Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's Ok For Guys To Receive Gifts, Right?

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and Wal-Mart is once again doing layaway during the next couple of months. Women receive gifts all the time, especially around Christmas, Valentine's Day, their birthday, and other such holiday. Men, we also receive gifts as well. However, it is not always in the same grand gesture as with women. Not many of us get gifts delivered to our jobs. We rarely receive stuff like jewelry and candy. That being said, does it make us less than men when women give us such presents, or frequent gifts from the heart? I certainly say no it doesn't.

We all have a special woman in our life, even if we are single. It could be your mother. It might be your sister,daughter, or auntie. Could even be a close platonic female friend. Either way, if a woman wants to show their appreciation through cooking your favorite dish, buying your favorite video game, or even a new phone or DVD, allow her to. That doesn't necessarily make you soft or a golddigger. It makes you grateful.

There are many women that like to give as well as receive. Some go overboard and seem creepy. However, their hearts are in the right place. Let that woman appreciate and show her love towards you.

There's not always a catch. Often a simple thank you or being good to her will do. Don't always think females have an agenda when you receive something nice.

Fellas, trust me when I tell you this. When you have a good woman that does these things for you, you best appreciate her. Someone else will if you won't. Look at other's relationships and feel fortunate.

I'm grateful for all that my female relatives and friends, and ex girlfriends have did for me. Most of it I never asked or required of them. They did it and do it because they care. It's always best when its genuine and from the heart.

Men, let these women in your life show their affection towards you. The smallest gift can make the biggest impact. Appreciate the gift, and the thought she put towards it. She did give it to you, and by choice.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Be Thankful For What You Have Year Round

I heard on a radio show recently that the slogan at the unemployment office should be to be thankful for what you have before it becomes what you had. That got me to thinking, especially for those experiencing hardships and such.

Ok so you don't have the person of your dreams? You're not making six figures. You can't afford or get the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy III. Heck your phone can't even get Instagram and you're feeling deprived like an unpopular high school student. There are far greater tragedies.

Now think about this: someone died last night and it wasn't you. You are still breathing, you have money coming in, and you have warm food and a roof over your head. You have people that care about you. All of your bodily parts and joints are attached and functional. You have all your senses. There is still good in the world. Basically, there is a lot to be thankful for.

Someone out there may have it better than you, but there is always someone worse off.

Watching movies such as It's A Wonderful Life can put life into perspective. One must think how different things would be if they never existed at all. Each of our lives truly has an impact.

Therefore, be thankful for what you have accomplished and the treasures that are available. Just like cheap gas, 99 cent double cheeseburgers, and even job security, they could all be gone in an instant.

It seems to have become a common theme on Facebook this month for users to list things they are thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving.  I personally believe this is awesome. This should be done year round, not just for one month. Thanksgiving is over now: so now as the December holidays and the year winds down, its time to remain thankful.  

Continue to practice this the next time you spend your evenings listening to sad music and sulking.Trust me; it isn't worth all of the self-pity.


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Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Personal Code Of Ethics

Ethics seem to go out the window, especially in a election year. This year seems no different as both camps from the Obama and Romney administrations are slinging shade and mud. Even during smear campaigns, I strive to maintain a code of ethics and conduct. Here is the code I have created for myself.

1. Act The Way You Want To Be Treated
2. Don't lie, cheat, steal, or commit murder intentionally.
3. Respect the sanctity of a marriage and/or committed relationship and don't go for a married woman's advances, even if she's separated..
4. Not only respect yourself, also protect yourself, and enjoy yourself in life.
5. Help others as much as possible.
6. Don't do or buy things to keep up with the Joneses.
7. Keep God #1 and honor and love his teachings.
8. Give 100% in all of my endeavors.
9. The body is a temple. Therefore, lead a healthy and consistent lifestyle through diet and exercise.
10. Be the best son, nephew, cousin, friend, writer, co-worker, employee (and eventually father and husband) possible.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Got Your Own Car, Crib, Clothes Courtesy Of Uncle Sam

