I Regret Nothing…

Oh, yes. I regret nothing. I’ve written several posts on this topic because I feel that it’s important. And it keeps coming up in some way, shape or form. The most prominent question I get asked is if I ever wish I hadn’t been diagnosed with Diabetes. Really? One would think that asking me if I would have preferred to grow up without a dangerous and difficult to manage auto-immune condition would be redundant. But the question has been posed more times than I can remember. Sometimes, I think people lack content to discuss and ask questions just for the sake of asking them. But I digress…

It’s okay to wish for something. Do I wish I never developed Type-1 Diabetes? Of course. Do I wish my brother hadn’t passed away at the age of 18? Obviously. Would I have preferred not to go through the personal and professional difficulties I’ve dealt with in the past three years? Oh, you damn right! But as I’ve often said before, it’s important not to live a life of regret. One can easily spend all of one’s time looking towards the past and regretting some of the choices and situations that have happened to them. The problem one faces when doing this, is that they fail to live in the now; and there’s a lot of life you can miss when you’re busy dwelling on the past.

Another important aspect to bear in mind, is that every situation one has been through, good or bad, has ultimately contributed to the person one has become. And there’s really no negative aspect to this. If you believe in who you’ve become and trust that you’re a good person, then those events that you may otherwise regret have likely helped forge you into the strong, capable person you are. If you’ve become a bad person, there’s always the ability to make a change, going forward (unless you’re totally fuckin’ evil and don’t care. I know a few people like that).

“ I Am The Master Of My Fate, I Am The Captain Of My Soul”

– William Ernest Henley, Invictus

I’ve been an admirer of William Ernest Henley’s poem, “Invictus” for years…. Poetry is always open to the reader’s interpretation (unless you have a pretentious art teacher who feels she needs to force her perspective on you) but I always felt that this poem demonstrates how no matter how difficult or rough life gets, one needs to persevere and push through, keeping a firm control of one’s destiny. As romantic and hopeful a thought that may be, that’s rarely the case. As I’ve often said before, life rarely cares about one’s plan.

We may be the masters of our fate, but fate deals us the hand and we’re usually stuck playing the hand we’re dealt. That may seem a bit of a negative perspective and it certainly isn’t meant to be. But it all comes down to the old saying about sometimes you just got to roll with the punches. This is often the only way to be the “master of my fate.”

Do I ever look back and wonder how life would have been for me, had I not been diagnosed with Diabetes? Absolutely. Not a week goes by where it doesn’t cross my mind. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up while reading about the medical researcher in Alberta who has found a promising treatment that could reverse Type-1. I’ll believe THAT when I see it, but I can’t help but feel that I may have grown up to be a significantly different person if I had never had Diabetes. After all, Diabetes forces one to develop perseverance, tenacity, an unwillingness to quit and a will (and need) to keep fighting.

I sincerely believe that those qualities would be lacking, if my life hadn’t turned out the way it has. Maybe with the ability to eat anything I chose as a child, I would have become obese. Maybe I would have developed an affinity for sports and become a jock, potentially bullying people much in the same fashion as the hated hockey players I had to deal with in high school. There’s no telling how different things might have turned out. This is why one can’t allow oneself to regret. You gotta learn from it all and keep going. ☯️

Don’t Look At The Ground If You Want To See The Sky…

Perspective is an important part of life. Most of us have a perspective that’s based on a combination of our family values, personal experience and occasionally religion. Perspective can guide our actions. Determine our choices. perspective can even lead to our thinking that something is negative when it seems perfectly normal to someone else. And that’s where the problem comes in. Perspective can cause us to view others and their respective beliefs in a negative way.

Peoples’ perspective, especially when based on personal beliefs, can lead to serious misunderstandings, fights and even criminal behaviour. This is where the firm understanding that empathy, understanding and the ability to see things from someone ELSE’s perspective comes in handy. Especially if one hopes to avoid the unnecessary confrontations that can result.

