Mermaid’s October 2018 WordPress Tea Party

Louth United Church, St. Catharines

Charmingly, The Little Mermaid is an enduring animated Disney feature, but also a WordPress blogger who the last few months hosted “tea parties.”  Each month for the entire duration of the month a theme goes into play on her site which gets bloggers interacting with each other having had written along the same lines.  This month’s theme, October’s, is happiness.

I’ve joined the last couple of months, and this is my third go-round as a participant in the tea parties.  I decided today would be the day I would finish up my post for the challenge.

Join In The Fun! Join In The October 2018 Tea Party!

To Reach Personal Happiness

Louth United Church, St. Catharines
School bus parked in front of disbanded church

This may seem counterintuitive, but many lifestyles that were stigmatized in previous decades have experienced the joy of stigma lifting.

 

However, I experience depression, I guess–but I have lots of happy hours, too, so I don’t completely know what to think about that.

 

Although attitudes change, I know my father loathes the thought that I would speak of such a thing as depression.  In fact, that I publish something like this might bother him.  That being said, I am trying to be honest with some enthusiasm about a delicate subject of conversation.

 

It bothers many people.  Troubles of that kind can strike virtually anyone.  I would suspect it conceals innate unhappiness and is often a response to external troubles.

 

I don’t perceive there is a terrible stigma around depression.  However, it is not the best idea to make small talk about the problem.  Complaining rarely works much of a beneficial result.

 

Channeling your energy into a positive outlet can be the experience that reverses the more difficult symptoms of a common malaise, depression.  Everyone knows that happiness is much preferable.

 

As I explained, The Little Mermaid is an established blogger who this month thought the theme of happiness would fit her tea party series.  Her posts invite networking for the love of blogging.  Happiness, I think, for me, is satisfaction.

 

I believe people ought to be happy.  That’s what I reflect upon when I’m thinking of such a matter.

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Photographer: Javier Molina

Happiness is a mellow joy, I would extrapolate.  The decisions opted in the course of one’s day help the individual experience what’s happy for that individual.  Youtuber Jenna Marbles has thought about it.  My Dogs Try On Halloween Costumes

 

A guilty pleasure.

 

I might think of happiness being connected to straight-up artistic endeavors.  There are numerous hobbies that spark happiness, like loyalty to a pastime, such as to baseball, to hockey, or to the NFL.

 

Friends and family are other enriching aspects of happiness.  Sometimes, though, you have to sit on the sidelines, waiting for another opportunity to step up to bat.

 

In this hemisphere, we’ve seen the summer come and go again and now, where I live that is, the temperatures will get colder and colder.  We have Halloween to look forward to, which for a lot of people is literally a “scream”.  I suppose that’s a pun.

 

Wednesday this week I asked how winter time is for a volunteer where I work.  He told me in turn how little pleasure he gets from the severity of the winter season.  I said a little to try to cheer him up, but his feelings about the season were steadfastly downbeat.

 

It helps, I would venture to say, that if you can narrow down your interests to just a few to focus on, I believe, you may get a better outcome.  That way, you are more invested emotionally in what you pursue.  Therefore the rewards spent in delving into your passions are rewards that you have generated in your life and reflect sincerity.

 

I was inspired in this by successful capitalist Warren Buffett.  Warren Buffett – The World’s Greatest Money Maker

 

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Photographer: Raymond Sam

You don’t necessarily want to just trade your time for money, which is a basic approach to your work that might not be completely serving you best.  I realize you probably have the responsibilities of being part of a family that necessitates and requires you to work at making some kind of living.  It is just that if you can do something radical and retain everything you need, and I know that’s not easy, but if you can, I believe it is more fulfilling than if you don’t.

 

You shouldn’t look back at what you have accomplished and feel there is nothing more you should do.  You need to keep growing every year of your life, I believe.

 

I write this blog because written content continues to have value in 2018.  So does video content and audio, as you probably know, probably more so.  I wish I had more opportunities to expand what I can do where content is concerned that is assembled myself and published.

 

Blogging’s one of my favorite hobbies.  My efforts are almost entirely done for free and yet I don’t wish to cease them.

