Jay's Journey

Chronicling my wisdom just for you. You're welcome.

This post was originally posted on my previous blog site called Jay's Journal on February 14th, 2018.

Hey! Not Fair!

While at a Super Bowl party a couple Sundays ago, I overheard two guys talking while I was grabbing my Buffalo wings. These guys, who were each wearing their favorite football team's jerseys, with neither of their teams actually in the game, were sharing why they “hate” Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

“It's like, this guy [Tom Brady] is in the Super Bowl every single year”, one of them said. And then the other one continued, “Yeah, and the Patriots? Really? Couldn't some other team get a chance to play for once?”

What I Was Thinking

Thankfully my back was turned to them, because it took all I had to keep from laughing. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots team and staff are definitely the stuff of legends. Love them or hate them, they've built a dynasty that belongs in any conversation that includes Dallas, San Francisco, Green Bay, even Pittsburgh.

Did any team that has won a Super Bowl, whether it's once, or multiple times in their franchise's history, ever just show up off the street for the Super Bowl and was instantly awesome?

The answer is NO. The Super Bowl is the pinnacle game that determines the one true champion of the sport for that year. To get there, you have to endure a regular season of at least ten bone-crushing games. Then, if you've got enough wins, you get to go to the playoffs. That's several more bone-crushing weeks.

Then, only after you've eliminated all comers in your conference, you get to face off with another team that defeated all who dared in their conference.

Then, and only then, do the two best teams, one from each conference, get to duke it out for the right to claim “World Champion” until the next year.

When the new season starts, it's a clean slate for all teams, and every team has the same chance to progress through the gauntlet that eventually sees the two best teams face off for the title for another year.

So, the teams that get there fought hard, each and every game. The teams that didn't win, didn't necessarily fight any less hard, although some actually didn't fight as hard. And some teams couldn't last as long on the field. And other teams made bad decisions, or made enough mistakes to cost them the game.

In a nutshell, it's a COMPETITION.

So what these two guys were bellyaching about, wishing another team had “a chance” to play in the Super Bowl other than the perennial Patriots, is to me all about the concept of what's fair.

These guys didn't think it was fair, that the same team would keep going back to the Super Bowl. Nor did they think that it was fair that one quarterback should have so many appearances in this one championship game, seemingly year after year.

But yet, at least one other team has more Super Bowl wins than New England, and that's the Pittsburgh Steelers. Has anyone griped about wishing another team had a chance to play in the Super Bowl during any of their multiple appearances and subsequent wins?

Doubt it.

Fair’s Fair, or All’s Fair?

I see this a lot in children's competitions now. Everyone gets a trophy for participation for just about any sport now. Even some 5K runs in town now offer ribbons to all who run the race.

One NFL player landed in hot water a few years back for giving his kid's Participation trophy back to the sport's organizers, saying that the only trophy his kid will receive will be the one for actually winning.

So, with all that... is working your ass off, preparing day and night, never stopping or quitting until you reach your goal, only to finally reach it, “fair”?

Or, is “fair” allowing other teams and players that didn't spend as much time on the things needed to make the best of the best to play in the biggest football game of the year, so that the joy and reward is spread around evenly?

So, what is the concept of “fair”?

In my mind, there is no such thing as “fair”. Period.

There's being the best, and then there's everyone else. In sports, in career, in life.

The best prepare. The best take the challenge and make the sacrifices needed to be the best. The best make opportunities to succeed even when there don't appear to be any. The best will find a way to win, to achieve, to overcome, to finish what seems impossible to sometimes even start.

Not just in a game, but in every situation in life.

And when you give it your all, your heart and soul, in the preparation, the sacrifice, and physical and emotional pain it takes to elevate yourself to the next level, and still lose, it hurts!

It sucks. It feels futile. It makes you question everything. It can even make you give up.

But, those that don't give up only get stronger. They only get better. They figure out what went right and what didn't, and improve what went right, and fix what went wrong.

In other words, figure out a way to win. It may not be that game, or that job you wanted, or the promotion you thought for sure was yours. But, if you keep going, keep working, keep improving, it could be the next one. Or, it may be the one after that.

And the one you finally win could be even better, even sweeter, even more amazing than the ones you lost.

My First Experience With Competition

My first taste of winning came when I was 9 years old. I was in a kid's bowling league, and my mom would take my brother and I to the bowling alley every Friday night to practice, then every Saturday morning to bowl in our children's league. I'd even beg my mom to take us several nights during the week so I could practice even more.

I took to bowling pretty well. I seemed to have the hand-eye coordination needed, and I was able to take coaching from older mentors really well.