Let’s take the example of an infant, as an example. When an infant whose just learned to walk bumps their leg into a table, or becomes hungry, sleepy or uncomfortable, they start to cry. Seems pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it? Imagine if you started crying every time you got hungry or bumped your leg on a table? I’m pretty good at shooting off a string of profanity when I somehow kick a wall that’s been in my house since I moved in, but it doesn’t get me crying.

I guess my point is simply this: Your perspective is unique to you. You shouldn’t expect others to understand or get in line with your way of thinking. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll have people in your life that at least respect your perspective, even if they don’t agree with it. And you should respect others’ perspectives. So long as their way of life brings no harm to themselves or others, everyone’s journey is unique and should be respected. Food for thought…☯

Booze Is Bad, Mm-Kay?

If none of you have ever watched South Park, you may not get the reference in the title. There’s a character called “Mr. Mackey,” and he’s big on using the line, “Drugs are bad, mm-Kay?” If you have time to Google or go on YouTube to hear how he says it, you’ll get why it’s funny. But i digress…. Today’s post is about alcohol, as it relates to Diabetes and the difficulty that can be associated with trying to enjoy an adult beverage without sending blood sugars and one’s overall system into fits.

I don’t usually endorse specific products, services or items here, besides talking about my pump and the fact that it’s manufactured by Medtronic. It’s a little hard to hide that fact and STILL talk about it, which is why I allow it. But in general, my blog isn’t a platform to advertise for others. But when it comes to my personal use and review of something, especially if it makes Diabetes easier for me.

As most Type-1 Diabetics are aware, consuming alcohol can be a difficult concept for a number fo different reasons. If you’re a beer drinker, you need to consider the amount of carbs you’re consuming and be able to bolus accordingly for them. The biggest issue is knowing how many carbohydrates are in any particular alcoholic drink. For example, the average 355mL can of beer contains between 6 to 12 grams of carbs. Interestingly enough, “non-alcoholic” beer contains anywhere between 9 to 17 grams of carbs, as well.

Wine is certainly a better option, considering some of the anti-oxidant aspects and the fact that an entire bottle of red wine is only between 10 to 14 grams of carbohydrates (not that I’m suggesting you drink an entire bottle at once, mind you). And keep in mind that pure spirits that haven’t been mixed with anything else have absolutely no carbohydrates. There are some exceptions, of course. Because why would life be simple? Here’s a chart by Diabetes.ca for some basic reference.

This brings me to the product I tried last week…. While visiting my in-laws last week, my mother-in-law introduced the above-shown product as “something new” for my father-in-law to try. He had a can, but preferred his beer. I decided to try one, since it boasts zero sugar and zero carbs (a discernment that ins’t always made). I tried a can and I have to say that considered its ingredient content, it was pretty good. It became my vacation go-to beverage for my week away.

Sitting at 5% alcohol content, this is a vodka-soda drink that’s light, refreshing and easy to drink. There were a variety of flavours that included lime, lemon, raspberry and grapefruit. I tested my blood prior to drinking the first one and was sitting comfortably in the 5’s, and was still sitting in that range after two cans and a couple of hours’ elapsing. I was tickled pink (the vodka MAY have had something to do with that) and it was nice to find something that ACTUALLY allows me to enjoy a drink without affecting my blood sugars.

The can you see above is one of a case I purchased once we got back home to Regina. Sitting at 7% as opposed to 5%, these come in three flavours: black cherry, blackberry and raspberry. they’re pretty good and the added 2% DOES make a difference. But I once again, they seem to have no measurable effect on my blood sugars, which is nice. While looking for a case of this stuff, I realized that there are a few of these drinks that fall into the same category. I’ve spent so much time getting on the “making fun” bandwagon against White Claw, I never stopped to recognize that a can of the stuff is only 1 gram of carbs!

