I Became a Tourist Today

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

This morning was just one of those mornings that everyone has from time to time, I  was totally frustrated at work and everything that I had done this morning, didn’t turn out like I expected.  So I took 15 minutes at lunch and did something I haven’t done since I moved to the Augusta area 8 years ago, I played tourist for a few minutes.

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The Maine Capitol Building from Capitol Park.
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The Governor’s Mansion
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I just needed the break away from work for a few minutes.  Acting like a tourist and taking pictures took my mind off what I was getting frustrated over.  Felt a lot better afterward and was able to focus on what I need to get done.

Pictures were taken in Augusta, Maine

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JIM RICE – HALL OF FAMER

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

BOSTON - OCTOBER 05:  Former Boston Red Sox le...

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Jim Rice is taking his rightful place as a Hall of Famer in Cooperstown today.  He was selected on his last year of eligibility – 15 years after he was initially eligible for Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

I enjoyed watching him play as a rookie in 1975, the year I graduated high school and went in the Coast Guard that summer.  I was a hard-core baseball fan back then and took each Red Sox win/loss seriously.  His exploits that summer helped me survive boot camp in the hot Southern New Jersey sun.

As a lifetime Red Sox fan, I followed him throughout his career.  He never seemed comfortable in the spotlight and was castigated by the press as being aloof and prideful.  To me and many others, he was simply a hitting machine, that wanted to be left alone after the game was over – a private man in an age of media glut.  As he has aged and shown more of himself on the local Red Sox shows, he is very well spoken and knowledgeable, but still at time uncomfortable in front of the camera.  In other words he is a real person.

I truly and strongly believe that he deserved to be a first ballot Hall of Famer, he was a gentleman who played baseball the “right way”.  He played hard and I sure as hell would not have wanted to be the second baseman if he were sliding in breaking up a double play.

So my congratulations to Jim Rice, who never played for anyone but Boston and who is now most deservedly a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Jim – thanks for the memories.

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KAYAKING IN OXFORD and NORWAY, MAINE

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

Today we were originally going to Camden, but at the last minute decided to go to the Norway, Maine are to go kayaking. We got a late start so we stopped for lunch at Daddy O’s by Oxford Plains Speedway.  This was the second time we have eaten there and both times it has been excellent (both the food and the service).

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Then we went to the bridge over the Little Androscoggin in Oxford and put in under the bridge.

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As you can see by the photos, the water is still extremely high and the current was very strong.  After we passed under this snowmobile bridge the current got even stronger and we decided to turn around, it was just too strong for an enjoyable trip up the river.
So we decided to go up to what Mary called Norway Lake which turned out to be actually called:
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A house on the the lake that we both really liked
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A neat house on the island that had been engineered all the way around – couldn’t happen today though.
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Where Mary worked when she was in High School.

We went to the book sale and I got lucky and picked up 5 R.A. Salvatore books that I didn’t have and Mary picked up a few.  Overall a very good day.  Plus it hasn’t rained today.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours? Please leave a comment below, so I will know your thoughts.

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VISIT TO FT. WILLIAMS – PORTLAND HEAD LIGHT

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

We went to South Portland, Maine this morning on the way to pick up my step-daughter from the airport. Fort Williams, which brings back a bunch of memories from the mid-70’s when I was stationed there on the USCGC SPAR and we would go there to have ship’s parties and our own parties.  The park is a lot cleaner today than it was then.  I have pictures from that time period of the same shots, maybe someday I will scan them and put them up side-by-side.
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Portland Head Light
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I used to love going between these two lights, it meant we were tied up in about 30 minutes.
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The pictures of two buoys, anyone who served on a Coast Guard buoy tender understands why I took this picture.  David H. if you look at this this ones for you.
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We didn’t have much time at Ft. Williams, but it sure did bring back a flood of memories.  Someday we will go back and actually wander around
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IS MY BLOG SUCCESSFUL?

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

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I have been reading Matt Chevy’s blog Life Without Pants for a couple of months now and found him to be an extremely insightfulwriter and someone that makes me think.  Believe it or not I think that this is a good thing (a little tongue in cheekhumor), because when I read his blog it makes me look at my own life a little differently and from a different perspective.  Today he asked questions about Measuring Your Blog’s Success – Its Not all about Numbers which I responded to in his comments, but the more I thought about it, believe that I should expand on some of the answers that I gave there.

Matt asked a series of questions that really made me stop and think about the future of my blog and how I measure if I consider my blog to be successful:

1.  What do you think?  My blog is an extension of who I am and a major part of what my online identity and reputation have become.  Blogging helps me think through different or difficult issues and makes me put down the rationales for my position for them.  It also give people a glimpse into who I am when I am writing about my interests, opinions or when I put my photographs up as part of a blog.