That season, I won a record 8 trophies, and, was the only minor that was invited to bowl in an adult tournament, and actually kept up!

Up to that point, I'd never won anything that I could remember. And so, I can imagine what it would feel like if that despite my hard work and preparation for each game, combined with the focus and concentration and the will to win each game, despite setbacks, those trophies were given to other kids that didn't win.

It would suck more than losing! Not because I was stingy and didn't want to share with others. It was because I was able to put the right things into place at exactly the right time to win those games. Maybe another bowler even spent more time than me preparing. But, in the end, I did what was needed to win.

If that would have been negated because someone else felt bad, and needed some kind of validation that even though they lost, they still won something... what motivation would that kid have to ever push themselves for anything?

In my years, I've played sports, went for jobs, was put in for promotions, even tried to get the girl that was out of my league.

Sometimes I won, other times I lost (many times, actually), but in the end, I have a job I love, in a career that I've been doing forever, still working to be the best every day, and yes, I even got the girl of my dreams.

So, no, I don't believe in fair where everyone gets a trophy for playing. I believe in the reward going to the person that put in the most work, to get the result needed to win the game (or job, or promotion, etc.).

That's what I call “fair”.

tags: #thoughts #opinion

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Do the opposite of what they say! Image credit: cottonbro studio at Pexels

Now here's some advice I wish I could tell my grown boys. They surely don't want to hear about this sort of stuff from their old man, but maybe you do.

And, even as you're reading this, your knee-jerk reaction might be to be somewhat indignant, if you're a woman. Or, maybe, as a woman, you'll chuckle and agree. But see, this advice really isn't for women, it's for guys.

Women already have tons of resources both online and in the real world on how to land a man. So, here's a little advice for the dudes. Although, if you're a woman and want to read this as well, I welcome you, too.

Now, this comes from experience, and from a bit of self-improvement that I took on between my first and second marriages. After my divorce, I really took on a journey of self-re-discovery. I lost a bunch of weight, worked out, read a lot, and decided to learn how to better carry myself when it came to attracting the opposite sex.

And, I dated A LOT

What I learned from all those experiences in improving myself was that women will very rarely tell you anything up front. Well, anything up front as far as men understand it. In the fair language of “Womanese”, women think they're being very candid and up front with you, but to men, all we hear are veiled answers and cryptic riddles.

And, to be even more frank, women will answer your questions with what they believe to be true, even it's not exactly factually true. And, it's often when we as men call out the disparity between her fiction she believes to be true and the actual fact-based truth, that sparks often start to fly.

So, what does that all mean when I advise you to never ask a woman advice about other women? It means that they'll typically tell you what they think they should want, instead of what they really want, or rather, what they really respond to.

Allow me to illustrate. Say you ask a female friend that you're truly just friends with what you should do to win over a lady you've had your eye on. She may answer with any or all of the following:

  • You should buy her flowers!
  • You should treat her to dinner and a movie!
  • You should loudly profess your love to her in a very public and romantic way!
  • You should do nice things for her for no reason! That'll get her to realize what a nice guy you are!
  • Just be there for her, and she'll eventually come around to realize you're the perfect guy for her!
  • Buy her a really nice (translated as 'expensive') gift to “woo” her!
  • (If you've been dating her already) You should sweep her off her feet and take her on a romantic weekend getaway!

So, why is this bad advice, aside from the fact every scenario sounds like it came from a drippy romantic comedy? Because all that nice guy stuff doesn't get you the girl. If anything, it gets you “friend-zoned” with the girl.

Why? Because women think, or better yet, tell themselves they should want the nice guy. Instead, you know what they actually respond to?

Yup, the bad boy. Think about it. Any time you liked a girl, and she didn't come straight out with it that she wasn't into you, but always talked about “Trevor” or “Brad”, she was hoping you'd take the hint.

Yet, the girl you had your eye on could't stop talking about that other guy who wouldn't give her the time of day – and when he did, it was to basically blow her off.

And you knew that Trevor or Brad treated her like shit, didn't you? Couldn't give her the time of day, but she couldn't stop talking about him constantly, even fantasizing about the day she captures his attention and his heart.

It's because women respond to a guy who's hard to get, doesn't care about her feelings, and is his own man. In other words, not a sap.

The guys who gush over the girl, buy her things, put her on a pedestal and would never dare to call her out on her crazy notions usually get friend-zoned. Billy Bad Boy gets to make out with her, while you're standing outside her house in the rain wishing she'd notice you.

Sounds harsh, I know, but it's true. It's happened to me more times than I care to remember. But, once I realized that I needed to treat a girl differently, I started to win in the game of love.