 

I wish I had clearer intentions about what I am doing.  Maybe I can explore how to get to a more promising level of achievement without sacrificing the parts of the tasks that I enjoy the most.

 

One last thing:  I was speaking to a young man and admired his research ability for searching the Internet.  He told me he was sure it seemed special to me but he clarified in that conversation this month that everyone similar to him, his age, is equal to him in terms of the ability he has to research.  I suppose that is true, but I hadn’t been aware of that.

 

I think one of my draws is that I can do research, but perhaps I need to stop and think that my niece in Grade 3 may now be similarly competent at doing research to my own ability.  It’s incredible.

 

While the preceding example is an exaggeration, I remember that when I wanted a sales job years and years ago, I was asked to take a pen-and-paper test to demonstrate my competence as a computer user.  Given my weak results writing the test paper, the office showed me the door.  I didn’t get the job because I couldn’t prove that day, all that time ago, that I was adept with a computer.

 

I may not have been much good then, but I hope that by now, much later in life, I am better outfitted to better qualify for any kind of work that needs me to prove I am tech-savvy.

 

By the way, this month, October, is Inktober.  I don’t have tattoos, but an interesting interpretation is to apply the month’s emphasis on “ink” to how it applies to old-school tabletop roleplaying.  An ink-drawn map is often part of a tabletop RPG.

 

D&D
D&D game in a window display

The game I am most interested in is Pathfinder, so occasionally this month I am returning to Pathfinder game materials to read rules of the game with the idea in mind that the game is usually played with ink-drawn maps.  I’ve never played the game properly, but even reading some of the rules sometimes helps put me in a state of mind I enjoy.

 

Thank you for visiting my post.  Of course, you’re welcome to “like,” comment, and/or “follow.”

10 Reasons Radical Success is the Weakest Link Part I

Puzzle game

Updated November 1, 2018

In December my brother and his wife and kids gave me an unusual gift, a puzzle celebrating The Beatles’ music on The White Album.

 

Puzzle game
The Beatles

The puzzle is unusual mainly for the fact that the cover of The White Album is entirely the color white, which makes the puzzle an exercise in assembling puzzle pieces all the color white.  It is as if the wrong end of a game of chess game came down on you.

 

The Beatles Announce ‘White Album’ Deluxe 50th Anniversary Edition

 

I infer that The Beatles were steadfast into making music that suited them, rather than recordings songs intended chiefly to take the music charts by storm.

 

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Photographer: Little Visuals

 

I have ten reasons I’m suggesting that success like what The Beatles enjoyed is actually a weak link in terms of what it means for individual success and how it is misleading.  Four are presented here.

 

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Photographer: Suzy Hazelwood
  1. The YouTube channel Geeks + Gamers fascinates me.  When Jeremy announced that he had fallen prey to a phishing spoof three weeks ago, I wanted to include the problem in this post.  Jeremy was distracted at the moment and made a rookie error, surrendering control of Geeks + Gamers for seventeen minutes until he could get it back in order.  A second oversight occurred, when Jeremy neglected to completely secure his Google AdSense funding for the channel after the spoof.  When he realized that an entire month’s worth of  monies designated for Geeks + Gamers was stolen, he finally revealed what happened:  My YouTube Channel Was Hacked, Money Lost – Learn From My MistakesI’d been paying attention to Geeks + Gamers because I feel it protests and dissects conventional scholar on media.  The hardworking Geeks + Gamers team typically tackle major film projects like the DC universe on film, or more often the Disney Star Wars trilogy, as though the success, usually financial, of studio film output speaks to the conclusion that if a film is not fun, that if it doesn’t “work” in terms of being appealing to a mass audience, the film is not so much a radical success as it is a weak link.
    It didn’t matter to Jeremy that The Last Jedi is another splendid blockbuster in terms of the money it made for Disney; it was to him a complete letdown and something that was a disservice to the favorite films that remind him of his childhood, the Star Wars films.  Disney Has Concerns About Star Wars After The Last Jedi

It is interesting that while ostensibly the financial success of a film doesn’t mean the film is magical for Jeremy, when it comes to his YouTube channels, Geeks + Gamers and others, it is certainly a problem when a month’s loot is stolen, by cyber-crime means.  I wish Jeremy and the other members of Geeks + Gamers hadn’t had to go through that.