Anyway, I wanted to offer up this brief review of this product. As anyone with Type-1 Diabetes is aware, enjoying a drink is painful at the best of times, so this is definitely a helpful aspect that allows T1D’s as much normalcy as possible. One simply needs to remember all the other fun details, such as the consumption of booze ties up your liver as it processes the alcohol, so it can cause your blood sugars to drop, carbs or not. No matter what your plans or what you’re drinking, remember to make certain to check your blood sugars regularly and have a safe plan for administering some fast-acting carbs if needed. ☯️

The Universe Owes You Nothing…

I’ve always worked very hard at trying to help others and make a difference in my small corner of the world. This has come in different forms; volunteering, helping random strangers and even my chosen careers have all gone towards trying to eliminate my own suffering as well as the suffering of others in the world. It hasn’t always been easy, and sometimes I’ve had to be selfish in that I can’t help others if I don’t myself myself, first and foremost. This is a concept I’ve often tried to instil in others, usually with very little success.

“I Think The Galaxy Owes Me One…”

– Captain James T. Kirk, Star Trek: Generations

Karma is based on one’s intent. You can’t perform good deeds with the hope or the intention that life will provide a positive or easy outcome. That isn’t how karma works. If you seek to help or ease suffering in a positive way, with only the best intentions in your soul, then karma will do the rest. But it isn’t intended on being a cosmic judge, jury and executioner. People make mistakes. This doesn’t mean your karma will be bad. People will make bad decisions. That doesn’t mean you’re destined to spend your next life as a dung beetle. But you need to do what’s right for the right reasons. THAT’s where karma plays an important role.

I’m guilty of having misinterpreted karma on more than one occasion. There have been times in my life where I’ve spoken the words, “I think the universe owes me a few…”. This has usually been associated to the fact that I’ve saved lives, located missing persons and prevented or solved crimes in different ways. On some fundamental level, I have no doubt that at certain points in my life I felt as though the universe owed me one, given the sacrifices and efforts I’ve put into life. But the reality is that the universe owes me nothing.

I think it was Mark Twain who said, “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” The same can be said of the universe. It owes you nothing. And it was here first. DO good for the sake of doing good. Work to eliminate suffering in the world. It’s not about owing. It’s about why you’re doing it. If you do good in the hopes of getting something back, then you aren’t really doing good. I’ve learned a lot since the last time I assumed the universe owed me one. And boy, was it quick to show me the error of my thinking. Maybe take it from me as opposed to trying it for yourself; the universe owes you nothing. But you owe it to yourself to do good in the world. Food for thought…☯️

You Ever Try To Kick The Sky?

Martial arts is comparable to your favourite recipe; many will have a similar process in preparing their recipe, but most will have some slightly different ingredients and amounts that make their recipe unique and specifically theirs. The same can be said of martial arts. Different styles will have different ways of accomplishing the same goals and/or executing the same technique. As an example, what my style calls a crescent kick and inside crescent kick is referred to as the opposite in the Kenpo dojo I currently train with.

It can be a bit convoluted and even confusion to the non-practitioner, especially if they’re trying to choose their own style. But what’s important to a practitioner is to refrain from judging or evaluating another style’s methods, even if they may seem odd or useless from ones’s personal style. I’m certainly guilty of this; I’ve written entire posts on why I WOULDN’T train a certain way or use specific techniques. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for THEM.

I follow a certain number of martial arts pages, mostly because they’re fun to follow. But once in a while they lead to small nuggets of wisdom or open my eyes to something I may not have considered before. The reason I bring this up is because of a couple of posts I saw yesterday, where a young woman in a black shirt and yoga pants executed several kicks straight up above her head, and a second post with someone in a karate gi doing the same. I made the mistake of visiting the comments section. Big, big mistake.

Setting aside some of comments related to the first practitioner who was wearing yoga pants (who the fuck cares? You should be able to execute your techniques in any clothing you wear), some inevitably commented how useless the kick was, as there’s no practical application to kicking straight up. While I can admit that I would never, in a real-life scenario or in the dojo, execute this technique, I can also freely admit a fact that most of these armchair commentators won’t; I couldn’t execute that kick to save my life!

