Internet Vanity is a Helluva Drug

Posted: August 28, 2012 by sirdiggy in Uncategorized

OK, so I know the last post said that we’re effectively in hiatus. And Chuck did ask me to post updates on my book’s progress from time to time.  You can click here for that, but that’s not why I’m writing today.

Some of you may have read my previous post about being an Internet shrink. In the last full paragraph, I penned the following ponder:

…I’m starting to wonder if women are using the Net more these days to escape and discuss things that they don’t feel comfortable discussing with anyone they know in the flesh. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy to help and talk.  It just seems that getting to know someone for the purpose of meeting up in person has gone by the wayside, unless you specifically use a dating site.”

I ponder no longer: this shit is true now.

Here’s a Facebook convo I just had with a former radio colleague I worked with back in 2006:

Me: oh by the way.. you were right about how people use the Net in lieu of wanting to talk and socialize in person
it used to be there were those who, like me, use the Net for prospect for people to meet in person
now, it just seems like people (women) just use it for attention, to hype up they own life.

Friend: yup
and they are attracted to any bs they can catch

Me: yeah
i’m getting tired of it

Friend: its a nessecary evil for what we do (note: he works in comedy club promotions, thus this sentiment)

Me: the virtual last straw was this woman (who i met in person back in ’03) from Dallas – someone i called a friend. She tells me she’s in town here in NY to watch the US Open w/her aunt. So I say “great, let’s get up for some drinks” (pure platonic – she’s engaged). She gives me some lame excuse about how her aunt don’t like strangers.
Hello!?!?! You’re visiting MY town and you’re talking about strangers??? and you’re 43 yrs old! wtf?!

Friend: lol

The US Open chick was the last straw. I feel like for such women, I’m only cool if we’re talking online, maybe on the phone. But as far as us chill in person? Oh no no no, I have to stay in our safe little http://www.lane.com.

Fuck your Internet lane.

***

When the fuck did we become so self-serving, so self-hyping, so self-centered, or just plain selfish? Sure, most of us are programmed to show our best sides of ourselves in the public view, but there’s a reason there’s been studies about Facebook causing not-so-joy-joy feelings. And don’t even get me started on fucking Twitter, one of the Internet’s great tools of mindless narcissism. This blog has an account on there, as do I under my pen name. It’s just for business and promotion; I cannot understand how some people can stay on twitter all… fucking… day. I feel like I lose an IQ point for every hour I spend on there. Just the notion that you’re looking for “followers” mean you just want to build your popularity to feel good about yourself: you are not looking to have any real conversation. You’re cute, mama, but you’re not that fucking important. Seriously.

**sigh**

So it’s clear that I need new socialization methods, because my bread-and-butter has turned toast. This will not be easy; the reason most people used to turn to online chat was because they were nerdy introverts (like me, lol) that found a comfortable way to socialize when other “normal” methods alluded them or failed.

“Shit changes and evolve,” you say. “You gotta roll with the tide.”

Fuck that. I don’t like how the tide has turned. I guess I’ll go be salty for a minute then figure out a new plan.

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Well, I haven’t spoken with Chuck Spears in a minute. I know he recently found a new job, has been working at his comic book art and rekindling his love for spittin’ rhymes. I have not been around here for I have been working hard at building a platform and home base for my book.

Maybe this means that it’s time for this blog needs to go on hiatus – for a while. It’s not a sad thing, because in the process of the both of us contributing here, we have been able to discover or reconnect with our passions. Chuck has always been an artist kind of guy, so I’m happy he’s gotten back in that groove. Me? Well, I’ve already told you about my current venture.

This blog has been important to the both of us throughout the past twelve months. Its been a place to vent and voice our opinions and frustrations on the bullshit that life throws our way. It also gave us an avenue to exercise our minds creatively. I know Chuck has been messing with the blogging world longer than I have, but managing this blog has given me good practice for running the blogsite for my book. Writing on here was also good for knocking the rust off;  I had not touched my book’s manuscript for over a year before Chuck and I founded this blog. When the spark came back to me to pick up working the book again, I was already in some sort of writing shape… kind of.