Today, Halloween, was interesting for the fact that Jeremy explained what bold criticism of what he does with Geeks + Gamers has been declared, going so far as to include the idea that “code words” communicate to people interested in Geeks + Gamers that they’d best launch literal hate and violence at targets which Geeks + Gamers usually defame, a video you can watch here:  NPC Star Wars Writer Continues To Lie and Spread False Information  Jeremy responded with firm dedication that Geeks + Gamers is in no way is supportive of violent attitudes in any situation, and further that Geeks + Gamers made no headway into what potentially amounts to a “boycott” of the recent Star Wars film Solo, a position I’d heard Jeremy take before when a discussion of how Solo did so lacklustre in terms of box office returns it wasn’t able to muster.

All this keeps me quite rapt about what this YouTube channel is saying about Star Wars–it plays a role in backlash concerning the Rian Johnson Star Wars film The Last Jedi.

For Geeks + Gamers to become a successful YouTube channel, it meant starting from basics and building a subscriber basis and becoming a success, of having people watch the videos and comment and so on.  If Geeks + Gamers were reviewing music, instead of films, and it was fifty years ago, perhaps they would have spoken publicly about The White Album.  Instead, they are speaking out, frequently, about The Last Jedi, in a way which makes it completely clear that they regard Episode VIII of Star Wars as rubbish.

  1. When I watched The Last Jedi when it arrived on Netflix, I enjoyed it and even felt moved.  The mods of Geeks + Gamers had no such experience.  Instead, they despise the film and regale in making that clear rather than taking a positive spin on something that’s an extension to something they loved in childhood.

 

  1. I would guess that Geeks + Gamers take such a broad interest in film criticism that they feel they can succeed with a successful YouTube channel.  The idea of success they have is different from the idea of success that’s reflected in something like the fiftieth-anniversary of The White Album, or in the success of the blockbuster The Last Jedi.
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    Photographer: Rawpixel.com

    The mods of Geeks + Gamers don’t seem to see The Last Jedi as a success at all because they despise it so much.  Their YouTube channel extrapolates messages like that Star Wars has been mostly reduced to rubbish, or that the DC comics universe could similarly face a death grip in the cinema.  I believe I misunderstood in my belief that Geeks + Gamers doesn’t desire or see any value in success at the level of the “blockbuster”; instead they expound on problems in entertainment which is compromised by identity politics in the entertainment that they criticize.  Now that I understand some generalities about Jeremy’s point of view,  it has me feeling a touch more informed about how identity politics show up in entertainment.
    To them, The Last Jedi is a weak link.  They wouldn’t aim for that kind of success in their own lives, for example.  It is notable, having learned of their misfortune with a phishing spoof, that their success has been compromised by their own position as a good-sized YouTube channel.

 

  1. In addition, an example of underhandedly reacting to what’s been said on Geeks + Gamers is the reaction after film director Rian Johnson mean-spiritedly called out a You-tuber who is devoted specifically to exploring what’s going on in Star Wars.  The Mike Zeroh channel is Zeroh’s speculation on about “behind the scenes” in Star Wars.  In the initial days of shooting Episode IX of Star Wars, Johnson, reflecting on Twitter about what he accomplished with his Star Wars film, referred to YouTube’s Mike Zeroh as being a zero himself, although Johnson later apologized.
    It is the same kind of weak link that exists when Geeks + Gamers tackles Star Wars because for all the enthusiasm Mike Zeroh puts into anticipating Star Wars, Mike Zeroh has personally explained on YouTube that Mike felt The Last Jedi was a poor effort.
    Mike Zeroh Vs Rian Johnson… Thank you Rian Again!!!

 

I was amused by The White Album puzzle game I got from my brother and his family.  I am also grateful for the opportunity to share these opportunities.  I am glad if you have read this.

How Struggles Can Make You Sick

Abandoned supermarket cart

Too much stress, “bad” stress, can weaken you, deplete your resources and waste scarce time if you are not dealing with your lifestyle well.  Everybody endures stress.

 

Getting older, I believe that lifestyles of Generation Z are significantly common, but I am from a small town.  It is important to obey the Biblical commandment, to honor thy mother and father.  As the father did before you, if you are of a certain age, you too need to heed that you are following appropriately in his steps.