You say you're independent because you have your own car, place and your bills are paid for. But rarely does anyone mention who pays the rent. It's typically Uncle Sam in the form of welfare, WIC, food stamps, and government housing. Or its your child's father in the form of child support. Also, you have five figure tax refunds every year. And you may even work at least a part time job, or have a good side hustle going. I'm guessing that's ghetto fabulous.
It seems for many women, and even some men, their children are sources of income to them. They don't have a financial care in the world. They receive hundreds of dollars in food stamps/month, the system pays for rent, and often relief is offered for clothes and other necessities. Meanwhile, these baby mamas can leave the kids with her mom and sister and stay up all hours of the night, every night, partying, drinking, and possibly making more babies.
Now I'm actually liberal towards welfare, child support and government relief (note I said relief, not handouts).  There are many folks that are out of work and are struggling hard. The unemployment rate is nearly 9%, and many of these folks get denied for even food stamps. While they have to swallow their pride and work fast food or bag groceries to feed their families, the ole ghetto fabulous and white trash get to collect giant checks and live and eat like royalty. They have found their ultimate hustle and they are milking it.
I saw a joke on Twitter that's nasty but true. Censored, it basically states you can tell when a woman is good at sex (can also be a man). They have lots of children by multiple partners, and nobody wants for anything thanks to Uncle Sam.
Again, I'm not slamming the good single parents and such. In a way, I can trash the system, but even they can police people but so much. My problem is with the single mother living in Section 8 housing with three kids, and she's wondering how she is going to pay her lights or feed her children for tomorrow. It appears some know how to work the system as well as a man's penis and well.
Therefore, before you go claiming your independence on this day where we celebrate the signing of the Constitution, tell me this. What type of work skills do you have? When was your last job or legitimate business venture? How far did you go in school? Are you a good parent to your children and how so? These shouldn't be difficult questions. However for some, they're multiple choices.
Renegades, as I refer to them as, are one of the huge reasons conservatives target them every election year. They want to limit and even eliminate public aid. I'm a hard working taxpayer so I do understand one side of the coin. However, you can't punish the innocent, and those that need this money.

Also, deadbeat parents need to pay their back child support. It's hard to get anyone of any class, race, or other origin to disagree with that logic.

I wish I had the solution or a magic wand to end this madness and make the system balanced. Unfortunately I do not. This is merely a sad observation on how some of the biggest hustlers aren't drug dealers, gamblers, or prostitutes. They are single, barely responsible parents.
A change in our country is definitely necessary, and it needs to be here. I'm hoping that whichever government we have after November focuses on this after unemployment, gas prices, and gay marriage.
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Courage: More Than Just A Red Badge

We have many challenges in our lives. Romantic, financial, social, health. Many turn to God, or another higher power for help. I personally prefer God. However, one receives must needed courage to face their demons and challenges head on each day.

It's not easy to speak your mind, to stand out in a crowd when you're by yourself, or to even go after what you want.  Gathering that proper nerve and ambition, and being cool under pressure is driven by your confidence, swagger, and courage.

Courage helps me in every facet of my life, even my writing. Many topics I choose to write about aren't easy. However, after careful thought, research, and prayer, I'm able to put together material that's real and from the heart. It may be random and left field, but it comes with my full conviction.

The Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, just as the Scarecrow and Tin Man discovered about what they were seeking, learned a lesson. He wanted courage. It was within him all the time, especially when he helped protect Dorothy and lead them to the Wizard. And it is in us, we may have to dig deeper to find it.

Courage resides in firefighters and policemen who continue to do their jobs in a post 9/11 world. It also resides in President Obama, running for a second term when many feel he hasn't done anything significant. It even resides in Obama's opponent, Mitt Romney, who tries to find ways to bring down his opponent while building his profile and keeping dirt from his name. The public eye requires a lot of courage anyways. If you don't have it, you should stay in hiding.

We're in a season of change. The leaves, cooler weather, and later on a new year. The challenges ahead always require a great deal of courage.

Therefore, don't be afraid to take a calculated risk. Don't be scared to ask when you need help. Know when to go the extra mile, and when to rest and fall back. Courage is the driving force in facing any challenge and besting any test.

