Here is what 826 days sober looks like

Background

Some stories grab you and you feel good at seeing people pulled out of HELL.

Here is one of them.

 

Here is what 826 days sober looks like. Left is me June 11th 2014, on the right is me today. Recovery is possible!

 

The left picture was taken on July 11th, 2014 and the right picture was taken on Sept 14th, 2016
Link

disregardordont_20141106            disregardordont_20160914

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pInterest – Getting help with creating pins

Forward

On my way home this evening, found a little time to catch up on the Book of Nahum.

The edition I am reading is “Men’s Devotional“. And, I stayed on the commentary provided by C.S. Lewis; it is titled “Retribution’s Good Element“.

I really feel in love with C.S. words and sentence structure.  And, wanted to share via pInterest.

pInterest

But, never one gifted with artistic ways, I knew I would stumble with trying to design “Word Art” on my own.

And, so googled for tools that can help.

Here are some web sites that provide assistance with creating images that can be availed as pins on pInterest.

 

Tools

Tool Link More
Quotes Cover Link
Recite Link
Canva Link Requires Registration
Quozio Link
PixTeller Link

 

 

Sample Pins

QuotesCover

PainSometimesGivesTheOnlyOpportunity-20160813-0813AM

 

Recite

WeHaveAllWeWant

 

pInterest Boards

  1. Daniel Adeniji
    • Smith Wigglesworth
      Link
    • C.S. Lewis – Retribution’s Good Element
      Link
    • Autumn October
      Link

LinkedIn – Customization – Who can view your Connections?

Background

Ever few weeks, I receive an unsolicited requests to add a new person to my LinkedIn Connections.

I review it and if I know that person, I add them in.

Depending on my gut feelings, I will either add an invitee I do not know, or sit on it for a while.

If I oblige a requester that I do not know, I will more likely than not, message that person and try to determine what is the basis for their invite.

Yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days where I added someone and shortly thereafter messaged them to find out why they sent me a request in the first place.

I have yet to hear back from the person, actually a company.

 

Glad

I am glad that my Linkedin Connections are better protected than I am.

 

Connections Visibility

I will suggest that you manage your connections visibility by accessing

https://www.linkedin.com/psettings/connections-visibility

     PrivacySettings-ConnectionsVisibility

 

I have opted to not share my Connections with anyone outside of Self.

The other option, likely the default option, is to allow “Your Connections” to view each other.

WhoCanSeeMyConnections-Dropdown-YourConnections

Nice GUI

I like the GUI work that some of the Web Sites are employing.  No Save Button.  Make changes and they are auto-saved and you have a visual object to indicate that things are taking of.

PrivacySettings-ConnectionsVisibility-Saving

 

Help

Web sites evolve and if the link referenced above should change, please use the Help button to seek follow-up advice.

Here is the URL to Help.

Searched Item

who can see your connections

LinkedHelp-WhoCanSeeYourConnections-v2

We opted for “Controlling who sees your Connection ListLink.

Lupe Fiasco – “The Come Up”

Prelude

Again, it has been that kind of a couple of weeks….

Here is Lupe’s Take

https://www.facebook.com/LupeFiasco?fref=nf

To rappers from a rapper…simply write your own rhymes as much as you can if you are able. Ghostwriting, or borrowing lines, or taking suggestions from the room has always been in rap and will always be in rap.

It is nothing to go crazy over or be offended about unless you are someone who postures him or herself on the importance of authenticity and tries to portray that quality to your fans or the public at large. Then we might have a problem.

Some of the most pivotal moments in rap have been ghostwritten verses.

This leads to a bigger point.

Rapping is not an easy thing to do. It’s takes years of work and trail and error to master some of its finer points. Respect from other MC’s comes in many formats. Sales, live performances, realness etc but the one thing that is the most important is the raps themselves at least in the eyes of other serious rappers.

The phrase “I’m not a rapper” gets thrown around as if it’s a badge of honor. And that’s fine. If rap is a side hustle for you or just a come up then by all means may the force be with you.

But I know a lot of MC’s where rap is the first love and the first thing they think about when they wake up and the last thing they think about when they go to sleep.