 

That being said, there is lightness.  I think with a touch of envy of the comparative ease of the generation of young people often collectively referred to as Generation Z.  That doesn’t mean that I can compete with the energy of the young and of the attitudes which characterize them, different than for someone my age.

 

Someone like me, I feel, is part of a culture that values stress, that putting a great deal of work into a lifetime is a necessity.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Abandoned supermarket cart
Shopping cart

However, it means fulltime people endure an enormous amount of stress.  The more hours of work we take on, to make ends meet, the more stress we cope with.

 

I believe stress can easily bend one to its will rather than the other way round.  It is all very hard to manage.

 

In the film sequence preceding the climax of the 1978 feature film Superman, Lex Luthor conquers Superman with a chain of Kryptonite, until Superman makes a personal promise to Luthor’s beautiful assistant in order that she remove the powerful amulet–but a promise that puts at risk the woman who has his heart, Lois Lane.  All in all, it is an excellent film.

 

What I did, in my life, is an irregular passage through the years.  In 2008 when my employer closed its doors, I went on to work a part-time job while reflecting on what to do with my future  Then I went full time on government disability, as it was felt that I’d been “compromised” enough to give up on making a living through the avenue of work.

 

I had been reading some books on self-management and I didn’t think the stress of a new workplace was going to benefit me enough to do it.

 

A few years later, my father, perhaps frustrated by my reluctance, had an idea.  He was retiring from many years with a municipal cemetery, where he’d helped manage it from its offices.

 

A small cemetery in our town was searching for new operators.  It attracted him, and the trustees of that property were pleased to turn it over to him, so that he could direct it, pleased to have a focus in his retirement.

 

To my surprise, my dad invited me to help handle the operation of the cemetery.  We commenced in 2011.  The church at the cemetery, formerly of the United Church of Canada, had disbanded in 2006.

 

Headstones under repair
Important headstones of family generations in Maple Lawn Cemetery

We maintain the property ourselves, and work in the interior of the church in dire weather, setting our sights on attending to the cemetery once a week.  We made a not-for-profit out of it.  While I am junior, and there is no certainty how matters will proceed, in the seven years or so, lucky seven, that we’ve handled the cemetery, it has been a luxury of time and experience for me and an opportunity to enjoy the company of my father in his golden years.

 

We have had outside help from brothers of my father, my uncles.   On a few brief occasions we have talked about growth, but I don’t know if I can turn this venture into something in which I can continue in the long-term.  This post is intended to be expository writing, but working for a not-for-profit, when financial gains are generally hard-won, can lead to burnout, and to a minor degree that is what I am experiencing.

 

You see, I contribute several hours a week of work to the cemetery, and as my dad has spoken reassuringly of the flexibility to set our own hours, I have lately started to reduce my workload to a four-day week rather than a five-day.

 

I can’t help, for example, but want to relax on Saturday.  I think the decision to work less on Fridays is somewhat deleterious in that if you want to get ahead, you should probably be hustling with the same energy on a Friday that you do on a Monday.

 

I couldn’t help, in the past several weeks, to admit that the stress of putting nonprofit work at the center of my life, was making me feel a touch sick, by which I mean I was experiencing burnout.  I am sure this is common.

 

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Photographer: Ylanite Koppens

Whether this transition, to four days of focus on the cemetery rather than on each and every business day, will contribute to a soul-searching decision by my dad to relieve me of my work, I don’t know.  I think what will determine my chances of staying on are the quality of work I can produce in the time I devote to the not-for-profit.

 

How this has me feeling, perhaps, “sick,” is that I do care about working and I do feel some prestige enjoying the privilege of doing work that is shaped by our own efforts.  This is in contrast to working for a firm that is structured in predictable ways, with employee equity and positions and demands which could easily contribute to a high-stress load.

 

I am taking this risk because I believe I can do better work if I make strategies to cope with the burnout before there are related consequences.  I am counting on my own experience and abilities to do the same quality of work in a four-day structure than I would be getting done by committing the entirety of the work week to headway and progress.