Okinawa Karate is a pretty low-technique style. We don’t employ many high kicks, favouring kicks at or below the belt and using punches and arm techniques for anything higher. But there’s no denying that there are a number of measurable benefits behind executing such techniques, even the practical applications are few our far between. Unless you happen to be fighting against a giant or someone twice your height. Which could happen. I guess. If you’re living in a video game world.

Here’s the thing: Doing high kicks may not serve a practical application. But what they do provide is the ability to work on precision, balance, muscle strength and agility. These are important benefits to someone studying the martial arts. In Okinawa karate, we always focused on doing halfway splits to help with flexibility and reach for the kicks we DO perform. But to this day, I still can’t do a full split, whether this means lowering myself to the floor or doing a high kick. In my hay day, I could execute some pretty solid roundhouse kicks against someone’s head, provided they weren’t three feet taller than I was.

What surprises me, is how any time someone posts a video of them selves doing a kick straight up in the air, there’s always some negative fucker who needs to comment about how it’s a useless kick. Agreed, it may not be useful in an actual fight, but consider how flexible this person is and how precise they may be while using an actual kick against an opponent. You don’t learn to punch properly by striking a punching bag once. By the same token, your flexibility and reach isn’t accomplish simply by kicking ONLY as far as you want to go. One will usually train to exceed that reach in order to allow for a more efficient technique. To most martial artists, this is what would be considered a common training practice and also “common sense.”

I continue to be impressed by practitioners who execute high flying techniques and show remarkable flexibility, a flexibility that I’ve never had. I can easily say that I would never use fancy spinning kicks or use a kick where one strikes straight up above one’s head. But that doesn’t mean these techniques aren’t impressive and useful in their own way. It’s important not to judge too harshly, when one sees some of these techniques. Although they may not be included in your style, they still hold some use and practicality from a training standpoint. Instead of commenting on how useless the kick is, why not recognize the balances, strength, precision and agility involved. This is the true martial way. ☯️

Longer Life Or Happier Life…

There’s a particular trend that seems to take place where people usually fall under two groups: those who take their health and fitness in hand in order to be healthier and live a longer life and those who claim to only live once and they’d rather spend a short time being happy, enjoying the many indulgences of life. Although the latter would seem like the easier way to go, it doesn’t necessarily equate a happier life; especially when you’ve been “living” your happy life and time and health has caught up to you…

I’m a big fan of the occasional indulgence. Many of you may have read about my occasional meal that contains enough carbohydrates to kill a small army. Although I make an effort to control my carbohydrate intake, sometimes a person’s just gotta have their damn burger! But outside of wolfing down a patty of meat with cheese, toppings and a soft, toasted bun (great, now I’m hungry) I try to focus on lean proteins and salads in order to help control my overall weight, energy and blood sugar levels.

Having enough discipline to maintain ones health is not always an easy thing. But uncontrolled Diabetes can lead to a host of very unpleasant and debilitating conditions that will make your shorter, “happier” life more torturous than it needs to be. When you consider blindness, loss of limbs, organ failure, not least of which includes the kidneys (you may have heard that you can’t live without these) circulatory and heart issues, it rather seems as though throwing caution to the wind is an unreasonable way to live.

I used to have a friend back home… I say “used to” because I haven’t spoken with him in almost 20 years and if I’m being honest, I don’t even know if he’s alive. But I remember he used to take really bad care of himself, eating sugary goods with abandon and never testing his blood sugars. He was in his 20’s and had been diagnosed as Type-1 early in his teens. I’ve seen this trend a lot; where a diagnosis late in life can be more difficult since the person has already developed bad habits.

I was diagnosed when I was 4 years old and my household was already pretty limited diet-wise, due to my brother. So I can see where he was coming from. But I was the manager of a local pharmacy back home and we had a special on soda products (I’m sure you know where I’m referring to). He walked in and grabbed a cart. He grabbed four, 2-litre bottles of sugared cola and added them to his cart. I walked over to say hi and asked him if a family member had sent him out on an errand. He replied that no, the soda was for him.

