Just a reminder…

A friendly reminder that Reality on a Stick has moved to http://realityonastick.com

If you’re wondering why your realitonastick feed has not been receiving new posts, it’s because your feed is old and needs to be updated. Come on over to the new site and update using the subscribe button on the right panel.

See you on the other side.

Steven

REALITY ON A STICK has MOVED!!!

BIG NEWS:

Thanks to your support, REALITY ON A STICK has proven itself worthy of its own domain.

The new address is: realityonastick.com

IMPORTANT: Please bookmark the new address for direct access to the new site in the future. I will leave a forwarder here at this address, but I’m not sure how long it will be operational.

OR, BETTER YET: You can subscribe to the super nifty feedburner feed here. This will allow you to receive ‘Reality on a Stick’ updates via your RSS aggregator such as Google Reader (recommended) or News Gator, etc. Oh yeah, and God will love you more if you do.

FINALLY: If you are currently subscribed to my evil-doing, terror inducing, soon-to-be-defunct WordPress Feed, you must update to the teeming-with-joy-and-good-karma, nothing-but-sunshine-all-day-long feedburner feed here. The WordPress feed will no longer be updated. Besides, anyone who subscribes to the new feed will receive free of charge, a 2-week supply of Nish mojo.

FYI–I have had no problems with WordPress whatsoever. I highly recommend their software and free hosting service, especially for those who are just getting their feet wet in the blogging world.

I will continue to use the WordPress software and tools, but they will be hosted on my own domain. My reasons for moving are mostly to do with a desire for a bit more freedom with the ultimate fate of Reality on a Stick (e.g. the freedom to implement a bit of tasteful advertising at some point in the future) and the need for full access to a range of stats on our growing community. As I have mentioned in the past, this project is as much about learning how to build fruitful and supportive online communities as it is about anything else, and I’d like a tad more info during the next stage of research.

Thanks very much for your understanding. If you don’t hear from Reality on a Stick right away, it’s because you didn’t follow the instructions above! (so please come back and do so immediately).

If you have any questions, let me know.

See you on the other side:-)

Steven & Co.

Raising Children: It’s all about community.

Children are not raised in a bubble, or at least they shouldn’t be. If your job as a parent is to keep your kids safe and fed and to prepare them for the real world, you do them a great disservice by positioning yourself as the deliverer of all lessons, and the keeper of all truths.

Our children crave exposure to a variety of caregivers, teachers, and role models who are prepared to hear them and engage them. Creating and participating in such child-centered communities should be a major priority in our lives–yes, all of us.

When was the last time someone said to you in passing that being a positive role model was among their top priorities? Let me help you out. The answer is: Never. Let’s face it: being a positive role model is generally associated with TV talk, often from people who are trying to sell you something or–worse–trying to repay their debt to society (Think convicted celebrities sentenced to community service–Read: trying to save their careers).

But there are a few warriors out there, who defy common wisdom and get involved in raising and influencing other people’s children. They do this despite the scorn and public scrutiny they so often receive. They do not choose to connect with kids and make a difference. They are compelled to. They do it because they have to.

These are the heroes of our communities ladies and gentlemen. The coaches, camp counselors, teachers, and after school mentors who are in it for all the right reasons. Talk to them and you’ll find that (for most) their motivation to succeed has always involved giving something back to the community that supported them. These are the individuals who are making a difference; who are bold enough to give your kids what they yearn for: entertainment, interaction, and inner strength.

Introducing dribbling phenom Luis “Trikz” Da Silva. In all seriousness, although he’s not in the NBA–he didn’t even make the starting 5 on his high school basketball team–he has what most consider to be the sickest handles (dribbling skill) in the world. And all he can think about doing with that talent is getting through to your kids and making a difference in their lives.

Listen to the passion in Da Silva’s voice when he gives his 5 reasons for reaching out (at the end):

And here’s the Nike commercial that broke his career:

Much, much respect.

Any thoughts?

Steven

Addicted to Technology or How I learned to stop worrying and love the robots.

Guest Contributor Post

I’ve stumbled on a couple of articles recently that struck a chord with some sort of half thoughts I’d been having earlier in the week. When you’re as busy as I am half thoughts are all you have time for. So I had been thinking about this prevailing sense of non-specific isolation that a few people have mentioned to me, the feeling that you’re not quite connecting as organically as you used to. I realise how much cod-psychology I threw into that last sentence but I figure if Steve is going to let me post here he’s probably factored in the amount of shite he knew I’d write.

So, this isolation. Where does it come from? Are we so de-sensitised that we can’t even empathise with our peers anymore? Now, before you start thinking that I am some sort of dreadlocked Luddite who lives in a log cabin eschewing modernity but begrudgingly using an old Windows 95 PC to contribute to a blog, I’m not. I love technology. Actually, that’s wrong, I love advances in technology, where it can go, what it can do, all this is bread and butter to me. I have a computer that is far too powerful for anything I need to use it for, I upgrade my mobile phone roughly every three months and I have a ridiculous amount of email addresses, IM names, etc etc etc. I’m like one of those annoying “You know you’re living in 2007 when…” email forwards that I seem to get ALL OF THE TIME.