I'm not saying to treat women like shit to get what you want. I'm just saying, treat them like you can take them or leave them, combined with the ability to make them laugh. If you can master the art of being aloof, and being able to bust her chops in a funny way, you'll be the one she can't stop talking about with her new friend-zone buddy.

Believe me, don't believe, doesn't matter to me. What I do know is that I've got the girl of my dreams, and we've been together for 20 years now.

And, I still let her think I can take her or leave her, while also leaving her in stitches every chance I can. Don't get me wrong, I tell her I love her and that she's the most important person in my life, but I keep her on her toes.

Every 10th or so time she tells me she loves me, I'll short circuit her wiring by saying, “That's nice. Thanks.” Or, I won't say anything and let her cry out loud, “You didn't say it back!” To which I reply, “I'm with you ain't I?”

Each one elicits a response that resembles her stomping one foot on the ground and loudly exclaiming, “HONEY!!” But, see, it keeps her on her toes. And while she acts indignant, she knows I'm my own man, and that as my own man, I love her very much.

But, that doesn't mean I'm willing to put up with an unlimited amount of crap, either. However, the teasing, the hard to get, and the barbs are all of what keep things fresh and exciting, even after 20 years.

And before you go saying, “Sure, that works on her, but there ain't no other woman out there willing to put up with your B.S.!” I'd say that you would be wrong. See, I was doing stuff like this even before I met my wife, and there were several women who wanted to land me as their catch.

And it wasn't until I met my now wife, that I refused to be caught. See, this enabled me to pick her as much as she picked me.

The old saying is that women is want someone that they can feel safe with, who'll protect them, yet make them laugh.

Basically, a clown ninja.

In the meantime, stop asking women advice about other women, or you'll get every way possible on how to lose her, instead of how to truly win her over. This time, try a different approach and see if that can keep you out of the friend-zone.

tags: #opinion #relationships

If you like my work and you received value from this post, please consider buying me a coffee: Like my work? Please consider buying me a coffee.

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This post was originally posted on my previous blog site called Jay's Journal on February 6th, 2018.

Here's to ME!

Last week, while at work, I started something that I never intended to start. Turns out, I needed to do this mini-project way more than I realized. Both in result, and in actual benefit.

What I started last week was to chip away at organizing my work emails, and took on the challenge of figuring out the best way to leverage Microsoft's OneNote alongside Outlook. The MS Office suite is standard issue at work, and while I've been using these and many other Microsoft products for multiple decades now, I never really took the time to learn OneNote, let alone learn how to use it with Outlook to create a killer productivity combo.

But, starting last week, that's exactly what I did.

First Step: Email

I started with trying to figure out a way to reduce the size of my inbox, without losing any emails. I keep all my emails for work, for various reasons, most of which benefit me at some time or another. I learned a very long time ago not to rely on subjective and inaccurate human memories, it's all in black and white. This helps on many levels and for many reasons.

At my work, we're not allowed to use the standard archiving feature of Outlook. It's automated, it's reliable, and... it's disabled.

And with me having less than 1GB free on a 5GB mailbox, I had to do something. Having just started the new year, there's no way I could cram an upcoming year's worth of email into less than 1GB of space.

So, I first went through and deleted all the crap. All the meeting responses (Accepted, Declined, Tentative). The meetings already happened, and I just don't care who accepted, declined, and “tried their best” to make it any longer.

Then I cleaned out all the corporate announcements. I'm sure it was important to know about our upcoming open enrollment, but it already happened, and I signed up. As well, can I no longer keep the announcement of a company vice president that I never met is stepping down several months after the announcement went out in the first place. Again, by now, it's already happened, and we all know who replaced him or her.

So, after that, I went from .98GB of free space to... 1GB of free space. Yay, progress, but I need to do more. Way more.

Second Step: OneNote

Knowing the Internet has an answer for everything, I did a search on how to master OneNote. It's a tool I've used for a while, but never really used it. In other words, I used the basic features and functions, but never went beyond that. So, I found some articles on Lifehacker and Make Use Of and found my answers.

So, I set up a way to tie in my Outlook tasks to OneNote, which are tied to this year's project notebook. I then figured a way to export my emails to a separate notebook called oddly enough, “Archives”. Then, I ported all my emails over to the archive notebook, and deleted the originals from my mailbox.

I rinsed and repeated with my sent folder, and any other sub-folder I had in my mailbox that has lived past it's usefulness.

After several alternating crashes between Outlook and OneNote, my export/import process was complete.

  1. Because Microsoft
  2. I had a LOT of emails to push across

So, after archiving all emails prior to this year, I had like 3GB of space left. Now THAT'S progress! But still not good enough.

