Daily Prompt: Quartet

via Daily Prompt: Quartet

I grew up on the oldies, 50’s and 60’s music. When I got to high school, I discovered heavy metal, and fell in love. I felt the power of the music, and searched for the bands that had an inspiring message. My favourite band to this day is Tool, the progressive rock/metal band with a cult following for it’s high quality musicianship, open-minded perspective, and mystery.

After a couple of years I was submerged in a sea of metal bands, and thought that this was the be-all-end-all of music for the rest of my days. My mind would soon be changed when I received a burnt CD of a Tool tribute album by the Vitamin String Quartet.

I gave the album a listen and couldn’t believe how this group of classical musicians could absolutely nail every note, beat, and melody. It acted as a catalyst into my journey through the ever-growing spectrum of music.

I have since expanded my love of music into a number of different genres, with the exception of country music, which has never been appealing to me.

Learn more about the Vitamin String Quartet and the bands that they have covered: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_String_Quartet

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Daily Prompt: Micro

via Daily Prompt: Micro

Do not micromanage me!

I have worked for an eclectic mix of employers, in a variety of different industries. They all have their upsides and downsides, but my biggest frustration with any manager/boss/owner is micromanagement.

Once I have been trained, if you’ve done your job as a trainer correctly, I do not need someone standing over my shoulder every minute of the day. In fact, I will begin to freeze up, and second-guess myself if they’re watching my every movement. This includes role-playing scenarios, “pop quizzes”, and shadowing. Even if I have done the job for years, and am perfectly capable of performing all tasks entailed in the position, when management is watching I get nervous and can’t do my job to my fullest potential.

If I am underperforming, a clear and concise conversation between manager and employee can get the information across in a fraction of the time, without feeling like I need a babysitter.

If you are happy with my work, good. Leave me alone, and if I need your help, I’ll ask.

Daily Prompt: Swallow

via Daily Prompt: Swallow

I used to not chew my food enough. I would take gargantuan bites, mash it down just enough to swallow, which resulted in eating too fast and feeling like garbage afterward. My dad used to ask, “What are you on, piecework?” My answer was always a quick, “No”, but my actions told another story.

Recently I have figured out why I do this. I absolutely love the taste of food. Chewing for too long, as the food mixes with saliva, neutralizes the flavour. So I follow up by swallowing quickly and shoving more food into my mouth, in order to restore the flavour intensity.

As my body tried desperately to digest the food, I would be in pain from the stretching of an overloaded stomach.

Over the last year, I have begun to slow down, take smaller bites, and really savour the food. I have since noticed that I do not eat as much, leading to healthier and more normal sized bowel movements. But more importantly I do not feel sluggish and unmotivated, or gain unnecessary weight.

Look Into the Black Mirror

Recently, Charlie Brooker, the creator of the Netflix hit, Black Mirror, revealed that the title’s meaning relates to when the device you are watching the show on, turns off, and you are left staring at your reflection in a… you guessed it, black mirror. While this is a fitting title, I feel that it definitely delves deeper into the human psyche, becoming far more than such a literal definition.

When watching an episode, the viewer is challenged by the content. Usually there is some sort of plot twist to try and figure out, a difficult ending to the character’s story, and an inner demon that they must face. This is the first step to the deeper meaning of the Black Mirror. The characters must face the dark side of their own humanity as it intertwines with the newest technology, and the importance of that tech as it is determined by their fellow man. This can invoke an emotional and psychological response from the viewer that most are not quite prepared for.

For me, the meaning goes one step further. By challenging viewers to put themselves in the character’s place, the show turns the emphasis back on them. How would you, as that main character, deal with this situation? Would you do the same thing? Would you have the same emotional reaction? While many of us couldn’t truthfully answer these questions, forcing yourself to be honest, is the first step in revealing the truth, that you have a dark side, aka. your reflection in the Black Mirror.

The Benefits of CBD

Many of us who are generally healthy tend to take the ease of daily activity for granted. We go about our lives, only experiencing ailments sporadically. Unfortunately for those living with a physical or mental disease, daily activity is not always a reality.

When the average person thinks of a horrific disease, they think mostly of cancer, AIDS, schizophrenia, or Alzheimer’s. They forget about the thousands of other debilitating diseases that plague Canadians everyday.

For one in every 1000 Canadian citizens life includes an ongoing battle with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, more commonly known as Lupus. This debilitating autoimmune disease, nicknamed the Great Imitator, is very difficult to diagnose. It can affect any and all parts of the body including major organs. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, chronic pain, rashes, arthritis, and osteoporosis, which explain the difficulty and long timeline for doctors to diagnose the disease correctly.

