On Balance: A little bit of negativity in your life

Anyone who knows me understands that I have more than one issue with a little something called The “Law” of Attraction. You know, the idea that what you think about is what you get? I could kvetch about this false law for pages, so that’s for another entry. Today, we’re going to be talking about one of its tenets: The idea of rejecting negativity in your life.

Negativity is bad, according to the Law of Attraction, as Lisa Whatley points out in this interesting little quote:

“Remember that you must focus your attention 95% of the day on positive thoughts in order to benefit from the positive law of attraction.”

Whoa, whoa, WHA? Your mind’s gotta think about positive thoughts basically 24-7! Umm, I don’t know about you, but I got a lot of other things to deal with in my mind (And so do you) that’s going to keep this from ever happening. Between all the news you need to process, and the tasks given, and the boss man coming down upon you, I’d fairly say it’s impossible to accomplish this. And those who say they can are either lying or deluded.

That being said, it’s actually GOOD to accept negative thoughts in your life, with moderation. Here’s why:

Negative thoughts keep you grounded

In her book, Negaholics, Cherie Carter-Scott argues that one of the reasons the negative or “I can’t” side of your brain exists is to protect you from causing a disaster to yourself.  Negativity tells you “something’s wrong here!” Think about it, if we had no negative thoughts about something, we’d think things such as “I’m sure that lion won’t eat my head if I stick it down his throat!” and “Nah, I’ll definitely survive this jump off a bridge” and of course “Why no, I can definitely have faith that this Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer-written movie will be awesome!”

Negative thinking protects us from making stupid mistakes. It also allows us to evaluate the pros and cons of a situation, and whether something is possible or useful. If we cannot find a good reason to do something, we should by all means NOT do it.  We shouldn’t hope, be positive or just keep deceiving (visualizing) ourselves with success when it’s not going to come.

That isn’t to say that we should all be a bunch of Negative Nancies. I find that many people go down the “Eastern Oriental/Hindi” road to propagate their nonsense (I’m looking at you, Deepak Chopra) REALLY embellish the positive end of the spectrum, and not the negative. That isn’t what it’s about. Taosim, Buddhism, etc all concern one thing:

Balance.

Balance is being stable in your personality and soul. It means having the same about of positive mindfulness as you do negative. For there must be an equal amount of Yin to match the Yang, and vice versa. If one end is overdone, bad things happen. Too many of us push that Yin as if it’s the only thing that will work.

I end this with this quotation from William Arthur Ward:

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

Be like the realist. Don’t hope for the best, don’t think the worst. Just be ready for what happens.

Blogging anywhere: Your Mobile Blogging Center

One thing I’ve always admired about the United States Marine Corps and the Boy Scouts is that they’re prepared for anything. Specifically, they can set down and work almost anywhere you can think of, and get to the fight.

If you’re serious about blogging, you’re going to have to be the same way. Over the last few years, I developed what I like to call the Mobile Blogging Center, or MBC for short.

Why a Mobile Blogging Center?

If you plan to be a reporter blogger, or be able to write on the spur of the moment the next time you hear Apple unload a fantastic new product, you’re going to need the ability to submit to your blog wherever you are. The blogosphere and social media world favors the one who gets the scoop first.

And remember, with all the security around certain events or restrictions on what you can bring in, you may not always be able to lug around your laptop. Hence, how to make an MBC.

The MBC consists of a few key items I’m going to impart with you now:

Item 1: A Bluetooth and Internet capabale mobile device

The central core of your MBC will be a mobile device. I personally swear by the Apple iPod touch with the WordPress blogging app (Or the TypePad app if that’s your poison.) The iPod Touch allows you to get online with any wireless access point and can store information on numberous apps. Furthermore, it also includes access to email and web through its built-in programs. And if you’re the video type, the 4th generation one also has 2 cameras that let you record either you or the area around you. However, if you have an iPhone, Android phone or tablet, that will work just as well.

Item 2: a Bluetooth portable keyboard.

Ever try to type a 500+ word blog on the iPhone? By the time you’ve finished, you’ll need skin grafts since your fingers will be only bone, if they haven’t fallen off before then. Solution? Use a Bluetooth keyboard. I personally take with me an iGo Stowaway Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard out in the field, but I’ve heard good things about the ProMini Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard as well. Just don’t buy a keyboard that’s full size as that’s going to cramp your MBC style.

Item 3: Carrying case

You can’t go around carrying all this in your hands! That defeats the purpose of this organization. Similarily, you can’t just stuff all this in your usual satchel or backpack either, lest you risk damage to your MBC. This is good if you don’t plan on or want to carry a heavier bag. Consider a small carrying case or purse that you can slide into your bigger bag. Alternatively, you can also designate a part of your satchel for your MBC exclusively. Just keep it away from foreign objects.

Item 4: Peripherals

You’re going to need your basics to stay afloat in the field, soldier! USB charging cables, batteries and anything else you need to keep alive. Keep them tied with cable bindings or rubber bands to avoid tangling. If possible, include a mini-power surge.

At the end of the day, while other bloggers are struggling with their laptops and finding a plug, or taking extensive notes to remember for later, you’ll be safely tucked away typing your blog entry away, and hopefully leading the pack on your scoop.

DISCLAIMER: Most of these links are affiliate ones, but I stand by the products linked.

Bless me iFather, for iSinned: The Catholic iPhone Confession App

The act of confession is one of the most important rituals of the Catholic Church. In it, a penitent sinner asks God through a priest for forgiveness for the sins they have committed. And now, there’s an app for that.