With OneNote, I organized my notebooks for my projects, and my general notes, and now they're easy to find and use. Organization is starting to be fun again! I'm on a roll, so I'm gonna do more.

Third Step: Outlook again

Now that my entirely useless emails from past to present are gone, and all my known project emails that lived in their own folders are moved out, where else could I free up space?

Well, of course, my INBOX (cue scary music)!

In the previous years, I'd tried, and failed, at keeping my emails in their neat little folders, according to their topic or project. And, by failed, I mean some made it into their folders (already archived now), but most simply got left in the inbox.

So, I start combing through my inbox to find the emails that belong to specific folders, and I move them there. Then, I repeat the Export/AppCrash/Import routine between Outlook and OneNote.

This took a while. As I had tons of emails in their respective folders, I had even more email that was unorganized in my inbox. But, in this case, patience won the day, or the week, in this case. After chipping away at it, little by little, my inbox had only the emails from January 1st and newer in there.

My inbox now had 4.1GB of free space. Pretty good, eh? NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

And, being a glutton for punishment, I decided I could do even more.

Fourth Step: Reinventing my Outlook Experience

I decided that if things were going to change, they really needed to change, from top to bottom. So, I completely revamped the layout of my Outlook. I stripped away persistent menus, added useful side widgets, and basically brought my Outlook to a very minimal yet functional appearance.

For my inbox, my calendar, even my tasks – every single section, now has a fresh new and uncluttered look. In this case, uncluttered doesn't mean unusable, it means easier to see and do what I need when I need to. Then, when I don't need Outlook, it stays out of my way.

Next, I set up some custom inbox processing rules. There are several emails that come in with alerts and notifications that just don't impact me. They're automated blast emails from various systems and products that I don't personally use or maintain, so I set up a rule that intercepts those before they hit my inbox and take them directly to my Trash.

That alone saves me close to 50 emails a day, and up to several hundred over a weekend.

Then, I created new subfolders that actually make sense for what I'm doing this year for work. Easy to read, easy to access, and it has to make sense to use or it's gone.

Once that was done, I created a couple of “Quick Steps” with Outlook. These are handy little buttons you can click that will do one or more thing with or to your email when you click them. So, I created quicksteps that would take any email I select, then it would give it a Category with a color coding for easy reading, and then would automatically move it out of my inbox and into the folder designated for that Quick Step.

So, I have multiple Quick Steps created, and they're all visible at the top of my Outlook workspace, when I have my menus pulled down.

Now, I do have to manually select the email, and select the Quick Step that is best for that message, but that's not a bad thing. It's not bad because I now am present with each email, and have to decide what to do with every email that comes into my inbox.

I either, Quick Step it based on which category and folder it needs to go in, I can delete it, or I can reply to it, then Quick Step both the email and the reply, or when the time is right, archive it to my OneNote.

Whichever I choose, I have to read my email in order to decide what to do with it.

And, the beautiful, glorious result is: I've reached INBOX ZERO! Plus, 4.8GB out of 5GB free!

I have no emails in my inbox at the moment. When emails come in, I read them when I'm able, I process what to do with them, and get them out of my inbox.

If I'm worried that an email that gets Quick Stepped into oblivion by being out of sight from my inbox and hiding in a folder (which could also happen if it's buried within hundreds of other emails in the inbox), I Quick Step it, then go to it's new location and right-click the message and place a follow up flag on it for a time that's appropriate, and set a reminder from the same flagging feature.

By adding the flag, it places that email in my “To Do” list, that I can now see all the time as part of my new minimal heads up layout for Outlook, and the reminder will pop up in my face when I set it to, so that I can really take action on it if I somehow ignore it glaring at me from Outlook as a side widget.

And there you have it! Inbox Zero, a way to sustain and maintain it, and a stress-free way to handle emails without running out of space.

All the things I never declared as a New Year's Resolution, but did it anyway, and am so stoked about my new organization system!

Have you done anything unintentionally (at first) this year that you can claim as an unexpected New Year's Resolution win?

tags: #thoughts #reflections #productivity

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That's a lot of sweat Photo Credit: Nick Fewings on Unsplash

When I was researching which virtual donation service to use, BuyMeACoffee.com or Ko-Fi, I came across a YouTube video that reminded me of how hard it is to build a business offering your services on Fiverr.

I'd started a side hustle business a couple of years ago, and my thought was to sell my services on Fiverr. I'd done a few Fiverr gigs even a few more years farther back, so I thought I'd go bigger and use Fiverr as a platform to sell my virtual services.

I thought the premise was pretty sound: offer my services on Fiverr, and let Fiverr do my marketing for me. I'd show up on searches for Fiverr services, and I could let Fiverr handle the payments and transactions.

