I am ashamed to say that in all my years of living in Germany I never went to Berlin and visited the sight of the Berlin wall. It is one of the things I kick myself for not doing while I had the chance. Why didn’t I take the time to check out one of the most historical landmarks in the world? The closest I ever came to Berlin was when I went to Dresden. Dresden is about 187 kilometers (116 miles) or about a two-hour drive from Berlin. Now today is the 25th anniversary of the wall coming down and I drawn to a conversation I had about it with a German friend.
At one time Berlin was split in two, East and West. I’m not going to get into the whole history because there are plenty news article or books you can get it from. However, I’ll just summarize. The wall was built, and guards walked the border making sure that East siders did not try to head over to West where freedom lay. Finally the power of the people, as well as East Berlin’s recognition that their government system was not working as planned, opened the doors for Germans to leave if that’s what they wanted. Many stories tell of how people fled to freedom, and to families and loved one separated on the West side. But for some freedom is not just about being free but being free to make your own choices.
Not everyone left East Berlin once the walls came down. While living in Germany, I met a friend whose grandmother still lived in what was once East Berlin. When the time came to leave and be with her family on the West side, she opted to stay. Many might think why would she want to stay when she could be free? It’s easy to assume that everyone would want to leave a place that had oppressed them for many years. But that assumption would be wrong. Regardless of how we might feel or think about those who stayed when it came down to it this was their home. For some, it was the only home they ever knew.
For my friend’s grandmother, it was a life she had lived for many years. She was used to the separation of her family, but the new independence was too much for her to take in. Besides she had a simple life in East Berlin, and that’s how she wished to keep it. Now that the borders were open, and the wall that symbolized Germany’s darker history in the world was down she could visit her family whenever she wanted, or her family could visit her. I asked my friend if her grandmother was glad the wall was down. My friend replied that although her Grandmother was glad she still felt more comfortable where she lived. That’s understandable. There are many people in America who have never even left the city or state they were born and raised in, and they have always had the freedom to do so.
So the fall Berlin Wall is more than just a symbol for freedom it is a symbol of choice, and the wall coming down represents the right to make that choice. It gave many the opportunity to follow what their hearts desired, whether that is being able to leave or just making the choice to stay in the only home you’ve ever known.
Yesterday was November 1st and the start of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is like the Boston marathon for writers. In one-month participants are challenged to write 50,000 (or more) words in 30 days. Many people constantly worry and nit pick their creations to the point that their story becomes a concept stuck in their minds. Don’t be that person. The point of the month long exercise is not to finish a novel but to just get one started period.
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”- E.L. Doctorow
There are also perks from sponsors like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Scrivener, who give free or discounted services, which aid writers who want to go further after the NaNoWriMo challenge. Plus you get cool badges and banners that help keep writers motivated and inspired throughout the intense writing period. It’s a wonderful thing, and I owe NaNoWriMo for getting me started in writing a novel as well as inspire me to create my blog site.
You are probably wondering, if you love it so much why not participate? I am not going to lie I did consider doing NaNoWriMo this year. I love the feel of keys tapping beneath my fingers, the constant need to type, and watching my story develop right before my eyes. But I digress, I only want you to remember that the key to success in this challenge is to just type. Writers (I include myself in this obsessiveness) need to stop thinking too hard on the grammar and mechanics. All that comes later in editing and rewrites.
However, this year I have decided to fine tune my manuscript, “Voices of Clara” for publication. Ironically, the story is one I wrote and finished during NaNoWriMo 2008. I was so excited when I saw how the story came together. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was my imperfect story, and I had written it in 30 days. Now it’s 2014, and I still haven’t published, “Voices of Clara“. That’s a long time to sit on a book and have it go nowhere. I don’t want my work to have been written in vain. I like the story of Clara, a young adult woman trying to figure out life and what she wants from it. While having, a few funny and heartfelt adventures and discoveries along the way. I feel that many people could relate regardless their age because we have all struggled in our early adult lives.
Now you know why I am not NaNoWriMoing this year. I encourage other writers to give it a try even if you don’t reach the 50,000-word count goal. I have seen some participants’ word counts go far past the intended goal. Hopefully, I will be able to participate next year because I love a good challenge.
It’s Not Too Late To Participate!
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo 2014? How far have you gotten in your word count? A friend of mine and established author has written over 10,000 words, and she’s only just begun.
Good luck to all the participants and I wish you all the best success in your challenges.
On October 23rd, 2014 Houston’s Stereo Live was pulsating with artists of all types from slam poets, visual artists, fashion designers, and musicians. That night I was there to see and interview singer/songwriter David Justin who just released his new single, “Supernova”. Since the single’s release earlier this year Supernova has been played on Pandora, Sirius, and BBC Radio and is steadily gaining popularity.