The biggest thing for me though is that I finally know that I have an answer, a solution to “stop being played”.  This blog was born from me and Chuck’s frustrations with our lives being stuck in a standstill, wondering if things would ever get better due to the career paths we pursued.

Let’s just say over the course of the year, I’ve undergone an attitude adjustment.

“If it is to be, it starts with me.”

While I was attending Morgan State, the chair of the Communication Studies department had us recite that line in one of my classes. I used to think that was corny motivational ploy he was using, but ultimately he’s right. If you feel life is playing you, do something about it. Take some time to analyze yourself and your current life standing. Be honest about your strengths, your weaknesses, and your habits, both good and bad. Understand what truly motivates you, what you are passionate about. Begin to build on that, brick by brick, step by step, regardless if you are single, married or have kids. There are many books and classes that can teach you how to turn your passions into business ventures. But most importantly, before you learn how, you need to first look at yourself. Robert Kiyosaki teaches you how to change your view of money. Dave Ramsey teaches you how to look yourself in the mirror and hold yourself accountable for your actions and your budget. Tim Ferriss implores you to conquer your fears one step at a time as well as how to view time and productivity differently. Susan Orman illustrates how your first childhood interaction with money helps to shape how you view money as an adult. Ramit Sethi, among other things,  specializes in how to position yourself in the best light for various negotiation situations. All of the above named understand that your mind’s thought processes must be changes first before you get to the how.

So then… Off I go to continue on my “how”. I refuse to be played anymore – I will learn to turn the tables in my favor.

***

UPDATE: Chuck hit me via text and agrees that a hiatus likely is in order, but has asked me to periodically post on my progress with the book. I will do that, but in the meantime, if you want to check in on our progress, by all means:

BoobieTrapped.com – The video blog for my upcoming book

UngowaSoulPower – Chuck Spears’ blog for his comic book work and rhymin’

Thank you for following our blog for over the past year. We appreciate all the comments, Facebook Likes and page hits!

(even if half of those hits came from me and Chuck, lol)

Maybe I Should Be An Internet Shrink

Posted: July 4, 2012 by sirdiggy in Uncategorized

I was at an alumni mixer a couple of weeks ago. Got to chat it up with some of my college buddies and even saw a couple I haven’t run into in a couple of years. As we chopped it up over some Coronas (I like mine’s with a shot of grenadine), the topic turned to who got married, who got engaged, etc etc. One of our married classmates is taking his family overseas – he works for the CIA, which is not totally surprising given he grew up an Army brat and has lived in Germany.

A little later, my first roommate and I chatted about singlehood and having to live back home. I told him that although I wouldn’t mind having a significant other again, I just don’t feel in position (financially mostly) to be an adequate boyfriend. He says not to think that way; I shouldn’t sell myself short given my intelligence and academic success. “You can slap a girl with your Masters degree C-dog,” says the ex-roommie (oh yeah, my nickname in college was C-dog – let me just mention that it was the first nickname I was given that wasn’t derogatory in neither an overt or covert manner). He’s right: although I don’t own independence-status markers like an apartment or car, I still have a lot going for me, and a lot to offer.

What he might have also mentioned had we had the time to come across it, is my forays into Internet dating during my undergrad years, a time in which is was considered taboo and “dangerous”. Which brings me to my current feelings on my “Internet Pimping”. It has just occurred to me that more and more people are using the Net as a means to escape or cope with whatever reality they’re dealing with. It can boost your ego, and it can be therapeutic… and I should be paid for providing both to the women I’ve been chatting and dealing with. I present my evidence as follows:

Exhibit A: Someone you’ve known online for years. You lose contact, find each other again, start talking on the regular, attraction builds (so you think), you start to get close (so you think), you go visit and have a good time – and in two weeks after said visit, the person stops talking to you. They ignore you in chat, they stop answering your calls with no explanation. Just like that. How do you take the time and effort to get to know someone like that and then toss it away like nothing?

