365 Days

365 Challenge: Day 127 – Linguistic

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Linguistic: relating to language or the study of languages

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I am from the United States of America. I speak English as my primary language. And I have taken for granted how easy it is for me to access nearly everything I need at a moment’s notice. At some point in my life, I have simply just expected the rest of the population would understand me, assuming that my language was the primary one spoken around the world. At one point earlier in my lifetime, it was a true statement. Today, I’m no longer sure if it is a true statement, as people are speaking more than English in many places. But I know I don’t take it for granted anymore. Perhaps English is not the most frequently used language, but that’s not the point behind today’s 365 Daily Challenge post. Linguistics. The study of language. Understanding different languages. Bilingual. Multilingual. Reading… Writing… Speaking… foreign languages. How many of us can truly say we can do it? That’s today’s focus.

Blogging has become a instrumental part of my day for about 6 months. I blog in English. I have followers from over 35 different countries as of this last weekend. Based on a quick look at the statistics, English is the primary language in less than 20% of those countries. How amazing is it that the world is able to understand me… wants to communicate with me… and has made an effort to learn my language so that they can understand me? Surely we in the United States of America have that same sense of camaraderie, right? I’d be shocked if we didn’t all speak at least one other language, right? I’m too lazy to check statistics, and these posts are supposed to be quick and from the heart / mind, so I won’t go verify it… But if I had to guess, I’d say maybe 80% of people in the USA barely know ten words in another language.

There’s no shame in it, as it’s not something we’ve put a priority on over the years. The world has almost always functioned with English as the general primary language in business and communication in recent years for the most part; however, it doesn’t make that fair or correct. It should be a requirement, at least in my opinion, whether mandated by a school or a parent, for children to learn and study at least one other foreign language during most of their schooling. I wasn’t forced to do it, but I chose to. And now, when I find a follower or friend or connection on social media who writes or publishes in a foreign language to me, I don’t skip over it. I go to Google Translate and learn what they said. I’ve also added the translation capability to my own blog site so that it’s a one or two step process for anyone to follow me, rather than force them to learn English.

When I selected electives for my seventh grade courses going into middle school, I chose Spanish. I had a few other options, but I felt like that was the language most other people I knew had spoken. I took classes from 7th thru 12th grade, becoming fairly fluent by the time I was 18-years old. When I was a waiter during college in the summertime, I practiced with colleagues so that I could keep up the skills. When I went to college, I chose to minor in Spanish so that I could extend my understanding of the language, as well as read literature in a foreign language. It was a tremendous benefit, as I’ve been to a few Spanish-speaking countries where it came in handy. I haven’t taken any courses in the last decade, nor read as much as I should have with Spanish as the language of the book. Unfortunately, I’ve probably lost some of those skills, but I am still strong enough to speak, read and write a good amount of Spanish.

As I grow older, I often wish I had learned other languages when I was younger. With my great interest in genealogy, German would have come in very handy over the years. I’ve taught myself some basics to be able to read documents, but I couldn’t introduce myself to a German native using the language. It’s something on my undocumented bucket list that I’d like to accomplish in the next few years. And I will do it not because I need to in order to visit the German towns where my ancestors come from, but because I have German blood and roots in me, and I want to have a connection with people in my culture beyond a basic and simple “hi, how are you?” type of deal.

I have great respect for those who can speak a few languages. You are intelligent and considerate folks who have taken the time to go beyond what you are familiar with so that you can communicate beyond your nationality. Or for those who move to a foreign country and have to learn the language in order to survive. It takes courage and strength to tackle such a feat, and you deserve big props.

For those who live in other countries, I’d love to hear your view points on learning another language other than your own, e.g. Japanese, Portuguese, Hindi, Italian, French… are you encouraged to do it? Forced? Do you learn at the same time as you learn your native tongue? Do you attempt to learn other languages beyond your native tongue and English? What do you think of Americans for often only being able to speak English? I’m not faulting or slighting anyone in America for it. Had I not chosen to do this, I would have been tasked with 2 years in middle school, and then I could have dropped it from my curriculum. It’s not always a choice for some students. Schools can’t always afford foreign language teachers. Classes are sometimes expensive as a supplemental education. I can understand how it happens, or for that matter, doesn’t happen.

