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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Goal Setting Video - Joseph McClendon II



I've had the privilege of meeting and working with Joseph over the years at different Tony Robbins events....

Looking Back - Looking Forward

I always take advantage of the end of the year to sum up the previous year. I write down all my accomplishments and success's in the following 6 areas:

Family
Health & Fitness
Career
Finances
Contribution / Social
Stretch / Personal Growth

I also sum up areas that need improvement and were weak last year. The goal is to make an honest assessment of what I accomplished, what I need to accomplish and where I stand today. I also use the time to celebrate my accomplishment so as to build on them. I also use the assessment to feel and express gratitude for all I have in my life. After completing my sum up of 2008 it is time to design my future and what I intend to accomplish in 2009..........

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thought for the Day - Forget New Year's Resolutions

Forget New Year's Resolutions.

It's time to step up and be serious about taking the time to plan your future with the same amount of attention you plan your vacation. The least you can do every year is to sum up the previous year and create a plan for the new year. I will offer some thoughts on how to do that tommorow.....

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thought for the Day - Enjoy the Holidays

Enjoy the Holidays, your family, friends, the spirit of the holidays and your blessings.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Movie Review - Miracle on 34th St

Just purchased and watched "Miracle on 34th St" with my family. It's a great movie that truly captures the Christmas spirit and the power of faith and belief. It's a movie that you watch every Christmas and yet if moves you laugh,cry and have faith in that special innocence of childhood. None of the remakes come close to the original. It's a film to watch with your family.

Thought for the Day - Communicate Hope

"During this time of financial challenges, uncertainty, and change, I would encourage you to make your voice heard. Communicate hope. Let people know that we shouldn't wait for the future, we should create it... ..."
Phil Cooke

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thought for the Day - Problems Are a Good Thing

"The only people with no problems are dead"

Robin Sharma

I say bring on the problems I got the solutions.


Hmmm the third reminder.... see previous post

Personal Ramblings - Problems - We all need a reminder some time

I've been struggling with a challenging family issue and feeling a little anxious about it. Now I know that I need to turn it around and look for the lessons and the positives in what on the surface appears to be a negative. Yet sometimes you feel like you've been kicked in the stomach and even though you know what you should do it's hard to do it. Well I came across this article and it just reaffirmed what I know and believe and it gave me some additional encouragement. So I will find a way to learn from it and grow.

You know, the scariest thing my daughter has ever, ever said to me, and she said this to me and it scared the living daylights out of me .... She said to me, "Dad, I don't think my life is going to work out how I had it planned." I broke into tears. I said, "Honey, you're right. It's not. But that's a good thing. Life never works out the way you planned. It's a journey. It's being able to look at the things that have happened to you and being able to flip them upside down and see them in the proper perspective. There is no bad. There is only things that happen to you, and you choose to make them bad or you choose to grow from there. You choose to learn from your mistakes."

Glenn Beck

And then the same day I ran across this....

"Problems are a sign of life. The secret is not to solve all our problems; rather it’s to learn to see them as gifts - an opportunity to learn, grow and give more to those around us. After all, it’s how we deal with our problems that ultimately determines the quality of our lives. Remember perception is power. Sometimes our so-called “problems” turn out to be the greatest blessings of our lives. "

Tony Robbins

(I'm going to repeat that last line - "Sometimes our so-called “problems” turn out to be the greatest blessings of our lives".) And I say very true.

http://tonyrobbinstraining.com/56/problemsand-happiness/#comments

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Movie Review - Slumdog Millionaire



Just watched "Slumdog Millionaire" directed by Danny Boyle at a local theater and I can't recommend it enough.

Here is the plot summary on IMDB:
The story of Jamal Malik (Patel), an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (Pinto), the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions. Each chapter of Jamal's increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out... Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Check it out..........

Saturday's Motivational Videos - Randy Pausch

Friday, December 19, 2008

Contribution - Don't Forget Them

I received this letter of thanks for a small contribution I made. I appreciate the letter and I encourage you to not forget them and help in anyway you can,,,,,,



Dear John,

Thank You

Your support is a bright point of light for a wounded warrior.
This time of year, so many people light candles for the holidays, and that symbolism is not lost on us at the Wounded Warrior Project. For the severely injured heroes we serve, supporters such as you are like thousands of candles that give so much warmth and meaning this holiday season.

Through your support, you stand as a bright point of light in what for many wounded warriors is a dark and difficult time.

Your fidelity and partnership with the WWP mission are great blessings, and I'll be counting those blessings during the holidays this year. I cannot tell you how deeply I value the friendship the two of us share with our wounded warriors.

We at WWP wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season. Without your compassion, WWP's programs could not exist.

With my deepest gratitude to you during the holidays,


John Melia
Executive Director
Wounded Warrior Project

https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

Thought for the Day - How to Be Wealthy?

"The overwhelming majority of people who have become wealthy have become so thanks to work they found profoundly absorbing. The long term study of people who eventually became wealthy clearly reveals that their "luck" arose from accidental dedication they had to an arena they enjoyed."
-- Srully Blotnick

Answer: Follow Your Passion

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Book Review - "The Big Five For Life - Leadership's Greatest Secrets"

If you read only one book in 2009, read "The Big Five For Life".
John Duffy


I've read at least fifty good books this year on motivation, leadership, transformation, business, psychology and personal growth but this book stands out. I couldn't put it down. If you take away and use just one of the ideas in the book it will make a difference in your life.

If you are a business owner, leader or aspire to be a leader you NEED to read this book. it is a fictional book similar in style to "The Monk who Sold His Ferrari" and is a great read about life and leadership.

Some Take aways for the book:

Create a personal and business Purpose for Existing (PFE)
Create Your Big Five ( Things you want to do,see or experience in your life before you die) and go for them.
Make every day a Museum Day. This is a great one read it to find out.....

This book resonates with the experiences I have had in my life regrading leadership and it inspires me to step up even further....

(Click on book picture to go directly to amazon.com.)

Let it Snow.... Let it Snow... Let it Snow.....



I hear 6 inches are predicted for New York City.... I know it's easy for me to say because I'm in SUNNY Los Angeles. Not yesterday, it poured all day and was cold. And even Malibu got a light dusting of snow. Malibu huh Yep snow in Malibu
Yet I'm headed for New York for the holidays so Let it Snow... Let it Snow... Let it Snow....