I'd never have to chase a client for payment, and the mechanisms for delivery were already built into Fiverr. There was a messaging system, and an automated way in which to obtain anything needed from the customer in order to fulfill an order for my services.

Something the video I referenced before touches on, that I also realized, was that when it comes to delivery of your service, there are no days off.


No weekends, no holidays, no personal days, no sick days. No. Days. Off.

The way Fiverr is set up is that when you purchase a “gig”, that gig is agreed to be delivered in a certain number of days. Not weekdays, calendar days. So, if you purchase a gig and it's agreed that the gig will be delivered in 4 days, if that 4th day is on a Saturday, you better deliver on the Saturday it's due.

If on that Saturday, the customer's order is due at 2am, because they ordered it 4 days ago at 2am, it had better be ready by then, or you're toast.

If it's not, you get penalized, and the customer gets mad – likely resulting in a refund, meaning you essentially worked for free. If you have a successful enough Fiverr profile, you'll be delivering your finished product 7 days a week.

So, you might be saying to yourself, “So? Just manage your time so that you get everything done earlier than expected so you can enjoy your weekends and evenings.”

And, in theory, that would be correct. However, in order to facilitate that, you're rushing orders to get them off your plate. That can invite inaccuracy, and other mistakes. As well, Fiverr lets you charge an additional fee for “Rush” jobs, but only if the customer wants their order done in a rush and they opt for it.

So, if you're hurrying to deliver an order by the end of your day on Friday, so you can get away for the weekend, but it's not due until Sunday, a customer just got a free rush on their order.

What's more, is that if a prospective customer messages you, day or night, you're expected to respond within an hour. If you don't, you won't get fired from Fiverr, but you will get penalized. Your profile won't show as high up in search results for freelancers with your same skillset.

The ones that answer faster get placed toward the top. And, as a general rule, that makes sense, right? Reward the ones that are on the ball and respond quickly to their prospective and existing customer's messages.

But, the fact that the system actively penalizes you for taking time during a 24 hour day for rest and recovery, or even personal appointments, etc., is akin to working in a sweatshop.

I mean, Fiverr isn't saying don't do those things. They're not saying don't take days off, or an hour or two for yourself, or even not to observe holidays. But, if you do, you fall behind in getting your profile featured in search results. So, it's almost just as bad.

The good thing about Fiverr is that now you can charge well over $5 for the services you offer. In the early days, it was $5 and only $5, but you could find creative ways to get more than just $5 for a single “gig”. If you added extras and rush fees, etc.

But now, there's a lot more flexibility in how much you can charge. Now, if only that same flexibility carried over into managing delivery dates and message response times. Until then, I assert, Fiverr is basically a virtual sweat shop.

And, for some, that's ok. For others, like me, no thanks, I'll figure it out some other way.

tags: #opinion

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Chillin' like a villain Photo credit: Lisa Fotios at Pexels

I'd intended to post all during the weekend, until I the honey-do list started piling up. Then, when I finished it, I decided I was too lazy to write. Saturday turned into Sunday, and now, here we are on Monday.

I guess my grand plan didn't work out in the first weekend I tried to do something different. Oh well, rather than beat myself up, I'll just be glad a I had a weekend to try to relax.

The weekend didn't go all according to plan, however, even beyond not publishing any new posts. We'd made plans with my youngest son for Sunday. We thought it would be great to invite him and his wife over on Sunday so they could bring their baby, our granddaughter, over for a fun visit. Our granddaughter is 10 months old and she's beyond adorable.

So we thought, let's make an afternoon of it. Have the kids over, then we'd invite my wife's parents, who are also the great-grandparents, over as well. My son, my father-in-law, and I would work on my car while the women visited and gushed over the baby.

Then, we'd order some pizzas, have an early dinner, and everyone would be home by 6pm. Monday (today, as I write this), is a holiday for me, so I'd even have an extra day to relax. It was a nearly perfect plan.

Everyone agreed and was on board. It was going to be a great day. Then, Saturday night happened. And Saturday night has unfortunately become a little too normal.

On Saturday night, my son and daughter-in-law got into yet another blow out argument. Thankfully, by the time the night was over, they were able to calm down and talk things through, or so my son tells me.

However, we told them that they should probably take Sunday and try to work through their issues. It was late on Saturday by the time we got word they were talking calmly again, and we were too beat on Sunday to entertain anyway.

So, I just tried to relax on Sunday, but still worrying about my son and his family. My wife called her parents earlier in the day to let them know we weren't going to be able to get together after all, and they understood.

And with a relaxing Sunday, I still have the rest of today as a holiday to get my final hours of long-weekend relaxation in before going back to work for a short week.