But to me, learning another language is the gateway to many things, such as immersing yourself in a new culture, discovering a new society, meeting new friends, having alternative opinions, understanding history… Words are beautiful. Expressions lose their meaning in translations. I’ve always wanted to understand something in its original text. I took literature courses in Spanish and German for those reasons. And I’m sure I barely touched the surface of understanding the true meaning behind such amazing writers and stories. I’ve seen the beauty of the world outside of the languages and books I’m familiar with, and I want to experience more of it. And for those reasons, I consider myself someone with a linguistic mind. How about you?

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Susan @ SusanLovesBooks. Susan and I connected about 4 months ago via our WordPress blogs, but I don’t remember exactly what started our friendship. She was definitely one of the first ten people I followed or who followed me. And we immediately bonded over a few things we similarly shared an interest in, but we also laughed over how I absolutely hate the heat and she was living in Arizona. I’d complain about the temperature hitting 80-something in NY. She’d laugh at me and say “Oh, it’s cool here, only 109 in Arizona today.” Seriously, that’s just wrong. But she’s just right. And even more so now that she’s moving to upstate NY! It’s still a bit away from me, but we’ll be on the same time zone and on the same coast. More fun to be had over her fun book reviews, especially the Throw-back Thursday posts and her upcoming experience with the 4 seasons again. I look forward to her insights into the world and her thoughts on life. She’s friendly with many bloggers I know, which makes it always a fun day when we all get to chatting on someone’s post about something interesting or amusing. If you haven’t met Susan, or you are looking for someone new to socialize with, take a chance on her blog. If you’re a book lover, you’ll find a treasure trove of things to look forward to each day.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 114 – Earthy

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Earthy: resembling or suggestive of earth or soil

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People have lived on the planet called Earth for millions of years. Billions if you count previous incarnations of plant and animal life. Many argue it was created during a cataclysmic explosion; others by the hands of a powerful god. No matter what you believe, it was one of the very first things to be discovered by humankind. Whether you slept on it as a baby, crawled on it as an infant, or played on it as a child, you must have fond memories of touching the soil, grass, waters and rocks that comprise what we call our land.

Our land. This land is our land. In America, those words are part of our our national canon of heritage songs. Many people attribute them the American Revolutionary War in the late 18th century, claiming our independence from another (won’t say who… too many friends from there… and part of me wants to live there); however, the song was actually composed and published in the 1940s by folk singer Woody Guthrie. Today’s 365 Daily Challenge honors our great founders and leaders as we celebrate Independence Day, our Fourth of July holiday. Rather than add another post about this great celebration, as so many of my friends and acquaintances are doing a fantastic job writing about it, I thought I’d take a different approach and cover something about our land… hence the word “earthy” as the challenge for today.

Have you ever taken a moment to simply think about the Earth’s land? We’ve studied it in science courses, learning about the different layers, crusts and cores. We’ve memorized different aspects of geography from mountains to lakes and plains. We’ve prepared timelines for historical conquering of one country by another. Many of us have planted flowers, trees and vegetables in the dirt. We’ve swam in the oceans. We’re turned its materials into abodes and clothing to keep warm.

Many of us have been privileged to purchase our own land. A small home in the suburbs. An apartment building in the city. A farm in the country. We gave someone else money and in exchange received the deed and title to a parcel of land that we could call our own. And each previous owner did the same thing. It all traces back to some king or queen, the Native Americans (or other country’s original inhabitants)… somewhere, thousands of years ago, a person staked claim on part of the Earth and used it as a means for bartering and paying for materials and goods. But have you ever thought about who first owned this land?

Along the way, it’s become important for so many people to say they own a piece of land. To have something they can call their own. To be able to do whatever they want with it without someone else stopping them. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to stand on something you’ve worked hard for and to have those moments of pride and honor. If we were to trace it back as far as we can, who first owned it? When did the concept of individual parcel ownership become such a powerful aspect of life. The same house on Long Island where I grew up which sold for over $500K could be worth $100K in many other states. The value of money is the significant factor, but when you truly step away and think about it, it’s land. It’s just an earthy material, right?