David is a Houston native, and upon meeting David I found him to be the down to earth guy he was described to be. His love of music grew after he was presented with his first violin lesson at the age of eight. David proceeded to teach himself the drums at age 12 and eventually picked up songwriting. He never intended to make music a career but after writing several songs while in college David decide it was time to make his mark in the world, and he did. In 2009 David was nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Awards.
However, “Supernova” is not David’s first well received work. In 2012 David’s first album, “Speak to the World”, which included fan favorites such as “Maria”, “Covergirl”, and “Paper Heart”. David’s acoustic style music, voice, and lyrics invite the listener to relate with clearly sung lyrics. I especially like his song, “Unspoken”. His music is reminisce of singers Gavin Degraw, John Mayer, or Michael Bublé.
The night of his performance David sat down with me for a short interview before heading on stage.
Budom: How are feeling tonight? Excited? Pumped?
David:Yeah, I’m excited. There is always excitement, that’s what makes playing live so much fun.
Budom: So tonight you’re going to be playing acoustic?
David: Yeah, yeah that’s pretty much how it all started by playing acoustic and playing by myself. Of course when I am out in LA I play with a band. But then tonight I’ll be playing acoustic style, and I have a drummer who will be playing the Kahuna it’s like a beat box thing, and then my other friend will be playing the bass. It’s going to be a good change up because there is going to be another band playing a full set, and I think the people will enjoy that a lot more. The music will be a lot more raw.
Budom:I read in your bio that you started at a very young age.Was your father your biggest influence as far as getting into music or were there other influences?
David: I mean from a young age I was around music, and of course my dad was my biggest influence because he was the one around the house who played music. So without him I probably wouldn’t have chosen the path I did, and done things or learned the instruments that I learned without him. But yeah, I would definitely say that he was the main person that I looked up to.
Then throughout my teenage years I got into songwriting. When I was about 17 or 18 I got really serious about it. I wrote about 10 or 12 songs that I felt really comfortable with and proud of and I didn’t know what to do with it. I never really thought about being a recording artist. I just loved music, I loved writing, and I would play for my all my friends and family and they said, ‘you should really records these things’.
So, I started off with a little tape track like a cassette and started to record myself playing, and the more I would do that the hungrier I got to make something bigger. I ended up meeting a producer in Dallas who actually produced my first record and recorded my album.
Then about two and a half years ago I got hit up by my manager, Joe Fontaine out in Los Angeles. We started a dialogue and started talking, and his mentioned to me what he was doing and trying to accomplish. Joe said he actually knew some producers and songwriters in Los Angeles. So he asked me to fly out and I flew out. I did a session or two and things went really well. We recorded some songs and I ended up signing a deal with him.
I have been flying back and forth maybe every two to three months going out there just writing and recording. It’s really been a fun experience. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’m starting to meet a lot of people in the industry. It’s good being out there and then being able to come back home and play shows where I can play to almost two different audiences.
Budom: Yes, two different types of demographics and types of people?
David: Yes, yes, it really is. Because different people respond to the songs differently, and that what’s really exciting, seeing how people respond and connect with the songs.
Budom: You were nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Music Awards. How did that feel? Did you expect that or was it like “wow” after getting the nomination?
David: (laughs) No, I didn’t. I, uh..just finished recordings some songs from my first record and I was just really trying to get a break, and get my name out there. It was actually the first contest I had ever submitted to. I was kind of leery about submitting to a song writing contest because they get thousands of entries, and you never know if they’re going to hear your song or what.
Yeah, I got a letter in the mail saying that I was a finalist and I think it was out of four or five thousand entries. It was really neat, it was kind of the first time I felt justified as a songwriter. I was up against pro songwriters and I really felt justified and excited. It really made me want to pursue more and do more.
Budom: So you mentioned that you want to build a bigger fan base in Houston. I have a teenage daughter, and I asked my youngest what type of questions she would ask if she had the chance. The first one question is: If there was someone you could collaborate with as a songwriter or singer who would you choose?
David: Hmm, that’s really tough because there’s so much talent out there. I mean it seems when I find a favorite artist then I find another favorite artist. I think that’s just the power of the Internet, and there’s so many tools to discover artist. I would definitely say I think it would be fun to collaborate with John Mayer. He’s a very versatile songwriter and musician.
Budom: Would you ever consider a collaboration out of your genre like Kesha and Pit Bull did as well as other artist?
David: Uh…No, the way I write songs I don’t usually listen to other people and think. ‘I’m going to write a song like that’. It really comes from within me I’m pretty true to myself and I don’t try to be anybody that I’m not. I try to keep it pretty pure.