Rappers who pursue the art form with this level of intention may not become rich and famous off selling their raps to a wide audience but that has never been an accepted metric to begin with in terms of quality or level of skill.

The vast majority of rappers will never sell 100 records in their lifetimes let alone millions. But that’s not the point, the point is that what pursuing the craft gives us in terms of the intangibles is something that record sales or fame could never represent. We achieve a mastery of language and poetics that competes on the highest levels of discourse across the entirety of human history. We express ourselves creatively and attain a sense of liberation and self-esteem via this sacred mode of creation and communication.

Page 2

Modern Radio and the commercial realm of music has injured rap. It set up ambiguous rules and systems for success that don’t take into consideration the quality and skill of the rappers craft.

It redefined rap as just a being beat driven hook with some words in between and an entire generation has surrendered to chasing the format instead of chasing the art form.

While mastering any format should be the pursuit of any self-respecting rapper including the commercial format it must be kept clear that it is just one of many formats and that you should strive to master all of them.

The art form is kept alive and progressive in the activities of the tens of thousands of rappers around the world who are everyday trying to think of that next witty bar. Trying to put that crazy verse together while at work. Trying to find that word that rhymes with catapult so they can finish off that vivid story rap about their childhood.

Meek Mill struck a nerve accusing Drake of having a ghostwriter and the entire rap world reacted on all sides of the fence because rap is alive. It’s active and it feels.

Its rules and traditions are vibrant and responsive. I enjoy both these brothers music and find inspiration and appreciation from both of them.

I remember being in Toronto at Goodfoot years ago and it was a stack of CD’s on the counter and the guy behind the counter was like “Lupe you gotta take this CD.  It’s my mans mixtape.”

I didn’t really pay it any mind I took it to the car and looked it over and just kind of set it aside focused on other things. I vividly remember saying “what kind of rap name is Drake?” The rest is history.

Once while in Philly I went to do an interview in a shabby and very hood basement studio complex. I peeked into one of the rooms and it was this tall kid with his shirt off bouncing up and down in the booth with an energy that was electric. I gave him my regards. He gave them back. I think I mentioned something about him cutting his dreads. As I left I remember him rapping something about being a boss. The rest is history.

At the end of the day, for better or worse, rap is alive even if some of its greatest moments are written by ghosts.

 

Video & Lyrics

Lupe – The End of the World – Video

Lupe – The End of the World – Lyrics

 

Quotes

Oprah Winfrey

You ‘re built not to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more

Gossip means we haven’t emboldened ourselves to talk directly to the people we take issues with 

50 Cents

I always ask people about their bad experiences, for some reason they will offer you more details. I think it is internally, their connection to the painful portion of it.  They will give you a blueprint of what not to do consistently.  ( Interview )

Boy George

What’s really sad is that a lot of very talented people are being forced to do things that are very embarrassing and I don’t intend to be one of them.

I don’t want to be a figure of disappointment.

I’ve had to write in a different way because I’m not in a bad place and I’m not heartbroken, so there’s no one I want revenge on.

Ravi Zacharias

Where destruction is the motive, unity is dangerous. Where good is the motive, unity is phenomenal

John C. Lennox

We thought we could get rid of God and retain a value for human beings. We were wrong. We destroyed both God and man.


Postlude

Here is my take.  I hope someone tried to take something from you this week. And, it made you so mad, you recommitted.

Some people think they deserve the “take down”.

So here is to bowing low to group prayer, shedding light on the gossip, finding an honest way out, getting stronger, and starting the heal.

 

Last Word

Wish I could get the last word, but the “kids over here wear crowns” crooner insists that been Over his dead body.

And, so here is a yield and letting him have the last word…

Seen what you’d do for fame, what would you do for freedom?

 

Visible Thinking

Background

Early this year, we had a day set aside entirely for team building.

There are so many things to share when a group locks itself away from his normal working environment into hopefully a nice settling off campus.

 

What was shared?

Making thinking visible

How do we make our thinking visible.  And, how to encourage others, likewise  ….