Soil. Grass. Water. Rocks. While it makes tons of sense to me how this happened… and why it’s more valuable in one place than another… it makes no sense to me when there is so much of it to go around, to share among the billions of people on the planet. And we don’t always remember how important these little facts are. And so today, as we’re celebrating Independence Day in America, or just a normal Tuesday in any other country, maybe we should all take a moment to feel earthy for a few moments…

  • To pick up a handful of soil and remark at it’s ability to turn itself into so many things
  • To touch something green — a plant, a shrub or a tree — and know it is the foundation of all of our food and air
  • To drink a glass of fresh and clean water, knowing that’s not the case everywhere around us
  • To admire close up or from a distance some great mountain range or small stone and realize they provide us protection from the other elements

This post could have been on Earth Day. It could have been on New Year’s Day. But I thought about it today. Earthy. Connected with our planet. Connected with our land. Ownership. Freedom. Power. All the struggles over the years to maintain it. Or seize it. Or protect it. And yet we don’t always take proper care of it.

No, I’m not going all hippy or environmentally protective or focused… remember, these are 5 to 10 minute reads and thoughts… just a reminder what we already have in our lives and all that we want in the future. And that maybe we should take 5 minutes every day to connect with nature around us — to feel earthy… as it will help ground us among a sea of rocky pastures… and ultimately grow towards the future we hope to achieve.

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • As part of the 365 Daily Challenge, on a go-forward basis, I am going to highlight a blogger at the end of each post. The blogger will be someone I’ve come to know well via WordPress and social media, who has a site everyone should take a look at. It will also be someone connected to the word of the day. Yesterday, I started with the post on Growing with Roda…
  • Today’s blogger to know is Nel @ Reactionary Tales. Nel has become a friend both on WordPress and daily texting, covering what’s going on in each other’s lives, advice for sullen days, happy moments on fun days… I’m grateful to have a new friend. Nel is connected with the word “earthy” for a few reasons. In the link with her name above, you will read a post about how she saved a few baby birds from nets which would have undoubtedly wounded them so they could no longer fly, becoming easy prey for other animals. She has a regular post on different animals that are in danger. And she provides wonderful ideas and content about all the things in nature around her. She’s someone to check out and follow just to find that way each day to connect with the positive around us. Go see what I mean!

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About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 84 – Blue (Color)

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Blue: (a) of a color intermediate between green and violet, as of the sky or sea on a sunny day, or (b) melancholy, sad, and depressed

blue

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5). In the first set of five, we explored my primary ethnicity groups and nationalities. In the second set of five, we had the AtoZ Challenges for various favorite things in our lives. And so… I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Only this time, I’m going with colors that are important to who we are. For the next five Sundays, I will select a color that has some significance to my life and explore it in my post.

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Color: Blue. When I was born, blue went into a boy’s bedroom and pink went into a girl’s bedroom. Maybe that’s why I love the color blue. Cause I’m a boy. Oh please… Pick whatever color you want — why make it such a big deal! At least that’s how I feel… and since that is a very common, though antiquated, interpretation, I couldn’t go the whole post without mentioning it, but also saying I don’t feel it’s important. That said, I did grow up on the color blue and I do like it very much. But the reason I chose it as one of the 5 colors that represent me well is more because of its alternative definitions — not necessarily depressed or sad, but calm. It generally has a very muted, low-key and relaxed feeling to it (obviously not all bright or bold blue colors), and people turn to the sky or the ocean, the two biggest representations of the color blue, when they need a sense of peace. {Aside: BTW, the links in this post take you to previous 365 posts where the characteristic was something I blogged about.}

I’m not too fond of the ocean, simply because I don’t really know how to swim. My grandmother taught me when I was young, but I never felt comfortable in the water. Having poor eyesight meant when I was in the water, I either went without glasses and couldn’t see well, or I wore them and constantly had to dry off the lenses to be able to see. I could never swim underwater as it bothered my eyes, drying them out quickly. So I avoid the water for those reasons, but also because it’s generally too cold for me. I like water around 90 degrees, which it rarely gets to unless I’m in a heated pool. Swimming in the Mediterranean in Barcelona was the only time I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Even in Hawaii, it was too cold; although I did jump into a waterfall one day… I’ve got the pictures to prove it, but I can’t share them, as I was wearing very little or nothing in those photos for that impromptu experience (wild side comes out sometimes). Instead, I’ll show a photo of beautiful blue rose!

rose

Let’s chat about famous examples of the color blue… And yes, there are probably more, but these are the ones that come to mind or I have familiarity with:

  • Blue Whale
  • Blue Man Group
  • The Blues
  • Blue Ribbon
  • True Blue
  • Blue Balls (Please! I can’t ignore this one…)
  • Blue Blood
  • Blueberries
  • The Blue Lagoon
  • Blue Jeans
  • Bluebird
  • Turned up out of the blue
  • Blue Sky
  • “Little Blue Pill” — for the life of me, I can’t remember what it is…
  • Ocean Water
  • Cookie Monster — this is totally me with any package of cookies

From a quick InterWebs search, descriptions of the color blue, in regard to a person’s thoughts and feelings, confirm the following:

“Blue is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, expansiveness, inspiration, and sensitivity… as the color of the spirit, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming and exude feelings of tranquility.”