Budom: Okay, last question. If you had a fandom what would they be called? Here are some examples for you Justin Bieber’s fans are “Biebers”, Lady Gaga’s are “Little Monsters”, and Taylor Swift’s fans are known as the Swifties.
David: (laughs) You know this has been an on going conversation with my manger. We’re still trying to pin point that now. I thought maybe the “Little DJs” but that’s kind of corny, you know? Or maybe the “Little Supernovas”, I don’t know that something we’re still working on. I think it’s going to be like one of those things when somebody else says something and then that’s it.
Budom: (laughs) Well, we need to get that out there. We need to see what your fandom is going to be like. That’s what we need to get a rally started on getting an idea on what to call your fandom.
David: I think so, yeah. We need to work on that. That’s actually a good question because I always think about that.
Budom: Well, David thanks so much for setting aside this time to sit here and chat with you. I look forward to seeing you on stage.
I had a wonderful time corresponding with David through social media and at the interview. He’s a musician with heart and soul and you can hear it in his music.
“It takes courage to chase your dreams and dreams to create courage, but either way I’m committed to both.”
– David Justin
David’s album “Speak to the World” and new single “Supernova” is available on iTunes. Look for the official “Supernova” video release coming soon, featuring Caitlin O’Connor(Sports Illustrated, The Gambler) and Christine Lakin(Step by Step, Melissa & Joey). Meanwhile, you can catch his “Supernova” lyric video on youtube.
Yes, I started with such a word, but sometimes that is exactly how I feel. I know that job hunting has never had an easy history, but you would think after all these years something would make it easier. Maybe even pleasant?
Okay, I ranted thanks for listening. oh wait? Did you think I was done no I am merely pre-thanking you for staying to listen. Today I went on an interview that took up to 3 hours. As I was regretting skipping my morning coffee my stomach grumbled. It was so loud! I thought the receptionist might come in the conference thinking I needed medical attention. Thank goodness, my stomach had good timing and did not protest during the actual interview.
So back to this interview which started at 9am and proceeded until noon. Let me tell you, this was for a position that stated it was an at home position.
Ah, but like Daddy always said, “read the fine print.” otherwise you will rue the day. I am not saying the company was dishonest, no. The interviewers were very open during the interview, and clarified any concerns I might have with the position. More on this later.
I was given a skills test that involved reading a small children’s book then writing a short essay about it, and what you think of the book. The test was not so bad. Of course, I am the worst test taking person. I get so nervous when tested, even if I know the information. Then the next step is the face to face interview.
There were lots of questions on handling customers and resolving issues. I feel I was being auditioned more than interviewed. The interviewers wanted to know how I might have solved irate or distressed customer issues. They really went through the résumé. It’s nice to know someone is reading my résumé.
It seems that the training takes place at an office site and once trained can earn to get on the “at home” rotation. This education is estimated to last average of two to three months. Two to three months? But I have a home office waiting to be used! Sigh. Okay, I kept my smile on and figured that the salary was worth the training at an office site.
Once the interview was over I was offered a drink, and the restroom. The interviewers went to discuss, with their general manager, if I would be moving to the further into the “employed” stage. I waited for at least an hour before one of the interviewers returned to let me know they “weren’t” moving further on with the hiring process.
Okay, there are some good things I can take from this. The glass is always half full, right?
1. They spent a long time with me. They must have seen some potential. (Yet they didn’t hire me,hmmm?)
2. The universe must be telling me something. (I don’t know. I just had my heart set on a couple of other applied to jobs. Luck be a lady tonight.)
3. Really there is no three. Everyone was nice and polite but they could have sent me home then discussed things with the general manager. (I was having coffee withdrawals.)
That’s it, my “argh” day. I am not sad that I didn’t get the job just slightly disappointed. Rejection is not an easy criticism to take even when it is constructive criticism. I really felt they liked me during the interview. Either way it was good interview practice. I kept thinking this is what is must feel like trying to get a job at a law firm. I tell you, the interviewers were very thorough.
Who wouldn’t be a little disappointed that’s just human nature. No worries though because I still have a couple of interviews in the wings. So wish me luck as I continue onward in my job hunting saga.
It is common to link certain habits and attributes, to the breed of the mentally resilient.
On the other hand, mental strength can also be gauged by identifying the things mentally strong individuals DO NOT do.
Do Not Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair.
Do Not Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and outdated.
Do Not Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage or even the behaviour of other people. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing…
As you read the words sting ray I believe that the name Steve Irwin comes to mind. The horrible “gasps” echoed around the world when people heard of his injury and eventual passing.
I still feel sad when I think about Irwin being gone, for his wild love of nature inspired me to watch him on television. I didn’t love nature as passionately as Irwin did, but I did appreciate it more.