Thought for the Day - No Limitation Belief

"I Have a No Limitation Belief in:
My Creator
My Self
Other People
What we can do together"

Paul J. Meyer

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Laughter, Love and Inspiration - Kathy Buckley

If you're feeling down or depressed watch this. I saw her live many years ago at a Tony Robbins event in Maui and was moved.
Kathy is truly an inspiration about what's possible if you try.....

http://www.tonyrobbins.com/holidays/default.aspx?ec=136692

http://www.kathybuckley.com/bucknyc8.htm

Thought for the Day - Ripple Effect

Sometimes all it takes is a smile to make someone's day and have them pass it on. It's like throwing a pebble in a lake and watching the ripples get larger as it expands outward.

I'm sure you have had many examples of this in your life. A few recent ones occurred to me that I wanted to share. Years ago I made my answering machine message end with the quote "Make Your Life a Masterpiece". Well I've had a few occasions where my eighty nine year old mother-in-law will end her messages on my voice mail with that quote. It definitely makes my day when I hear it. A ripple...

Another example happened recently when I sent a uplifting story and a You Tube video of the song " Don't Worry Be Happy" to a friend who I felt needed a little boost . I later received an email how she passed it on to some other friends and it made their day as well. Another ripple...

One last story is about a few friends who have borrowed the quote I use on my emails. "Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." They have added it to their emails. So another little positive message spreads. Just one more ripple.....

Make positive ripples in peoples lives......

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Looking Back - Looking Forward - Books Read in 2008 and.....

Some of the Books I read in 2008:

1. The Greatness Guide 2. Change of Die 3. Fist Stick Knife Gun
4. Influencer 5. Rules for Renegades 6. Laws of Leadership
7. The Middle Class Millionaires 8. Outliers 9. Good in a Room
10. I Chose to Stay 11. Unleasing the Power of Rubber Bands
12. Predictably Irrational 13. Will You Die With Me
14. Awaken the Giant Within 15. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters
16, All Souls 17. Old Friends From far Away 18. Band of Sisters
19. How Successful People Win 20. Girls Will be Girls
21. The Success Principles 22, Do You 23. Your Life as Story
24. Losing My Virginity 25. The Billionaire Who Wasn't
26. The Pope's Children 27. The Drinking Life
28. The Big Five for Life 29. The Utmost Life 30. Strength for Life
31. Angela's Ashes 32. making the Impossible Possible
33. Ten Successful Start Ups 34. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
35. Going Places

Books I am planning to read in 2009: My initial Hit List

1. Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Road Trip
2. Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream
3. The Art of StoryTelling
4. Nothing's Impossible: Leadership Lessons for Inside and Outside the Classroom
5. The Man Who Loved China
6. The Life Coaching Handbook
7. How the Irish Invented Slang
8. My American Journey - An Autobiography - Colin Powell
9. Winners Never Cheat
10. The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood
11. Frogs Into Princes: NLP
12. How the Irish Saved Civilization
13. The Time Paradox
14. The Teacher Who Couldn't Read
15. The Monk From Brooklyn: An American at the Shaolin Temple
16. Rules for Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto
17. How to Succeed in the Game of Life
18. Sharing the Wealth: My Story
19. Ten Points
20. More than a Dream: How One School's Vision is Changing the World
21. Ask and You Will Succeed
22. Idea Spotting: How to Find Your Next Great idea
24. Home Town Heroes
25. The 5000 Year Leap: a Miracle That Changed the World





Thought for the Day - Make it Happen for Yourself

"No one is going to make things happen for you...you have to dedicate yourself to making things happen for yourself!"
Steve Dom

Monday, December 15, 2008

IBD's 10 Secrets to Success

Here is Investor's Business Daily's success secrets. Worth reading and applying....

1. How You Think is Everything
2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams and Goals
3. Take Action
4. Never Stop Learning
5. Be Persistent and Work Hard
6. Learn to Analyze Details
7. Focus Your Time and Money
8. Don't Be Afraid to Innovate, Be Different
9. Deal and Communicate with People Effectively
10.Be Honest and Dependable; Take Responsibility

Thought for the Day - You Gotta Work

"In order to turn your dreams into success, you gotta work. You gotta work hard, you gotta work consistently, and you gotta
work continually to improve and ultimately be your best. "
Jeffrey Gitomer

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Make a Contribution - Operation Gratitude

Updated 12/16




http://www.opgratitude.com/

This weekend my daughter Sofia and myself volunteered and packed boxes to send to the troops for the holidays. It's a great feeling to be able to give a little of our time and effort to help those who do so much for us. We joined at least 800 hundred other volunteers on Saturday to pitch in and say thank you to our troops.

Saturday was a special day as Operation Gratitude reached the goal of 400,000 boxes shipped to the troops overseas. Kathy Ireland (model and CEO) was there volunteering and helping in the effort.

The volunteer effort has so far raised over $4 million and shipped over $40 million in goods. An Army Major spoke about how uplifting it was for his soldiers in Iraq when they would receive the boxes. He said it was especially important to the solidiers who didn't have any one writing to them.

Our family has previously sent our own personal boxes to a couple of friends who were Marines and were serving in Iraq and they were very appreciative to receive the boxes.

Sunday our whole family went back for another day of work and fun. We joined boy and girl scout troops, Junior ROTC groups from Van Nuys and Monroe high schools, a group of kids celebrating their friends Bar Mitzvah and a few hundred people volunteering.

Ben Affleck (actor and director) joined everyone to pack boxes and lend a hand for a good cause. Ben Affleck has helped Operation Gratitude over the years and was presented with an American flag that was flown over the battlefield in Iraq.

This holiday season go to the Operation Gratitude website and write a letter to a soldier, donate your old cellphones, write a check and lend a hand.....

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 2- Under The Boardwalk

Bruce Willis and Temptations

Sunday's Eclectic Music Video's # 1 - It's a Beautiful World

Friday, December 12, 2008

Contribution - Make A Difference

A friend and associate of mine Marc Ambrose is growing a mustache to support a charity fundraiser for a middle school at Donor Choose.org. Check it out and make a contribution....

http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/viewChallenge.html?id=20062&category=36&zone=0

Thought for the Day - Self Mastery

"Be first the master of yourself, and only then a master of others."
Baltasar Gracian

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Movie Review - Front of the Class

Coincidence or Synchronicity....... Hmmm
I was driving my daughter to school the other day and I told her the story of this young man who had to deal with Tourette's syndrome to become a teacher. I was using it to teach her not to give up or give in. I just read something about him the night before online. Well that day the teacher I told her about "Brad Cohen" came and spoke to her class. Apparently one of the parents at the school directed the Hallmark movie "Front of the Class" and invited the real teacher to speak.
The movie aired this Sunday and we watched it. It was a very moving story of how Brad Cohen overcame his struggles to become teacher of the year. It's a great movie to watch with your kids and to talk about how you deal with obstacles in life. Check it out if you can........