Exhibit B: Met a chick online. Lives nearby, and she’s attractive. Got together for food a couple of times right before winter. Chick then drops out of the picture for about three months. She resurfaces, citing being busy with two jobs and grad school (I’ve been there). Arranged to chill one Friday afternoon two months ago. Pinned down the place; she needed to call me back to confirm a time. She never called. I texted her about 12 hours later only to get some story about family drama popping up. Shit happens – no prob. But no call back to say “hey I can’t make it because etc, etc”? Bad form.
So weeks later she calls me at night and we’re on the phone for at least a couple of hours. I’m about to get off the phone with her to go to sleep when a guy all of a sudden comes on the line and demands “yo, who dis?”. Of course, I don’t tell him. His next line: “yo you trying to talk to me girl yo?” She never mentioned she had a boyfriend, but that whole taking-the-phone act was juvenile and I let her know that in a subsequent text message.

Exhibit C: I chat with a lady on Yahoo. Come to find out she’s married to a NFL player (supposedly) and she just found out he cheated on her – more than once. Claims she wants a divorce, but she also finds out she’s pregnant… with twins.  She’s obviously very hurt, having spent eight years with dude and bore three children, all young (youngest is four months). A very long story short: she decides to forgive him and drop the divorce route.

Exhibit A pulled a bitch move; a hurtful bitch move. Exhibit B… well with her, something just hit me the other day. She sounds intelligent and business-minded, but some of the dudes she’s told me she’s messed with seem awfully hood, including the clown that she allowed to jack her phone mind-convo. I wonder if she views me as just an intelligent mind to bounce ideas off of and vent instead of a FWB (which was the reason we were supposed to had hooked up back in the late fall). Exhibit C needed someone to talk to that wasn’t her own family or circle, and told me that our chatting has been very therapeutic for her. I bring all this up to say, that I’m starting to wonder if women are using the Net more these days to escape and discuss things that they don’t feel comfortable discussing with anyone they know in the flesh. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy to help and talk.  It just seems that getting to know someone for the purpose of meeting up in person has gone by the wayside, unless you specifically use a dating site.

One day I should become a psychologist, eh? Either that or a monk.

Has it really been almost a month since I wrote here?

I should feel apologetic, but my lack of action here has not been due to lack of motivation or laziness. In fact, I’ve been very motivated, and rather active.

Pimping a book is hard work. And as you go along the process, you realize that writing the darn thing is barely half the battle. I’ve read on different author resource sites that many writers don’t want to get involved in the business aspect of putting their book out and selling it. The task is daunting, very involved, multifaceted and somewhat complex. Just looking for a quality editor took over three weeks. But I’m happy: the editor understood where I was coming from and combed through every word and sentence. I did not have any concerns over her quality of work because she had the experience.  I knew what kind of qualifications to look for because I had expert advice. Even if my book doesn’t make a dime, I can trust that manuscript will be in top shape.

Like I said, the process is multifaceted – I am approaching this as a business and brand, not a mere hobby.  Here’s the current stages and steps I have mapped out so far.

LLC

My LLC will be in the form of a self-publishing company. Why am I creating a company just to publish a book? Because there are costs: I need a cover designer, interior designer and marketing manager – the latter of the three the most expensive.  From my research, 5K seems to be what’s figured for startup costs. I don’t have 5K, nor do I see myself with the ability to save five-grand before the year is out. Funny thing is, the leader of the RichDadNYC group whose monthly meetings I attend says he didn’t have $5,000 either for the marketing of his book, and he owns more than a handful of rental properties and businesses throughout the country. So he had to get the money somewhere, and he’s a big believer of OPM (Other People’s Money). A business credit line is looking like a good idea.

