Secret Recipe

Secret Recipe

When it comes to my recipes, they are all a secret recipe.  Today’s wonderful mac-n-cheese was no different.  Elder Falter told his new companion, “If you like, eat a lot because you’ll never see it again.”

He’s already learned the secret.

This was 5 cheese – cheddar, jack, romano, gouda and gruyere cheeses.  The gruyere wasn’t as intense as the last batch.  It definitely needed more sharpness, but it was still very tasty.

I also made slaw and the dressing was ginger infused white balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Next time, however, I will add the dressing right before we serve it.  The vinegar sucked the water out of the cabbage and made the dressing bland.

Collies

Chuck and Kathy Collie talked in church today.  They both gave excellent talks.  I joked with Chuck before the meeting asking if he will quote from J. Golden Kimball.  Chuck didn’t quote from J. Golden, but it was a good talk all the same.

Eclipse

Tomorrow is the big eclipse.  People I know in Idaho have commented on the crowds converging on them.  I don’t recall there being this much hype over a total eclipse… ever.  Social media can take credit for that.

Your Living Room

Your Living Room

I was thinking about social media today — its benefits and ills.  I came to this conclusion:  If people treated it like your living room, it would be a better virtual place.  Let’s face it; you deserve a certain level of respect when people are visiting in your living room.

A few months ago I decided to start cleaning things up in my virtual living room (aka Facebook).  I started by unfollowing those who posted things that were vulgar.  My next step was to block the trolls.  (Blocking is more effective than unfriending because when you block someone, it also stops them from trolling your comments made to mutual friends.)

It has greatly cleaned up the experience.  Seldom do I see posts with 4-letter words now.  It has also reduced the unpleasantries of disrespect and inflammatory remarks.

The irony is this… I now get lots of friend requests from people who have no other Facebook friends.  Coincidental?  I have no way to tell.  I just find it odd that I get a friend request from a person I don’t know, they have zero Facebook friends, and only one image on their page.  (And, the image is usually an attractive young lady.)  Needless to say, I don’t invite them to come in and sit down.  After all, it is my living room and I no longer invite just anyone to come in and sit down.

While this works great, I’ve had to exercise some tough-love.  Those considered to be friends have been unfollowed or blocked.  Imagine having a closed circuit TV in your front room monitoring your friends.  Friends who do obnoxious things get their closed circuit TV shut off (i.e. unfollowed).  Other friends come in and put their feet on your coffee table and scratch it up (i.e. troll your posts), or leave a mess (repeatedly use vulgarity).  These you finally have to ask them to leave your house (i.e. block them).  It’s tough-love, but you deserve a certain level of respect in your house.

The common misconception by many is that your timeline is theirs too.  Sorry.  I disagree.  Facebook doesn’t call it “our timeline”, they call it “your timeline”.  And, since they assign ownership, and allow me to set conditions (like “only your friends” can see my timeline), it is mine to decided the rules.  Just like you don’t put your feet on my new coffee table, you don’t bring trash onto my timeline.


It rained all day today.  That’s good because the lawn needed it.  (Nobody has sprinkler systems out here.)  When it came time to go to the temple, it had stopped.

Home Canning

Home Canning

Home canning is a wonderful thing.  I stood looking at some of our canned jams and jellies and immediately had a desire to toast a bagel, open a jar of pepper jelly, and have a snack.

This was not until I had sat a few jars on my light table to photograph them.  Jellies have an amazing color.  Other canned foods, like beans and carrots, have these amazing textures and patterns.

By now you may have guessed that the Create LDS Photo Challenge is Self-Reliance.  Canning is just a small part of self-reliance.  There are many other aspects of self-reliance like managing debt, learning to repair and maintain a home, gardening, and more.

Tuesday’s Meeting

Our Tuesday’s meeting was a review of photos that had been submitted and a discussion about search words.   We now have about 160 CSM Photographers.

Snowing

It was snowing this morning.  We got about an inch again.

