REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com)

April Vacatiom Mary Harold Overlook

Image by hshawjr via Flickr

Last weekend when the wife and I went out for supper, we had some really great conversations about a lot of stuff. Where we were eating displays paintings done by local artists and she asked “don’t you ever wish that you had the ability to to do something besides work?” She knows me too well, because I have no artistic talent of any kind. I replied that I had always wished that I had some kind of talent, but I really don’t have anything that I am really outstanding at.

My wife has some talent as an artist, but can’t paint anymore because the paint makes her ill.
That got me to thinking this week and I have thought about it off and on. Below is my self-proclaimed artistic talent or should I say lack of:

Drawing/Art – Drawing stick figures and an occasional room with a ruler are about all I manage. I used to do a pretty good job of painting D&D figurines but that was more copying and blending than anything. Grade D
Singing – I sound like a tenor frog croaking or at least one that others want to put out of their misery. Can’t carry a tune, but I sure am willing to everyone’s displeasure. Idol sure isn’t my next stop. Grade F

Dancing – No sense of rythym, I just get out there and have fun, but haven’t been dancing since 2003, so I guess it doesn’t count. Not very graceful Grade D

Drama – I have a bad case of CRS (Can’t Remember Shit), actually I can, but rote memorization of lines is not a strong point. As a former teacher, I learned to “perform” in the classroom (if you can’t you are not a good teacher). So I can act a little bit, but it is improvisational, certainly nothing formal. Grade C+

Photography – Might be something that I could get into a bit, but just haven’t taken the time to actually try. But I do enjoy photographing “stuff”. Besides I just have to find the subject, not create it. But I am too literal in my interpretations and don’t get into the depths that a photographer actually reaches for (unless it is by accident) Grade C

Music – Don’t play any instruments, tone death (I kill people when I try to play music), can’t read music, but boy do I love to make noise, just have to make sure no one is around when I am. Actually I love music, but someone else better make it. Grade F-

Writing – This one intrigues me, because I think that I can tell a pretty good story, but except for technical writing for work (which I do a lot of) or school and my blogging, I have never actually taken the time to try writing. Score Undetermined

So I don’t have a lot of talent in the artsy – fartsy end of the multiple intelligence, which makes me extremely jealous of those that do! I wish I had some real ability in any of these areas, but this side of humanity as much as I wish it wasn’t is very foreign to me. I try to play in that sandbox, but I always seem to fall out or get thrown out for good reasons. But I would like to explore the writing end a bit more, just have find time and the right subject
Oh well maybe I should explore what I am good at in the next post…. Just to make me feel better heart_broken
So what do you think you are good at in the artsy – fartsy world ?smile_regular

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Taking an Internet Break October 2010

REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com)

Okay – I took a week off, from the blogging and the internet to review my online expectations and goals, so what did I do with the time that I had been spending on blogging and other online activities?
First and foremost, I spent a little more time with my wife. We are old enough and have been together long enough that we don’t feel the need to be constantly be around one another, as long as we are in the same general area. But I spent more time with her than I did on the computer which is very good thing.
Cover of
Cover of Teckla

I read 4 books – all Sword & Sorcery “high”fantasy. I read Stephen Brust – Jehreg andTeckla, they were okay, but they have been consigned to the “give” pile instead of the personal library. While the stories were good, I just have way too many books and not enough room for them all. So if a book or series is just good, not great or something that I will read again, I will put it in the donation pile for others to benefit.

Cover of
Cover of The Summer Tree (Fionavar Tapestry)

The other two books I read were by Guy Gaveriel Kay (the first two books of theFionavar Tapestry) The Summer Tree andThe Wandering Fire. I have read the series before and these were part of my library. It is a fantastic series and worth reading if you enjoy this genre – which I definitely do, it is well worth taking the time to read. Kay is an excellent writer. I have started the last book in the trilogy and will probably finish it today or tomorrow. Once I start reading this series I can’t seem to put them down. The Fionavar Tapestry is one of my favorite trilogies of all time. I would love to see Peter Jackson take and make these books into a movie series, it wouldn’t be Lord of the Rings, but it would be really good. These books are definitely going back into my library.

