Me Time

  • Read
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Journal daily
  • Exercise
  • Reflect
  • Love yourself
  • love others
  • Laugh
  • Keep a small circle of friends
  • Keep learning
  • Gratitude
  • Make peace often

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Social Web vs Social Media

I’ve been online since 1996, and have seen so many websites come and go.

Remember Geocities and chat rooms? Those were the places to be, until they weren’t. A few years later and they were shut down. Your online friends were deleted.

After those there was MySpace. People flocked to this new platform where you could decorate and share “your space” as you saw fit. Everyone posted their photos and music but a short time after that MySpace became stagnant. No one was using it anymore favoring Facebook. There was no way to communicate with your “friends” because no one had each other’s contact information, just the Myspace inbox.

Just like the platforms before it, users have been flocking towards FB, supplying all their information both directly and indirectly. People are still uploading all of their photos, videos and more there and there will come a time when this platform will be obsolete for the next big thing.

My point is do not depend on any one social media company or web service. They will come and go and you won’t have a thing to show for it because they now own your content and will delete it when their servers go cold. It’s time again to think about the long-term use of the web. Have a dedicated home for yourself so you can create, share and contact those who you choose and not an algorithm.

Build your website instead. Rather than inviting your friends and fans to a social media platform, invite them to your personal site. Encourage them to comment on your work, encourage them to provide their contact information so you don’t have to go through a social media inbox to reach them.

Your website should be the place to showcase everything you create. If you do insist on utilizing social media instead of the social web, have those free account be your backup. Have those social media accounts point back to your home on the web. You may choose to use them but you will not be depending on them.

I strongly suggest using the reliable open standards that are not owned by any company such as the internet, email and text messaging.

When using your email, make sure your default mail has a signature, one you can customize to give out your name, contact info and your website address. People want to know how to get a hold of you. Help them out.

Example:

Chris Denbow

Tulsa, OK.

hello@chrisdenbow.com

ChrisDenbow.com + PhotoDenbow.com

I know this is basic, and maybe it isn’t basic. If you’ve been spending your time on social media instead of the social web, it is possible this is something new. You’d be surprised how many people do not know these skills. It is time to retake the internet away from Big Tech and make it for personal use instead.

11/11 Check-In and Journey’s End

On 2/2 I began my year-long journey to create lifelong habits for myself and throw in some fun intentions as well. The plan is to check in every month to monitor my progress. How did I do since my last check-in on 10/10?

Nutrition & Training

When we decided to do the Keto diet back in June it lasted until September. I made unconscious decisions to put this on hold because…well, pick an excuse. Quarantine has raised meat prices and I live in a food desert. Those keto-friendly places that are nearby charge a premium and fewer portions. Frustrating. Now that I am at the end of this year’s journey and headed into the holiday season, I will enjoy anything I want to eat. But honestly, I can’t wait to hop back on to this diet. I saw and felt the weight loss and believe in it.

Since the gym is closed, I have been doing a few home workouts sporadically and aimlessly. Again with the excuses. Again, I felt the fat loss and want to regain the muscles that have atrophied while sitting on my ass here in the home office. We have no idea when to expect the Apple Fitness software to be released but it can’t come soon enough. I hope it is inspiring.

Yoga & Meditation

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t get a good workout while practicing yoga. My body tells me every time afterward that this is right. It feels amazing to stretch your muscles and breathe. Meditating comes and goes when I think about it. My Apple Watch prompts me to focus on breathing at least twice an hour and I obey. These are the times when I focus on nothing else but that during the day.

Photography & Writing

Photography- Taking advantage of doing a few portraits has been slowly kindling that desire to go out and shoot this past month. I also traveled out of state to capture some fall foliage before it was too late but had to turn back. Missed opportunities are frustrating. Still, I am planning on traveling to the Texas/Mexico border in March 2021 and pray that the national parks quarantine will be lifted. New Mexico landscapes are planned for this trip too. Stay tuned.

Writing- On November 1, I committed to writing an article here every day as a part of the NANOWRIMO initiative. So far so good, although I did miss a day thanks to an annoying cold/cough. Novel research and development are coming along nicely, as is the character and plot development. I may even throw some micro-fiction out there too.

Journey’s End 11/11

As always, I saw some progress, saw some room for improvement, and had some frustrating setbacks. I have not completed my photo archive project and this is perhaps one of my most frustrating failures. Like everyone else in the world, this pandemic has thrown everyone off. I am grateful for my health, grateful for my career, and grateful for my family.