Free choice is also an important aspect to a happy life, folks. And I hate feeling the need to ask a question of someone that borders on being intrusive. But a once-over of my friend showed him to be pale, sweating profusely and looked as though he hadn’t slept well in weeks. He had his hair cropped close enough to his scalp that I could see scar tissues from the bed sores he developed from his many Diabetic comas. Based on his current condition, I could tell he was running extremely high.

I asked him if he felt he should really be drinking that stuff, to which he replied, “It’s all good, man. Just gotta take more insulin.” Oy vey… Are you serious? I totally get that one should be able to eat what they want in relation to taking insulin. After all, that’s kind of the point. And that’s what a non-Diabetic body does. But what about miscalculations? What about consumable products that may not necessarily match up with the carb levels indicated on their nutritional labels? There’s a HUGE margin for error.

Not least of which is the aspect that all of this can be aggravated if you have a shitty or non-existent control of your blood sugars. That was the case with my friend. He had no control over his blood sugar levels and was always running high. I can’t imagine the pain he was in and the uncomfortable existence he was in. Maybe in his mind, since he was suffering anyway, his indulgences were his only little form of happiness. But it’s kind of a “chicken and the egg” scenario…

They say we only have one life to live. The problem is that no one knows for sure. That being said, a person owes it to themselves to try and take the best care of themselves and their health as possible. Not only do you deserve a long, happy life but there are ways to be happy without letting go of your fitness and eating like a trash receptacle. Enjoy the “occasional” treat and know how to bolus properly for it. Exercise consistently but don’t look at it as a chore. Do something physical that you enjoy. I LOVE cycling. And it’s excellent cardio and exercise. It doesn’t have to be difficult, you just need to break the cycle of apathy.

Diabetes doesn’t discriminate. And while you may lie on your death bed claiming you got to enjoy yourself for the short period you lived, wouldn’t it make more sense to live twice as long AND be able to say you enjoyed yourself? Even controlled Diabetes will still shorten your lifespan. If you give Diabetes an open door, it’ll squeeze its way in and mess you up. And like the image above says, not only will it kill you, it will hurt the whole time you’re dying. Take care of yourselves. ☯️

Stress? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Stress…

You guys may recall that I posted a video back in May after my first doze of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. I posted the video in the hopes that it could be of assistance to other Type-1 Diabetics who were considering doing the smart thing and getting vaccinated against the virus. Now, I’m not here to debate the merits of vaccination or to argue about what any individual person’s choice may be. Based on my life and my thoughts on the matter, vaccination was a smart thing for my family and I. I have no regrets.

Without writing out the entire content of the video I posted, I’ll briefly describe what happened after my first dose. I walked into the pharmacy about ten minutes before my scheduled appointment. My blood sugars were relatively normal. Bear in mind, I wear a continuous glucose monitor. I get the injection. Less than an hour later, my blood sugar spike to above 22.0 mmol/L! A couple of important details to point out include the fact that it climbed from a normal range to that level in about an hour and that it happened SO fast that my pump didn’t even register and have time to set off the “High” alarm at 14.0 mmol/L like it’s programmed to. Still with me? Good.

I’m used to having things screw up on me on occasion, so I drank some fluids and slowly bolused and brought my blood down to a normal level before going to sleep. It wasn’t until a week later when I was at the pharmacy filling out one of a bajillion prescriptions, that the pharmacist asked me about any symptoms after receiving the vaccine. I told her I hadn’t suffered any symptoms that I knew of. My blood sugar had spiked, but nothing vaccine-related. She was shocked at the spike and asked me fill out a form for the health authority as she felt it may have been a side effect of the vaccine.