You can read more at: http://www.bourncreative.com/meaning-of-the-color-blue/

The Fifth Element is one of my favorite movies. It combines humor, art, history, revenge, secrets and the future. What does it have to do with the color blue? If you’ve seen it, do you remember this woman singing? How cool was her voice and the action in that seen!

 

The color blue has always been in at least one room in my home, no matter where I lived. In my current pad, it’s one of two primary colors in bedroom (the other is grey).  A quick photo (about a year old) — too lazy to get the latest ones with all the pictures on the walls and more pillows (orange, as it needed a splash of color).

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As a kid, I hated blue jeans. I couldn’t wear them — they were too itchy. And since I wasn’t allowed out of the house in sweats or gym-type clothing, I had to wear khakis all the time. I went to public school – none of that fancy private stuff for me!!! – and of course, I always got some comments for dressing “well” when everyone else wore jeans.  At 18, I gave jeans a try again, and finally… I could wear them. Now I live in them… or sweats… or shorts because I’m always hot. But the funny thing is… of the 8 pairs of jeans I currently own, only two are blue. I also don’t own a blue suit. I have one pair of blue corduroys, but blue mostly comes into my wardrobe either in dress shirts or casual every day shirts. And even in the latest picture of me (from last night), even though the sun is toning it down a bit, I was wearing blue. I had a few too many drinks right before dinner and needed a bit of a nap on the terrace, hence the slightly dazed look in my eyes.

me

How do you feel about the color blue? Did I miss any famous “blue” things or phrases and names with the word “blue” in them. I know I did… but I can’t seem to remember right now.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 66 – Card-Shark

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Card-Shark: a person who is skilled in card games

I am a card-shark. I admit this. I am happy about this. It brings me much joy. Now let’s set the record straight on a few things:

  1. Card-Shark also means someone who plays cards professionally or cheats at card games. Neither of those describe me. I am not a cheater. And I am not sure I’m good enough to be a professional player.
  2. In Britain, it’s called Card-Sharp… an interesting little twist. I prefer the American saying.

OK, that said… yes, it’s a noun, but when I thought about things people clearly identify with me, being a card-shark is one of them. Playing cards has run in my family for many generations. As a child, I watched my grandparents and parents play card games nearly every weekend. They watched their grandparents play as children. And their parents watched them play on the boats coming over from Germany. When I went away for college, I setup all the games among my fraternity brothers and friends. {Oh yeah, not sure I ever told you I was in a fraternity for 3 1/2 years… was also its Historian one year, and its President the next… I’ve got some stories, perhaps I’ll find one I can share in a 365 Challenge!}

I love everything about the concept of cards: Two colors, red and black. Four suits, diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs. 52 cards, 2 thru 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace.Wild cards. Jokers. Pairs and Straights. Royals and Flushes. These are magical words to me, ever since I was old enough to understand the different games. When I stayed home sick from school (ahem, cough cough), I’d watch the TV Game show “Card Sharks” and dream of the day when I could be a contestant. But sadly, it went off the air by the time I was old enough to legally play it.

My family played games such as Poker, BlackJack, Follow the Lead, 4 of a Kind, Sevens, Criss-Cross. As I grew older, we learned Solitaire, Hearts and Spades. With each new skill, I became a very strong player. And I was never a happy loser. But we’ve talked about that in the past! It’s a game of skill, math, risk, chance, perception, bluffing, psychology… all things that build our brainpower… you know, good stuff.

When I turned 21, my family took me to Connecticut for my first legal gambling experience. I say “legal,” because as a kid, I’d often accompany my mom to Bingo, go with my dad to the lotto store or play betting games on vacation in the Catskill resorts we visited. But at 21, I gave the slot machines a chance and won $1k that night. It seemed I had a knack for this thing they call gambling. For my college graduation trip, some friends and I went to Las Vegas. When they all went to bed at midnight (ha, I say!), I hit the BlackJack tables… found myself a friendly dealer with hardly anyone else at the table, and I put my card playing skills to the test. After a few hours, I walked out of there with another $1K. Call it skill, call it luck, I loved it!