Manuscript

Last Saturday, I submitted my manuscript to the Library of Congress for copyrighting. Next step is to find a proofreader to make sure my script is pristine. After that, I need to find a cover design and interior designer. Once those are done, then I will look at self-publishing options.

Blog

THE BLOG IS LIVE! THE BLOG IS LIVE!

It is my online home base for operations. The meat of the blog is the video entries, which I will do one per week. I also have a written blog section to talk about the progress of moving from manuscript to paperback/e-book.  It is also my beginning baby steps into the book’s marketing via building up a following.

***

I was prepared to say that due to my book venture, and Chuck Spears pursuing his comic book blog, that this blog will take a hiatus. But Chuck Spears came through with a great Father’s Day post, so instead I’ll talk to him about whether to keep things going.

Til next time…

Father Time

Posted: June 19, 2012 by chuckspears in Uncategorized

So, yesterday, I got on stage for the first time in a long time. Not rapping as is my usual means of expression, but delivering it in more  of a spoken word “flow-style”. It was a Father’s Day event that my mother helped organize, it took place at the Afrikan Poetry Theatre in Jamaica Queens. The place was full of history, and lots of great luminaries in the poetry world have passed through it’s doors, but a fresh coat of paint and some new furnishings wouldn’t do any harm.

Anyways, I started out the set with a new piece I titled, “Father Time.”

FATHER TIME

 

The time I allowed to share with my father was One year, Seven months and four days.

He got to hear my first words, see my first steps… and change my diapers.

He’d already seen these small miracles three times before me.

At the time of his passing, my mother was coming due with another bundle of joy and he was looking to see it all again a fifth time.

The laughter, the tears, feedings, which lead to vomit occasionally, and always more diapers.

My mother tells me they wanted TEN KIDS, I couldn’t imagine having nine siblings,

But I can only imagine a life where I would be allowed more father time.

Memories of my father aren’t really memories of my own-

But retellings of the things he did, the things he said and the things he allowed.

I was still an infant when I had to face life without him but I’m sure I smile his reflection

I’m sure I speak as he spoke, only with New York regional slang as opposed to a DC metro twang

My father’s passing made him loom larger than most fathers; my mother said he was a martyr

Said he was in paradise with Allah looking down on us

Said don’t do such and such, you wouldn’t want to disappoint your father

I don’t mean to blaspheme but in my mind, my father stood shoulder to shoulder with God

Watching my deeds on earth from a cloud high in the heavens

He and the Angels would casually chat up my playground antics.

He’d talk to the Prophets about how well I recited the fatiha, how straight I stood in prayer.

When he saw trouble coming my way he’d lend me strength

Or yell at the devil in the fire of hell to get him his ages of off my back,

But as I got closer to his age

When I went to prom, I compared myself to his photograph of him at his prom

Was I taller? Was I as strong? Did I have more style?

Was I as smart?

Do I measure up to a man I can’t remember?

Do I measure up to a Legend?

He was like Paul Bunyon, Jesus, Malcolm, Hercules, and Bruce Lee.

I never got to see his faults, I only knew him in his glory,

He was a Black Belt in Karate, He a soldier in the Army.

He was a father, He was a husband,

He was an Imam, leader of Muslim Community in the nation’s capital.

To All his siblings he was a favorite brother, always ready with a joke.

To my mother he was ideal man.

But when I visit his resting place, I can only find his grave because he’s two headstones down from my aunt.

This is the Father Time I’m allowed now.

The short time we shared was valuable; any time you have to share with your father is just as precious.

Let him know that it is.

 

I Thought Writers Were the Open-Minded Ones?

Posted: May 26, 2012 by sirdiggy in Uncategorized

You know, my buddy and partner Chuck Spears has been MIA (versus hiding in MIA) for a minute now.  I know he’s been working on his comic book characters, and he’s been firmly entrenched in the battle for gainful employment.  Nowadays, with jobs being how they are, it’s more important to have the cash flow and then plan to build resources to create a venture for yourself.  It’s hard to do, because we are not taught, in general, how to work for ourselves.  The loyalty that many employers demand from their workers these days are not reciprocated in earnest.   It’s difficult to learn how to be loyal to yourself after you’ve spent years scrapping to be loyal to someone else – and I’m speaking about myself here.  Here’s hoping my man gets some paper back in his pocket so he can resume his master plans.