LittleIapps LLC released an iPhone confession app designed to help Catholics “prayerfully prepare for and participate in the Rite of Penance.” It offers features such as “a personalized examination of conscience for each user, password protected profiles, and a step-by-step guide to the sacrament…”

It’s always good to know that there’s an app you can use to check off your sins, one by one. The personality analysis consists of things such as “Do I not give God time every day in prayer?” and “Have I ever received communion in a state of Mortal Sin?” They have their sins organized by COMMANDMENT, so that you can Cafeteria Christian your way to confessing your sins to your friendly neighborhood priest.

Two things we need to make clear though. One, the Church DOES NOT consider this a replacement for actual confession and absolution by a priest. All it does is make a checklist of your sins anyway, so how could you confess them? As a review endorsed by the app’s maker:

Because the Congregation on Divine Worship and the Sacraments has long ruled that Confessions by electronic media are invalid and that ABSOLUTION BY THE PRIEST must be given in person because the Seal of the Confessional must be Protected and for the Sacrament to be valid there has to be both the matter and the form which means THE PRIEST.

In other words, you still gotta go sit in the tiny-ass confessional booth and say your prayers.

The second thing I want to establish is that this is not an official Roman Catholic Church app, (which is what I first assumed.) Although the app was designed under the guidance of several priests and a bishop, it is not a true product of the Church, which I guess also explains the $1.99 price tag. I honestly think this should be free, but since the company doesn’t have the tons of money that the Vatican has, I guess there’s nothing I can Kvetch about here.

What I can say is that this will have a rather interesting effect on confessions…

Penitent: Bless me Father, for I have Sinned.

Priest: In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I bless you. Now, what is the nature of your infarctions?

Penitent: Hang on…need to scroll to the app…k, touched it…entering my password…uhh…

Priest: My son, if you have not collected your thoughts….

Penitent: No father, I have them all here organized on this app, I just need to scroll through all the sins to find the ones I did.

Priest: Right….

(DISCLAIMER: I am not catholic, and have never been in a confession.)

I also love that the app is password protected. I wonder if the app also offers 128 bit encryption of sins? Maybe it uses some of that ancient Holy See stuff that only Dan Brown knows about!

Don’t get me wrong, I think the app is a great idea. It definitely will help the Church get introduced into the world of Technology. Who knows, maybe in 100 years, the Vatican will have Wi-Fi!

Dear Mashable…aka iMash

I love social media. Hence, one of the blogs I frequently checked in my RSS reader is Mashable; which up until recently was the place for social media news, utilities on the web, and tips and tricks on being a Social Media Expert, beyond ways most people call themselves Social Media “Gurus.” One of the first links I favorited was a post on Mashable with over 100 resources for bloggers.

The sad truth seems to be, however, that a certain trend has taken over…or rather, an iTrend.

Lately, Mashable has been posting articles non-stop about all things Apple. It started with the iPad last February, and has worked its way to the most recent article here.

Granted, the iPad is an all-powerful and wonderful device presented as an iGift by the all-powerful iGod Steve Jobs, but in retrospect, WTF does this have to do with social media?

And I’m not the only person noticing this. On Facebook, people have been posting about Mashable’s iCraze with each iPost they make. One individual has gone so far as to comment “Apple users are annoying” every time Mashable posts an Apple-related blog.

I agree. It’s time to stop, Mashable. There are many different blogs that cover Apple news, the iPhone, the iPad, and many podcasts that do all-in-one, such as the one done by Robin Rhys and App Advice Daily.

Pete, if you ever read this, I understand more than anyone talking about the iMachine almost always lands a big hit for a blog, but at this level, I really recommend you start up an iBlog of your own. Hell, use “iMash” as the domain with my blessing, just leave Mashable back to social media. This way, you reap the benefits of both worlds; We get our social media blog back, and all of the iStuff can go to your new blog. With your rep, it’ll conquer Pagerank in no time.

There really aren’t that many social media blogs out there; you can get lucky from Lifehacker, WebWorkerDaily or ReadWriteWeb, but Mashable is #1 in terms of content. Hence my complaint.

UPDATE: Here’s a comment I made on Facebook’s Mashable link:

I subscribe to Mashable because I want to hear about social media. When I want to hear about Apple, I go elsewhere. When I get nothing but nonstop posts about Apple this and Apple that from Mashable, it really makes me question my thoughts about maintaining my subscription.

Yes, the companies that make the most buzz do get the attention, but no blog should sacrifice its purpose just to ride the wave. Mashable is, and should always be, a social media-centered blog.

Because I’m trying something new.

I’m sitting here at the laundromat writing my first blog entry in a year. How am I doing this? Not with my sorry-ass iTouch keyboard, but rather with my trusty old Bluetooth keyboard I bought for my Palm TX many years ago.

See, when iOS shit out last month, one of the features that iGod Steve Jobs included with the iOS 4 is the ability to connect to bluetooth keyboards. Taking a guess, I tried my old keyboard out with the iTouch and it worked perfectly. I’ll have the name of it after the jump.

Behind me is this massive accident that was caused. They’re cleaning it up now, but it was pretty bad.

I love this keyboard. It takes some time to get used to it, but I’d take it over the damn iPhone keyboard any day of the week.

So yes, I’m doing ok. Had a couple of knockbacks but on. No more Vinzer. Saving it for another problem, another day. I don’t plan to post here often since I’m going to be busy with Ad Rhetorica, my new Public speaking blog, when I resurrect it. I;ll announce it later.