2.  How do you measure the success of your blog?  We all look at how much money our blogs make (mine made $0.01 over the last month), so you can tell I am really into blogging for the money.  Everyone looks at different stats fromGoogle, reader comments, hit counters, map counters or some other statistical tool.  These are external measures of how your blog is performing and gives you an idea of how popular the blog is to others.  The more intrinsic measure to me is as simple as opening up your blog and saying to yourself I really like how this reflects who I am or that last entry I wrote really provided good insight on the subject.  The unquantifiable measurement of a blog is sometimes more important than the statistical analysis.

3.  What ‘grade’ would you give your blog and what factors are you using to measure? If you measure my blog simply by the statistics it is not doing too well, probably a D- at best.  I don’t have that many subscribed readers, comments or visitors when compared to many blogs out there, but I keep plugging along. But it means so much more to me than what the statistical numbers provide, to me I think that my blog is at the “B” level.

4.  Does quality trump quantity?  Sometimes.  I think that I give up a little in quality in my rush to get my thoughts down and out onto my blog (I go back and proofread them and correct glaring errors), due to the limited time that I typically have to blog.  Perhaps for more important posts, I should put them into LiveWriter as a draft overnight and then post them the next day after a 24 hour cooling period and a good re-read.

5.  Can someone with very little traffic and limited discussion still claim that their blog is a success?  It depends upon from whose perspective you are looking at the blog.  In my case an outsider looking at HaroldShawjr.com would say it is a failure and to start completely over, keeping it as only a family personal blog.  Which I have thought seriously about doing and still might.

But this question did make me think.  Are you talking to me personally about my blog?

I know statistically that my blog is not that successful, but looking back since I started blogging, it has meant a lot to me personally to blog.  It has provided me a venue to share my thoughts on a wide variety of things that I would never had shared publicly without writing in my blog.  So do I consider my blog(s) successful – yes everyone one of them have been successful to me.

6.  What defines ‘personal’ blogging success?

My blog(s) have been and are personal blogs that have had too many focus areas to create a brand or theme that readers could identify with.  But to me, my blogs meet the needs that I have for them, they help me learn more about myself, the issues that I write about and allow me to enjoy one of my passions – writing.

What does the future hold for me in blogging?

This is my question for myself, first I have to settle down to one or two blogs and set them up and keep them.  I have had blogs at Blogspot.com, Ning, WordPress.com, Opera.com, EduBlogs, ThinkPad, Windows Live, self hosted WordPress through HostICan, and now back to a domain at Blogger.  I just haven’t stayed in one place long enough to develop a decent readership and that is my own fault, I enjoyed the experimenting and learned a lot about what I like and dislike about the different services.  I believe that I have settled down to the Blogger platform as my blog host of choice, it just meets my needs and I am comfortable with its idiosyncrasies.

But I do need your assistance if you have been reading my blog, should I keep things as they are (one blog for everything) or split off and keep haroldshawjr.com as my personal blog and then have a more focused blog on something that I really love, like end user reviews of applications/software/hardware that I use or try;  some political commentary or some personal growth information?   Any suggestions or comments would help me with this conundrum.

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IF OPPORTUNITY KNOCKs–I AM NOT READY

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

trees 003With all the rain we have been getting in Maine this week, when we are not doing work around the house projects, it has given me the opportunity to reflect and think about many different things.  As part of this reflection process, I participated in a webinar on making your Resume stand out this morning and while I learned some good information, it also caused me to ask myself a lot of questions about my future and what I want from my career.

Does this mean that I am actively going out to look for a new job somewhere starting today – no I am not.  I like what I am doing for the most part and believe that it is an important position that can help make a difference for people in Maine.  At the same time if an opportunity does come around that is unique or particularly interesting for me, I have to be prepared to put my best foot forward, because that kind of opportunity will probably only present itself once.  Just think that I used to give this advice both as a former Military Career Counselor and as a teacher to my students and that I have neglected to follow my own advice.

The worst thing that I or anyone can do is be in a rush to apply for that “dream job” or opportunity.  I don’t want to be in that predicament, that opportunity knocks and then be in a hurry to update my resume, create a new cover letter, ensure when my name is searched in Google – what is supposed to show up is what is there (so that there are no surprises when someone does search my name or at least be prepared for it), that my LinkedIn, Facebook and othersocial media accounts are up-to-date.  Doing all of these things at the last minute will lead to mistakes or omissions, that could remove me from consideration for my dream job.

Right now if that opportunity knocked, I simply am not ready (I would be in rush mode) and I don’t know what kind of opportunity that I am actually looking for.  I haven’t done due diligence for planning my own future career goals, to determine what I want to do if I was no longer in the position I am now or something that I would want to do more.  I know that I have strengths, weaknesses, abilities and interests, that will lead me in certain directions when it comes to what I consider to be the right opportunity.  After participating in the webinar I “remembered” that I have to decide what kind of opportunities that I am looking to target if they do become available.