So, I figured, as I took the weekend to rest, let's get another blog post published, and get back on track. I'm back to getting back on track, and will continue to try to improve. That's the best I can do at the moment. Thank you for reading and for sticking by me on this blog.

tags: #thoughts

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What are you lookin' at? Image credit: NativeKokopelli

Today's Friday the 13th, and I suppose today is supposed to be either riddled with bad luck, or you're supposed to avoid the signs that lead to bad luck.

What signs should we be avoiding? Well, not letting black cats cross your path, don't walk under ladders, stuff like that. You know? The more I think about it, I think you probably should avoid walking under ladders on any given day of the year, not just on a Friday the 13th.

And, given the shitty year 2022 was, I don't think one day like a Friday the 13th is going to give me any more bad luck than was had in the entire year prior. So, I guess when things look bleak, you can take heart, because they can only get better from there.

That's not to say 2022 was my worst year ever. But, it was chock full o' bad news that just wouldn't seem to stop. So, bring it, Friday the 13th, if I survived 2022, your one little day ain't got shit.

And, of course, now that I openly challenged the bad-luck gods, they may be very well saying,

Hopefully I'm still here tomorrow, with all limbs and faculties intact to be able to tell the tale. Wish me [good] luck today, and I'll do the same for you, and let's meet back up tomorrow.

2022 be like...

(wink, wink)

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Get in mah belly! Image credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya at Pexels

Went to the doctor earlier this week, got on the scale, and I'm 20 pounds lighter than my last visit. SWEET!

No, I'm not sick, but I am eating differently. My doctor totally high-fived me, too.

And, as a chronic over eater, to be able to still lose weight is pretty cool. What's my secret? I'll share that with you now.

MAJOR DISCLAIMER: Always check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, or your health overall

Currently, I eat a large dinner, and even have dessert if I want. Most times I'm so full from dinner, though, that I'm not hungry for dessert. I also have soda with my dinner, and pretty much eat and drink what I want all the way until I go to bed.

Like I said, I'm typically an over eater, but I can discipline myself to not eat when I wake up in the morning all the way until dinner. Now, I do have dinner pretty early, like between 3:30 and 4:30pm, depending on my schedule. Sometimes, even later than that if the day calls for it.

In the morning, I do have coffee with sugar-free creamer, and Equal zero calorie sweetener. And, I do drink water all day long.

However, I only eat from dinner time until I go to bed, which is typically a 5 to 6 hour window. Well, that's to say, I allow myself to eat, if I want, until I go to bed. As I mentioned before, most times I'm so full from dinner, that I don't want any more food, or soda, well before bedtime.

It works for me because I know I don't have much self-control once I start eating. And sure, I still need to address the root cause of my over eating. But, for now, by intermittent fasting, I'm reaping all the benefits of autophagy, and not eating so many calories in a day that I gain weight.

That helps my blood pressure, improves my immune system, and a host of other benefits. It's like I'm gaming the system for my best benefit while still being able to have the foods and drinks I enjoy. I guess you can call it “manipulated moderation”.

And, when you're fasting, you don't really need to count calories, because the nature of fasting means you're highly unlikely to overeat.

It didn't start that way, though. I did some trial and error on different fasting protocols for over three years until I settled on this one for the past year.

The different fasting methods I tried are for another post on another day, though. For now, I'm just thrilled that my year-long intermittent fasting protocol that I settled on is actually working. It didn't seem like it was, but, even though I wasn't seeing instant results, I changed my reason for fasting from losing weight to just feeling better.

And, wouldn't you know it, by changing focus from weight loss to just feeling better, the weight came off anyway.

More on the specifics of my fasting journey later. For now, I'm just enjoying this small victory and continuing to stay the course.

tags: #observations #diet

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But muh deletes! Image credit: The Internet

I'm a fairly recent Mac convert, and I enjoy it very much. As an IT pro, however, I still use different operating systems like Windows and Linux for fun and profit.

But, one thing that's unique on a Mac keyboard more than the others is the “delete” key. See, the delete key is really a backspace key, and there's no real proper delete key on a true Mac keyboard.

Some of the Mac purists out there may say I'm blaspheming by saying that, but c'mon, the delete key takes your writing cursor BACK one space for each time you press the key. That's a backspace, even if you are removing a space or a character while moving back.

A true “delete” key enables you to press it, and one character or space AFTER the writing cursor is removed each time you press it. Hence, the act of deletion.

So, is there a way to use the Mac's delete key as a delete key? Yes, there is.