I also played more than a few hours of NeverWinter Nights 2. The first time through I played a swashbuckler/duelist/rogue under the new rules set to try something different and then I went back to what I enjoy playing the most which is a simple plain Jane fighter. I just enjoy not having to think about spells or other things, just go in an bash heads and then move on (using some strategy – sometimes).

This is the exact opposite of how I am in real life, so it is an escape and great fun for me. I can just play, but the game for some didn’t pick a quest I completed and now I have to start over. In order to move forward I have to go back and begin again. Oh well, I will find stuff that I missed the first time through.

My interest in Sword & Sorcery is simply an escape from the day-to-day tediousness of life and something that I have enjoyed since Junior High, I guess you could say that I have been a geek all my life. In these adventures, I can be much more than I can be in real life. So it is simple fun and keeps my mind sharp as I attempt to develop strategies that can overcome “evil” in the games. I don’t enjoy playing evil characters it just isn’t my nature, I am too much a “goody two-shoes” in real life.

I also watched a little bit of TV with the wife we both enjoy the Star Trek series and one of her presents was all the Voyager Seasons, so we are almost at the end of the Season two since Christmas.

My week simply seemed fuller than it has in the past when I was focused on my blog and the almost 200 RSS feeds in Google Reader. In order to do what I was doing, it would have to be a full time job and I am not prepared to quit my day job and attempt to be a Freelance Writer/blogger/marketer as some on the web are doing successfully and some are not. I am now down to 50 feeds (much more manageable and I am thinking very seriously about reducing them even further) and I don’t have the same need to constantly work on my blog that I felt, when I was trying to be something that I am not.

The Siren’s song of the internet is very seductive and you don’t realize how much you give when putting hours and hours of you time and effort into it. The internet is a great tool, but when your virtual life becomes as or more important than real-life, then that will cause problems in other areas of your life. The goal should be to strike a balance between the two, where virtual reality, does not negatively impact reality.

I believe that I have found a nice balance of the two, keeping blog post to 3-4 times a week and maybe a couple more on the weekend if I have done something interesting to me. But I have to remember to keep my feet rooted in reality, not the dreams of the internet.

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REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com)

Well I basically took off the week with a couple of exceptions for some really good reasons. I wanted to take a close look at what I really want to accomplish online and at work. The time was well spent and I have had a good chance to look at my online activity, how it will interact with my “real” work and reflected on what was appropriate for me.

Working on blogs, getting myself involved in social networks and all the other stuff I was doing online was becoming a job in and of itself, not something I was doing for enjoyment, it had stopped being fun. I would put in my time at work and then put in another 5-6 at home at night and then more on the weekends. I wasn’t allowing myself any downtime to recuperate from work, which we all need.

Making money by blogging would be nice, but reality finally is beginning to set in – blogging professionally requires more time and effort than I have to give to it at this point in my life. I have a real job, that is a good job, it like any has its ups and downs. But it does provide me job satisfaction, challenges, responsibility, stability and provides me with enough income that I am not looking to move on. Blogging does not provide that, so unless I get laid off, it will remain a hobby, it is not my profession.

I got caught up in in reading to many “yes you can too blogs”, SEO, monetizing a blog, and thinking that I too could earn some money writing a blog. This was a mistake on my part. I lost my way on the reason that I created and maintained Aging Reluctantly.

That is why I switched back to the Congo Blue Modified theme, it is more me, it is a little colorful but is concise and readable. Where I am making a conscious change in the direction my blog is taking, a change in appearance is appropriate.

Aging Reluctantly is my personal blog and hobby, not a profession and I can write to have fun and not try to generate readership and write about things that I am not passionate about.

So I am back to being me, instead trying to be something that I am not. I believe that my blogging will go back to something I enjoy doing, instead of something that I have to do – which is a good thing. But I did learn an awful lot about blogging.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.