It took a few weeks for the health authority to get back to me, but their determination was that the spike in blood sugars were a result of “stress associated with getting the COVID-19 vaccine.” Wait. What? Are you fuckin’ kidding me? So, I’ve been getting near-constant injections and needles almost since the cradle, I’ve had scores of vaccines and immunizations and I used to work a job where my life was genuinely in peril on more occasions than I can count, and you think getting this particular vaccine “stressed” me out? What a joke! By that definition, why didn’t everything I listed above cause a massive and rapid spike in blood sugars? None of it ever has…

I was pretty pissed off at this response and I made it clear to the caller, who wasn’t a doctor or health professional but simply passing on the information to let me know I was good to get my second dose. I explained that I was in no way stressed about getting the vaccine and that the health authority’s assessment was inaccurate. In fact, besides being a little tired I was quite relaxed and chatting with the pharmacist while getting the vaccine. I explained that I felt that it would be foolish to write this off as something trivial, considering Saskatchewan has somewhere near 100,000 people with Diabetes and it could potentially be dangerous for someone with less control than I have. The caller assured me that everything was documented. Great.

I can just imagine that if I DIDN’T wear a continuous glucose monitor and had as much experience as I do with managing my own blood sugars without an ER visit, the night would have turned out quite differently. I would have easily gone to bed, given that I was sleepy from the extreme high. Without any monitoring, the pump would have continued with nothing more than the base rate of insulin and I could have faced some dire results.

According to article posted by Diabetes UK, “common ingredients in the coronavirus vaccines include sucrose (a type of sugar) and salt.” Well, ain’t that a bitch??? That would have been nice to know. The article carries on by later indicating that the body produces an immune response because of the vaccine. The “body needs energy to produce this immune response, so it may release some extra glucose (sugar). This is what leads to your blood sugar increasing.”

Setting aside the fact that I can’t help but feel that this is something that perhaps I should have been warned about, the combination of existing sucrose in the vaccine (however minute the amount) mixed with my own body’s immune response resulting in the release of glucose into the bloodstream is what resulted in my spike in blood sugars. I would have liked to assume that the health authority should have known this. Unless the immune response is what they meant by being stressed. Who the hell knows?

I attended Coronavirus Vaccine 2: Electric Boogaloo, last Friday and this time I was ready. Extra Gatorade and fluids were available and I watched my blood sugars like a hawk. I’m happy to report no issues, besides the typical crap one feels after getting any immunization. I felt exhausted for a couple of days afterwards, but since I made a point of incorporating my meals around the vaccination, there was no reflexive release of glucose by the liver and my blood sugars stayed consistent. But this just goes a long way towards making it clear that when I complain about how Type-1 Diabetes affects EVERYTHING, I’m not exaggerating. ☯️

It’s All in The Words…

One of the more difficult things about writing, especially on specific topics, is finding reputable sources that ACTUALLY exist. Or even worse, finding quotes that were actually spoken by the person in question. Most of the time, having a photo with words superimposed into it is enough to have people believe that the party in question actually said what’s written. It can make it hard to discern truth from fiction.

The above photo is a good example. Although those words would certainly be spoken by Confucius if he he were around to respond to all the memes and quotes on the internet, I’m reasonably sure that he never uttered them in life. But yet, when I Googled “Confucius” in order to him up, this was the first thing that popped up. Let that sink in for a moment…. World-famous Chines philosopher who was considered one of the wisest sages of this time, and the first piece of information that pops up on a search is “I never said all that shit.” Nice.

I’m a bit cranky this morning, so I’m keeping this short. But if you happen to be searching for information on the internet, make certain to fact-check your sources. My blog is reasonably harmless and loaded with disclaimers that I’m not a doctor or health professional, but even I make sure that I’m only quoting from verified sources AND I provide said sources so that readers can judge for themselves. We may have the world’s information at our fingertips, but that information isn’t always accurate. Tread lightly…☯️

Living In A Plastic World…

If you’ve been reading my posts for long enough, you’ll know that I have something of a love/hate relationship with technology. On the one hand, it provides a significant level of ease and comfort for mundane, everyday things and has significantly helped with my overall condition as it relates to Diabetes. On the other hand, it’s helped to turn society into phone zombies when they’re out in public and armchair warriors and lawyers when they’re in private. The reality is that we’ve become dependent on our technology, with most people finding themselves unable to manage their day-to-day lives without it. and I’m no exception.