Here is what the facilitator shared:

  • Make your own thinking visible

    • Share opinions
    • Provide reasoning
    • State disagreement
  • Help others make their thinking visible
    • Seek information from others
    • Ask others for their reasoning
    • Examine Others
    • Ask others to state disagreement
  • Help move group to agreement 
    • Summarize agreement and disagreement
    • Recommend compromise
    • Check/Poll for agreement
    • Establish next steps

 

Apology

Again, these are not my words, but someone else.

I am openly sharing it in hope that it help others.

 

LinkedIn – Deleting own comments

Background

A friend recently celebrated a Work Anniversary.  And, per my LinkedIn email notification settings, I received an email advising me of same.

As someone who believes in championing the work ethics of friends, I sent out little quips to each of them.

But, as always I over shared.  And, I suppose cunningly Social Media leads us to thinking we are sharing with one person, when we are in fact sharing with all.

So let me take back some of those quick notes.

Washing my mouth

Here is how to clean out some of your comments on Linked-In:

  • Go to your Home page by clicking on the Home Link
  • Underneath the “Share an update..” box, click on “All Updates” and “choose your updates
  • Transverse the updates and once you find the offending comment move over to the now visible x icon and act on itLinkedIn-HomePage-DeleteComment

 

Customization

I will suggest some customization.

Using the same button in the Home Page, under the Updates edit box, click Customize.

You will see a screen that looks like the following:

TheUpdatesYouSeeOnYourHomePage-All

 

I changed mine to read:

 

TheUpdatesYouSeeOnYourHomePage-After

 

Fustrations

Here are some frustrations:

 

Summary

I agree with Kris Humphries here:

… don’t pay attention to things that don’t matter

As indeed how hard it is increasing becoming not to be distracted by things that don’t matter.

 

Clay Shirky – Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away

 

I really enjoyed this post by Clay Shirky.  Please see if you do, as well.

https://medium.com/@cshirky/why-i-just-asked-my-students-to-put-their-laptops-away-7f5f7c50f368

I teach theory and practice of social media at NYU, and am an advocate and activist for the free culture movement, so I’m a pretty unlikely candidate for internet censor, but I have just asked the students in my fall seminar to refrain from using laptops, tablets, and phones in class.

I came late and reluctantly to this decision — I have been teaching classes about the internet since 1998, and I’ve generally had a laissez-faire attitude towards technology use in the classroom. This was partly because the subject of my classes made technology use feel organic, and when device use went well, it was great. Then there was the competitive aspect — it’s my job to be more interesting than the possible distractions, so a ban felt like cheating. And finally, there’s not wanting to infantilize my students, who are adults, even if young ones — time management is their job, not mine.

Despite these rationales, the practical effects of my decision to allow technology use in class grew worse over time. The level of distraction in my classes seemed to grow, even though it was the same professor and largely the same set of topics, taught to a group of students selected using roughly the same criteria every year. The change seemed to correlate more with the rising ubiquity and utility of the devices themselves, rather than any change in me, the students, or the rest of the classroom encounter.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that when I do have a specific reason to ask everyone to set aside their devices (‘Lids down’, in the parlance of my department), it’s as if someone has let fresh air into the room. The conversation brightens, and more recently, there is a sense of relief from many of the students. Multi-tasking is cognitively exhausting — when we do it by choice, being asked to stop can come as a welcome change.

So this year, I moved from recommending setting aside laptops and phones to requiring it, adding this to the class rules: “Stay focused. (No devices in class, unless the assignment requires it.)” Here’s why I finally switched from ‘allowed unless by request’ to ‘banned unless required’.


We’ve known for some time that multi-tasking is bad for the quality of cognitive work, and is especially punishing of the kind of cognitive work we ask of college students.

This effect takes place over more than one time frame — even when multi-tasking doesn’t significantly degrade immediate performance, it can havenegative long-term effects on “declarative memory”, the kind of focused recall that lets people characterize and use what they learned from earlier studying. (Multi-tasking thus makes the famous “learned it the day before the test, forgot it the day after” effect even more pernicious.)