I’ve also said my personality is not all that addictive, so I luckily am content to go to casinos maybe once per year and give it a shot. But playing cards on the weekends is a fairly regular thing. Lately, it’s Spades. My father and I team up against my mother and my better half. I don’t believe any of them read this blog, so I can comfortably say my father and I usually win without them chiming in or being embarrassed. And we did win this last Mother’s Day when we played for a few hours in the afternoon. It was a close one, but Dad and I kept our lead in the final hand and won the game. Some might think I should have let my mom win on Mother’s Day, but a real card-shark couldn’t do that, could he? HaHaHa! (I’m just being funny with my little note of sarcasm here… but I did win…)

I keep track of the cards, so I generally know which ones are still left in the deck. Go ahead… call me a card counter… nothing wrong with it. And I am good at math, so I apply some statistics to decide what my chances are, before making any risky moves.  It’s one of the few things I excel at… so I let myself brag just a little bit. But at the same time, it’s also one of those natural talents I’ve always had — not something I really had to learn. That’s what makes it special to me. It’s a bit of a gift, and I am grateful for it. Bring me a deck of cards (if there aren’t any books available, that is), and I am in total bliss.

How about you? Anyone play cards? Bridge? Pinochle? I’ll even take a Go-Fish!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 64 – Camera-Ready

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Camera-ready: (1) photogenic, in the right form and of good enough quality to be reproduced photographically onto a printing plate, (2) ready and able to take a picture

Today’s word has a double-meaning, at least when I think about how it applies to me. When people hear the word “camera-ready,” they likely think about whether they’re ready to go live on-air, but since most of us are not in the television or video profession where we have to spend a few extra minutes on our appearance, the definition is slightly different. It really means “are we ready to have our photo taken?” And the answer for me is undoubtedly “NO!”

For a variety of reasons, I am not a photogenic person. And this is not a commentary on whether I believe I am attractive or good-looking. The camera and I, be it video or photo, have a mutual hate/hate relationship. Here is why the camera is always cruel to me:

  1. A camera is only supposed to add 10 pounds, but I’m special and it allots 20 pounds for me. And in the weirdest places…
  2. Cameras find the devil inside me and show the brightest shade of red in place of my eyes. “Reality shining through?” I question…
  3. Even if I can find a tiny little smile to actually show up (smiling feels forced and awkward for me!), the camera decides only to take or keep the ones with the flat smile or the frown.
  4. Despite every intention I have of looking directly into the lens and holding still, I come out blurry and with my eyes in the middle of blinking. Next time I plan to try to glue them open.
  5. I’ve confessed to being quite pale, but the camera thinks of me as a ghost and chooses to lighten it up even more, almost to the point of translucent skin. I might be part vampire.

Five is enough, though I could go on forever. Whether it’s a good camera or a bad one, a friend taking the photo or a selfie, or even when I had a few done by a professional photographer for LinkedIn or school photos, I’m a mess in it. And it’s not the photographer’s fault… it’s just me! But I am OK with it. We are not all camera-ready. But I am envious of those who are able to just turn around so the flash catches them in the right position, and they end up looking perfect.

How???? OK, I’ll stop ranting. If you’re lucky enough to be one of those people, cherish it. It’s a good talent or skill or natural ability to have. I could never be an actor, nor anyone in front of the camera as part of my job. And if I ever become famous and need to do TV spots or videos, I’ll find a stand-in. It’ll be better for everyone involved… what should take 30 seconds to capture the right look will undoubtedly take 30 minutes for me.

But that’s not the only problem I have with a camera. I cannot take a good picture to save my life. Love that expression, by the way… “Take my photo. And if it’s not perfect, I’ll kill you!” That’ll probably be how I leave this planet some time in the future. A random drive-by camera-skills death. Gives new meaning to the phrase, “Stop or I’ll shoot.”