 

I am sick to think of losing what I have worked for, and I am sick to think of bringing shame onto my father if the quality of my work does suffer because I am having trouble being afield of all that we do.  I feel like I should write something about feeling troubled by what I have to do to manage my role as operator, and maybe even think on how I could express an appropriate apology for how I am feeling.

 

Writing is the act of discovery. – Natalie Goldberg

 

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Photographer: Freestocks.org

If my father does finally decide, which I know he won’t do lightly, that I should be dismissed, it will be a sad day and for that, I will pay a price, of having the failure on my shoulders.  If that scenario comes to pass I will take time to mend.  It may be a self-centered attitude, but the best that can be done in the face of failure is to learn from what happened.

 

Everyone has experienced failure, and usually many, many times, sometimes with adverse consequences.

 

If you have never failed, you have stayed well inside your comfort zone.  Life needs to change and grow.

 

If my role in the not-for-profit does end in failure, I will at least have work experience.  I think I can draw on the time spent at this to draw conclusions that will inform my life in the future.  The situation that I think could result, however, is not going to be completely ideal.

 

It will be back to being “sick,” resorting to making ends meet with the help of a pension for disability, and with the support of my mom and dad.  Ain’t no one got time for that.  I will have then have the opportunity to look for a job if I feel I can weather the stress, or return to freelancing and try to find my niche doing that.

 

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Photographer: Rawpixel.com

Many members of Generation Z work as freelancers in the digital economy, and I would be competing with all of those people, which is daunting.  That being said, there are a few paths ahead for me to take and I will have to ask for guidance from fate and the intentions of The Lord.  I know I shouldn’t emphasize feeling sick about all this and I know I shouldn’t take on a job post that gives me more additional stress than I can handle.

 

For now, I will bide my time–for as much clarity as I can muster.

 

You are welcome to like, follow, and/or comment if you have feedback.  Lately, the blog has been fairly quiet, in terms of visits it receives, but you never know when some I’ve published here will pique the interest of a reader.

 

I appreciate the time of those who are visitors.  I have been tying my blog to the not-for-profit, and also trying to be jovial as I know it is as yet an amateur effort.  I feel blogging will continue to play a role in the time I have to write, as it is a splendid little spot of fun that has a pragmatic purpose.

August 17, 2018 #NationalNonprofitDay

Louth United, disbanded in 2006
  • Yesterday the website ZDNet reported that researcher Sam Thomas speaking at the Bsides technical security conference in Manchester alerted attendees that WordPress has been rendered vulnerable to a bug for the entire duration of the last year.  While the situation hasn’t been exploited by attackers, Thomas sounded a concern with WordPress that will require a patch.  This is the first, I believe, that it has been reported, which is a fact, I suspect, that lends itself to the possibility that there could be an upset connected to this WordPress bug and the suggestion of vulnerability

 

https://www.zdnet.com/article/wordpress-vulnerability-affects-a-third-of-most-popular-websites-online/

 

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Photographer: Negative Space

 

In a different light on what’s happening in the blogosphere, I would like to say here that I think of myself as a reasonably well-informed individual.  I have an interest in being active with a blog, with Facebook, and with Twitter.

What’s come up is that the seventeenth of August, 2018, is a celebratory day for nonprofit businesses.  Despite the caveat at the start of the post, it can be said that if you’re unaware of the significance of August 17, 2018, it is that this is National Nonprofit Day.

I thought I would write something to mark the occasion.  I personally am part of a business that has a not-for-profit status.

About nonprofits, National Nonprofit Day recognizes people who contribute to organizations who generally rely on charitable funding to keep going.  There are a lot of needs that would be underserved if it weren’t for nonprofits.  Funding for not-for-profits helps with needs that otherwise would go unmet, which is great because it helps deal with active problems.

I help care for a not-for-profit cemetery that is small but pretty, named Maple Lawn.

Here is a recent photo.  Me, my dad Peter and his brother, my uncle, Dave, run the cemetery.

Louth United, disbanded in 2006
Formerly Louth United Church, St. Catharines

We don’t specifically receive funding for what we do.  We got involved a few years ago when Peter opted to take responsibility for a cemetery whose trustees no longer wished to care for it.  Since then we have opted to care for the grounds and to handle burials.

