Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vistaprint, I'm addicted.

Vistaprint, I'm completely addicted to your services. I made my own business cards and magnets in less than an hour, and they're so cool and high quality and WAY cheaper than the last time I ordered cards from a printing company. Plus, one can make coffee mugs, t-shirts, pens, websites, you name it. I literally had to pull myself away due to the risk of going overboard with ordering products. Anyone who wants to promote their work or just create awesome items for memorabilia, like homemade calenders, Vistaprint is an absolute must see!

Check out these business cards I just made. They took me under an hour and the program was amazingly user friendly. I went ahead and ordered matching magnets with little calenders, couldn't help myself. As soon as they arrive, which should be Feb. 10th, I'll be giving some magnets away at my website, along with a bunch of other free stuff.

Finally I'm addicted to a good thing. If you haven't been to Vistaprint, do yourself a favor and check it out.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Brett Favre, don't retire in haste! Take as much time to decide as you need.

When Brett Favre retired twice and waited until the last minute each time to declare he was coming back, I have to admit feeling the same resentment as most of the media (outside of perspective cities he might play for), as they openly chastised him for toying with our oh-so-fragile sports emotions. The problem I had, and others, was the constant media attention for many months over one silly question, "Are you really retired?" Well, we were all really tired of that question, even Brett I assume.
However, as soon as he was on the field whether it was for the Jets or the Vikings, he was electric. That same kid from Mississippi who simply loves the game and gives it everything he possibly can, won our hearts in a New York minute. Win or lose, his teams embraced him, the media embraced him, the fans embraced him, and both years I found myself becoming an overnight supporter of his teams.
Perhaps the thing I respect most about Brett Favre is that he does things his way, taking family and himself as paramount and media scrutiny/societal pressure as secondary or non-existent. Obviously his achievements must be mentioned. At the time of this post, he holds at least 41 NFL records including most consecutive starts, most wins, most passing yards and touchdowns (interceptions too), and he's the only player to have beaten every team in the NFL. So how could we have turned against this first round Hall-of-Famer? Is it because he's also set a record for interview appearances, press conferences, media spotlight and discussion on his daily future thoughts--is that why so many people turned on Brett during the offseasons?

While watching the final game against the Saints and screaming during each of those horrible mistakes made by Brett and several of his teammates in a game they still almost won even though the science of the game dictated they had no chance whatsover due to massive turnover differential--I had to wonder--can Brett Favre, the perpetual kid who clearly loves football as much or more than anyone, can he really retire after a final play (rookie style) interception that arguably cost his team the game and a shot at the beloved SuperBowl? Everyone knows the memories of that final career interception in the waning moments, with Ryan Longwell just waiting on the sidelines to kick the game winning field goal and send the Vikings to the SuperBowl for the first time in 43 years, that memory will grind at Brett possibly for a lifetime. Wow, 43 years, longer than Favre has been alive. And, of course, the Vikings have been to 4 SuperBowls, losing all of them. To be sure, 99.9% of Minnesotans (and many of the rest of us) will pray, beg, bribe, scream and claw for Brett to come back.
How can this man retire now? How can this be his final playing memory?
I really hope Brett gets through this week, realizes he can give it one more season, and formally announces his decision to play once more with the Vikings.
We love you, man. You're an ambassador. Please give it one more for your sake, for our sake, for the NFL itself, and even for the Gipper.
And take your time to decide. It gives the media something to do.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Avatar, a pre-emptive strike brings shock and awe terror to corporate military

Avatar is clearly one of the greatest movies of all time, arguably the greatest. James Cameron has blended a high concept plot with outstanding computer animation and stunning visuals to go with the action/adventure pace that audiences crave.
But what is far more important to me, are the open spiritual messages within the plot and that Avatar clearly makes one point stand out - that deeply rooted connectedness to each other, to all animals, plants and our world itself, are of much greater value than corporate greed backed by military force. Avatar takes the military mindset of "pre-emptive strike," "shock and awe," and "bringing terror to the terrorists" head on, even using these terms specifically pointing out what our military is currently doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Please notice the clear choices of wording in Avatar and their underlying meanings:
Eywa - mother nature itself, the spirit within all life forms and everything that is and is always connected. Notice how much Eywa sounds like Yahweh (Hebrew for God) and even Gaia (spirit of Earth).
Unobtainium - the outrageously expensive mineral being mined from the moon, Pandora (ancient Greek mythology Goddess - giver of all life). The highly prized piece of rock that caused corporate and military minds to destroy everything in order to have it. Surely this is an "unobtainable" treasure, for there is no value in destroying everything else.
The year is 2154, the start of the Aquarian age. Note the color of the Navi's skin... blue.
Jake Sulley is the main character, the one person caught in the middle of doing his job as a marine and becoming a member of the Na'vi (naive, native), the indigenous spiritual culture of Pandora. Jake represents many of us as we take a look in the mirror and have to determine if our choices and direction are ultimately good for all or destroying all.
I could go on and on since this film is packed with metaphors and themes that our culture is presently dealing with. Hollywood is really changing for the better. I absolutely loved this movie and will happily pay to see it again. Nice work, Mr. Cameron. Best of luck with the sequels.