Happy Holidays and see you next year on 2/2/2021 for another journey.

The Roaring 20s

After World War I and the Spanish Flu one hundred years ago, this country enjoyed a time of both cultural and economic prosperity. After those trying times of war and disease people were ready to live again, and we can look back and see this as we called it “the roaring 20s.”

After this current pandemic is over, I am optimistic that we too will enjoy a more positive time. I imagine we’ll sing, dance, play and enjoy life more after having endured decades-long wars and disease.

I cannot wait to see how we bounce back and enjoy life again.

Siddartha

One of the best books that I have read recently is Siddartha by Hermann Hesse of how the title character pursues a spiritual quest and search for understanding.

Siddartha was young, wise and loved by everyone in his village, but he and his friend leave the village searching for answers by living a spiritual life. However, the time spent with a group of fellow truth seekers, he realizes that he will not find what he is looking for.

Not long after leaving both his village and these seekers, they come to meet the Buddha and has a brief conversation with him. But after a time, realizes that the Buddha himself offers a message of truth, but only the truth as he sees it. As long as others accept it, that is enough for Buddha, but not so for Siddartha. His companion decides to stay and learn from the Buddha, and so he travels alone.

After a time, he discovers a rich woman named Kamala who shows him the ways of love and pleasure for the first time because that was her role in her life. Siddartha learned more than he expected and wanted to offer her gifts but had no money. He then went into the city and found a shop owner who was kind enough to give him a job. He prospered at this job and made even more money than all the other shop owners.

Having tasted the benefits of spiritual wisdom, love and money he wondered what else was left? Soon, he began to gamble and drink for the first time. He would win at every game he tried and gambled even larger amounts and could soon buy the whole village. After betting, drinking and whoring he began to lose and lose big. He lost so much that he was tired of his wealth and possessions and gave them all away only to go back to Kamala and say goodbye.

The book ends when his long-lost friend returns and asks for wisdom. Siddartha replies that for every true statement there is an opposite one that is also true. That language and time lead people to stick with me belief that does not account for the full extent of truth.

To summarize the lessons learned in Siddartha;

Follow Your Path

Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment

Riches Will Not Make You Happy

Every true statement we accept, we must accept an opposite statement that can also be true.

This book offers more lessons that we can apply and I rate this as highly as I did the Alchemist or the retelling of King Solomon of Israel.

No-Shave November

“No-Shave November is a month-long journey during which male participants forgo shaving and grooming in order to evoke conversation and raise men’s cancer awareness.”

Now I am not one to publicly support causes or movements, preferring to support or donate privately, but I do enjoy the thought of bypassing shaving for thirty days to grow my beard out for the upcoming winter months.

Apple Watch Series 6

I’ve been wearing an Apple Watch for the past three years starting with the series three and recently upgraded to the series 6.

I’ve been holding off on purchasing a new Apple Watch and making the most of my Series 3 the last couple of years. As this things usually go, the 3 started to run out of storage space quickly and there are new features being released with each iteration. So a week after it was released, I upgraded to the Series 6 Space Grey Aluminum 44mm with cellular capabilities.

I’ve been wearing it for almost a month and there is a lot to like about it.

The first difference is the upgraded dual-core S6 chip on the A13 Bionic processor used in the iPhone 11. So it is absolutely faster than my series 3. With the always-on display, I’m averaging about 16 hours of battery life. Less than the previous watch, sure, but there is a lot more going on under the hood too.
Also new is the always-on altimeter to track elevation changes and compass- great for hiking.

A new sensor in the 6 that can measure blood oxygen levels is pretty neat. It works by shining infrared LEDs onto the blood vessels in your wrist and measuring the amount of light reflected back. The Apple Watch then calculates the color of the blood, which indicates how much oxygen is present (bright red blood is well oxygenated). It does this in the background, and can also be trigged using the new Blood Oxygen app.

New watch faces allows me to customize and personalize. I prefer a classic chronometer as a standard and for special occasions I can switch to something more whimsical.

The Watch is designed specifically for your health and has even saved lives with the built in EKG meter. It will prompt you to breathe, stand up after periods of sitting, and remind you that yes you can walk a specific amount of steps per day. Two new exercises include a sleep tracking app and hand washing apps (timely feature during the pandemic.)

Is the Apple Watch Series 6 Worth the Upgrade?