My dad worked for many years at the municipal cemetery in the city.  We generally attend to the cemetery grounds once a week, on Wednesdays, and we do additional work as needed.

There’s a church on the cemetery grounds.  The United Church of Canada congregation which filled it disbanded from this church of ours in 2006.  It may sound like we’re carrying out a selfless endeavor, but there are a few advantages, in addition, that I can think of.

Running the cemetery doesn’t require a huge amount of input or direction.  I am on hand to do some of the grounds keeping, and I also put it in time doing research and the like as the cemetery SMM.  My dad does a lot of the work that requires expertise tied to the particulars of operating a cemetery.

While many not-for-profits would operate on a fulltime basis, we write our own hours and we mostly look in our own pockets for what we need to spend.  I recently returned to the popular 4 Hour Work Week book by entrepreneur Timothy Ferriss for the third time now and you can view, if you like, my thoughts on it as the following blog post I wrote

https://findingenvirons1.blog/2018/07/24/pausing-to-read-the-4-hour-work-week/

 

We cover our costs and contribute to the cemetery if someone wants a grave here, or if a funeral needs to be conducted and we do this out of a sense of goodwill.

We have a Facebook page–https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited–and a website–http://maplelawncemeteryorg.ipage.com/oldchurchcemetery/

I remain partial to the notion that if I write a blog there will be a little additional interest in what I say.

I look at Twitter, https://twitter.com/findingenvirons …because of Twitter’s use as an information tool.  I don’t limit my interests on Twitter to what we do at the cemetery.  I explore a variety of interests outside what would otherwise be confined to a very limited niche.

Cemetery operation is too specialized, I think, to confine a Twitter account to that sole purpose.

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Photographer: Rawpixel.com

I don’t feel that time is lost carrying out service at the cemetery.  The time that’s devoted to being part of a small not-for-profit rather than working in a career in sales or the like is meaningful and, even better, enjoyable.  I feel that limiting one’s energy to a volunteer position is time invested in oneself.

With the trade-off of what might be a better living secondary to time invested in the cemetery, I feel like I have something personal to me that I do, although I know a lifestyle like this is certainly not for everyone.  I continue to look at the work from the standpoint that it is a lucky opportunity.  There are drawbacks but I don’t want to emphasize them here in this post.

Furthermore, I appreciate that National Nonprofit Day celebrates nonprofits, people who work hard to make a difference.  When Maple Lawn highlights for people what we’re doing, such as on our Facebook page for the cemetery, we often get positive responses for the care we take to keep the cemetery looking nice.  Visitors to our Facebook page reward us that way.

https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited
Photographer: Wilfred Iven

People who work in not-for-profits may not always feel that benefactors give them the credit that they deserve, but it doesn’t mean not-for-profit employees don’t find satisfaction in what they do.  I am sure that among not-for-profit personnel, many of them welcome August 17 and celebrate their work accordingly, and that’s what I’m writing about in this post.  I usually represent what we’re doing at the cemetery in positive terms, which is how I try to frame it.

That is to say, I think of myself as an optimist rather than as a pessimist, despite the solemnity of the atmosphere of a cemetery.  If you relate, you’re welcome to “like,” to “follow,” and/or to “comment.”  In November, I will try to respond specifically to the occurrence of Giving Tuesday, the day that charities work especially hard to raise funds.

I realize there may not be such a sense of urgency that a cemetery like ours needs additional assistance, but you never know unless you ask if there is some unknown avenue to improve the standard of work in our hands.  It is probably the right idea to look into getting additional help at the same time that similar organizations are delving into the same.  Autumn is the time of year for it.

I hope to continue working at the cemetery while playing the additional role of nurturing Facebook and Twitter, writing here on WordPress, and otherwise keeping a hand in at our not-for-profit.  Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

  • Please do not be alarmed by the idea that there is a bug in WordPress that could, in theory, render you in jeopardy if you maintain a blog with WordPress.  Actually, it has been kept under wraps for an entire year.
  • There have been no specific problems made aware of that ZDNet reported and there is no indication that the bug will actually be exploited in the name of enemy action, however so easy a target exists.  I know with this attention to the issue WordPress will respond with a patch.