Let's see how much courage you have the next time you decide to make a life changing decision, or when your beliefs and morals are on the line. That will test you, and you won't be able to hide then.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Event and Party Planning Part 2

This is the second part of my event planning and party series. I have been to several different functions since I wrote the last one. I have saw things I liked and things that repulsed me. Here are 10 more quick tips to help make your event a success.

1. Be sensitive of factors such as weather, time and season.

This especially applies during the summer months, when its really hot and humid. It's not ideal to have an event outside in the middle of the day or at noon. You should have it in the evening. And if possible, always have an indoor option, or be under a place with a giant tent. Also, pay attention to forecasts regarding other weather such as snow or ice. Be prepared to postpone or cancel your event if people cannot travel on the roads safely.

2. Utilize social media to the fullest when advertising, but don't abuse it.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and now Instagram are all awesome vehicles for promoting your event. However, there are downsides. One you can be too persistent. All of these networks have appropriate usage policies. Don't advertise so much that you appear to be spam. Reminders once or twice/week are adequate. No one sets out to be the annoying planner/promoter. Use alternate methods as well such as evites, mass texts, and old fashioned phone calls. Word of mouth also never goes out of style.

3. Be specific regarding refreshments, and try to offer at least a partial menu.

Please don't encourage people to RSVP for an event so you can get a headcount for food, then all you have is finger food, chips, fruit and meatballs. If that's all you're having, good. But indicate if you're having light refreshments or a meal. People want and need to be prepared going in, especially if they're bringing small children and they haven't eaten yet.

4. Indicate specifics about gifts.

Specifics like this usually applies to birthday parties, weddings, bridal and baby showers. We're in the age where having a registry is the best. It's hard to go wrong with Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target. Also, if you prefer no gifts, either ask for simply gift cards or no gifts at all. You do not want people spending their hard earned money on a gift you're not going to use or appreciate.

5. Offer directions and hotel info where applicable.

I touched on this in the first part, but it would be nice to copy and paste EXACT directions from the nearest interstate or major highway. And if its a weekend or night thing and you have guests traveling far, check with local hotels for group discounts. Let your guests know the prices of the various hotels, the code to use for the discount, and the deadline to reserve their rooms.

6. Give folks a deadline to RSVP.

When dealing with adults, you shouldn't have to nudge or badger them consistently to see if they are coming or not. Set a reasonable, flexible deadline for responding to the invite, and leave it at that.

7. Location, location, location!!!

This is a motto in real estate and applies to planning events. And I'm not just talking venue, I'm talking city. Don't have it so far away where its unreasonable for anyone to come, and have it in a good neighborhood with a relaxed environment. No one needs to be worried if their vehicle will be vandalized. Take into account where your guests will be traveling for and cater to the majority, but be reasonable for everyone.

8. Make the event profitable, but cost appropriate and effective.

You want your admission costs, drinks, parking, and other expenses to be reasonable. For example, don't charge $40 for a party that's in a small crowded restaurant and there's little to no food. Reach a medium far as your cost. Either charge a steep price and have food and drinks on the house, or have ticket options and VIP for the other perks. Also, take into account travel costs as mentioned previously. Consider even charging a flat rate for a party bus or van.

9. If your event is in a restaurant, call ahead for private reservations.

Go to restaurants that have private party rooms. Currently Golden Corral, Broncos Mexican Restaurant, Gatti Land Pizza, and Carrabbas are some restaurants with private rooms for groups. Trust me, you don't want folks all around and intruding on your party.

10. Treat your guests well after the party is over, and know who to invite back and who to leave alone.

The ones that are most loyal to you, always show support, and even bring others are the ones to continue to invite and associate with. Don't invite that person that's always causing trouble, can't hold their liquor, or is simply a nuisance to those in attendance. Again you want your guests happy, comfortable and at ease.

Hope this helps. Perhaps I should start planning certain events more. Heck I feel I'm decent at it. I may just do that. Stay tuned readers,...