Temple

The temple tonight we had two good sessions.  In spite of the cold and snow we had enough people that we had about 15-16 people in each session.

Several of us shared a laugh or two about Elizabethe and I running in to all of those temple missionaries at the movies on Monday.  We all agreed that Star Wars VII is a good movie.

Social Media

I have some new rules for social media.  These are them…

  1. Post something evil and I unfollow you.  This means porn, cussing (even implied like using a couple of letters to represent the word followed by symbols – example:  this would become th12, but using a cuss word).
  2. Troll me because you don’t like my opinion and I will unfriend you AND block you.

 

Cyber House Cleaning

Cyber House Cleaning

It is time for some summer cyber house cleaning.  I’m not talking about cleaning up my hard drive, but cleaning up my social media accounts.

Most social media accounts refer to it as “my profile”.  My house is exactly that, it is my house.  Why should my profile be any different.

I will not allow certain activities under the roof of my house.  I’m very clear that I don’t allow drinking, smoking or illicit drug use.  People using foul language in my home are asked to stop, and if they continue, I tell them to leave.  Why should things be any different in cyber space?

Too many immature folks think it is okay to resort to name-calling in cyber space.  I believe some of them don’t even realize they are doing it.  At the same time, many of them wouldn’t have the nerve to speak to someone like that in person.  The ease of hiding behind that electronic barrier must make them feel powerful and smart.

Part of my reason for house cleaning is having been suckered in to contentious arguments.  I have to remind myself what Benjamin Franklin said, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

The other part is I’m tired of putting up with abusive people.  Once such person sent me a private e-mail berating me for a comment I made on a photography group about RAW and JPEG files.  His reason for messaging me privately had nothing to do with photography and had everything to do with berating my religious beliefs (which were not even part of the discussion about RAW and JPEG files.)  It was uncalled for, and a personal attack.  Others will repeatedly stalk postings in an effort to exert their opinion and attempt to tell you every reason why you are wrong and they are right.  (I often want to reply back and say, “You don’t wear arrogance well,”  but that would only fuel their puny fire.)  I have no use desire to associate with cyber bullies.

Notifications are pulling me away from my work too often.  A while back I changed what I was notified about, but I still get too many notifications from people who post immoral and offensive materials.  (And, if they find my posts offensive, perhaps they too should unfriend me and spend less time reading what I say.)

Someone commented that comments to my blog don’t immediately appear and they were upset about that.  Well, I don’t live my car unlocked with the keys in the ignition either; I hope that doesn’t upset them too.  Again, this is my blog.  It’s my personal (but publically accessible for reading) journal.  If I let ever post immediately appear you would find posts about get-rich-quick scams, male enhancement drugs, and other stuff I don’t want appearing on my blog.    My blog is my record of my thoughts and activities that I want to share with friends and family and interested party.  It isn’t, in itself, a social media forum or chat room.

So, likewise, my social media pages are going to be cleaned up in an effort to keep things civil.  This will mean some deletion of “friends” who have a hard time keeping not tracking dirt into “my profile”.  But, it is my cyber space and it has got a little cluttered.

Elder David Bednar last year at Education Week gave a great talk on this.  This is part of my effort to follow his advice more closely.  (click here)

—–

Today was a very busy day starting with an early morning haircut followed by other meetings.  One such meeting had some no-shows which was very frustrating.    In my 15 years in business I think I have only missed one appointment because I failed to write it in my appointment book.  In this case, I have no idea what happened with the representatives from this company.

Most of my afternoon was spent working on a painting for a client.  The client has commissioned three small paintings, and this is the last of the three.  I love the feeling when a projects comes to a conclusion.

Came dinner time I was just wiped out and ready to call it a day.

Seek Advice

Seek Advice

A friend says, “Don’t seek advice from someone who is more messed up than you.”  We all chuckle at that, but boy do we see it on social media.

I’ve got to avoid that rabbit hole.  I go in to a forum thinking I can offer my professional advice, but only to be confronted by social media addicts who vehemently attack anyone who offers advice that deviates from theirs.