Thought for the Day - Move Foward

"...no one I know has a framed photo of the future."
"We will move forward when our hope for the future is greater than our stories of the past."
Nancy Ortenberg - unleashing the Power of rubber bands.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tony Robbins Video - Tiny Changes

Here is a link to a video by Tony Robbins on how making tiny changes can have huge results. Check it out.....

http://tonyrobbinstraining.com/46/?ec=136686_3

Thought for the Day - Life's a Game

"Seek, above all, for a game worth playing. Having found the game, play it with intensity. Play as if your life and sanity depended on it. Because they do."
Eobert DeRopp's = The Master Game

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Finish Strong Video

Check it out for a little inspiration.... Finish Strong

http://www.ncfinishstrongmovie.com/2

Thought for the Day - Be Present

"Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; but today is Cash."
Unknown author

Monday, December 08, 2008

Tony Robbins Video on Identity

Here is a link to a video by Tony Robbins on the power of Identity. Check it out.....

http://www.tonyrobbinstraining.com

Thought for the Day - Be Heartened

"Just as one falling rock can start a landslide, shoring up a levee can stop a flood"
Erika V. Shearin Karres


This can be viewed in both a negative or positive way. It's a metaphor for an idea or a behaviour

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 2 - Stand By Me



This project was done by the Playing For Change Foundation. They are doing some cool things with music worldwide. Check them out and support them....

http://www.playingforchange.com/

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 1 - My Heart Will Go On

Friday, December 05, 2008

Holiday Gifts - Give the Gift of Success

If you or any of your family or friends are into success I would recommend you get them a subscription to Success Magazine.



Thought for the Day - Break Through Your Limits

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours."

--Richard Bach

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Book Review - "Outliers -The Story of Success"



"Outliers" is the third book from Malcom Gladwell and follows his previously successful books, "The Tipping Point" and "Blink". It's a well written and entertaining book. In this book the key question that is raised is why do some people succeed. He poses the view that the success stories we read about are not the work of self made men but they are beneficiaries of hidden advantages and special opportunities. The book starts a conversation about the complex ways privilege shows up in out society.

There are some fascinating stories about the hidden factors for success as manifested for hockey players, Jewish lawyers, computer billionaires, Asian math students, and his own families history in Jamaica. All the stories are fascinating and make you think harder and look below the surface of success stories yet I get the feeling that just like Mr Gladwell points out the complexities of success that the real truth is more complex than the author would have you believe. I'm sure he has chose the stories that support his thesis and left out the ones that don't.

Yet it is enlightening to read about the cultural causes for airplane crashes or the role that the economy's of Asian countries with rice paddies play in education or the long term causes of cultural history on violence in Harlan County.

The story of the charter KIPP school in the South Bronx (where I grew up) and the lessons of the negative role that summer vacation has on the education achievement of poor kids is also very interesting.

So overall I enjoyed the book and while I may agree that some of the cases he cited may be true and of course success in rarely a one person deal I don't think it explains away all the Horatio Alger type stories or that all success stories can fit into the patterns Mr Gladwell cites.

Take Aways:
* "No one who can rise before dawn three hundred and sixty days a year fails to make his family rich"
* Cultural legacies are powerful forces (Positive or Negative)
* Virtually all success stories ...so far involves someone or some group working harder than their peers"
* Being good at math is not so much ability as attitude. You master mathematics if you are willing to try. (Like most things in life)
* True expertise in a subject, field or activity take 10,000 hours ( That is a lot of hours)
* There are two main parenting philosophies that are usually divided along class lines. Middle Class - "Concerted Cultivation" , Poor - "Accomplishment of natural growth". One is hands on and one is hands off.

Thought For the Day - Accountability

“only when you are accountable for everything in your life can you be responsible to change your life.”

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Books of 2008 - Selection of Books I Read

Here are a eclectic selection of some of the books I read in 2008 and I recommend you check them out or get them as holiday gifts:

(Click on book picture to go directly to amazon.com.)






Thought For Day - Wherever You Go....

Wherever you go.... There you are...

I've been thinking about this as I been visiting middle schools for my daughter. All the parents I know visit the same schools and yet after each visit we see the schools so differently. We bring our past, values, point of view and filters to everything we see. One parent sees a school that is too demanding while another sees the same school as too lax. Interesting.

It's good to recognize the filters and bias that we bring to any situation. So we don't see reality we see ourselves projected on to the reality.

So Wherever you go.... There you are...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cutting Edge - Stretch Your Mind

it's always good to stretch your mind and increase your knowledge. Here are a few websites that will help you expand your world:

Milken Institute

http://www.milkeninstitute.org/

John Templeton Foundation

http://www.templeton.org

TED

http://www.ted.com/

The Singularity Summit

http://www.singularitysummit.com/

World Economic Forum

http://www.weforum.org/en/index.htm

World Future Society

http://www.wfs.org/

The Long Now Foundation

http://www.longnow.org/

Thought For Day - Dare

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare;

it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."

Seneca

Monday, December 01, 2008

Book Review - "Influencer - The Power to Change Anything"

"Influencer" isn't an easy to read self-help book but is well worth the read if you either want to understand Influence and how to be an Influencer in all areas of your life. it is a book of case studies that demonstrate how to use influence to change the world around us. Some of the case studies include; the eradication of the Guinea worm virus, Delancey Street's effective drug rehabilitation program, the micro-loan program in Bangladesh.

The story of Delancey Street is an amazing story. You can also read more about it in "Change or Die" by Alan Deautschmann. I recommend you also check out "Change or Die" for more information on how to produce behaviour change.

"Influencer" has a comprehensive program of behaviour modification that can be applied to individual behaviour as well as group behaviours. It's not an easy read but should be read more than once especially if you work in a field that involves changing people.