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Reading Is Fundamental, Fun, and More Common Again

It seemed for a while people were doing less reading and more watching of television, sports, movies, and other activities, including video games. Technology has been scrutinized so much over the years. One positive though, thanks in part to smartphones and tablets, has been the number of people that read more. I couldn't be more pleased as an avid reader, writer, and blogger.

The iPad first came out a couple of years ago, followed by other tablets such as the Samsung Nexus series. Then Barnes and Noble and Amazon started releasing a series of apps and e-readers. Currently the most popular seems to be the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire HD has now been released, to compete with the upcoming release of the iPad 3. Technology is being geared and driven by folk's desire to read again, but with the most convenience.

People are reading and downloading books now more than ever. Book club memberships are at an all-time high, and even children are taking a vested interest in reading again. The library system may be slowly going obsolete, but it seems that many are finding ways to obtain their favorite book.

Thus far it appears the racy book series Fifty Shades of Grey is the bestseller of the year. Women of all adult ages and walks of life had read this series, and even a few guys. A movie deal is already in the works. Many other book series, such as the Harry Potter, Twilight, and recently The Hunger Games, has been turned to movies due to the fan base. I expect more books to be part of this conversion now that reading has made a revival.

I can remember a time where you would see people reading everywhere: in parks, at doctors’ offices, and even at social events. These technology devices have definitely refueled this desire.

Perhaps now technology can work on helping our younger generation more sociable and less dependent on reality television and subpar entertainment. We now see that it has people of all ages reading again. Hopefully this will lead to more writers, higher book sales, and higher test scores and graduation rates. Reading is fundamental and knowledge is always power.


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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

10 Effective and Maximizing Time Management Tips

It is too often I hear folks speak of being super busy and not having enough time to do certain things that they like to do. They talk of having too much going. I feel time, like money, can be managed well and maximized. We all have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. Ultimately we do make time for the more important things. However, here are 10 tips that have helped me through the years that allow me to work a full time job, write and blog, workout four-five times/week, and still have time to go out, get proper rest, and do other recreational activities.

1.    Buy yourself a notepad.

Wal-Mart sells notepads extremely cheap. They could supplement a day planner or your organizer on your smartphone. You can write down things and reminders throughout the day, add things to various lists (to-do, grocery, honey-do). Notepads can be awesome even in our technology age. You can always use a sheet of paper for something, and these notepads can help you plan and organize more effectively.

2. Set a daily and weekly schedule.

Map out your schedule, day by day, hour by hour, for the entire week. Consider it like a time diary. After about a week, you will start knowing where your time is going and where to adjust. A consistent routine helps as you eventually condition your body and mind to do certain things on certain days at certain times.

3. Plan ahead for big dates and events.

If you know an important birthday, holiday, or occasion is on the way, plan ahead for that. See if you need to take time off from your job, make the time to buy anything necessary for that day. If you're traveling, plan your route carefully. Before I got a GPS, I would use MapQuest and plan my route down there and back, and have all my directions on one sheet.

4. Make time for family and friends, and even relaxation.

Being a busy working parent and adult can be taxing. Your family and friends deserve your time, and you should allot a certain period for them, preferably a couple of days, maybe even a week. They won't be around forever, so you want to see them while you can. Also, schedule and take personal time for yourself.  An hour per day can make a huge difference. This is important for refocusing, recharging and relaxation.

5. Sacrifice things that are insignificant and irrelevant.

Often you need rest and time to yourself, and to sacrifice other things to accomplish your tasks. You may not be able to go to that movie or that football game, but there is work to be done. It is a balancing and a prioritizing act. You must know what is most important to you in your life and what can be left on the back burner.

6. Check your daily schedule/routine daily and make adjustments as necessary.

Adjustments will often be needed. You may have to pencil in something or someone into a packed day, or you may be needed at some capacity (working late, taking on a different project). Or,  more time may have opened up, or you may get sick. Stay organized but also be flexible.

7. Account and prepare for emergencies and setbacks.

This is an extension of #6. There are many things that happen that are out of control, such as acts of God, or family problems. Become self-disciplined enough so when these situations arise, you aren't left all paranoid on how you will get things done. There is no room for procrastination.