If you’re an avid reader, you’ll remember that the past month has seen me visiting the repair shop with my vehicle a number of times. That in and of itself isn’t all that incredible, since most vehicles require SOME repair as they age. The part that made it worth writing was simply the sheer inconvenience and cost involved, with the added comedy of having me get caught walking home in the rain, etc… Well, my vehicle has been running fine since the last repair visit and life decided that I needed a different challenge. So my cell phone decided to act up…

I recently got the new model of the particular cell phone brand I’ve been using for years. For obvious reasons, I won’t say what brand of cel phone or what provider I use. I don’t think I can afford to be sued. But despite not being the biggest fan of technology, I got the newest model when it became clear that I could no longer properly update my current model. Like most people, my wife and I no longer own a landline and being able to reach me throughout the day is an important aspect of life, with two children at home and elderly parents to consider, as well.

Maybe a week or two after I walked away with a brand new cell phone, I lost cell reception. Not like I dropped in bars or it came and went, the phone actually dropped a message indicating I had no SIM card installed. I knew this wasn’t the fact, so I took an hour out of the work day to bring the phone back to the provider, who promptly switched out the card. Reception kicked back in, I was making and receiving calls and all was right with the world. For a couple of weeks. I was sitting home on a Saturday when the very same thing happened, again.

I went back to the provider and explained what was happening and the lady helping me kindly showed me the difference between the current SIM I had inside the phone and the fact they were thought to be a defective batch, and the new one she was about to install, which were apparently tailor-made for my specific phone. Now, most people would have lost their shit and started complaining at this point. I recognize that under the right circumstances and the right mood, I likely would have been cross with the young lady. But the level of service and the time she took in explaining the added details made all the difference.

The new SIM card kicked in and the phone had full bars and seemed to be working properly. The employee warned me that if this happened again, the phone would likely need to be sent off to the manufacturer as it was likely something internal they wouldn’t be able to repair on site. So, what do you think happened? The phone lost signal. Less than a week later. While I was mid-phone call. Nice. It was a Saturday and I found myself spending an hour trying to balance discussing the matter and getting my phone swapped out for a loaner and juggling a restless six-year old who decided he just HAD to come with daddy.

The loaner phone I was provided was a previous version that I had used, which was outdated by many years in terms of updatability. But here’s the thing: the features were familiar and sound, the phone worked properly and with the exception that the older phone lacked enough memory to hold all my music, the phone felt slimmer and smaller than my current new one and worked excellently for phone calls (and for you younger folks, using it for phone calls is the ACTUAL purpose of a cell phone). It got me thinking how much better it would be if these devices were simply made to last as opposed to needing them replaced every few years.

As a child, I used to watch our family vehicle get older and older, never replacing it until the damn thing physically gave out from age and damage. Throughout my entire childhood, my parents have only owned three vehicles, with the first one being there when I was born and the third was still there when I moved away. My mother purchased a new vehicle for herself a few years ago, but this new one makes four. Meanwhile, I’ve purchased/owned seven vehicles (one was my wife’s) in the past ten years! And I can say that these replacements have always been because of some lack of suitability of increased repair work.

I’m not complaining about my current situation. All things considered, I’ve got a working loaner phone and my phone will be returned within the next week or two. As long as it comes back repaired and ready to go to work, there’s no harm no foul. It just gets one thinking about how we seem to live in a world that values replacement over repair, which is not always the best course of action. If material and items were made to last instead of constantly needing replacement, wouldn’t that be so much better for the environment? Wouldn’t that create less stress on society as a whole, since replacing or upgrading belongings wold be a choice instead of a requirement? Food for thought… ☯

Not All Formats Are Created Equal

I started this blog a couple of years ago as a way of sharing knowledge and information about the small variety of topics that I cover. Considering I was home from work and the pandemic kicked into high gear, it was also an easy way to keep my sanity. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with an interesting variety of people, from fellow bloggers to folks who have found my blog by accident and have chosen to follow it. It’s also been an important tool for developing and maintaining my writing skills.