One very interesting story was about the invention of the spindle used in diners to. The reason for it's invention was to change the behaviour and conflict between waitress and cooks without forcing them to change. It worked and changed the communication and eliminated the conflict that used to exist. Another unique section deals with the role space and architecture can play in creating positive behaviours. Check out the book "Make the Impossible Possible" to see how this is applied in an amazing way.

"Influencer' is about how you can influence and change your personal behaviour, your childrens, your communities, your nation and your world.

Take Aways:

* Use stories to create learning and help change minds
* Make the Undesirable Desirable
* Design Rewards and Demand Accountability
* Do more with less (Lessons from Southwest Airlines)
* Choose to be an Influencer

For more info:

www.influencerbook.com

Thought for the Day - Achieve

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
~Napoleon Hill

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What Are You Reading This Week?

I'm reading the following:

Books:

"Influencer" The Power to Change Anything - K. Patterson, J. Greeny, D. Maxfield, R. McMillian and A. Switzler

"Outliers " The Story of Success - Malcom Gladwell

Magazines:

Success
Fast Company
Wired
Movie Maker
INC
Indie Slate

I will review the books when I finish them.....

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 2- Ghana Gospel Music

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 1 - Sweet Home

Friday, November 28, 2008

Post Thanksgiving Thought - Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

In these challenging times.... choose to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Check out a message from Tony Robbins....

http://www.tonyrobbins.com/holidays/default.aspx?ec=136678_text

Thought for the Day - Take Responsibility

"The only person responsible for your present reality and your future opportunities is you."
Darren Hardy

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
--William Arthur Ward


May Your Blessings Be Grand and Your Challenges Be Small. And If Your Challenges are Big May You Be Bigger.

Thanksgiving is a great day to take the time to be thankful for all the blessings you have in you life. I try to make gratitude a daily habit. I take the time to be grateful for all the abundance in my life.

Today is extra special because my family is going to spend Thanksgiving with my cousin Pat (who I recently reunited with after many decades), his wife Judy and his adult children and their families who I never met. I also get to be thankful for finding and being reunited with my family in Ireland, England, Germany, Australia, Canada and in the US this year. So even though Thanksgiving is a US holiday I send a big Happy Thanksgiving out to all of them all around the world.

What a great Thanksgiving. It doesn't get better than this.

So enjoy the day with your family and friends and take the time to be truly thankful.

Today I am grateful for so much: my family, especially my newly discovered family, relatives, friends, co-workers and all the people who have been part of my life. Thanks for being special and for all the good times we shared.

Thanksgiving Thought - Perspective and Blessing

This is from a 1990 study that has circulated on the Internet but it still probably holds true

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of the people in the world.

If you can attend a church or synagogue meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are more blessed than 3 billion people in the world.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are more blessed than 500 million people in the world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

So this Thanksgiving be thankful but also think how you can make a contribution to others less fortunate.

Here are a couple of ways to make a difference:

http://tonyrobbinsibb.ning.com/

http://www.opgratitude.com/



Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thought for the Day - Three Types of People

"There are three types of people—those who makes things happen; those that watch things happen; and those who say: what happened?"

Which are you?

Maybe it's time to be the type who makes things happen?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Recommended Books - Nov 25th

Just ran across two books that I'm going to pick up for my holiday reading. I read the reviews of them and I recommend you check them out.

A story of a 101 year old George Dawson an African-American in Texas. His life has spanned 3 centuries. He lived through segregation in the South. This book reminds me of Angela's Ashes. What's so remarkable is both the upbeat title and the fact that he was an illiterate who started school at age 98 and is working towards his GED. An amazing person and story. This is a book I must read.


A novel that carries the message that life always has a second verse or second chance.

http://www.recoveringcharles.com/splash.html

Thought for the Day - Be Fearless

Be Fearless

What can you be fearless about in life?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Master Cleanse Day 8 - Victory

I did it. I'm feeling good and almost don't want to start eating. Tomorrow I drink only fresh Orange Juice. Wednesday I will eat a salad. First solid meal in 10 days.

Victory. It always feels great to set a goal and achieve it. I usually try to surpass my goal but this time I will have to set for achieving it. I have created a Post Master Cleanse plan of exercise and diet to take me up to the New Year.

Just weighed myself. Lost 10 lbs.I also had the best workout in a long while. Not bad after not eating for 8 days. I'm psyched.

Personal Ramblings - Movie "Black Dynamite"

Yesterday I was invited by actor Michael Jai White to see an advance screening of his latest movie " Black Dynamite. It is a very, very funny spoof of the Black Exploitation films of the 70's. It will be receiving a midnight screening at Sundance in January. I remember watching all these genre of films growing up in the 70's and this film is so real it makes you feel it was made in the 70's. It's shot in the same style of that era.

This is going to be a super hot film at Sundance and when it opens in theaters next year. It is a film for adults and will probably have a R rating. If you lived through the 70's you will especially appreciate the humor.

I produced a film with Michael Jai White right before this one called " Blood and Bone" that should also be coming out this year. He's great in both films and is truly a great guy.

If you are going to Sundance make sure you check it out. Check out their website for more info.

http://www.blackdynamite.com/

Thought for the Day - Be Unrealistic

"I don't think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do
it. I think if you are determined enough and willing to pay the
price, you can get it done."

~ Mike Ditka

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Master Cleanse Day 6 & 7 - Success

I'm smelling food from blocks away. I can't wait to taste fresh orange juice as I ease back into food. I've fasted 7 days now. 7 days down and 2 to go. Victory is in sight.

Movie Review - The Dukes



I was invited last night by my friend Shawnell Cherry to see "The Dukes", a movie she costumed designed. After the movie the writer/director Robert Davi did a Q&A. It was a fun night.

I really enjoyed the movie. It's a indie with heart and a hopeful story. it's an old fashioned movie but I mean that in a good way. It also has echoes of Italian filmmaking. Robert Davi spoke of the influences of Italian filmmaking and
commedia dell"arte ( a form of improvisational theatre started in italy ) on him. The Dukes is a story that leaves you feeling that even when things look the darkest there is always hope.

The movie has received many excellent reviews and won over seven film festivals. Robert Davi did an great job directing this film on his directing debut.