8. Prepare and plan constantly and consistently.

There's an old saying "Failing to plan is planning to fail." Often you must forecast beyond unforeseen circumstances. Again, don't procrastinate and put off certain things. It could get worse, and end up being more time consuming. It's similar to maintaining your body, house and/or vehicle. Proper planning can help keep you on track.

9. Learn to say no when overwhelmed.

The word "no" can be your friend. Be flexible but if you cannot fit it in your schedule or budget, don't worry. Also, don't double book yourself. That can cause you not focusing your full attention and wearing you out.

10. Make sure your time and money are consistent and sync up.

Time is money so be mindful of how you spend both. Manage your vacation time at work so when you take off, you have enough days for other occasions. Also, don't plan for a week's vacation when you can only afford three days. Both time and money are valuable, and cannot be used loosely. You have to make you what you're doing with both is worthwhile.


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Monday, September 3, 2012

Seven Types of Critics

Criticism is an aspect that's necessary, but can be way overblown. Not only do TV shows, movies, music, and even food get criticized, so do people. Authors, coaches, athletes, politicians. If you're in the public eye in any fashion, you are subject to criticism. 
There are several right and wrong ways to criticize someone. Here are seven ways/types of critics.

1. The mean, negative cynic.

They seem to never have any good to say. They are steadily ready for you to screw up so they can tell you all about it. Then even when you're doing good, they revert back to that one bad effort, one mistake. They are only looking at the bad, and seeing the glass as completely empty.

2.  The Hater

We have seen this popularized during the days of Showtime At The Apollo, even with Waldorf and Statler (the two older men from the Muppets). They can also be called hecklers. They don't even offer any useful advice to help you improve, and are similar to the Cynic. They are only looking for flaws. The Haters are so jealous and bitter about who you are and what you're doing, they're trying to tear you down in any way, shape, or form. They may even point to things irrevelant to what you are doing. Perfect example here would be the Haters and Cynics talking trash about Gabby Douglas's hair during the Olympics, rather than focusing on her performance. That is pure hating when you have no motive and your main mission is to put down that person.

3. The Analyzer

This person is not always negative, or even nitpicking. Rather they are like an ESPN sports analyst, or a CNN political analyst. They are looking at every aspect of the person, place or thing they are criticizing. They can go overboard, as they get down to the nitty gritty with details on how that person chews their gum, their technique, how they move their hands, or how the special effects in a movie weren't special enough. Nothing is left to chance with an Analyzer.

4. The Non Researcher

This is another bad type of critic. You could even call them like a Rush Limbaugh or a Don Imus. They like to hurl insults, accusations, and assumptions, but have no real proof or evidence to support any of these claims. I'm the type of person where if you're going to say something about myself, my writings, my family, or what have you, back yourself up. Don't have yourself looking foolish. Tell the entire story, not just parts of it that make that person look worse. Give a full, truthful detail of what's going on.

5. The Kind and Gentle

This critic mostly has only has nice things to say. If they make a negative or disparaging comment, they look for something they like, something kind and positive. They want to keep you on the up and up. I call my mom my kindest critic because this is how she is. She doesn't like to put anyone down so when she has to critique something, she does it with love and kindness.

6. The Constructor

Constructive criticism is an awesome balance. It isn't always nice, but it's usually truthful and helpful. The Constructor sees the flaws, and may offer a solution to correct that flaw to make you better. The idea is improving upon what you're doing, helping you to grow.

7. The Mentor/Coach

Good mentors and coaches provide constructive criticism and offer a balance of things and suggestions designed to motivate and help you be your best. At times you may be mad or hurt at what they say. However, their main goal is helping you reach your potential. A Coach or Mentor like critique is working with you to improve that handicap or weakness. They note it, and want to assist you into fixing it, or making it a strength or a positive. Often we remember these critiques the best because these are the ones that are God-sent and meant to elevate us, rather than tear us down. They come from that loving, caring place that The Kind And Gentle are from, but it is more advanced and suited to assist you. It is designed to be a learning experience.

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