Some of you may not have seen this, but let’s keep it generic… let’s say you go in to a forum or group and some says, “I need some legal advice.”

The logic and appropriate answer is, “Go see an attorney.”

But, when you suggest the person go see an attorney there is always some fool who says, “I went through this.  You don’t need an attorney.  You just need to do A… B… and C…”

I think to myself, “Wow, I hope this person doesn’t listen to him.”

I end up playing the fool too because I respond back saying, “Oh, she they do need and attorney because if this goes bad they can end up losing a lot of money,” and the next thing I know it I’m being read the riot-act, la-tee-dah-tee-dah.

The good that has come out of this is this…

In stead of leaving my Facebook page open and while waiting for files to copy look to see what new messages demand my attention, I’m going to create a Facebook check list.  Further more, it will have a specific time assigned each day.  No responding to the village idiot who advices people they don’t need an attorney for legal matters.  I do my check list (which is there to boost my web page SEOs, and get off before the timer goes off.)

I also realized I can post directly from my blogs without having to interact with Facebook.  And, for my SEO related posts, I can set them up in advance, so scheduling stuff can be a breeze.

Empathy can be a curse in this social media world.  It’s like having teenagers at home who think they know better than mom and dad.  The problem is, they are crawling the Internet and some of them are old enough to have teenage children and should know better.

Facebook is great for keeping in touch with old friends and distance family members, but when it comes to forums and groups, there needs to be some controls in order for them to function properly.  I was in one group dedicated to a specific brand of camera.  Someone posted a question about what lens to buy for that brand of camera and the group administrator said the question was not suited for that forum.  While I am all for controls on the group, the controls also have to make sense. (Which this one didn’t.)

The biggest problem in such groups and forums is this…

You simply don’t know who you are dealing with.  For example, say you join a forum for car waxing.  In that forum, someone tells you to use Comet on your car before you wax it. (Okay, most of us know Comet will scratch the paint on your car.)  But, you figure these folks are experts, so you go and use Comet on your car.  In the end, you’re car is scratched and some obnoxious teenage boy is sitting laughing saying, “He went for it.”

It’s too bad many of these groups and forums don’t screen people.  I asked to join one that actually did.  They asked for my web site url, and a short biography.  Perhaps many should ask for some sort of qualifying information.

———————–

I went to mow the lawn today and the mower broke down.  I ended up having Macedon Auto come tow the tractor to their shop.  I’m really not impressed with my Cub Cadet.  When it comes time to replace it, I probably won’t get another one.

Already a Friend

Already a Friend

Social media is a funny thing.  Imagine my surprise when I went to find someone and discovered they were already a friend.  Such was the case today.

This story begins when I was asked if I wanted to join my hosts for dinner at Olive Garden.  I thought I could handle the trip to the car and from the car to the restaurant as well as the return trip, so I accepted their invitation.

We arrived at the restaurant and after getting a large table where I could spread my broken leg out (without people bumping in to it), our very pretty waitress began serving us.  She was an absolutely delightful waitress — kind, polite, quick and attentive.  When told I had been hit by a car Sunday night, she even showed empathy.

Halfway through dinner, Mary and I had a conversation about sexual harassment by clients to waitresses.  At the end of that conversation, I jokingly (but have serious) asked Mary, “So would it be sexual harassment if I asked our waitress if she would pose for a painting?”

Mary laughed and responded, “Probably.  Would you like me to ask her for you?”

I said, “Sure.”

As we were about to leave, Mary explained I am a painter and artist and her pretty face has caught my attention and asked if she’d like to model for a painting.  I wrote down my contact information (because I had no cards with me – dumb mistake) and told her she can call me if she wants to take me up on the offer.

Everyone was heading to the door when the waitress asked if I knew a certain photographer.  I told her I did.  She said she thought she recognized me.  I’m thinking, “Really?”