If you have the Series 3 and lower, then yes, absolutely. If you have the 4 and up, not so much.

As with my recent iPhone 12 Pro upgrade, this new series 6 Watch is future-proof. There is not too much more that Apple can do to upgrade more than the current device so I will enjoy this one for quite a long time. And did I mention the design is gorgeous?

It’s Time To Write

Every November for the past few years there comes inspiration from an organization called NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words that month in hopes of cranking out a novel. I’m good for about two days out of the month. Last year I switched gears and penned an article a day for this website instead.

A few of the reasons why I haven’t progressed past a second day is because there was a lack of a plan or focus to build this writing habit that I want to see changed this year.

Place- This year I have a dedicated writing space. Since adapting to a quarantined work from home environment I now have two desks, one for work and one dedicated to personal production. For work, my environment is organized, streamlined and ready to do the work for maximum productivity. For personal use, I tend to be more relaxed and dis-organized. But not this year. This year is set up for the potential of maximum creativity. This dedicated desk is both my photo studio and writing space.

Time- In the past, I would decide to get around to doing whenever I had the time or energy. This year I plan on getting back to a consistent schedule, which has been lacking, again, due to quarantine. The 30-step commute makes it easier to roll out of bed later than I would if I had to travel to the office.

Dedicating a minimum of 15 minutes to writing in the morning before I start my 7am work day will be beneficial I think. Also, a minimum of one hour a night to crank out some words will help too. I don’t use the dedicated calendar journal or apps to block out these times, but I will.

Plan- At work, I am a planner. For creativity, I seem to rely on being a pantser, meaning, “fly by the seat of my pants.” Not this time around. Plot developments, character development, story arcs etc are all scheduled for dedicated focus, research and yes, eventually writing.

In addition, a dedicated morning routine such as clean up, exercise, good food and some hot green tea with the same ambient music playing in the background will tell my unfocused brain that hey, this is your current focus, do the work.

I don’t like the concept of accountability but it may help, I don’t know. My personality has a difficult time with this concept. If I can’t hold myself accountable, why should I report or check-in with someone else? How many people would I disappoint including myself? I struggle with this but do plan on updating this site with progress notes.

All of this is to say that by doing one or more of these things is going to help me progress in ways I have not been able to do in the past- to help achieve my writing goals and deliver a better writing habit.

You Are Invisible To Me

This webpage did not contact any trackers

Did you know that almost every website you view has anywhere from 2-30 tracking codes that report all sorts of data known about you? I’ve been taking steps to shield my privacy and in turn, have always tried to reduce it here on my website as well.

I don’t use Google Analytics. Facebook and Amazon affiliations have no hold here. It’s none of my business and I don’t care anyway. What am I going to do with it? How does it help me or you? Those Big Three don’t need my help. And as always, ZERO advertisements.

As a result, this website is clean, streamlined and fast. Try reading this site in Safari or Firefox instead of Google Chrome where it’ll track everything. Thank me later.

Back to the point- I don’t know anything about you. For all I know this is being read by only two people. The most valuable feedback comes to me from comments on these posts, emails, tweets and other forms of contact where people say hello, asks questions, or take issue with something I’ve said. You know, the whole point of the social web. Yes, there is a difference between the social web and social media but that is a different post.

So please leave a comment on the post, or say hello.

I wouldn’t know you were here if you didn’t.

10/10 Check-In!

On 2/2 I began my year-long journey to create life long habits for myself and throw in some fun intentions as well. The plan is to check in every month to monitor my progress. How did I do since my last check-in on 9/9?

Nutrition & Training

Due to family medical issues (all better now, thank you), the Keto diet came to a halt. I tacked on seven pounds previously lost. However, I have lost four pounds since starting this back four days ago. Progress? Still wondering if it is safe to go back to the gym or not. The membership is currently in suspension.

Yoga & Meditation

Again, there is a reason why people call this yoga practice. I’ll just keep practicing, thank you very much. I’ve been using the workout app called Sworkit since January and it has been beneficial. Apple recently announced a new service simply called Fitness (coming soon) with a 30-day trial. Yoga is included so stay tuned.

Photography & Writing

Photography- Doing around with instant gratification and instant cameras. Hipstamatic has released some new films and lenses I am playing with too. Fun.

Writing- “Tools Get In The Way” – a memoir by Chris Denbow

11/11

As always, I see some progress, see some room to do better, and hope that next month’s check-in will be better than the last!