***

Meanwhile, I’m working on my master plan.  In finding a forum to solicit feedback and help from fellow writers, I signed up for absolutewrite.com.  They have forums with a wealth of information on various aspects of writing, editing, publishing, agent fishing, marketing, and so on.  I’ve posted a few comments and started a couple of threads, receiving some sound feedback – until my last thread.  In testing a subtitle to go along with my catchy title, I asked folks if they thought the subtitle I chose conveys what the book would be about.   As you may imagine, most of the comments were cynical and critical, accusing me of creating a “sophomoric” topic just to grab attention.  One commenter even suggested I was trolling, questioning whether the book was even real.

Perhaps I should have checked back a bit more often to respond to all of the comments instead of just some, but I didn’t think the thread would get as many responses as it did.  Despite the fact that there were a few posters that actually gave some thought to their responses and not a knee-jerk snarl, a moderator closed the thread.  I then sent a note to the moderator to clarify my intentions and to inform her that the book’s purpose is actually to educate certain men and to de-objectify top-heavy women.  I even invited said admin to view a ten-page sample of my manuscript’s rough draft to decide for herself.

Instead of a response by the admin, I get this message upon loggin in:

Wow…

Apparently, I have been labeled a troll, thus earning a lifetime ban.  My notoriety has begun to build.

There’s a few things to learn here:

  1. I may need to reword my request for feedback a bit better given the title of the book.
  2. I will need to illustrate and position the book’s purpose a bit better to fight off cynicism.
  3. Some authors don’t like really catchy titles – this baffles me.
  4. As a man, as soon as you utter the word “breasts”, some folks will view you as sexist no matter what you have to say.  That’s why the word doesn’t show up in my subtitle.
  5. People are wayyyy too fucking sensitive.
  6. The subtitle still may need some work, lol.
  7. My book is needed.

Because my ultimate goal is to promote understanding, I sent the forum’s webmaster a lengthy message as a rebuttal to the ban:

I would like to request audience with the admin or admins who decided to ban me for “trolling”. First off, I believe this decision is knee-jerk: there are many authors and artists out there who have use risqué titles that actually have in-depth meaning within their work. For example: “Good Pussy”, a book a female friend recently read, is not a book solely about finding good sex but about what men and women truly search for in their non-Platonic dealings and relationships. In music, “Dirty Money” is a recording group founded by, and including, P Diddy. While most may think of “Dirty Money” as illegal, he states that the group is named such because “we work hard to earn it”. Hard work = getting dirty.

My book’s title alone was a suggestion from a friend of mine whom is married and is also attracted to top-heavy women. So far, it has gotten many a positive response, including a few potential editors and the editor I eventually hired.

Let me post a comment from an editor who performed a sample edit on my work. This will give you a clear idea as to what I’m shooting for:

“How can I put it, being sensitive to the author’s feelings and while trying to be constructive…?

I LOVE IT!!!

Seriously. Beyond the subject matter (and FYI I prefer small breasts), what I like is a) that actually you’re as much in support of women and being respectful to them as you are seemingly being a dude, a lad; and b) your narrative voice is really good: it’s funny, laid back, most certainly coming (and unashamedly, unapologetically), from a man—a witty guy, a guy who questions his innate urges and feelings. Modern thinking man, if you will…

“In case you get a second opinion, whatever anyone else may possibly tell you, DON’T change the narrative style of this. It might need a little tidying (as all writing does that editors see), but the style is SPOT ON. Make sure you don’t get persuaded to tone too much down. It’s supposed to be irreverent on the surface, and it’s supposed to work on a higher level when you understand what’s actually being said. Any changes in style are going to dilute and confuse the 2 levels. So my advice, is whatever you do, keep this style totally intact.