What are your thoughts? Add a comment.
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Friday, January 15, 2010

San Francisco Writers Conference or bust

I'm going. Yeah, it's pricey plus we'll probably spend a ton in the city with Jana and Devan joining me for a vacation. They'll be toodle-looing around Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiradelli Square while I'm soaking in Dan Poynter and Larsen-Pomada as they etch out the writing business. But hey, how can I pass up this opportunity to rub elbows with top agents, editors, publishers and more?
So I'm going and I'm going to write about it. Why the heck not? That's what we writers do, and I think I'm one. Anyone interested in a first hand account of the San Francisco Writers Conference need only look for this blog from February 12th to the 14th and probably beyond for some follow up and (hopefully magical) results. How exciting. Even for just a chance to be in one of the world's great cities and have a martini at the Top of the Mark restaurant seated across from best-selling authors like Jaquelyn Mitchard and Steve Berry. I'm embarrassed to admit I don't yet know them but will soon since they're among the keynote speakers.
So in case you haven't been, can't make it in 2010, would like the full skinny of the San Francisco Writers Conference from a newbie... I am there for you. (and me)
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Meditation made easy, tips for simple relaxation

meditation image with sun in backgroundThis would be ideal if everybody could meditate like the master in this picture. The truth is not everyone (me included) can easily relax in the lotus postion. However, everyone can meditate. The main thing is simple yet focused relaxation. If you can just take some calming breaths, you're halway there. 3 deep inhalations going well into the lungs and 3 complete exhalations will slow down your heart rate and pulse, calm the mind and bring about instant relaxation. It really is that simple to start. Once you've mastered that, you can move onto higher levels and techniques.
My most frequent form of meditation is reminding myself to take some conscious breaths whenever I feel the stress of life coming on. This can be with eyes wide open and in the middle of other stuff, like when driving my car or at my work desk or even during household chores. I just slow down, breathe deeply and let go of burdensome thoughts. Try this yourself and see if it helps. And if you want to go for any deeper meditations, try some of these tips:
-Sit in a chair, on a pillow or even lie down (but don't fall asleep). Keep your back and neck fairly in alignment. Close your eyes. Relax, focus on deep breathing and let go of thoughts. Allow the breath to go all the way in like it's going beyond your lungs and into your belly. Then release the breath entirely. Even breaths coming in, even breaths going out.
-Try a mantra. Either a simple phrase like I am light or I am relaxed to keep your mind from thinking dozens of thoughts. It's much better to think of one thing than dozens of things. The object is to let go of the "monkey mind." Or your mantra can be something that has no meaning, no association for your mind to grasp to, like "keenum." If you allow yourself to think of keenum or some such non-word, it will be more likely to calm down and think of nothing. The whole idea is to train your mind to relax, take a break, something it's not used to doing (even for blondes).
-Set a timer, a quiet timer to let you know when 10 minutes have passed. If you feel good about it, increase your time with practice.
-Take notice of any impulses, thoughts or information you tend to receive during this time. Some amazing insights often are "revealed" to us during these states of relaxation. The more you do it, the more you might discover. Where do these thoughts come from? Hmmm... good question.
Enjoy and be at peace.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Create Your Own Website with Chris Farrell, I'm glad I did!

As a tech-newbie, I've spent the last few weeks educating myself on website design. It's been an arduous journey to say the least - my wife has never seen me so frustrated. I have come a long way though there's still a lot to learn. I did however, recently stumble across this excellent and free ebook by Chris Farrell on the subject. This ebook is by far the single best piece of training that I've found. It's concise, easy and fun to follow. Plus, in his videos Chris sounds like he's from Liverpool, like a young John Lennon. Great accent. And he likes his coffee breaks. Check out his ebook and free videos either at his website or where I found it at on this page submitted Dec 12-09  - The advice Chris gives also uses Kompozer, a powerful, easy and free website building program you can find here -
Additionally, a google search surprisingly led me to see some scam alerts about him. When I read through them I also found dozens of positive testimonials from extremely satisfied people like me, including people like me who haven't spent one dime and have learned tremendously from Chris. Yes, he sells memberships to an internet hosting company that, arguably is pricey and comes with tons of bells and whistles if you want to spend a bit extra and get on the fast track to your goals. Nothing wrong with that at all, especially if you understand sometimes you have to invest to really make money. And the beauty is, if you're like me and want to save every penny and do-it-yourself, Chris Farrell will teach you to do it all for free. He truly is a gifted teacher, so check it out.
Oh, and my latest website is only one day old so it's still embarrasingly unfinished and in construction, but you can see it here at or the one I made last week which is finished at and that one also is (hard to believe) absolutely 100% FREE.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I was playing around with website creation (playing is a fuzzy term, more like pulling my last remaining hairs out in dire frustration), when I came across a place to create a totally free website that included a very powerful and easy to use sitebuilding program. In my opinion, this program was far easier to use than the paid ones with hosting company giants, Godaddy and Hostgator. Of course, I would have to pay a bit to upgrade beyond the advertisements on the side and to increase bandwidth, monthly contact emails, etc, but for free this seemed like a good thing to do especially to build my web design abilities.
If you want to check out my TOTALLY FREE website where I can even sell my ebooks from, just take a visit to

There you can purchase ebooks in pdf, mobi and epub formats of both The Little Universe and Jim's Life. Or for the low price of $5.95, you can buy both.

And if you're interested in creating your own totally free website, try it out at