Here is the IMDB review:
The Dukes,(Chazz Palminteri and Robert Davi) a Doo Wop group, were on top of the world at 17, now are struggling for survival in 2008. Their manager (Peter Bogdanovich) is desperately trying to get them work but is met with failure at every turn. Finally pushed to the extreme , they pull a heist only a fool would attempt, which leaves them even more desperate. When all seems lost, they find themselves. Underneath the laughter, "The Dukes" is a film that explores the intricacies of re-defining yourself; not only dealing with lost fame but applies to anyone whoever found themselves at the bottom of the mountain looking up where they once were; and how ,in changing times, to hold onto your true self.
Written by Bob Byers

It's in the theaters right now. Check out the The Dukes website and go see the movie.

www.The Dukes-Movie.com

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 2 - Hawai Aloha

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 1 Don't Worry Be Happy

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Personal Ramblings - TV Free Zone

Another public commitment I am making is to not watch any TV until the New Year. The decision came from me reflecting on my birthday on how can I create more time in my life to accomplish more of the things I want to achieve. I must admit I am a news and talk show junkie so I figured it would be hard to give up. I just competed the first week without TV and surprisingly it was easy. Easier than doing my Master Cleanse and I'm enjoying not wasting time watching TV. I may extend it past the New Year. This might become a new habit.
I simultaneously gave up food for 10 days and TV for 2 months. It's a good test of my will power and motivates me to step up in all other areas of my life even further.

Saturday's Motivational Videos

Les Brown

Master Cleanse Day 5 - Success

Okay I made 5 days and it's not getting easier but I'm hanging in. 5 days down and 4 days to go. I will get there.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Master Cleanse Day 4 - Success

Another Day down. Mean headaches last night but I'm still going strong. 4 days down and 5 days to go.

Thought for the Day - Why Not Now?

Why?... Why Me ?... Why Not....

Why Not Now?

Exactly Why Not Now?

Why Not You?

If it is to be it's up to me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thought for the Day - Why Not Me?

Yesterday the Question was "Why?"

Today the question is "Why Not Me?" Even better question

Tomorrow's question is Why Not.......

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Master Cleanse Day 3 - Success

Feeling good. Still going strong. 3 days down 6 days to go.

Thought for the Day - Why?

Why?

Good Question. Think about it....... Kids ask it all the time. Be curious. Ask why?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Master Cleanse Day 2 - Success

Made it through another day. Not very hungry but had some bad headaches last night from de-toxing from caffeine. A little tired but I'm feeling good. 2 Days down 7 days to go. The food on Thanksgiving is going to taste really great.

Thought for the Day - What's Stopping You?

You are what's stopping you !

If you're not in control someone else is. The most valuable gift you have is your life, so why don't you live your life on your terms versus someone else's.

Larry Agresto

Monday, November 17, 2008

Master Cleanse Day 1 - Success

I made it through Day 1. The lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne powder and water was filling. No hunger pains yet. Success. 1 day down 8 days to go.

Thought for the Day - Failure

'You never fail, until you fail to try"

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Public Commitment - Master Cleanse

One of the best ways to achieve something is to make a public commitment. Once you go on the record publicly you want to save face by achieving it.

So I am making a public commitment to do a 9 day Master Cleanse starting tomorrow Monday Nov 17th.

I have done it once successfully and gave up on day 3 on another attempt. It isn't easy to not eat solid foods and just drink lemon water for 9 days. So I will report on my efforts daily and look forward to accomplishing it. I'm doing it only 9 days instead of 10 so I can transition back to eating in time for a light Thanksgiving dinner.

I have decided to do it. It is a must. It is done......

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 2 - Footprints in the Sand

This is dedicated to Aunt Maggie and Cousin Sharon who both dreamed a mighty dream and as Sharon puts it, the "Big Man" above connected the dots and carried us all together. A reunion dreamed up in ireland and made in Heaven.....

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 1 - Do Wop

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Personal Ramblings - It Doesn't Get Better Than This - A Great Birthday

I just had a fantastic birthday. I started the day with a phone call from my cousin Sharon and her family in Germany singing me Happy Birthday. (Thank you Sharon it means the world to me and you are in my heart)

Then I went to a middle school open house with my daughter. Great school, fun time. Then I went and volunteered and packed Christmas boxes for the soldiers with Operation Gratitude. Hundreds of volunteers having fun and working hard for a good cause. I had a great time and I recommend volunteering with them to everyone. (http://www.opgratitude.com/).

What a great way to spend a birthday. I plan on making it a ritual I do on all my birthday's in the future.

I came home to Happy Birthday phone calls from relatives and friends from all over the country. I got a call from a best friend in Chicago, Marja who wished me a happy birthday and called me old man (that hurt). I had a long call with my brother which was appreciated. I got a great voice mail from my eight-nine year old mother-in-law. who wished me a happy birthday and ended the call by saying to "Make My Life a Masterpiece".

I also got sent a prayer from a friend Martha who didn't know it was my birthday but made my birthday with her kind words and thought.

I got a bunch of Facebook birthday greetings from friends and acquaintances. I also got a bunch of egreeting cards including one from a long time friend/brother (Ramon). Calls and emails from friends Louis and Glenn.

I also got a lot of birthday emails including from my cousin Tony in England and from all the family in Ireland, and my cousin Maureen and her partner Nick in England who sent me a email card with the song below.

Then I had dinner with my family. And spent time with my loving wife and daddy' little girl. The small pleasures is what life is all about.

So to have such great family, relatives and friends is truly a birthday blessing. And like I said, "It doesn't get better than this".
Every day is a good day, some days are great days. Today was a great day.

So thank you to all my family, relatives and friends. You made my day. And enjoy the song below.....


Happy Birthday





Many, many years ago I came up with this strange idea. Okay very strange idea. I was pretty happy and upbeat all of the time and I felt I needed to be depressed at least one day a year. So I decided that my birthday would be that day and it would be my annual designated depression day, DDD for short. For a few years I would feel depressed on my birthday and would focus on all the things that weren't working in my life. I tried to use it create enough pain on that day to motivate myself to change. Well after a few years I got tired of this and started to reduce it to a designated depression hour, then depression minute and finally decided to eliminate this strange idea . As you can imagine I wasn't fun to be around in those days on my birthday.

Now I choose to celebrate my birthday and focus on all the abundance and blessings in my life. I also decided this year to volunteer on my birthday weekend at Operation Gratitude so I can appreciate even more what I have by helping others....

Saturday's Motivational Videos

Tony Robbins

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thought for the Day - Until....... Part 2

Until

Until.... you lose weight
Unitl.... you get healthy
Unitl.... you find a way
Unitl.... you get financially free
Until.... you learn what you need to learn
Unitl.... you become who you need to become
Until... you succeed

Until. A powerful word. Commit your life to the philosophy of "Until". What do you need to make a Until in your life?