If you click the function key (fn) with the globe on it, at the bottom left of the Mac keyboard, and also press the delete key, you can now delete characters and spaces after the writing cursor. These two keys right here Image credit: Macinstruct.com

There you go. Hope that helps!

tags: #technology #productivity

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See my face? That's Ninja face! Image credit: The Internet

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm publishing to this blog, and to my Ko-Fi page anonymously. And, you may want to know why.

When it comes to my online presence, in any of it's forms, I prefer to be anonymous. And mostly, it's because I tend to be a pretty opinionated person. I like to speak my mind. As such, I feel that when I post anonymously, my thought or idea or message is what gets the attention, and not necessarily the person behind it.

And, quite frankly, that's not the only reason. I prefer to post anonymously because I may say things about others or even my employer that I won't want to be tied to myself. Not because I always want to disparage, but because in this day and age, it's easy to be canceled for not going along with the groupthink or by being misunderstood entirely.

I've always been somewhat of a contrarian, but these days, the price for being one is very, very high. So, I want to be able to speak freely and share without fear of retribution. As well, some of the things I may write about might cast someone or an organization in a critical or even negative light and I don't want to ruin a relationship simply because I have an opinion that might be less than positive.

Does that mean I hate the people I'm discussing or talking about? No, not at all, and really in most cases, I may think the world of somebody, but not agree with their opinion on some topic or action they may have made.

And, if I'm ever discussing a person or company, I won't name names. Because, when posting anonymously, the anonymity should go both ways. That's to protect the innocent, and since I'm not a journalist, I'm not out to direct rage or anger at anyone or anything.

I'm simply sharing my thoughts, attitudes, and opinions for the sake of sharing and not for the sake of demanding change. I hope that helps answer the question of why I won't show my picture or share any details about myself outside of the most basic and general.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

tags: #thoughts

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From the unknown! Image credit: Pedro Figueras: Pexels

This is an origin story of where this blog originally came from, and what my goals and aspirations are for this latest iteration of it.

I actually started blogging back in like 2004. It was a brief effort, and never really captured my attention.

And, ever since then, I'd try new blogging platforms and get excited about it, and keep it up for a couple of weeks, then move on to something else. If for nothing else, there was consistency in my inconsistency.

I did realize, however, during that time that the more I tried to write, the more I actually enjoyed writing. Even to this day, I really do enjoy writing. Whether it's business writing for work, or blogging, I do enjoy it.

Just not too much all at once. Otherwise I get bored and go on to other things.

This Blog In A Previous Life

That inconsistency has carried itself over to even my most recent iteration just prior to this one. A version of this blog was over at a platform called Listed.to and was called Jay's Journal. I never did do a custom domain name for it, as it was mostly a writing outlet than it was a blog meant to be a standalone destination.

Fun fact: The domain for jaysjournal.com, .net, and even .blog were already taken, so I had to go with jaysjourney.blog for my new blog away from Listed.

My writing was aggregated with other writers on the Listed.to platform, so I got some exposure and attention that way. It was there that I got the most feedback and interaction, and it was quite satisfying.

Direct emails via the newsletter feature garnered some encouragement from my readers, and the platform even had a guestbook that several were so kind to leave messages of praise and encouragement on.

After setting up this blog and preparing to bring over the posts from Listed, I realized, I wrote A LOT over there. Probably the most consistently inconsistent (or vice versa?) and prolific writing I've done up to this point.

And, even with all that, I was still inconsistent in posting. There's just something about routine that my mind and body rejects. Not just with writing, but with so many other things as well.

Doing the same thing every day kind of bores me, and even the most exciting things can become daunting if having to be done every single day. Perhaps I'll explore the mental and emotional underpinnings of that in future posts, but suffice it to say, I simply resist routine.

I think what further contributed to extended absences away from writing were also with the platform itself. “Listed” is a blogging feature that comes baked in to a paid subscription to Standard Notes.

Standard Notes in and of itself is an extremely secure note taking app. It's really good, actually... and almost too good. See, it's zero knowledge, meaning that all notes and files that are saved in the app are encrypted and unreadable by anyone at Standard Notes.

I was so impressed by the app, and its focus on privacy and security, that I reached out to the app's founder. He's a really great guy, very down to Earth, and he and I seem to have a lot in common in our philosophies and viewpoints.

In fact, I was even able to land a copywriting project for the website redesign of Standard Notes. That enables me to say that at one time I was truly a “professional” copywriter. Not for sales copy, but for how to use the various features that come with Standard Notes. It was a great experience working for him.

Well, when it comes to the app, however, I ran into issues with it. After not logging in for a while, it became difficult to log in and have access to the advanced features that come with a paid plan. I still was paying for the plan, but then my account lost sync to the access to those features.

