Eudaimonia

Today’s daily prompt challenged me to think harder about myself and others:

Are you a good judge of other people’s happiness? Tell us about a time you were spot on despite external hints to the contrary (or, alternatively, about a time you were dead wrong).

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Aristotle, one of the greatest thinkers of western philosophy, taught us that happiness is a virtue, not its reward. This means that happiness is a gift that is not to be taken for granted. It is the ultimate purpose of our existence. It does not come and vanish in a mere couple of hours. Happiness depends on ourselves. We choose to be happy. Aristotle gave a true definition of happiness:

…the function of man is to live a certain kind of life, and this activity implies a rational principle, and the function of a good man is the good and noble performance of these, and if any action is well performed it is performed in accord with the appropriate excellence: if this is the case, then happiness turns out to be an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue. (Nicomachean Ethics, 1098a13)

Am I a good judge of other people’s happiness? That depends. I don’t know if I’m truly happy myself. My self-absorption clouds my judgment, I can’t look past my inner demons to realize others are facing predicaments that question the nature of their existence. This is tough. I am more inclined in seeing the sadness in people. Since I am a loner and often have depressive states, seeing people on a level of my own makes me feel better because I know they have something in common with me: this insurmountable wall that I cannot seem to get over. But I feel safer on the other side anyway because I don’t have to face my struggles with human interaction and emotion. Stepping out into the light bothers me. I feel better being isolated and not having to win the acceptance of someone else because when I fail at that I often become even more depressed.

I close my eyes for a while, trying to think of a time when I knew someone was happy. For some reason, my late grandmother comes to mind. I am standing by her bedside, seeing her lying there, pale and cold as ever, holding on to her last few breaths of life. She has lost all focus of the world and her words and actions are not entirely hers, coming about from the Alzheimer’s that has progressed ruthlessly. I can tell she is happy and content inside, even if it isn’t readily apparent, because very soon she will be going to a better place, away from the agony and suffering that has been cast upon her. This is not like her. She has always been a strong woman, always alert and on her feet. I hate to see her struggle like this, acting like a totally different person and scaring me. I can tell she doesn’t want to go through with this sickness any longer, wants to rest in peace, be in a state of happiness. A deep depression washes over me. My mind is numb as ice. I can’t quite decipher any emotions for this experience. I guess I just realize dying is the natural part of life and learn to get over it. Grieving is painful. I don’t know how to deal with it. I’m trapped in my mind. Nothing can get out. It is a dark void. There is no where to go but straight. Behind me is just the shadows of despair. The road is foggy up ahead. I am so young, unable to take the burden of this loss.

I’m tired. I can’t go on any longer.

autumn-road

Beauty is a matter of opinion

What makes something beautiful?

Should it contain a certain shade of color or a well accepted feature?

Be a piece of music that flows like leaves in the breeze?

Be a magnificent looking house with smooth sloping lawns?

A night sky painted with the stuff of star dust or a crimson sunset rising over the city skyline?

All of these are nice examples but can be very shallow in the true definition of what beauty is. They only point at the surface, not what you really feel deep inside.

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“I only came for the cheesecake…”

The Internet is an unruly, untamed beast – everyone should know that by now; no one has control over the Internet and it should stay that way. No other idea conceived by human minds has managed to encompass our everyday lives anywhere we go and bring millions of people together to post and share content for the entire world to see in just a matter of minutes. The amount of information on the Surf is enough to fill more than ten swimming pools and it just keeps growing exponentially…there really is no end in sight.

As King Leonidas famously said, “This is madness!”

Have you ever searched for something specific on Google or Bing, clicked on a link, and suddenly got bombarded by a flurry of information that just kept begging you to click here and there and read more and more? Ever get those pages where you scroll down and articles just keep appearing non-stop with interesting, catchy titles, one after another? I’ve come across a couple of those pages where I often open multiple links in new tabs, getting up to as many as five at a time to read later. The content I find is often so engaging and delightful that I would want to look up more information about things discussed in the article. A simple search for information on the new iPhone 6 led me to a number of articles relating to the world of technology that would lead me to informative YouTube videos and then suddenly find myself watching bizarre videos of animals doing human tricks or Barack Obama singing popular songs made from words put together from his speeches. And then I’m like, “What was I here for again?”. A single search on one of the popular search engines turns into an Internet journey of epic proportions or an Internet breadcrumb trail.