So, what is all this, I hear you ask. Rants about forwards? What is this, a transcript of a 1994 Janeane Garofalo stand up routine? If it is, I reckon it would have been one of the most forward thinking of all her “pieces”, but let me get back to the this. I love technology, and I’ve just realised I’ve started two consecutive paragraphs with the word ‘So’ which is bugging me but we’ll soldier on. Anyway, there were these two articles I had read which I may have mentioned earlier. I’d rather type this explanation then scroll back up to check. But the articles, one is called 7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable and yes I know it’s from Cracked.com which is a comedy website but sometimes, even cynical, pale, blotchy internet nerds have to take a moment to pause, to take stock. This one really had me scratching my chin and it got me mainly thinking about these issues of control I had been thinking about the week before. I mean control in the sense of, in a text message/email/IM “conversation” all of the control is in the respondent’s hands. They control the very warp and weft of the conversation. The second article I found, entitled Study: Number of close friends dropping in U.S., made me sad for two reasons. Firstly, well it’s about people having less confidantes, which is sad dudes. Secondly, I never even noticed that my subscription to the Daily Iowan had run out. It really is the only paper you need. It lets you know exactly what is going on all over Iowa every day, imagine that! That’s all you want right there.

Reading back on this, I realise it’s terrible and altogether sub par but damn it all it’s content!


Also, re: the non-specific isolation, I think it’s down to two main reasons

1) technology, too much of

2) exposure to humans, not enough of

And yes, I do realise the title doesn’t work at all either.

Rob

GTD: ‘Getting Things Done’ is the only road to your ideal lifestyle.

As responsibilities increase and time becomes a commodity, most of us find our ideal lifestyles slipping into the distance. For years, I have rationalized the trade-offs I’ve made, assuming that being ultra-productive in my work would without fail carry me closer to the ideal lifestyle for myself and my family. Only recently have I realized that it’s possible–all too common, in fact–to become so focused on success in your work that you lose sight of the bigger picture.

*Note to self: This is all supposed to be going somewhere, and that somewhere involves spending more time with the people you love, and partaking in the (non-work) activities that move your soul.

But are there really enough hours in a day to 1. make satisfactory career progress, 2. pursue your hobbies, and 3. spend ample time with family and friends?

Enter Getting Things Done (GTD).

Here’s a blog that’s been on my reading list for months. I have known since I subscribed in May that its pages are well-written and filled with advice that will push me to make substantial progress toward achieving my ideal lifestyle–a lifestyle in which all areas of my life are receiving the attention they deserve. But you wanna know the sad truth? It’s the only blog on my list of over a hundred that I have avoided like the plague. It’s as though my nagging grandmother is waiting inside to remind me of all the stuff she’s told me that I didn’t listen to. And she’s not the old crusty grandma with outdated advice that you’d expect; she’s the bright, young, tech-savvy, relevant-to-the-world-you-live-in Grandma 2.0, who is sensitive to all the challenges and stress that you face on a daily basis.

So why exactly would anyone be afraid to read a few pages of GTD and get hooked on it (like I know I will)?

The answer is plain and simple: Fear of change.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I am so into my routine of staying up all night hammering away at my keyboard, sleeping the few hours I have between dawn and my first lesson, and squeezing my reading and training in only when time allows.

I’ve never been a fan of forced routines or waking up early. But let’s face it: I am currently locked into an inferior routine which dictates a sleeping pattern with incredibly low efficiency and an exercise pattern with very low impact. The truth is: I’ve known for years that I needed to implement a healthier routine, I’ve known for years that this is where my battle for lifestyle freedom must be fought, and I’ve simply become a master of sidestepping the issue.

Well, not anymore. It has to change.

I’m pretty sure the baby will make sure that it all changes anyway, but I’m going to make a proactive choice to investigate my options now, and get to work on making my career justify my lifestyle and not the other way around.

To put it simply, I have to remember that I am human, and that humans ought to give and share and embrace life where possible.

**Note: There are many books and blogs about time-management/organizing systems like GTD, but this one caught my eye due to its simple and focused approach and the author’s writing style. Please have a look.

***And on a slightly tangential note: If you’re interested in an example of someone who seems clearly to have found a way to balance his personal and professional lives, perhaps with a great deal of overlap between the two, I invite you to be moved by Dan Meyer’s summer video project over at his blog Dy/Dan. Truly inspiring stuff.

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Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

I’ve found another role model, and he’s given me a whole lot to think about.

In case you were in the dark all these years (as I seem to have been) allow me to introduce Sir Ken Robinson–knighted for his “achievements as a leader in creativity, education and the arts.” The video below was taken over a year ago, but its messages rings true as ever today.

You’re gonna love this:
(From the TED Talks page)

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize — much less cultivate — the talents of many brilliant people. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says. The universality of his message is evidenced by its rampant popularity online. A typical review: “If you have not yet seen Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, please stop whatever you’re doing and watch it now.”

[via Presentation Zen, and Autono Blogger]

More on Sir Ken Robinson at his official website.

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U.S. Military: The Price of Incompetence

This is what happens when serving in the military is so deadly and unappealing that only the desperate are willing to enlist. It’s called gross incompetence and it is by no means unique to U.S. military personnel. In civilian circles, however, the afflicted are kept far clear of heavy machinery and, well, nuclear warheads. (Click pic for story)Armed B-52 in the friendly US skies.

Air force officials have reassured the public that there was “minimal risk to crews and the public because of safety features designed into the munitions.” Ooh boy, do I feel better now!

Dare I ask who was in charge of maintaining these safety features?

In any case, it’s a good thing we’re safe from all those evil-doers, right?

[via clusterflock]

Steve

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