People often start multi-tasking because they believe it will help them get more done. Those gains never materialize; instead, efficiency is degraded. However, it provides emotional gratification as a side-effect. (Multi-tasking moves the pleasure of procrastination inside the period of work.) This side-effect is enough to keep people committed to multi-tasking despite worsening the very thing they set out to improve.

On top of this, multi-tasking doesn’t even exercise task-switching as a skill.A study from Stanford reports that heavy multi-taskers are worse at choosing which task to focus on. (“They are suckers for irrelevancy”, as Cliff Nass, one of the researchers put it.) Multi-taskers often think they are like gym rats, bulking up their ability to juggle tasks, when in fact they are like alcoholics, degrading their abilities through over-consumption.


This is all just the research on multi-tasking as a stable mental phenomenon. Laptops, tablets and phones — the devices on which the struggle between focus and distraction is played out daily — are making the problem progressively worse. Any designer of software as a service has an incentive to be as ingratiating as they can be, in order to compete with other such services. “Look what a good job I’m doing! Look how much value I’m delivering!”

This problem is especially acute with social media, because on top of the general incentive for any service to be verbose about its value, social information is immediately and emotionally engaging. Both the form and the content of a Facebook update are almost irresistibly distracting, especially compared with the hard slog of coursework. (“Your former lover tagged a photo you are in” vs. “The Crimean War was the first conflict significantly affected by use of the telegraph.” Spot the difference?)

Worse, the designers of operating systems have every incentive to be arms dealers to the social media firms. Beeps and pings and pop-ups and icons, contemporary interfaces provide an extraordinary array of attention-getting devices, emphasis on “getting.” Humans are incapable of ignoring surprising new information in our visual field, an effect that is strongest when the visual cue is slightly above and beside the area we’re focusing on. (Does that sound like the upper-right corner of a screen near you?)

The form and content of a Facebook update may be almost irresistible, but when combined with a visual alert in your immediate peripheral vision, it is—really, actually, biologically—impossible to resist. Our visual and emotional systems are faster and more powerful than our intellect; we are given to automatic responses when either system receives stimulus, much less both. Asking a student to stay focused while she has alerts on is like asking a chess player to concentrate while rapping their knuckles with a ruler at unpredictable intervals.


Jonathan Haidt’s metaphor of the elephant and the rider is useful here. In Haidt’s telling, the mind is like an elephant (the emotions) with a rider (the intellect) on top. The rider can see and plan ahead, but the elephant is far more powerful. Sometimes the rider and the elephant work together (the ideal in classroom settings), but if they conflict, the elephant usually wins.

After reading Haidt, I’ve stopped thinking of students as people who simply make choices about whether to pay attention, and started thinking of them as people trying to pay attention but having to compete with various influences, the largest of which is their own propensity towards involuntary and emotional reaction. (This is even harder for young people, the elephant so strong, the rider still a novice.)

Regarding teaching as a shared struggle changes the nature of the classroom. It’s not me demanding that they focus — its me and them working together to help defend their precious focus against outside distractions. I have a classroom full of riders and elephants, but I’m trying to teach the riders.

And while I do, who is whispering to the elephants? Facebook, Wechat, Twitter, Instagram, Weibo, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, the list goes on, abetted by the designers of the Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android. In the classroom, it’s me against a brilliant and well-funded army (including, sharper than a serpent’s tooth, many of my former students.) These designers and engineers have every incentive to capture as much of my students’ attention as they possibly can, without regard for any commitment those students may have made to me or to themselves about keeping on task.

It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. Even a passing familiarity with the literature on programming, a famously arduous cognitive task, will acquaint you with stories of people falling into code-flow so deep they lose track of time, forgetting to eat or sleep. Computers are not inherent sources of distraction — they can in fact be powerful engines of focus — but latter-day versions have been designed to be, because attention is the substance which makes the whole consumer internet go.

The fact that hardware and software is being professionally designed to distract was the first thing that made me willing to require rather than merely suggest that students not use devices in class. There are some counter-moves in the industry right now — software that takes over your screen to hide distractions, software that prevents you from logging into certain sites or using the internet at all, phones with Do Not Disturb options — but at the moment these are rear-guard actions. The industry has committed itself to an arms race for my students’ attention, and if it’s me against Facebook and Apple, I lose.