An example of an Internet trail goes like this:

I went to look up information on the baseball movie “42” that I had just recently watched, and maybe find the movie poster. This led me to clicking on a link to Harrison Ford, which led to Indiana Jones, which led to George Lucas, which led to Star Wars, which led to a list of the highest grossing films of all time, which led to Harry Potter, which led to the book David Copperfield, which led to the illusionist and to Musha Cay, then to Google co-founder Sergy Brin, Don’t Be Evil, Googlization, the book on Amazon, and so and so forth…

Searching for anything on the Internet is like taking a can off the delicately stacked pyramid in the store and having them fall all over the place. You just wanted one can; now there’s a bigger mess on your hands. That’s what happens when you search for something online – you often get sidetracked and before you know it, you have forgotten all about your initial search idea. There’s always something new and worth looking at around the corner and some of the most visited sites on the “super highway” such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are portals for interesting content that can entertain, educate, or just simply annoy us. That’s how I have come to view the Internet as it has progressed into the far reaching, lightning fast, and ever so dependent entity relied on by human beings. Ten years or so ago the Internet didn’t really matter to me much but now I feel I can’t go without it for even a few days without getting frustrated and impatient.

Back to what I said about the Internet being an untamed beast – well clearly Google has gotten a couple of chains around it with their ongoing mission to organize the world’s content and make it accessible to everyone.Their search engine bots roam the streets and alleys of the net everyday looking…looking…looking. Nothing runs wild out in the yonder anymore – if it is open to the public it can and will be found somehow, someway.

To continue the title of my post – “I only came for the cheesecake…but ended up getting so much more. I soon got the entire restaurant and soon after that the entire block of stores and shops. Then I thought to myself, “Why not the entire city? Or state? Or country? World? Universe?”. The search for knowledge is endless, especially on the Internet where it literally is one mouse click away. You’ll be sucked into a black hole in now time at all if you’re not careful as Jennifer Lawrence once quoted: “The internet to me is kind of like a black hole, and I never really go on it”.

September 15th Daily Prompt Response to Overload Alert:

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein
Do you agree?

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Dream April 22nd 2011

macbofisbil:

Wow, that was an engaging post.

Originally posted on Dream Hopper:

Last night was incredible! So many new things happened in my dream that I remember with near perfect cognition. In the first act of the dream, I had powers similar to Spiderman, which isn’t the first time this has happened.[1] I fought Shocker, one of Spiderman’s signature foes, and after I defeated him, I slid into an alley to sleep.[2]

In the second notable dream sequence, I was in a cylindrical apartment building in the middle of an unknown city. I watched in awe as blue meteors came down from the sky and pelted the buildings around me. As I struggled to remain calm, I suddenly had near perfect consciousness (many of you may know this as lucid dreaming). However, even though I knew that there were such things as dreams at that moment, I fooled myself into thinking that I was awake! I remember telling myself “you’re…

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Leaving Town Abruptly

macbofisbil:

This little story sparked some interest in me to start using writing prompts to get some creative juices flowing in writing. I feel I have been a little stagnant lately and maybe doing something like this would be a good idea.

Originally posted on Creative Metaphor:

Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompt: Leaving Town Abruptly:

A friend rings your doorbell way too early in the morning to be ringing doorbells. You answer the door in your PJs, and the friend says, “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” You are intrigued.

I grabbed her arm and pulled her inside.

“Ten minutes,” I said, both of us knowing I would take twenty. I stood in the middle of the living room for a moment, my body trying to move in three directions at once as my brain moved in twelve. Finally they both settled on one at the same time and I ran up the stairs, two at a time.

Fortunately I hadn’t put away my travel bags from my weekend trip to the islands so there was no having to dig them back out…

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Starting a business…fun, but not that easy

This past July I have been in the process of trying to establish my first company. It’s called ‘Matt’s Videography’ and specializes in creating quality presentation videos and photography for events that people are having. This whole thing started when I created a video for my sister’s open house and my family members just went crazy over it, calling me “a genius” and that I am missing my calling with this kind of stuff. The video was amazing, way beyond their expectations. I even ending up calling it my own – adding that I created it along with a promotional message at the end.