Like many others skills and talents, writing is a kept skill; one that you begin to lose if you don’t use it frequently. In that light, my previous job involved the drafting of reports and required a certain level of writing skill that I wanted to maintain. This was also part of my motivation behind starting a blog. On some occasions, I’ve found myself drawing a blank on what to write about. That’s bound to happen, right? Even though I have a number of great topics to cover and decades of dealing with those topics, there are only so many original posts one can come up with. This is why I’ve occasionally found myself reaching out to friends and associates, asking their opinions on what I should write about.

And that’s an open invitation, to anyone reading this post. If you have questions, comments or ideas related to Buddhism, Martial Arts or Diabetes, throw me a comment. Hell, I’d love to HOST a couple of writers and post on their behalf. But sometimes, the ideas just don’t flow quite as easily as they should. At time of writing this, I’m quickly rounding the corner on almost 900 posts that I’ve published in two years. Not too shabby, from a thought-sharing standpoint. I’ve been having a running contest with myself as to how long I can maintain daily posts without missing a day. This post marks 484 consecutive days of publishing material without missing a day. I don’t NEED to do this, it’s mostly just a bit of fun to see how long I can maintain daily posts.

This has led to a question that has been asked of me on more than one occasion: “Why don’t you write a book?” Believe me, the thought has crossed my mind almost as often as the question has been asked. And don’t think for a second that I don’t have notes and materials compiled that could eventually lead to such a project. The problem is that there is a significant difference between authoring a daily blog and undertaking a such a large-scale project as publishing a book. And large-scale it would be.

Publishing a daily blog is reasonably simple. So long as you have topics that you have some in-depth knowledge of, you can usually manage to put out a post that can be read at people’s convenience. Maybe some will read it, maybe some won’t. A blog isn’t exactly a means of getting rich, although I’ve found some bloggers who try and make their monthly financial commitments through the advertisement revenue of their blogs. If they have the number of followers that allow it, good for them. But my point is that writing and posting a daily blurb about certain aspects of one’s life is a basically simple thing.

Writing an actual book takes years. I know some people who are convinced that if you can sit in front of a keyboard and type for 8 hours a day, they could knock out their life story within a couple of months. Although this holds SOME truth, there are a lot of aspects to publishing a book that most people don’t consider. First, you need to find a publishing company willing to take you on. This usually involves providing sample materials along with an overview synopsis of the book you’re trying to publish. If you’re lucky enough to get past all the rejections and find a publisher willing to help you get your book out, the real work begins.

As you write, you’ll likely be doing so without pay. Unless you’re freakin’ Stephen King, you won’t get a full year’s salary to sit at home and write. You may get a small commission to cover the start of your work, but payment is due upon completion of the work. Much like any other job. And since you’re not getting paid as you go, it can be a lean number of months until you see some green. Then you get to spend months debating, arguing and compromising with an individual who ISN’T writing your book but is put in place to ensure the book has a readable and sellable quality for its intended audience. This is called an editor.

Getting beyond all of those hurdles to get your book out is only the beginning. once your book is ready for release, you need to worry about advertising it, how well it sells and how well it’s received. That can make or break your ability to write as a career. Unless your ultimate goal is to write one book then call it quits. But my limited experience with most publishers is that they’re usually looking at the long-term and want writers to commit to released two or three books. That can be fine, but if your first book flops you may be looking at being cut out and never getting to those subsequent projects.

Last but not least, I guess it’s the overall format. I think we can all agree that my posts have potential to not only be informative but witty and comedic at the same time. I have the benefit of letting my sarcasm and attitude ooze out in certain respects, which can make for some pretty entertaining posts. this is something I may not necessarily be able to pull off, if I wrote an actual book. I’ve been through enough in my life to date that I’m sure there would be enough for me to compile it all in a book. But this begs the important question: Who would really want to read the story of some random Diabetic martial artist’s life? Better to receive it in small, daily doses. I’m easier to digest, this way. ☯