It kept telling me my subscription lapsed and I need to upgrade. But, I already did.

I engaged the support team, and they weren't able to really solve it, so I got a refund. Well, without a paid plan to Standard Notes, I'm not able to post to the Listed blogging platform.

So, after the most recent holidays passed, I thought I'd give it another try. However, I changed emails, and was able to add my new email address to my account, and could still access all my notes. Then I remembered that my paid plan was no longer active, so I reactivated it.

And, lo and behold, my account was still out of sync with the advanced features. No matter what I did, I just can't get it to sync up. And, I have a lot, like I mean a LOT of notes. Again, I can still access them, but I can't manage them in the app the way I want to with the advanced features I'm paying for.

Well, even with that being the case, I figured I'd still be able to post to Listed because all of my posts are still up on Listed, and the notes that I posted as blog posts are still in my Standard Notes account.

However, during my absence from the platform, it seems they changed how the blog posting feature interacts with my actual Standard Notes account. And so I was prompted to enable my “Listed author” account from within the notes side of things. I figured if I did that, I'd be able to post again directly as my previous persona.


When I activated my Listed author account, it created a whole new account. It was at that point I figured it was time to move on. Not because I was angry or upset, but only because I didn't want to have another series of back and forth emails with the support team.

It's Not Them, It's Me

I just don't really want to mess with it anymore. And, that's what brought me over to Write.as for my blogging platform. It's as simple as Listed was when it worked. However, with Write.as, it's just meant for blogging and the occasional writer's notes, not full on note taking like Standard Notes, and I'm good with that, too.

Now that Apple has enabled users to have end-to-end encryption for their notes and other data, I'll just use the built-in notes feature that comes with my Apple devices and iCloud account.

I'll still be forever grateful to the founder of Standard Notes for the opportunity to work on a writing project for him at a time when I was super passionate about writing. So much so, I thought I might want to make a second career out of it. And while that's changed a little bit, I've modified the goal around that somewhat, and will also share that in another post.

What's Different This Time?

And so, where does that leave me with my issue with inconsistency in how often I post to my blog? Well, I'm not sure, to be quite honest. As I mentioned earlier, there's consistency in my inconsistency. But, I think this iteration may have some staying power, in terms of more prolific posting, and here's why I think that.

I'm putting multiple strategies in place to help:

  • I'm bringing over all my previous posts from my Listed.to blog, Jay's Journal. There's quite a few of those, and so that'll keep this blog fed for a while just with those.
  • I plan to review all my re-posts from Listed to provide updates from those older posts. This will allow me to share with you how I think those posts aged, and provide any new updates or breakthroughs to my previous mindsets.
  • As a 2023 resolution, I shut down a side business that was taking too much of my time and not providing enough of a value to make it worthwhile. The net benefit is that I now have more time to draft out blog posts well in advance.
  • And finally, since I'm able to use Apple Notes with my devices, I can capture blog post topics and ideas on a whim and access them anytime I'm at my laptop and can crank out a draft whenever the mood strikes me and/or I've got some free time on my hands.

To be clear, I do have a full time job, but you'd be surprised how much extra time shutting down a side hustle has freed up for me. And yup, you guessed, it, I'll be blogging more about that later as well.

(Question: Have you subscribed yet for all these updates I've got planned? If not, you can do that at the very bottom of this post)

Even as I write this, it's on a day that I already posted to my blog, and so I'm just drafting this knowing I don't need to post it today. That's because I don't intend to post more than once a day. But, by stacking my drafts, I can simply select one to post each day, while working on more drafts each day.

When I've got enough drafts stacked up, I can skip a day or two, if needed. So long as I've got a draft ready to post each day already in queue, I'm golden.

And Where's This Blog Going?

So lastly, let's cover where I'd like to take this blog. To be honest, I'd like to build up a readership. And as long as I'm being honest, I wouldn't mind making a few extra bucks by readers buying me a coffee, if my writing is bringing value in some way.

And, eventually, I'd like to see if I can (or even want to) build a community by way of premium content, and recurring subscriptions that include virtual meetups and even one on one conversations and/or coaching.

But, clearly, that would be up to you, wouldn't it? I mean, if there's no appetite for premium content or virtual gatherings in groups or one one one, then I'll just continue to write here on my blog probably more for myself than anyone else. We'll see. I'm open to possibilities, but not expecting anything grandiose or career-making from the blog.

I'm just keeping it real, but am also open to being surprised, too. Hoping you'll stick around to see what happens, though.

tags: #reflections #thoughts #technology #privacy #security

If you like my work and you received value from this post, please consider buying me a coffee: Like my work? Please consider buying me a coffee.

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