In the Grand Cayman there is a beautiful stretch of sand bar that houses a lot of sting rays called Sting Ray City. Of course our tour guides from MarineLand Tours, were well versed and full of knowledge about sting rays. They even mentioned the Steve Irwin tragedy that his death was not intentional, with the sting ray using its defense mechanism (and the only defense sting rays have) the tail barb.
MarineLand tours provides several excursions such as charters, private tours, and special occasions, as well as the tours to Sting Ray City. In 2013 MarineLand tours was bestowed Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence Award. They certainly deserved it, and this is one tour I am highly recommending.
Recently my state of employment has given me a new status titled ” job hunter.” I have been introduced to the challenges and opportunities that are part of the job hunting foray.
As I eye each job or corporation seeking people to fill their empty spots, I find a diamond in the rough.
While searching through Fortune 500 companies that use Flexjobs.com to help fill their positions, I am often on the look out for employment possibilities for others.
Flexjobs.com specializes in telecommuting, remote/work at home jobs, but has plenty of location jobs to apply for as well.
Apple is today’s employer pick of the “job hunter” guild. Apple’s AppleCare College Program works with University of Houston to hire enrolled students to work for their organization. Students with excellent organizational skills, high critical thinking skills, and has a GPA of at least 2.7 should apply for an at home technical support position.
The position requires a quiet work space and high-speed Internet to learn more requirements click here.
Learn How Net Neutrality Will Affect You Personally. WordPress blogger Paul Sieminski, reports on how the Internet, as we know it will never be the same, if we let it. Read the article, and express your feelings on net neutrality. #netneutrality #brouhahaaccess
“Net Neutrality” is the simple but powerful principle that cable and broadband providers must treat all internet traffic equally. Whether you’re loading a blog post on WordPress.com, streaming House of Cards on Netflix, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your internet provider can’t degrade your connection speed, block sites, or charge a toll based on the content that you’re viewing.
Net neutrality has defined the internet since its inception, and it’s hard to argue with the results: the internet is the most powerful engine of economic growth and free expression in history. Most importantly, the open internet is characterized by companies, products, and ideas that survive or fail depending on their own merit — not on whether they have preferred deals in place with a broadband service provider. Unfortunately, the principle of net neutrality, and the open internet that we know and love, is under attack.
In the wake of the domestic violence reports with Ray Rice, former NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens, DomesticViolence Month is just around the corner starting in October. It is sad to see that domestic violence still a common occurrence, and that many are so surprised by the violent act.
Janay Rice has released an apology for her part in the “cringe” worthy scene caught on the elevator surveillance video released by TMZ. In hindsight it cannot be easy for the abused to leave an abuser. Knowing this, I was still shocked she should defend her man so adamantly to the point of being upset with the media, NFL, and the horrified public who sympathized with her plight. I must admit that I became angry, and suddenly became unsympathetic. However, after thinking about it, and seeing some images of Janay Rice walking eyes down I realized I had no room to judge. Then there was the article published by Huffington Post titled, #WhyIStayed Stories Reveal Why Domestic Violence Survivors Can’t ‘Just leave’, which explains why the abused tend to stay or seemingly support their partner’s behavior.
For many, domestic violence is behavior hard to accept, and hearing an abused person downplaying it and attacking others for punishing the abuser is even more confusing. Domestic violence leaves emotional and psychological scars along with physical reminders of abuse. According to the National Network To End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), a 24 hour study in 2009 showed that domestic violence programs served around 65,000 daily along 23,000 phones calls answered by crisis hotlines daily. Imagine these are the incidents reported and acknowledged. NNEDV has a FAQ to help people understand what occurs in a relationship filled with domestic violence, and the stigma that still exists with it today.
Domestic violence touches everyone regardless of sex, class, education, or race. A 2001 study by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics showed, that while 85% were female victims at least 15% included gay and lesbians relationships and men who were abused by female partners. In many cases there are signs leading to an abusive relationship, but they can be so subtle a person may not realize it until it’s too late. The best way to avoid an abusive relationship is to be aware of the signs. Some examples from NNEDV are:
They insist on moving too quickly into a relationship.
They can be very charming and may seem too good to be true.
They insist that you stop participating in leisure activities or spending time with family and friends.
They are extremely jealous or controlling.
They do not take responsibility for their actions and blame others for everything that goes wrong.
They criticize their partner’s appearance and make frequent put-downs.
Their words and actions don’t match.
Domestic violence does not have to be a part of your life. If you or anyone you know is in a domestic violent relationship call for help. Give yourself a voice again.
Hotline advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year to provide confidential crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Assistance is available in English and Spanish, with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services.