Thanks to Jim Rohn.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thought for the Day - Until

"Until"

Think about the power of that word. More on Until tomorrow..... Or maybe until tomorrow.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thought for the Day - Light the Flame

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Personal Ramblings - Books

Just had a friend from NY visit. He asked me for a book to take back on the plane. I gave him. 'Make the Impossible Possible".
I previously turned him on to "The Billionaire Who Wasn't", and "The Man Who Stayed Behind". All of them are fascinating books and if you haven't read them I recommend them.

I was writing in my journal today at the Self Realization Gardens and thinking about books and writing. I have had a love affair with reading and books ever since I dropped out of high school at age fifteen. I have read thousands of books over the years in every fields. Reading is clearly one of my passions.

Veteran's Day




Donate to Wounded Warriors Project

https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thought for the Day - Daily Agenda

"The secret to your success is determined by your daily agenda -
by the daily decisions I make, and the daily disciplines I practice" -
Dr John C. Maxwell

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Warriors... In Their Own Words" - Event

Yesterday evening I attended an event at The Skirball Center, "Warriors.. In Their Own Words". Actor Kelsey Grammer was the host.

Many of the stars of the film and book, the warriors themselves, joined Mr. Grammer, who narrates the film, at the premiere. There was a cocktail reception, a screening of the film, followed by a brief auction, dessert, and book signing.

It was a very moving evening and movie honoring our "Warriors" who volunteered to serve our country. The stories of these soldiers were impressive and inspiring. I had the honor of meeting them and having them sign their stories in the book I purchased.


The Warriors project includes a special DVD and coffee table book that use compelling interviews with soldiers, current and retired, to take people inside the heart, mind, and soul of a warrior. The San Diego-based Lives Out of Combat Foundation (http://www.looc.org) produced the DVD and book as a way of honoring the men and women who have fought for our country by letting them tell their stories in their own words. The powerful interviews on the DVD and the stunning photos of each warrior make for a somber yet uplifting look into the guys (and gals) behind the guns—the human beings beneath the helmets.

Warriors...In their Own Words—The Book can be purchased for $29.99 from the Lives Out of Combat Website

Warriors...In their Own Words—The Movie can be purchased for $19.99

Or both for $46.99

Proceeds from then DVD and book will go to benefit "Freedom Is Not Free", a group that helps wounded veterans and their families.

I recommend you buy a few and give them as Christmas and holiday gifts.

http://www.freedomisnotfree.com

http://youtube.com/watch?v=NwYhuIZW1x0

http://www.looc.org

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thought for the Day - Possibility Thinking

"Positive Thinking asks the question "Is it Possible?" Possibility Thinking asks the "get ready to get going" question, "How can I make it happen?"
Rev. Robert H. Schuller

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thought for the Day - Creating an Environment For Success

" How do we create an environment where everyone knows that no matter how great the past was, it will never compete with the future?"
Nancy Ortenberg

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Historic First - Congratulations


A Historic first for America
Congratulations to President Elect Barack Obama
Let's wish him the best because we wish the best for America

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thought for the Day # 2 - Election Day - A Contrarian POV

I know I said my blog wouldn't deal with political topics but today I will make my one and only exception.

If you voted Democrat great
If you voted Republican great

No matter who you voted for or who wins and who loses America can be proud of a lot of things today.

We have a vibrant democracy with two major parties and we have a real choice every four years to pick the person and party we want to represent us unlike countries where there is only one party and no choice like in Cuba and North Korea. We have a system that the winning candidate and party is guaranteed that if they get the most electoral votes they will win unlike countries where even if you win the vote the ruling party can prevent you from taking over like in Zimbabwe.

Economically even in these difficult time the US still leads the world. Any family in America who makes over $50,000 is in the top 1% income bracket globally. We are truly a blessed nation,

We always have been and continue to be the country where everyone wants to come to and the American Dream is as strong and alive as it always has been.

Today we have choices that will offer us either the first African-American president or the first female vice-president. Either choice will be historic.

Today is a day to celebrate our greatness and our democracy. Today is a day to celebrate our right and freedom to vote.

"America is worth fighting for" - John McCain
“There Is No Red State, There Is No Blue State — There Is Only One United States Of America” Barack Obama

While there are great differences between us and between both parties visions I can agree with the underling messages of both quotes above and this is what unites us today as Americans.

Tonight one candidate will make a victory speech and one will make a concession speech. Both will probably find a way to be gracious and call for us to move past our divisions and disagreements and attempt to work together for a better America.

Hopefully that sentiment will carry further than one night.

VOTE


Thought for the Day - Managing Your Emotional State

It's not what happens but what meaning you give it that determines how you feel or your emotional state. You can choose to find an empowering meaning for anything that happens in your life. Of course it is easy to feel great when you win but the challenge is to feel good when you lose. Sometimes losing can be the best thing that happens to you if you draw the right lessons from it.
So the goal is to find the silver lining and find a way to manage your emotions and empower yourself no matter what life throws at you.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thought for the Day - Change

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."

--Leo Tolstoy

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thought for the Day - Life Metaphors

"Approach life as a game with growth as the objective. If you do you"ll put yourself in the right frame of mind to engage in and enjoy the adventure, whatever it brings."
Dan Sullivan

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thought for the Day - Raise the Bar

" A funny thing happens when you raise the bar. People find a way to get over it, once they realize it's expected. Human beings can do amazing things - if they are asked to."
John Powers

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thought for the Day - Resourceful Mind

"The more positive your system of beliefs, the more overall belief you will have in you ability to control your destiny. Likewise, the more you believe you have the power to control your destiny, the more expansive your mental paradigm will be; the less you are imprisoned by preconceived notions. What all this leads to is a "resourceful mind", a mind that is willing to consider virtually all possibilities."
Robert J. Ringer

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thought for the Day - Attitude

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one attitudes in any given circumstances, to choose one's own way."
Viktor Frankel

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thought for the Day - Accept Responsibility



"The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs."

--Joan Didion

No Excuses.......