I have a bit of homework that I need to accomplish before I am ready for that opportunity to knock on my door:

  • Decide what my future career goals actually are.
  • Update my resume, it has not been updated since March 2008 and desperately needs some serious updating and format change.
  • Review what happens when Google searches for Harold Shaw and all the other variations of my name
  • Update my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.
  • Ensure that my blogs all work and if they are discontinued that they reflect that fact, instead of one being inactive for a long period of time with no updates.

Does anyone have any further suggestions or ideas that I should do as part of this getting ready “just in case opportunity knocks” preparation?

This I believe is a good first step, I have now acknowledged that I am not ready if opportunity knocks today, but can be ready in a relatively short amount of time, I just have to make it a priority and take the time to do it.

Question for you – If opportunity knocked on your door today would you be ready to answer immediately?

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EMAIL ADDICTION – say it ain’t so

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

My series continues on things that I am changing as a result of reading “The Power of Less”.Email as Leo said in his book has become an addiction for many of us.  I didn’t believe him when I was reading “The Power of Less” how addicted to e-mail I have become.  This week I have attempted to only look at my e-mail at 7:30, 10:00, 1:30 and 4:30 and found that I didn’t do very well.

imageThe first thing that I discovered that I took for granted previously was the e-mail popups that are in Outlook and the Opera Browser.   Every time I that little popup comes up, I stop what I am doing and glance down to look and see who is sending me mail and then usually click on it, so I can answer right then.

What this actually does is that I stop whatever I am doing on the computer, loose my train of thought and answer a imageusually unrelated e-mail then try to get back to whatever I was working on.  Multiply this by the number of e-mails that I receive over the course of a day or evening and wonder why I have so much difficulty getting work done.

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My position is a fairly technical position:  I am a Grants and Program Officer which requires a great deal of focus on the task at hand to ensure things are done correctly or that my interpretations of rules/regulations are appropriate to the situation.  Looking back at how e-mail is ruling my life with its interruptions and instantaneous reply demands, I am surprised that I got anything done.

I am looking at e-mail from a different perspective now and I strongly believe that I have to take control of this tool in order to be more effective/productive at work and home.  Learning how to turn-off the e-mail notification pop-ups in Outlook and the Opera e-mail client is going to be one of my big goals. To think I really thought that the pop-up notification was a great thing and a productivity enhancer, now with this different view, I believe it is part of the problem for me.
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This is how my inbox is going to be from now on.  I am taking the read it once then, file-it, forward-it, or trash-it method and applying it to my e-mail as well.  This will hold down the number of e-mails that I re-read over and over being in my inbox.

I have to remember that just because I receive an e-mail that I don’t have to respond immediately and drop everything else I am working on, which usually is more important than the e-mail.  E-mail I am learning has become a distraction that I need to take control of, if I want to be more productive and focused on what I need to get done.

E-mail is a tool that can be a significant time-waster if not carefully monitored.  I am addicted to e-mail, but now at least I now realize it and can take steps to take back control of how I use it.  Hopefully, while I am on vacation I can lower my level of e-mail addiction and find out how to get rid of the pop-up notifications.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours.  Please take the time to comment below.

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DISCIPLINE HAS A BAD RAP

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

Discipline is such a unique word, it conjures up images of horrible “punishment” by schools to many and yet to others it is what ensures that things get done.  I cannot think of another word that conjures up so many conflicting emotions in so many people.  How people react to the word discipline depends greatly on the context it is being used in and how it is viewed in their life.

Definition from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discipline
1: punishment
2: obsolete : instruction
3: a field of study
4: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
5 a: control gained by enforcing obedience or order b: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior c: self-control
6: a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity

I have seen parents cringe and students cower when discipline was being discussed at “disciplinary” meetings when I was a teacher.  Yet in those same meetings when they were told that the student lacked discipline to complete their work or attend class, both the students and parents would chuckle and offer a variety of excuses.  It seems when discipline is related to possible punishment people view it very differently than when it is used to describe a personal trait.

Did I enjoy being “disciplined” while in school or the military (I had my share of USCG Boot Camp 001opportunities), at the time “definitely not”.  I would much rather preferred not having gotten caught at whatever it was I did…but looking back on many of these “times”, I wasn’t actually punished (which is a different thing in my book), I was disciplined to teach me that there were consequences for my actions or sometimes my lack of action.

Discipline has become a positive thing in my life. It is what allows me to get through difficult situations, maintain the personal standards that I have chosen and provides me with the ability to improve myself academically or professionally.  Without discipline in my life, I would be much less focused on what I need to do versus what I want to do. They are not always the same thing and being disciplined is what I believe keeps me doing the right things, especially when it would be easier to do something else.

If there was more adherence to being disciplined in today’s world many of the scandals and other negative “stuff” that ends up in the news would not happen.  So here’s to the hope that future generations of leaders are more disciplined than many of today’s leaders.

Discipline has gotten a bad rap and people focus way too much on the punishment definition of the word.  I wish that people would focus more the other positive meanings that discipline should convey to everyone.  Remember discipline can be a good thing.

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