“I’d say, from what I see here in this ‘snapshot’ that this has a good chance of picking up interest. Even if you go down the self-publishing and/or digital route, I’ll bet my ears you’ll get interest and a level of sales: You just need the right cover and some snappy appealing blurb to go with your excellent and catchy title (‘Boobie Trapped’ – I love it!).”

This person absolutely nailed (as in completely understood – not a pun) what the book is going to do. The work is real, and I am real person who is real about this undertaking.

I’m not necessarily asking to be un-banned. Nor am I asking for an agreeable opinion to the arguments I’ve presented. What I am asking is for those who oversee this site, a site for people to test their creativity, to have a constructive dialogue with me before rushing to judgement. I thank you for your time.

Diggy

P.S. If I were trolling, then I would not take the effort to write this message.”

The point is not necessarily to regain usage of the boards, but to combat being labeled a troll and as misogynist.  I’ve already fought one battle with elance.com over removing an editing job posting I put up because they felt the words “top-heavy” equaled sexual and mature content.  I challenged their decision over a couple emails, and I got my job posting put back up.  Let’s see what happens with this instance.

A Tangled (World Wide) Web to Weave

Posted: May 24, 2012 by sirdiggy in Uncategorized

Yes yes… I’m supposed to be writing a follow-up to my last Blue and Orange Prism entry.  But the conversation of banking potential championship hopes on the play of Amaré and Melo will have to wait.  I have bigger fish to fry currently.

I received my manuscript back from my editor – minus one chapter that I forgot to send to her (d’oh).  I’m pretty happy with the level of work she put in, and that she understood the tone and voice I wanted to write with.  Scanning through her changes and remarks, I see where I have more work to do, and where I may disagree with certain suggestions (nothing huge, though).  The important thing is I needed someone to straighten out my habit of sometimes writing like I think.  In other words, I don’t think in a straight line: my thoughts have a lot of sidebars to them.  Many of these mental sidebars involve naked women and big breasts (Kanye shrug).

Any-who… I was on the phone last night with my man JD.   We were talking about my plans for the book, and while he is very knowledgeable, I don’t think he fully understands going into business for yourself.  He equated having a business line of credit to having personal debt (it’s not), and he recited certain axioms from Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover book.  If you peeped my other blog posts, you’ll know I’ve read that book too.  The difference is that Dave Ramsey’s book is excellent for organizing your personal finances.  My aunt, who started a real estate investment group with a few partners and has read Ramsey’s book, even admitted that a business needs a line of credit.  To make a long story short: I believe Ramsey will help you get your personal shit together, but once you’re ready to move into the business world, the advice of people like Robert Kiyosaki and Tim Ferriss can take your further.

There was one suggestion JD did make that made sense, a suggestion that I’ve had in the back of my mind.  He feels that I should start a blog about the book’s content to test the audience and gauge interest.  It’s a good idea, and I told him that I have no idea on attracting website traffic.  JD’s former morning show co-host suggested I do a video blog (another idea in the back of my head) because it “forces you to stay short and sweet” in terms of your message.

Again, it all sounds great.  I can script out some three to five-minute pieces, record myself on my phone and create videos to upload.  The question becomes “Where do I create the blog?”.  Should I just do another WordPress blog and pay extra to upload video content?  Should I create a web/blog site on wix.com?  Should I get some help with this given I know little about website design?  And as I previously stated, how do I attract traffic?

Kiyosaki always says to reach out to people who have already been successful in what you’re trying to do.  Thankfully, I know a few people like that who are web-savvy.  I’ll be hollarin’ at them between now and the weekend.

 

Oh, and if you’re reading this and you have had success creating a web or blog site (and you’re in a sharing, sage-like mood), give me a shout.  I’d love to learn a few things.  Thanks in advance!