Thanks to Tom Hill's Friday Eaglezine.

http://www.tomhillwebsite.com/

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thought for the Day - Contribution

"Everyone has the need to contribute. It is one of the six human needs. If you give from your heart, it will come back to you tenfold."
Anthony Robbins

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thought for the Day - Perspective and Blessings

I'm reading a book " Fist Stick Knife Gun", a sociological memoir by Geoffrey Canada about growing up in the South Bronx. Mr Canada grew up in the South Bronx around the same time I did. He tells a story of a crooked finger he got around 1964 and he writes... " The slight deformity is such a small price to have paid for growing up in the South Bronx. So many others paid with their lives. Many who are still alive are addicted to drugs or are in jail, or have AIDS, or are debilitated by mental or physical injuries - all traceable back to the South Bronx. I feel so lucky to have only a part of one finger as the toll I paid to make it out. But I don't want to forget what life was like. There was a time when getting out of the South Bronx was a distant dream, one you kept in the back of your mind. Fear and the struggle to survive were ever present realities."

Very true. I recently heard about a friend I grew up with in the South Bronx who just died from an OD. It puts things in perspective and makes you appreciate your blessings. I guess given where I came from I especially have a lot to be grateful for.

Geoffrey Canada has went on to be a role model for education reform and continues to change the lives of young people. He is the CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone. Look at the great work he does.

http://www.hcz.org/what-is-hcz/about-geoffrey-canada

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thought for the Day - Learn From Mistakes

"It's all right to get your fingers crushed in the door, but don't let the same door crush them twice."
T Boone Pickens

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thought for the Day - My Personal Philosophy

I have developed my personal philosophy and beliefs for life the hard way. Some I have borrowed, some I have made up. Some of my key core principles are:

Make Your Life a Masterpiece
The Glass is 3/4's Full
DI - Daily Improvement
CANI - Constant and Never Ending Improvement
Maybe Yes, Maybe No
It's not a Problem, It's a Challenge
There's Always a Way and Always a Solution
Be Grateful
Adopt Empowering Beliefs
Develop a Phd in Results
Use Common Sense
Use Street Sense
No Excuses
No Whining
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway
KISS - Keep it Simple Sammy
Treat others the way you want to be treated
Be Respectful
Step Up
Be a Leader

These and a few others guidelines support me in how I try to conduct my life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thought For The Day - Life isn't Things

Life Isn't Things and Things Aren't Life.

That's important to remember in this time of financial uncertainty. I know what it is like to have nothing. I've been there for a lot longer that I liked. But at my lowest point where I had less than $10 to my name I learned the best lesson of my life. I learned that even in that moment I was very fortunate. I had my health, I had hope, I had dreams and I had the possibility of turning it around and I did. Now I have a lot more than I had then and today while I value and promote prosperity I also understand life is much more than things and possessions.
Life is about what you accomplish, who you love, what you give back and what legacy you leave behind.
So today I chose to focus on what I can do not on what I lost in the economic downturn.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Book Review - The Drinking Life



I just finished reading Pete Hamil's "The Drinking Life", a memoir of his life growing up as an Irish- American kid in Brooklyn.
I remember reading Pete Hamil's columns in the New York newspapers when i was in my 20's. I used to enjoy his writing at the time and appreciated how he worked his way up from his working class roots to be a journalist. I remember that Pete Hamil and another journalist Jimmy Breslin stood out for their working class style of writing and and their Irish roots.
Reading the book triggered a lot of my own personal memories growing up in the South Bronx. Pete's book brings to life his Irish-American experiences in Brooklyn and his struggle of being torn between two worlds, the working class world of Brooklyn and the middle class world of Manhattan. He also struggled with two identities, one the neighborhood guy vs the educated artist guy.
Of course his biggest struggle is summed up in the title "The Drinking Life". Well for most of his life he just gave in to alcohol and was "Living in the Bottle" as Gil Scott Heron used to say. Yet he reached a turning point and made a decision at that moment to change his life and he did. How he changed from a drinker to a non- drinker is different and I know a few people in my life who did the same.
The book is a very good read and also give the reader a historical context to his life. His story is a fascinating story in how he built a life and how he life spiraled from dropping out of high school to working in the Navy Yards, going to art school, joining the Navy and finally becoming a journalist and a writer.
One story that stands out for me is when he took his father back to Belfast Ireland in 1963 for the first time since his father left in 1932. The description of hearing the news that John F Kennedy was shot on the TV in Belfast was a powerful moment. It also crystalized his life long struggle and relationship with his father.
A lot of this book has a very personal connection to my life. Growing up the son of Irish immigrants in the Bronx, I went through a lot of similar struggles and a few different ones. I was from the next generation after Pete Hamil which brought some unique challenges for my life. I had to construct a successful life with no role models and no idea of how you achieve it.
I will be sharing a lot of these stories as I embark on my writing project this year.
If you are interested in memoirs I suggest you read Pete Hamil's book....

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 2 - Flashdance

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos # 1 - Living in America

Saturday, October 18, 2008

And Then There's Magazines

Right now I subscribe to and read the following magazines:

Success
Fast Company
Wired
INC
MovieMaker
DV
UP3Date
Markee

and I also read a few other magazines that I don't subscribe to. Too much to read too little time....

Books, Books, Books - Scratch Beginnings

My passion for reading started with Marvel comics when I was a kid. It accelerated when I dropped out of high school at age fifteen. It continued when I finally went on to college ten years later and continues to today. I once said that my image of heaven is a huge bookstore and I get to read every book ever written.

So I Just added another book to my reading list. It's a really long list and I know it just keeps growing and I'll never finish reading all the books on it. But I'll enjoy the journey.....



"Scratch Beginnings" seems like an interesting story of a young student on a journey to see if the American Dream is still alive. He starts out with only $25 and the clothes on his back and sees if he can work his way out of homelessness in a year. I'll review it after I read it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thought For The Day - Point of View

How do you see the world? Are you like a frog in a well or an eagle?
How you see the world comes from the perspective you have. It can come from either your personal experiences or how much you learn from others experiences. try to expand your perspective and point of view. Learn to see things from many sides not just one.
Choose a perspective that allows you to see things from above with the broadest perspective possible. Be an eagle not a frog.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thought For The Day - Do it

"there is no try, there is only to do or do not."
Yoda

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thought For The Day - Lead Don't Follow

It is in times of turmoil, crisis and challenge that leaders and leadership are needed. Leaders are the ones that keep their head in the middle of the storm. They keep things in perspective and look to find solutions. Everyone of us has the potential to be leaders in our families and in our lives. Think and act like a leader and not a follower. Step up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thought For The Day - Feel the Fear

"Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway"
Susan Jeffers

Courage is not an absence of fear but the ability to acknowledge the fear and act in spite of it. This is a lesson that I have had to apply many times in my life and I anticipate I will have to apply many more times in the future.
I wasn't a big risk taker or outgoing as a youth. Outwardly I'm sure people couldn't tell but I lacked the courage to overcome a lot of the obstacles in my life. It was only when I pushed myself forward in spite of the fear did I begin to grow.