The final realization — the one that firmly tipped me over into the “No devices in class” camp — was this: screens generate distraction in a manner akin to second-hand smoke. A paper with the blunt title Laptop Multitasking Hinders Classroom Learning for Both Users and Nearby Peerssays it all:

We found that participants who multitasked on a laptop during a lecture scored lower on a test compared to those who did not multitask, and participants who were in direct view of a multitasking peer scored lower on a test compared to those who were not. The results demonstrate that multitasking on a laptop poses a significant distraction to both users and fellow students and can be detrimental to comprehension of lecture content.

I have known, for years, that the basic research on multi-tasking was adding up, and that for anyone trying to do hard thinking (our spécialité de la maison, here at college), device use in class tends to be a net negative. Even with that consensus, however, it was still possible to imagine that the best way to handle the question was to tell the students about the research, and let them make up their own minds.

The “Nearby Peers” effect, though, shreds that rationale. There is no laissez-faire attitude to take when the degradation of focus is social. Allowing laptop use in class is like allowing boombox use in class — it lets each person choose whether to degrade the experience of those around them.

Groups also have a rider-and-elephant problem, best described by Wilfred Bion in an oddly written but influential book, Experiences in Groups. In it, Bion, who practiced group therapy, observed how his patients would unconsciously coordinate their actions to defeat the purpose of therapy. In discussing the ramifications of this, Bion observed that effective groups often develop elaborate structures, designed to keep their sophisticated goals from being derailed by more primal group activities like gossiping about members and vilifying non-members.

The structure of a classroom, and especially a seminar room, exhibits the same tension. All present have an incentive for the class to be as engaging as possible; even though engagement often means waiting to speak while listening to other people wrestle with half-formed thoughts, that’s the process by which people get good at managing the clash of ideas. Against that long-term value, however, each member has an incentive to opt out, even if only momentarily. The smallest loss of focus can snowball, the impulse to check WeChat quickly and then put the phone away leading to just one message that needs a reply right now, and then, wait, whathappened last night??? (To the people who say “Students have always passed notes in class”, I reply that old-model notes didn’t contain video and couldn’t arrive from anywhere in the world at 10 megabits a second.)


I have the good fortune to teach in cities richly provisioned with opportunities for distraction. Were I a 19-year-old planning an ideal day in Shanghai, I would not put “Listen to an old guy talk for an hour” at the top of my list. (Vanity prevents me from guessing where it would go.) And yet I can teach the students things they are interested in knowing, and despite all the literature on joyful learning, from Marie Montessori on down, some parts of making your brain do new things are just hard.

Indeed, college contains daily exercises in delayed gratification. “Discuss early modern European print culture” will never beat “Sing karaoke with friends” in a straight fight, but in the long run, having a passable Rhianna impression will be a less useful than understanding how media revolutions unfold.

Anyone distracted in class doesn’t just lose out on the content of the discussion, they create a sense of permission that opting out is OK, and, worse, a haze of second-hand distraction for their peers. In an environment like this, students need support for the better angels of their nature (or at least the more intellectual angels), and they need defenses against the powerful short-term incentives to put off complex, frustrating tasks. That support and those defenses don’t just happen, and they are not limited to the individual’s choices. They are provided by social structure, and that structure is disproportionately provided by the professor, especially during the first weeks of class.

This is, for me, the biggest change — not a switch in rules, but a switch in how I see my role. Professors are at least as bad at estimating how interesting we are as the students are at estimating their ability to focus. Against oppositional models of teaching and learning, both negative—Concentrate, or lose out!—and positive—Let me attract your attention!—I’m coming to see student focus as a collaborative process. It’s me and them working to create a classroom where the students who want to focus have the best shot at it, in a world increasingly hostile to that goal.

Some of the students will still opt out, of course, which remains their prerogative and rightly so, but if I want to help the ones who do want to pay attention, I’ve decided it’s time to admit that I’ve brought whiteboard markers to a gun fight, and act accordingly.