As we talked, it came out that she’s a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I recognized the last name, but that’s all.  I introduced her to Ron and Mary, and they told her they know her parents.  I asked if she knew Paul O’Donnell and she responded, “Yes, he was my seminary teacher.”

What a small world.  But, it doesn’t stop here.

Later in the evening, I go to find her on Facebook, and there’s no “Friend” option.  Strange.  I poked around thinking I’ve never seen such a thing before.  Then it hit me… we’re already friends!

Sure enough, I check my conversation history and we had talked via Facebook last summer about doing a shoot, but it was Pageant time and things didn’t work out for either of our schedules.  We had never met, and our

I believe everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes the reason may not be revealed to us.  Other times the reason is perfectly clear, while other times it is up to us to figure it out.  In any event, if that reason was simply to being a little happiness in to my situation (my broken leg, that is), it served its purpose.

I do hope I’m able to do a painting of this young lady.  It will serve as a reminder of God’s tender mercies and how in the midst of one of life’s trials, our Heavenly Father still has a way show that life is still good.

Grandpa Blogger

Grandpa Blogger

Why is it mommy bloggers get all the attention?  It’s about time a grandpa blogger got some attention.  You often read, especially in LDS circles that so-n-so is a mommy blogger, but when was the last time you heard someone say, “Jack is a grandpa blogger!”

I have nothing against mommy bloggers.  In fact, I think it is a great way for them to relieve the stress that comes from watching small kids and managing a household.  It is also a good way for them to document the happenings of the day.  I have daughters who blog, and I love them with all my heart.

A grandpa blogger, however, has much more to offer when it comes to wisdom and insight.  I don’t mean to say that I am better than a mother who maintains a blog, but in general, we often don’t giver our elders the respect due.  Our American culture seems to worship youth over age.  Personally, I wish my own father would blog daily.  Much of my own dad’s insights are the result of 80 years of experience on this earth.

Grandpa bloggers can record family history in their blog.  Reminiscing about personal and family life long past can be a great insight to a younger generation’s traits, habits and behaviors.  These stories can be sources of strength and inspiration for generations to come.

As Latter-day Saints, let’s face it, Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Mormon, and many others were grandpa bloggers.  They even used tablets!  Without their records, we would not have the teachings of the Book of Mormon.  Likewise, the bible contains writings of grandpa bloggers.

Modern-day people like Thomas Monson, Boyd Packer and others are also grandpa bloggers.  Although they may not maintain a WordPress blog, they have written their thoughts in books, and expressed them in talks.  (I guess you could say, they are all v-loggers since their conference talks are on YouTube.)

This Grandpa

Blowing my own horn a bit, I probably have a better track record than most mommy bloggers.  With over 1,800 posts, I’ve hardly missed a day since starting this blog.  I realize I’m all over the place when it comes to content.  So what!  You know what’s on the top of my mind for the day, and you get to follow me places and see some great photography.  I will also note I maintain a few other blogs:

as well as several websites:

As you can see, I’m a busy-bee.

Yes, I want to see more grandpa bloggers out there.  I’d like to see grandpa bloggers who are woodcarvers, car enthusiast, who have served as bishops, stake presidents, and mission presidents, foster parents, who live in Utah, California, Tennessee and more.  I want to read about how they deal with the economy, retirement, the political environment, their adult children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, marriage, and more.  They have some great experience to share.

I want to hear grandpa bloggers talk about the days when we didn’t wear seatbelts, the mistakes they made in their youth, the good choices they made, and how they deal with stress in their golden years.  I want to hear advice that works.  I want to hear what they think and why.

Journals

Now, if you’re under 40 and reading this, you’re getting close to being a grandpa (or grandma) blogger.  If you haven’t started recording your thoughts and history, get with it.  Blogs are the new journal.

Just a warning, however, blogs are on the Internet, and no matter what security surrounds your writings, someone can figure out how to hack it.  So, be careful what you place in your blog.  You don’t want to write anything that could help someone steal your identity, money, and more.