Every achievement and growth I made was accomplished because I moved through my fear to act.

I remember the first time I spoke in public, I was shaking so bad I could not hold my note cards to read them. Somehow I get through it. I continued to push my self pass my shyness and fear of public speaking and went on to act in theater and in murder mysteries and learned how to become not only comfortable giving speeches but actually enjoying doing it.

I've taken the lesson from this area of my life into all the other areas as well. So I encourage you feel the fear and do it anyway....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thought For Day - Power of Crisis

Today we are facing great challenges and crisis. How should we react and respond. We need to respond to fear and uncertainty with courage, faith and action. Here is an interesting website that offers a community to help people face and overcome any challenges they face.

Tony Robbins

http://thepowerofcrisis.com/?ec=136580_2

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Memoirs and Novels - Personal Ramblings

I just committed to a outrageously large goal of writing a first draft of a memoir in sixty days. I used this strategy before to write a script in thirty days and I achieved it. I'm in the process of laying the ground work for my writing by outlining the chapters and brainstorming different ideas for my book. As part of this process I am reading a bunch of memoirs and urban novels before I get started to just inspire myself and to think about how others have told their stories. I've read many memoirs and novels over the years and I plan on immersing myself in them to focus my writing over the next few months.

Some of the memoirs and novels I intend to reading over the next couple of weeks are the following:

Tis - Frank Mcourt
A Drinking Life - Pete Hamill
All Souls Day - Michael Patrick MacDonald
Honky - Dalton Conley
Bodega - Ernesto Quinonez
Sleeping Arrangements - Laura Cunnigham
Fist, Stick, Knives - Geofrrey Canada


Some of the books deal with life in the Bronx, some deal with the Irish American experience, some deal with the New York experience and all deal with the urban experience. I can see pieces of my life in all of them which is why I've chose to read them before embarking on my own writing.

I am determined and committed to having a first draft by the end of 2008. Let the writing begin....

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thought For the Day - You Fix You

"...You need to remember that you need to take control of your life. ...YOU are in charge of your destiny. YOU are in charge of your life....YOU have to fix you!...Go be somebody....."
Dave Ramsey

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thought For Day - "From Jail to Yale"

It's All About the Choices We Make

Last night thanks to a good friend Eileen I attended a performance of "From Jail to Yale" with Charles S. Dutton. You probably know him as "Roc". Mr Dutton shared his story of how he went from Jail to Yale's drama program. A fascinating and inspiring story. I later got a chance to meet him and share stories. It was a enjoyable evening of theater as Mr Dutton performed parts from playwright August Wilson's plays.
Charles story of how he accidently took a book of plays into solitary confinement and after reading it made a decision to change his life is inspiring. I know from my life growing up in the South Bronx and dropping out of HS at age fifteen how the choices you make or don't make determine the life you live. I learned to make better choices later on in life.
And we all have the power to make choices no matter where we start out.
Charles Dutton's life is an example of the power of choices and becoming a positive role model. The Dramatic Arts Education Fund is starting a new and innovation dramatic arts education program inspired by Charles Dutton to reach 1 million "at risk" junior and senior high school students across the country.

For more info, to donate or get involved.....

http://www.actorshalloffame.org/

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Thought For Day - Get Your Finances in Shape

"Who's responsible for your financial situation? You Are. No really, You are."

Now is a good time to commit to getting your financial house in order. Here are two online resources.

http://www.daveramsey.com/

http://www.suzeorman.com/

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Thought For Day - Power of Questions

"Always make Your Questions Bigger Than Your Answers"
For some people, their entire sense of security and self-image depends on having all the answers -- on never being wrong. As a result, these people try to understand everything in terms of what they know. But all growth lies in the territory of the unknown. What we already know is in the past. What we have yet to discover is the future. Always make your questions bigger than your answers, and you'll keep drawing yourself into a bigger future with new possibilities.
Dan Sullivan

Monday, October 06, 2008

Thought For Day - Attitude is Everything

I received this from my cousin Sharon who is facing some rather large challenges. Yet she always has a smile and a word of encouragement. She is a ray of sunshine on a rainy Irish day.
She really exemplifies the message of this post. So I share it with you....

Attitude

There once was a woman who woke up one morning,
looked in the mirror,
and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
'Well,' she said, 'I think I'll braid my hair today.'
So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror
and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
'H-M-M,' she said,
'I think I'll part my hair down the middle today.'
So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and noticed
that she had only one hair on her head.
'Well,' she said, 'today I'm going
to wear my hair in a pony tail.'
So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and noticed
that there wasn't a single hair on her head.
'YAY!' she exclaimed.
'I don't have to fix my hair today!'

Attitude is everything.

Be kinder than necessary,
for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle .

Live simply,

Love generously,

Care deeply,

Speak kindly......Walk with God

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...



It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Just Another Day in Paradise - Personal Ramblings

Seventeen years ago I made a big decision to change my life and I drove cross country from New York to California to start a new life. The change was dramatic although it wasn't easy. I arrived with less than $100 in my pocket and had to scramble quickly to survive. With a little help from my friends I survived and strived. Yet no matter how hard it was and it was, I felt like I had gone on a permanent vacation. Maybe it was the weather or the feeling of possibilities I got from the open spaces, the ocean and the mountains but whatever it was I still feel that sense of being on vacation after all these years.

Every day seems like another "Day in Paradise". Now part of that is what I've chosen to focus on and appreciate.

Yesterday was an example. I started the day participating in and cooking at a a Father's Day Breakfast at my daughter's school. The day started with some light showers and turned out great. We had a great time, Later that evening we went to a BBQ at a Horse Ranch where my daughter takes riding lessons. They had a fun Murder Mystery that reminded me of the ones I acted in when I first arrived in California, It was a great day.

So life is good and I feel grateful for the life I have and I know it all started because I overcame my fear seventeen years ago and took a big risk to move to California and go out on a limb to change my life. I have no regrets and hope to be able to always call on the courage to take the future risks I need to take.