For Anna, a 56-year-old Ontario woman, living with the chronic pain, arthritis and fatigue caused by Lupus has become the only life she knows. Diagnosed at the age of 28, Anna has gone through a laundry list of prescriptions. Currently she is taking Prograph, Ramapril, Plaquilnil, Hydromorphone, Pregabalin, Risedronat and Amlodipine. These different medications allow her to have a slightly better quality of life but not without their side effects. Having lost track of all of the side effects after taking a number of different pills over the past 28 years, Anna chooses to focus her attention mainly on what helps her the most. If she is prescribed something that has adverse effects she immediately consults her doctor and her medication is adjusted accordingly. Thus far nothing has been perfect, however a new and somewhat controversial medication has recently been introduced into Anna’s daily routine, resulting in some positive changes.

Cannabidiol or CBD as it is known in the medical cannabis industry, is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Patients both young and old have used CBD in various forms such as; smoking CBD-dominant strains of cannabis flower, applying topical creams, adding CBD-rich salts to a bath and most effectively micro-dosing CBD tinctures and pure extracts. These different methods are used to combat ailments from a wide array of physical and mental illnesses.

At first, Anna was nervous and skeptical due to having tried so many different cocktails of medications over the years. Had it not been for a close family member who first introduced Anna to CBD in early June of 2017, she likely would never have tried it. Anna, like many others had not been properly educated, associating cannabis only with Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive chemical that gets users “high”. However, Anna quickly warmed up to the idea once she was assured that CBD, as a chemical compound is free of psychoactive properties.

Anna is now more than seven weeks into her daily use of her new CBD tincture. It has allowed her to cut in half the daily use of Hydromorphone, her current pain medication, at the same time providing better rest while asleep or awake.

Anna hopes that CBD will replace more of her current medications in the future and says that she will continue to use it in her daily routine. She also highly recommends it to anyone suffering from chronic pain as a result of just about any disease, especially Lupus.

Know Your Guide

When visiting a new province, state, country, or an unfamiliar body of water it is best to head out with a guide, at least for your first trip. Most beginners or non-anglers would believe that any guide service in a particular body of water will get you on some fish, maybe even that trophy you’ve been looking for. But any avid angler that has chartered a guide, especially a one that isn’t great, will tell you to do your research.

Recently, I took a trip to Fort Myers, Florida to visit my parents who have a small condo on a golf course. The bass fishing in the ponds around the course is good, but I had grown a little tired of fishing the same old spots. My brother-in-law, who also happened to be there at the same time, suggested that we go goliath grouper fishing. We had seen the videos online, which were absolutely insane, and decided without doing research on the guide or experiences had by others, to book a trip. He was charging $800USD for a 4-hour trip. I thought the price was a little steep, but he was supposedly the best.

We showed up to the marina about 15 minutes early and proceeded to wait. The guide showed up 20 minutes late, and made some excuses for his tardiness. It wasn’t a big deal to us as long as he gave us back the time on the end of the trip. However, to our disappointment, the story got worse.

He took us to the bridge pilings where the GG’s shelter themselves from the sun. He instructed me to grab a jack – a small but powerful fish – out of the bait well so that he could hook it up. I assumed, as I began to open the lid, that there would be at least a dozen or so in order for us to have enough bait to last the entire trip. Man was I wrong. He had one. Yes, only one baitfish for us to use on these monster fish. I grabbed the jack by the tail, pulled it out of the water and handed it to the guide. He hooked it up, then handed me the rod. He then verbally instructed me on how to lower the fish into the right area, and right away I got a bite. This is when things started to go really sour. Myself being a bass angler felt the bite and tried to set the hook. The GG ripped the jack from the hooks and I was left with no bait. The guide decided that now was the time to tell me that I was supposed to reel down on the fish, which was no help now that we were out of bait. He also had the audacity to ask if I had ever seen his videos on YouTube, hinting that I was supposed to learn everything about GG fishing from some low budget videos of him basically screaming like a banshee.

With no bait left, much to our dismay, we were now paying to do his job, which is preparing for a fishing trip. So he threw out a large bait net and dragged in a bunch of small bait fish, dumped them in the bait well and started up the motor so that we could head over to another area in order to catch more jacks to use as GG bait. Three hours later, we had two jacks in the boat and less than a half hour left in the trip. With the ride back, which he counted as time on the water, we were done for the day.