I’m also not inclined to retrieve my phone or a camera to take the photo. It’s not something that naturally happens in my mind. Some people are always snapping photos, sending them away on SnapChat or Instagram. By the time I get it all sorted out, I’m exhausted and then to try to upload it and provide some witty comment… it’s not the technical know-how… I’m good with all things digital. I just find the whole process tedious. But I love looking at other people’s photos… my better-half has given me a photo album as one of my Christmas presents for the last 5 years, highlighting all the photos of us and our friends and family from that previous year. All the photos are loaded onto our AppleTV as the screensaver, which means anytime the screen is not moving (and you’re not actively watching a show), thousands of random photos circulate. Kinda fun to see everything show up from over the years from both our families.

So… when it comes to the camera, I’m not strong on either side of it. I leave that to other people. The best I can manage is the occasional group shot for other people, when randomly asked on the street to take someone else’s photo. And I’m fine with that… we can’t be good at everything all the time. And I like to admit my faults. Wait… no, I don’t. Ugh, why don’t I just end here for today.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 62 – Soporific

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Soporific: tending to induce drowsiness or sleep

For several weeks, the word “sleepy” has been on my mind, when conjuring up the choice for the day’s 365 challenge; however, it never felt quite right. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to convey, and the image of Sleepy, one of the Seven Dwarfs, kept popping up in my head. That wasn’t exactly right…

I woke up early this morning, around 5:30 AM, which for a Saturday, despite what some may think, is early. As I made way thru the bedroom, to the hallway and into the kitchen, I switched on the coffee pot, let Ryder out the door and noticed it was raining again. Ryder was back inside in less than a minute, then I took the first cup of coffee and meandered my way to the couch. Light on. Laptop out. And… I was still sleepy. It wasn’t a matter of not having woken up yet; I needed more sleep, but the snore monster affected my other half again… and the sleep deities would not be kind to me.

I googled the word “sleepy,” which is when “soporific” showed up in the returned results. What a beautiful word! I’d heard it before, might have even used it once or twice, but never really knew the exact meaning. Now I do. And how does that apply to the 365 Daily Challenge, the astute are likely thinking as they read this randomness… am I a soporific person I asked myself… am I so boring that I induce sleep in others? Ha… given I am not a big talker, often find comfort in silence and am usually not the first in line to try some crazy new fad/activity/thing, perhaps I am a tad bit of a boring individual. Yet I don’t believe I cause others to fall asleep around me. I do have some interesting things about me that keep people focused and alert, wanting to know me better! Eh, that’s not the point. The point today… is…

What are your sleeping habits and how do they affect your day? Not scientifically. Not medically. But just generally… do you find yourself sleepy during the day? Do you need a nap to get thru the roughly 16 waking hours? Are you always on high alert until the energy wears out when you go to sleep? Does it take you a long time to fall asleep or wake up? Do you sleep all through the night? So many questions!

I am a creature of habit, so unless I’m going out particularly late or need to be somewhere extremely early… I tend to send myself to the bedroom around 10 PM. I go through all the apps on my phone to check out any notifications or messages, then grab a book (often Kindle on the iPad, but sometimes a physical one) and read for about 45 minutes or until my eyes are too weak to stay open. And I’m asleep between 11 and 11:30. I do not fall asleep easily. My mind runs through everything that occurred that day, what needs to happen the next day or any lists of things I need to do/get/buy. Sometimes the dog cannot get comfortable and circles the bed, throwing himself against my leg, jolting me out of the first level of sleep where I’m still sort of awake but not fully aware of what’s happening. Or the snoring from the other side of the bed mimics a lumberjack sawing wood, and I am throwing pillows or jostling the culprit in hopes it’ll whimper down to a low background noise. (RARELY HAPPENS)

But by 7 AM, I am usually awake and ready to start the next day, regardless of what creature or sound kept me awake. I’m not able to nap during the day either, unless I am so tired I can barely stand up.  And then it’s only 20 to 30 minutes. Be it the noises of the daytime, the dog licking me or my phone chirping… I never get to rest. On a funny note, Ryder does not like when I nap. He can nap all he wants… and gets upset if I make too much noise… getting up and putting himself in another room to avoid me. But if I nap, he walks up to me, licks my nose, barks at me, paws at me…  I can’t sleep in planes, trains or automobiles. It’s a conspiracy to prevent me from sleeping, I know it.

