Living stories

We are living stories. Our stories intertwine with others. And to the extent that we play an active part in the stories of one another, we’ll be remembered.  Over time, as the accumulation of those other living stories end, we are soon forgotten.

It has been said, ‘Life is for the living’.  I believe that. Sure, we can write about the lives of others, and in a way preserve the life of that person in print… but how do you really capture their essence?

Life is all about experiences. Its messy and complicated. Life can be both rewarding, and it can be full of despair. Don’t dwell too much on the negative aspects of the past. Look positively towards the future.

Live your life without regrets. You cannot undo the past, but you can learn from your mistakes. Strive to be a better human.

Welcome new friendships into your life and try mending any broken ones. Extend grace towards others, for you know not the battles they’ve faced. Enjoy the good times and share in the sorrows of your friends. Your legacy… your part in the greater story… should be how fondly you’re missed when your story in the book of life ends.

Protecting yourself as a seller on E-commerce sites.

Recently I’ve had to deal with an absolute moron on one of those e-commerce websites. You know the type… basically an online yard sale. Back in the day, more than 20+ years ago when I first joined, it wasn’t too bad. Sure, every one of those websites has its problems, but as the saying goes… if you sleep with dogs, you’re bound to get fleas.

Here are a couple of tips to help protect yourself from the scammers and other financial predators on those sites.

1. Only list items that the total price sells for less than $100.

This is because, if a seller claims the package ‘never arrived’, ‘was damaged in transit’, or any other excuse… the insurance included with priority mail ($100) will cover any loses.

2. Never combine shipping costs if a buyer wins several auctions.

This goes back to #1. Never sell anything that exceeds the insurance limit. If possible, break down higher priced items into smaller lots. Combining lots, while beneficial to the buyer, will inevitably come back to bite you in the ass.

Interestingly enough, the website to which I’m referring (not to be named), automatically sides with the buyer as long as the buyer claims an item won was ‘not as advertised’.  It doesn’t matter how clear pictures for the items are, how much information you provide about the item, etc., the buyer will be given the right to a refund. That’s also true if you’ve clearly stated in your auction that returns are not accepted. You must understand, the website is a glorified online flea market… no matter how many billions of dollars they earn a year. Nothing is allowed to get in the way of their profits. Scammers thrive under these conditions.

My advice to you is to think carefully before placing anything for sell online. Try other methods first. Online auction sites allow bad actors to thrive.

“The only winning move is not to play.”  War Games (1983)

Be safe out there!




Running just below the surface…

The art of subtle communication… an informal type of communication, can be on multiple levels and multifaceted in its application. Communicating effectively requires a working knowledge of several techniques… proxemics, Kinesics, and Haptics. 

Proxemics: proxemics relates to how people unconsciously use and perceive the space around them. Space can be subdivided into public, social, personal, and intimate. The size of these spaces can vary depending on one’s culture, and specific social situation. The use of space maintained between people, can influence the way messages are interpreted.

The observation of people and how they use proxemics in certain situations, can convey the general nature of their relationships to others. For instance, two people in very close proximity to each other, could be indicative of romantic involvement. Two people keeping a lot of distance between, could indicate unease or distrust.

Kinesics: A form of communication through the use of body language. This can be accomplished through the use of gestures, body movement, posture, facial expressions, and eye contact.

Flushing of the skin, crossing one’s arms, and certain types of eye contact are examples.

Haptics:  Relating to the use of touch to communicate.  Touch can convey sympathy, fear, love, etc.

Understanding how to interpret proxemics, Kinesics, and Haptics… we can more accurately gage what someone is subtly telling us. Depending upon that person’s response, we can tailor the tone of our non-verbal cues to encourage, persuade, reject, or even change the other’s opinions and actions. Specific delivery of these three major components of communication is essential in successfully relating to others. 

There are many sub-categories and facets relating to the proxemics, Kinesics, and Haptics. I find this subject matter quite interesting.

Thoughts of the day…



Adopting a different perspective…

At times, our natural inclinations need to be adjusted, so as to better get along in certain social environments. But changing how we interact with with others can take a great deal of work.

An introverted person can learn from watching an extroverted person in social situations. That extroverted person may teach the introvert techniques in how to successfully interact with other people. Introverts inserting themselves in the right social situations, can help the introvert develop social skills that they may be lacking.

How does this apply to me? What can I learn?

Knowing that I’m a very introverted person, and somewhat lacking in ‘soft skills’, I’ve made it a point to venture out of my comfort zone. Over the last several years, I’ve volunteered and served on several boards. I’ve chaired a few ‘hospitality’ suites which meant that I had to interface with people over extended periods of time.

The take-away for me, was learning to negotiate conflicts with opposing parties… better understanding the viewpoints of others… and the proper use of tact.


Games work because people can role play in a fictional frame of reference without real life consequences. 

This is important concept to grasp. While playing games can be fun, it can also help a person develop strategies and play through variables to experience optional outcomes. All without taking any real life risks. And that’s only true unless you’re gambling… to which I’m not speaking. Dreams can serve much the same purpose as game playing… if you’re fortunate to remember once you wake.

Unintended consequences?

Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation into law that capped fast food worker minimum wage at $22 per hour. It goes into effect in 2023. Starting in 2024, the minimum wage will adjust according to inflation, but will be capped at 3.5% annually. Sounds great for those fast food workers, right? Maybe not.

Consider how other employed workers will feel, having climbed the economic ladder, having earned the hourly wage they now enjoy. Jacking up unskilled labor wages erodes the gains those workers had. Their previously higher wages will now have less buying power than before… also factor in increased prices across the the economy to pay those increased minimum wages.

And there are other considerations… Employers are very conscious of their operating budgets and how taxes and wages affect their bottom lines. At some point, it becomes more affordable to replace humans with automation. Sure, people will still be needed to keep automated machinery working properly. But it is highly doubtful many of the people who will be replaced by automation, would have the skills necessary to maintain those machines. So, what happens to them?

Another potential outcome of raising the minimum wage to unrealistic levels, is that the unskilled fast food workers would be replaced by college educated workers. Twenty-two dollars an hour is not bad money to a recent college graduate. Employers are always trying to hire the most competent workers for the wages offered. Having a choice between hiring a college graduate or someone without a degree, well… you get the picture.

Unskilled workers losing their jobs to automation and college educated people, kinda defeats the original intention of the ‘living wage’ concept. I’m no proponent of a living wage. The minimum wage is supposed to be a temporary wage to an employee until that person learns more skills to justify higher wages. Employers being forced to pay higher minimum wages to unskilled labor, seems to me, like a very bad idea. How many businesses will leave the state? How many people will not start future small businesses in California? What are all the long-term unintended consequences?

Time will tell…

White Holes



The theory of white holes came from Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, just as the theory of black holes existing. In solving for Einstein’s theory, one of the solutions requires that there cannot be any edges to space-time. If an object falls into a black hole, at some point it reaches singularity. At singularity, space-time is curved so much that it becomes an abrupt edge, and you can no longer predict the trajectory of the object falling into the black hole. But, in the Theory of General Relativity, that is not allowed. To account for this, there must be a region in which a black hole does not only draw matter within but is also ejecting matter.

A black hole and a white hole do share some characteristics. At singularity of both, all matter is infinitely dense. Both also have event horizons. The event horizon of a black hole is the point where matter can no longer escape, but in a white hole, matter can no longer return.

But do white holes exist? Some scientists say no because a white hole would violate the second law of thermodynamics. Suppose for a moment, what if a white hole is the opposite side of a black hole, also known as a wormhole? Could this be a possible way to traverse space quickly?  Could galactic explorers use wormholes to someday find suitable planets for humankind to inhabit, once our home planet is swallowed up by our Sun, when it eventually turns into a red dwarf star?

The problem with this wormhole theory is that the physics of wormholes are inherently unstable. Before the time it would take to travel through a wormhole, at greater than the speed of light, the wormhole would close. Still, it is an interesting thought.

Two Worlds and a side of trepidation

I moved to San Diego just prior to entering the new millennium. San Diego was a very different place from what I was accustomed. I had left behind a slower pace of life and the community which I had come to know as ‘home’, for a city that moved at a much faster pace and a lot more expensive to live.

I had considered moving to Montana instead of San Diego, but in San Diego, I had at least the support of my brother and sister. Montana offered what I craved at the time… peace and solitude. San Diego offered opportunities. The pragmatic side of me won out, so San Diego became ‘home’ for the next twenty-plus years.

Recently, I’ve the feeling of being torn between two worlds. San Diego is a great place to live. It has pretty much anything and everything a person could want. But I’m tired. Increasingly of late, I’ve found myself longing for solitude once again. And I long for peace.

Peace… an interesting concept. I don’t rightly know what it is, and I doubt if I will ever find it. But I think, peace is no longer feeling alienated… no longer trying to ‘fit in’… returning to the area of my youth and attempting to reclaim a part of myself, I somehow lost long ago… an attempt to return to simpler times.

The nerd in me is reminded of Frodo leaving Middle Earth in LoTR. He left because his past injuries were too much to bear, and he sought relief from his wounds in the Undying Lands. But even in the Undying Lands, he still bore the Gift of Man. I think this may be what I’m seeking… relief in my version of the Undying Lands and ultimately embracing the Gift of Men.




Meat Loaf on my birthday



I grew up during the late 70’s to late 80’s. Music during that period was in constant change. One of the first songs that made an impression upon me was a ballad by Meat Loaf, ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’. The song was about a young man who loved a girl very deeply but she ended up leaving him. Some time later she comes back to him, but his badly wounded heart had moved on, and so he rejects her.

Meat Loaf’s musical style can be best described as Rock Opera. His long-time friend and songwriter was Jim Steinman, who passed away in April of 2021. Steinman wrote many songs for many performers. A few of those other performers were  Bonnie Tyler, Celine Dion, and Taylor Dayne. But, Meat Loaf was Steinman’s greatest collaborator. Meat Loaf brought Steinman’s songs to life. He gave the songs the theatrical performance they deserved. Bat Out of Hell was both Steinman’s and Meat Loaf’s greatest masterpiece.

Sadly, Meat Loaf passed away on January 20, 2022… my birthday.





Translate »