Because they are on the Internet, they can also disappear with a single catastrophic failure of technology.   It is for that reason, at the start of every year I have my blog printed in book form.  There are several services that can take the contents of your blog and print them in a bound volume.  I strongly advice you do this as books are more likely to survive time than our ever changing technology.  (By the way, how are those 8″ floppy disks doing?)

Conclusion

If I were a big company looking where to place advertising dollars, I’d advertise on grandpa blogger pages.  Grandpa bloggers are the up and coming trend.

—–

Happy Independence Day

I’m a real believer that our country was founded on righteous principles, principles that are under attack.  Those brave men who on July 4th, 1776, declared their independence from Britain were inspired by God.  Even though their motivations were largely based on Christian ethics, the very fact their Declaration of Independence lead to a Constitution that not only allows men to worship how they please, it allows for people to live without fear of government interference in their lives.  (A concept which lately is under attack.)

Here’s to those brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence!

—–

How does a grandpa blogger celebrate Independence Day?

By mowing the lawn.  That’s about all this grandpa had energy to do today.

grandpa blogger - copyright 2014 db walton
Grandpa Blogger with Some of His Family

Facebook

Facebook

I attended a Facebook and social media presentation this morning.  It was a little on the basic side as to the “why” a business should be on social media.  Again, it focused on getting “Likes” and having people see your post.  Personally, from a business standpoint, I think income outweighs social media.

I told the teacher, “I would rather have 100 people liking my Facebook page and 10% of them buying than I would 1000 people liking it and only 0.1% of them buying.”

Social media is great, but you’ve got to look at the reality of things.  First, Facebook is set up now to extract money in order to get your post seen more.  That’s right, you can pay to become popular.

For a business, that’s advertising.  But, for a business owner, what is your return-on-investment?  (ROI)  If you pay $200/month on Facebook ads, you better be getting at least $500/month in profits.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t liked the Beckwith Mansion FB page, please do…

https://www.facebook.com/beckwithestate

Today has been another one of those rainy days.  That makes it hard to go outside for exercise and harder to take some pictures.  It is supposed to rain through the weekend and not let up until Monday.  Sigh.

We’ve been getting a trickle of people looking to come visit during non-Pageant times.  (Sorry, no vacancies during Pageant.  Next year, try booking your rooms in November.)  Share the word that we have great rates and we’re in a great location.

 

Social Media Analogy

Social media can be a rabbit hole. You dive down it, and don’t come back out for hours. In other words, it can be a huge time suck if you’re not careful.

Personally, I’m really close to pulling the plug on my personal use of it. I get real tired of people who have my e-mail  and instead of e-mailing me, post on my Facebook page. First, a posting on my Facebook page can go unseen for days. Second, if it is urgent, my e-mail goes to my smart phone – my FB messages do not, nor will they ever go there.

Let’s see… where should I start?

Well, there’s the gal who posted that she got fired again (for the 3rd time in the last couple of months), because she didn’t show up to work. She says her boss is mad that she didn’t even call saying she was sick. She’s really steamed because her (now former) boss is so upset that she didn’t call, and he told her not to come to work.

Then, there’s the one who posted photos of a drunken binge. A few days later, she’s writing, “I can’t understand why I can’t find a job.”

Next comes the depression diaries. There seems to be a lot of these. Most of them young ladies, and a few guys. They go around wearing their hearts on their shirtsleeves, or in this case, on their Facebook page.

After that comes the name-callers. Heaven help you if you ever post anything they don’t like. They’ll be on your case. We used to call them “trolls” back in the day of electronic BBS. I guess we still can, but that would be name-calling, wouldn’t it.

Facebook and social media has its place. Although the concept has been around since the early 1980s, it is still in its infancy. (In the 1980s, we had electronic bulletin board systems, or BBS. People could “dial-in” and post messages.) I guess if you think like me, we should stick around and try to make the “sandbox” a better place by not engaging in the bad behaviours.