permits, check around town to find out where certain permits are in play, and more. This is one of the more complicated maps I had to get running but it looks great (if I do say so myself).
  5. Crimes Map : Click Here
    This map shows all crimes for the last 3 years. This map has a wealth of information, covering all crimes from the last three years.
  6. Collisions Map : Click Here
    Have you, or someone you know, been in an automobile accident? You can check this map for more information!
  7. Meth Labs : Click Here
    We’ve all seen the news… the Meth Labs are kind of an Oklahoma cliche these days. This map gives you the lowdown on the ones the TPD has shut down… something those new house buyers might wanna check into!
  8. Sex Offenders : Click Here
    If any of these maps made me remotely sick it was this one. Seeing this data onscreen just kinda hits you… at least it did me.
All in all? I have had a blast and I hated today. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong on this update/upgrade. But… when things go wrong is when you learn the most and I will admit I have learned a LOT more in the last 10 hours than in the last several weeks (if not months).

I am starting on Javascript maps soon, ESRI has an ArcGIS for Javascript setup that promises some sweet mapping for my future.

In the meantime, make sure you know where you are… if you don’t? There’s a map for that!

Peace, Love and Geospatial References for all…
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We The People… possibly a future where this means something again…

Well, I just saw something that… taking it at face value and extrapolating into the future what I “imagine” could come from this… makes me happy.

As a body of people trying to govern ourselves via a “Government” I have lots of opinions. Things our government does that are just plain evil through to things that are exquisitely ignorant seem to be the norm, versus “doing actual good.” I gave up on gods, and other fairy tales, a few years ago… part of that “awakening” was to realize that Politics was just like religion. We believe that “We The People” are actually represented yet our government kills legislation based on corporate sponsorship, encourages laws that protect the rich over the poor, and basically does nothing that “We The People” want them too. Believe me, I could go on and on comparing the current GMO situation to the (fairly recent) historical situation of Big Tobacco… but that’s a WHOLE nuther blog.

But then, we get this guy… Mike Gatto… encouraging “We The People” to actually provide input and focus on laws used to govern the people.

You can read the whole story over here: http://www.govtech.com/internet/California-Experiments-with-Crowdsourced-Legislation.html

Now, granted… this is for laws about pet ownership in situations where an owner has passed away… but the potential for the future is incredible.

At least it seems that way to me…
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Yet Another Re-Boot

It would appear that I need to add ‘Reboot’ to my calendar on a more regular basis.

I woke up today feeling like today was the first day of the rest of my life.

I woke up before my alarm. I had time to come to, to think, then there was a nice warm shower, followed by an amazing breakfast. I put some olive oil on a pan, cooked two eggs. When the eggs were done, I dropped them on a single piece of toast with some butter. I put a handful of spinach and baby kale on the pan after the eggs and a little more olive oil. A few minutes later and I was enjoying heaven.

I got my man-purse packed for the day, woke up my wife at the right time. I got to play with my daughter a little before dropping her in the car seat. And then it was on to work.

Walking out the door to start the car this morning introduced me to the amazing weather. So leaving for work without a jacket was phenomenal. A nice drive to work, got to brainstorm some ideas with the wife for schedules for us and the kids, and then a wonderful kiss before heading off to work.

If today gets any better there’ll be rainbows shooting outta my butt.

Peace, Love and Unicorn Stains everyone.
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Artsy Fartsy (School Daze)

It was a nice first day of class. My instructor for ‘Fundamentals of Art – I’ is a very laid back, almost hippie-esque woman. She has a fascination for Van Gogh, which ranks her higher up on MY chart, paints, and she talks …very quietly… We cover the basics of what’s expected in class, it’s going to be line work, painting and some art appreciation knowledge. She takes her time to cover the basics, seems embarrassed to even mention things like “Students must arrive at all classes” and “Letter grades will be used.” This class will keep me busy for two days a week…

I’m excited, I have never officially taken an art class. I’ve drawn for over 30 years, but never with a goal of creating. Now… I have plans for an autobiographical comic strip, a strip covering my personal views on religion and politics, and some illustrations for other purposes. So art is becoming more and more important to me.

Miyamoto Musashi, self-portrait

 I’ve also recently, like in the last year, learned about and become a fan of Miyamoto Musashi. I’m working towards compiling a collection of his writings in the goal of collecting them into book form and having one printed for my own use. Musashi is a Japanese samurai from the 16th century. He walked a path that fascinates me completely. My family and I have been doing Japanese (the Pimsleur way!) in the van some days, but I’ve gone a step further and I now have one additional class each week for Japanese I.

I am quite excited. I’m drawing, taking classes for MY future, planning, dreaming and doing.

This was class 1. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. Tonight, a friend of mine is loaning me his truck and his arms to help me move some more furniture into our house. This new house is borderline twice as large as our last one, and we never had things organized in our last one, so now… it’s time to get things in order.