I have since been informed that this is not a unique experience, which did very little to calm me. I was angry because I had overpaid for jack and snook fishing which basically set up the guide with bait for his next trip, was yelled at for not being able to read his mind, and all the while had to listen to delusional stories of greatness by a guy who had just ripped us off.

I can’t stress enough, that should you use a guide service, do your research before you book anything. There are review websites and social media outlets that are littered with customer experiences. You could even call around the area to the marinas or bait shops, which usually know a number of guides. While they may not throw one of their own under the bus, they can steer you in the right direction.

Fishing you the best of luck!

You Need More Gary Vee in Your Life

“Get off your ass, find out what you’re fucking good at, and triple down on that thing.”

This was the first line I had ever heard from Gary Vaynerchuk aka. Gary Vee. He’s rough around the edges, he’s unorthodox, and he’s unapologetically straightforward. Gary takes the message of motivational speakers like Tony Robbins, flips it on its head, and beats you with it, but he’s not trying to be a jerk, just a realist.

Last year I was unemployed, stressed, angry, and sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. As I would do most days, I found myself searching for jobs that I didn’t want, and scrolling through the endless feeding trough of Facebook. I was consuming mostly mental garbage, when I stumbled across a video of Gary. He was harsh and he cursed a lot, but he told the truth and his words resonated with me. “If you’re lucky enough to be good at what you like, become tunnel fucking vision,” exclaims Gary. “The reason most people are not doing that thing [they’re supposed to] is they’re worried about the opinion of somebody else.” It was there and then that I stopped trying to live up to what I believed others expected of me, and decided to pursue a career in what I have always loved as a hobby, writing.

I have since been following Gary on different social media platforms, and have learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. I know that I am not unique in this personal revelation as millions of people following him throughout social media share similar stories. Gary also has dozens to hundreds of people voluntarily showing up to his “meet-ups”, which are impromptu gatherings in whatever city he finds himself that day, and are initiated through his social media channels. He openly answers questions, and to his benefit, has a chance to network with new and interesting people. He gives sound business and personal advice by telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear

Gary the Entrepreneur

At a very young age, Gary was already an entrepreneur. He would buy, sell, and trade baseball cards, comic books, and toys on the weekends, making himself thousands of dollars in the process. After graduating from college, Gary began working at his father’s liquor store. He transformed it from a 3 million dollar company into a 60 million dollar empire called the Wine Library in just 5 years. From his success in the wine industry, he branched out to digital marketing and investments by starting the companies Vayner Media and Vayner X. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, and General Electric, and helped and invested in successful tech start-ups such a Twitter, Tumblr, and Uber. He continues to invest in new companies, start new businesses, and has recently been working with individual social media and music personalities, such as Rome Fortune and Tierra Whack, helping them to forward their own careers.

Gary believes that social media is the most powerful tool in business today and anyone not using it to its full potential results in missing numerous opportunities. Much like a contractor, he understands that the use of every tool (social media outlet) is necessary to do the job effectively. “If you have the greatest hammer, the greatest screwdriver, and the greatest wrench in front of you. If you don’t use them properly, you will lose,” he says.

Purchasing ad space on Facebook can help, but getting into the heads of your target market and penetrating all of the media channels available today is the way to truly win. He uses his own advice in all of his businesses by working 16-18 hours per day and providing content and information about his companies, his personal brand, and his mentorship to his followers and fans on a daily basis. He speaks mainly of his successes, failures, the realities of business, and the amount of hustle required in order to succeed.

For people like me who are relatively new to Gary Vee and his accomplishments, he can conveniently be lumped into a sea of social media personalities. However, unlike most people making money from social media and documenting their entire lives for the world to see, Gary understands how and why social media celebrity works.

Gary continues to be highly influential and a driving force behind a number of young entrepreneurs. He doles out new business ideas, by the mouthful, and when asked if he cares about people stealing his ideas, his answer is as direct as can be expected. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of people listening will not think twice about these ideas. Of the few that will, maybe one or two people will actually attempt to make it happen,” he says. Gary fully understands the reserved state of mind possessed by the typical human being, and does not fear having an idea “stolen” by someone. He would rather see someone take his idea, make it happen, and ask for advice if they get stumped somewhere throughout the process.

Gary Vee’s underlying message to anyone willing to listen is simple; self-awareness is the key to personal growth and success, love the process, put in the work, “don’t give a fuck about others’ opinions of your failures,” and patience, patience, patience. With a global following of millions of people ages 13-80, many successful businesses, and a keen eye for the next big thing, Gary isn’t just playing the game and winning, he’s rewriting the rules.