Now that I’ve bored you to tears, was it a soporific experience? Are you ready to fall asleep? That was entirely my point today… to randomly discuss my sleeping habits, gently lulling you to an induced temporary state where you could catch a 5 or 10 minute nap. All while I sit here and finish this 365 post. Always fun! Hope you laughed a bit. With the rain coming down, the coffee not being strong enough and my lack of sleep last night, that’s the best we’re gonna get today! So yes, perhaps I can be soporific. But rather than end on that note… here are a few things that do make me sleepy:

  1. Watching TV after 9 PM
  2. Watching plays at night if I’ve had a long work day
  3. Drinking too much wine after 9 PM
  4. People speaking at length on topics I am not interested in
  5. Reading non-fiction after 9 PM

Maybe 9 PM is just a thing with me? What’s your go-to, sure-fire way to fall asleep?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 61 – Blind

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Blind: lacking perception, awareness, or discernment

The word “blind” has many interpretations, both figurative and literal. If you are blind, you are unable to see. Perception is important to understanding a situation, as what you perceive may not always be correct and could lead you to confusion and chaos. Some people have tunnel vision and can only see something that is within a certain range. Others have intuition and can sense more than what they actually see. The best way for me to characterize what I’m thinking about today is by talking about those of us who are blind and those of us who are not. Let’s talk about the physical side of it first…

Having issues with my sight has been prevalent for most of my life. I began wearing glasses around 7-years old. When I turned 16, I was allowed to get contact lenses. While I wouldn’t qualify under the proper definition of blind, I have almost no ability to see anything other than faint colors and a huge blur, unless I’m wearing my glasses or contact lenses. I’m grateful that I have at least some ability to survive without them, but it is minimal. I wouldn’t even get from my bed to the door without using my hands to navigate, walking baby steps and listening carefully to know what noises may clue me in to my surroundings. 20 / 400+ vision sounds familiar, from visiting the eye doctor when much younger. If I wear my glasses or contact lenses, I end up somewhere around 20 / 40 — able to see everything, but usually still squinting for anything minute or far away. At least I have that ability… and I know that makes me lucky, as I could not imagine having no ability to see at all.

Perhaps because of my inability to see things clearly, I’ve developed an unusual retention or understanding of my physical surroundings. I’m hyper-sensitive about knowing where the entrances and exits are to whatever location I find myself in. But I don’t often pay attention to the colors, art or objects within the place. Unless I’m there for the intention of looking at the art or objects, they all fade away as unimportant things to ignore. My “educated” guess is that it’s a fear inside me, pushing me to know how to get in or out if I needed to in an emergency, as I would be lost without the plastic devices in or on my eyes.

If I am wearing glasses, my peripheral vision is weak. I can only see what’s directly in front of me and not to the sides. If the room gets too hot, my glasses might steam up. It will even happen with my contact lenses in use. Or if the lenses get dry or itchy, I need to take them out right away. For me, those could be issues in an emergency situation. If I lose my glasses, or someone took them away from me, or my contacts had to be removed, I would not be able to get in or out on my own. Unless, I knew the entrance and exit locations fairly accurately, which is why it’s always important for me. I wonder if that’s part of the reason I don’t like crowds, going to in-door concerts or being stuck up on higher floors…

Tunnel vision, over situations, is something we all experience from time to time. We choose only to see what we want to see within the parameters we’ve setup for ourselves. It could be a painful memory, an emotional avoidance, a strong desire… but we cling to a certain view of something, unwilling to consider anything outside those boundaries. I’ve done this on occasion, more when I was younger. I see it frequently in others now, if I stop and just monitor a conversation or note the way someone talks about certain situations. I’ve become perceptive to other people’s tendencies, so to speak.

In my own world, my perception can be skewed. Sometimes I want something to be true, I don’t see the things already indicating it isn’t possible or couldn’t happen. One’s mind is powerful and controlling, often able to hide things we do not wish to see at that moment. Previous experience can sometimes dictate your emotional reaction to a situation, and then you are unable to consider all the other pertinent facts or actions. It’s not often on purpose or even a choice; it just happens that way.

Blind. Blind to physical objects. Blind to memories. Blind to hidden meanings. Blind to the facts. We’re all blind to something in our lives… sometimes it’s important and might significantly change our paths. Sometimes it’s meaningless and would simply be a red herring. Reality can be jarring. Blinding ourselves to the truth is often an easy way to move forward or avoid things that need to be confronted or considered. Have you ever taken a moment to step back… to look at what’s going on around you… to remove the blinders and observe with a fresh approach?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.