On top of all of this, apparently, I’ve injured one of the muscles in my forearm. It hurts to lift up things like magazines, or cups of water, with my left hand… but my right still works. That’ll make tonights moving expedition interesting, to say the least.

Well, if I want to use any of my lunch hour to draw, I gotta stop writing.

Peace, Love and Lots of Paint
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I joined the 5 club

So I’ve been researching for my upcoming web comic, digging into my favorite artists, adding a TON of new images to my ‘idea’ folder on my ownCloud setup, and even created a new tumblr to store some ideas that I run into FOR my future artwork. I know quite a few great artists and I’ve even had the privilege to become friends with a couple of them. But I have to say, my artistic mentor is the web comic guy Wes Molebash, he does Insert IMG which is a christian comic.

It’s been bothering me, even tho I know that it shouldn’t, to be the person I am and still have a fangirl reaction to a ‘bleevers’ art style. But I do… I just can’t help it. My problem was, despite wanting to learn from his style to better develop my own I couldn’t use his strips as the idea blocks they should be. As a fast reader, I would glance at a strip and have it read before I could stop myself. Then I would find myself back in ‘Atheist Alley‘ and hating that moment.

What is Atheist Alley? It’s that place where your rational and logical mind took a good long look at religion and you said, “What?!” And now whenever someone that you respect, love, are friends with, etc. starts speaking matter-of-factly about magic and gods and spiritual entities you are returned to that alley where you beat the crap outta your woo-self. Don’t get me wrong, if someone that I don’t know or could care less about starts speaking the gibberish I am easily able to tune them out. But… anyway…

So I get caught up mentally pointing out the fallacies of the strips content rather than just enjoying the artwork. Luckily, Wes has a ‘studio’ section of his site where he posts snippets of artwork he’s commissioned to do, videos of him drawing, inking or coloring, and other stuff. But I didn’t want to be restricted to his ‘sketch book.’ I wanted to learn from his main body of work. I’m sure it’s just a sign of an immaturity, or maybe just childish, but reading a christian comic where they reference gods, angels and demons as if they were real when there is not a drop of evidence for any of them… well… it sends me skyrocketing. Atheist Alley. So I grab a copy of each of his strips and remove the text.

Yeah. Probably ridiculous, but now I can calmly go through and admire his work without the ridiculous responses I have to the ‘Christian Message.’ Needless to say, I plan on a religious side-strip where I deal with my own issues with religion in a web-comic-y fashion. But for now, this works.

Well, as part of my recent life changing series of events (marriage, baby, move, new job, etc.) I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to get back on a ‘track’ where I am doing things that need doing, getting back into exercise, eating right, etc. So last night, while I was in my WONDERFUL new Jacuzzi bathtub at my new house I had my art supplies scattered around the tub, my wife’s iPad in my lap (yeah, mine flew off the top of my van one night while I was WASTED tired), and I was perusing several comics I love to use as a catalyst for fomenting ideas (both written and drawn), when I stumbled back to the Insert [IMG] site and on to his blog.

It’s been awhile since I took time to read a blog for fun. Most of my blog reading lately is map and ESRI related in order to get more in-tune with my new position and hopefully gather up some new skills and tricks and whatnot. But I sat and read… and he mentioned the ‘5 Club’ and how he had recently joined up. I decided to dig a little, got the app, This morning I did it. I was up at 5am, showered and in the kitchen by 5:45am, breakfasted, had the dishes done, cleaned up in the kitchen, and was at the dining room table with my sketchpads and drawing stuff by 6:15am.

Granted. I didn’t have the hour and a half that I wanted, but I was up. I was awake, with plans and intentions, and doing things. Now… I am excited for tomorrows membership meeting. I’ll make sure to get the dishes done tonight, have breakfast ready for cooking, and be drawing by 5:45am this time.

I’ve got big plans. It was only recently that I realized what I wanted to do with my life. I know… I’m only 42 and I have a long way to go before I need to making big decisions like this… but I came to conclusion. I want to create. I’ve got ideas for some comic strips (web and print) as well as a couple books that I’ve worked on-and-off with for the last few years. I have ‘things’ I want to make. A mark I want to leave.

I don’t want power, fame, or any of the usual. I only ask to leave something that matters…

So… I joined the ‘5 club’ this morning, and I plan on being a member more often than not. I’ve got my first strip decided on, now to start putting some of it on paper.

I’m excited. Motivated. Feeling creative.

Peace, Love and Dreams everyone.
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The Global Conflict Map

CrisisWatch is a 12-page monthly bulletin designed to provide busy readers in the policy community, media, business and interested general public with a succinct regular update on the state of play in all the most significant situations of conflict or potential conflict around the world. Click here for more information.

You can use the CrisisWatch Database to search all past and current editions of CrisisWatch. The database allows you to search for several regions or conflict situations at once, and to specify the date range you are interested in.

They have a map displaying Global Conflict and it’s worth a look see… If you want, you can hover of the countries that are colored in to see information about the various conflicts.
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Don't blink. Not even a little.