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So after my mom suggested that I start a business making and selling videos with people’s pictures, home videos, and music on them, I jumped right into the potential money making pit by starting off conjuring up a temporary logo and creating a Facebook page that has, as of July 30, 67 likes and growing. My relatives also suggested I get some business cards to pass out to people to spread the word. I went on Vistaprint, created a custom card with my info on it, made it look nice and purty with a glossy finish, and ordered 250 of them. Well the $30 bucks I paid for them (that included shipping and handling), hasn’t gone very far because I’ve only given away two (just yesterday). This is because I felt funny about going up to random people and showing them a business card, feeling like I could be an annoyance. I didn’t feel so confident about showcasing my company to people but I guess I have to fight tooth and nail any which way to get it known out there. I could have gotten 50 cards free with FreeLogoServices.com, which I did later on while creating a more professional looking logo on that site, that I couldn’t use without purchasing it first, arbitrary to the website name.

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Things got more serious when I decided to create a website for my brand. It all started while I was watching a golf tournament and a commercial for web.com appeared (the only one I’ve seen so far), since the tournament is sponsored by them. I thought, “hey, that’s just what I need. It’s a fast and easy setup and I’ll be successful in no time”. That’s what the commercial pitched and piqued my interest immediately in the site. So I went to the website without hesitation and signed up for a domain name under ‘anytimedvdandphoto.com’.  Then I had a choice between the basic, standard, and professional website. I chose the pro because it included a shopping cart that would be beneficial to my operation. So the cost of all of this seemed like a sweet deal with the promotion that was currently being offered at a low price. In a few days time, though, I found out that the price of running a website with web.com, including all the perks such as SEO, Facebook Boost, Google listing, and professional help from the design team, would all add up to cost about over $300 per month. If I’m billed every four weeks, that would be about $1000 a year that I don’t have.

Looking for alternatives, I checked out the site builder on webs.com, with an ‘s’, and saw that they offer a more flexible option of paying for either $24.95 monthly, 1 year at $10.41 per month, or 2 years at $8.33 per month.

I had a website done by the people at web.com and I was really impressed with it. I made a couple of changes and asked the design group to make some changes as well. It’s not a very dynamic page, everything stays the same and I only have so many ways to customize the page (being that it is template based and doesn’t require any coding to work). Still, it is good for me because I’m a beginner at this sort of stuff and need something that is easy to manage. Currently, I am featuring two products on my ecommerce: photo prints and special event videos. I know there is not a whole lot going on right now but if I give it time and put some hard earned effort into the page, I could have it streaming with products and interactivity that’s up there with some of the best websites. Could have.

If this business of mine takes off one day I am thinking about opening up a shop somewhere locally or out-of-state if I ever move away. I’m pretty good with video making software such as Sony Vegas and CorelStudio. I haven’t used After Effects that much but I think it would be beneficial to the work of my company if I learned more about it and applied it. I would also invest in some camera and photography equipment to give my operation more potential.

For now, this is more of a fleeting hobby of mine than a serious business since I haven’t made any money yet and don’t know where it is going to go. I’ll continue to go along with the ride and if someone happens to be interested enough to buy my product I might just reconsider not going through with it after all. I knew not to expect amazing results right out of the gate. It takes work to get a company going good and strong. Since I’m the only employee right now and I’m not yet officially incorporated as a business, I really shouldn’t be too upset if things don’t go like I want them to. Like any successful company, it starts with a dream and then a vision. Getting that vision to become a reality is no one step process. I know because I am now experiencing it for the first time.

Tots, Clocks, Bikes, and Air

A few more of my favorite things…

0717141745-00Golden Tater Tots: A family classic. A favorite food of a classic cult character.

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Clocks: Time comes in many forms; also a visual representation of Coldplay’s hit.

0712141910-00 (2)Badass Bikes: Belonging to some big badass bikermen and bikerchicks at a motorcycle rally. Not even close to the size of the Sturgis gathering held every year. Bikers come from miles away to participate in that one. At this particular one, I got near the stage where a cover band was playing and it was LOUD! I thought the whole place was going to blow up or something.

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Max-Air: A high flying exhilaration ride that turns your world upside down. Just don’t get hit in the head by falling shoes. Reminds me of a pendulum clock, only this one belongs to Death himself. BTW, check out this eight year old on the Gatekeeper, a ride I had high hopes for when I first rode it this year but was kind of let down.

The 365 Project of 2014 continues on facebook

Besides that, I am also getting a business together that focuses on creating videos for special events, as well as offering photo collages, photo books, and possibly in the future a whole line of party supplies. All of this is an if because I don’t know if the business will even get off the ground let alone having one customer approach me. Doesn’t hurt to try.

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