What You Put Into The World Is What You Receive

My blog post A Positive End To A Shitty Week initiated several conversations in my house as well as online. One conversation happened via text message and went something like this:

“I love that blog post. I am on a mission to find JOY. Your picture grabbed me. So glad you listed to your gut and went. Love the JOY. That word is so powerful. Not so simple actually”.

This was just one of the conversations and it sparked so many thoughts.

My wife Jessica is fond of saying

“What you put out into the world is what you receive.”

This conversation happens frequently when I “Road Rage” while driving from point to point. When I am in a hurry or just frustrated with traffic, my raging doesn’t have any real effect. It simply makes me rage event more. If I put out rage, I get rage in return, the rage fuels itself. I contrast this with when Jess and I head out for leisurely “drives in the country. ” These drives have no real destination or schedule and I find my self at peace when on these trips. Road rage be gone! I have been using this technique when driving now. I try and drive with peace, calm and understanding. This makes my these trips more pleasant and calm for everyone involved.

There are more experiences that come to mind when thinking about what vibes I put out in the world. When I started as editor in chief of Code Magazine I tended to write my editorials with a good dose of snark. That was until my good friend and publisher Markus Egger IM’d me and made a recommendation that my editorials should take a more positive tone vs the snarky ones I was cranking out. I took this to heart and have written some 100+ editorials since, all the while trying to put positive energy into the world. What I have now is a legacy of positive material that is in the world permanently. Which leads me to another story that has stuck with me.

My friend Scott Hanselman has been blogging for 20+ years and one particular post has stuck with me: Don’t Give Bile A Permalink This post fits perfectly with my theme for this post and has some very valuable points of discussion. The blog post is lengthy and worth a read, but it’s the headline that stuck out the most. When writing (or posting online) do you want to leave a mark of negativity in the world (bile) or leave a positive mark? I am in the later category. I can say without reservation that Scott definitely walks his talk! If you read his posts, watch his videos or see him speak, you can see that he exerts positive energy into the world. His is an example to live by and a beautiful legacy

Now let’s contrast this with some of the other energies being put out into the world. There is an entire industry built around spreading rage into the world. This industry is 24-7-365 and is relentless in turning rage and anger into cash and clicks. I have good friends on social media that I must mute/ignore because their entire being is spreading rage and frustration via with memes, reposts and retweets. These items do nothing to move conversations forward or add positive energy into the world. These people are pissed for the sake of being pissed this is something that choose NOT to participate in. I choose to be positive.  They have a choice too. Heck maybe they will read this and will reflect on what they put out into the world. One can only hope!

The last few weeks have been a time of reflection and introspection for me. I was feeling burned out and miserable and decided I needed to make some changes. One of these changes was to restart my dedication to doing Morning Pages . For one reason of another I stopped doing this regularly and this had a negative impact on my mentality. Not doing this was affecting my: work, life, and creativity. A few weeks back I began anew and the positivity that it brought for so long returned. One of the most positive affects was that it got me writing again which is something I greatly enjoy and sorely missed.

There are other behaviors I am reincorporating as well. One is to refocus on my health. I try and get a 1-3 mile walk in daily. Getting out of the house is good for my mental state even if its only for a short duration. I am always surprised at that. It works so I’ll keep on that 🙂

I am also focusing more of my energy on writing, both professionally and personally. I have been a writer for most of my life and when I am not writing I feel like a bit lost. I have lot to say in case you haven’t guessed. So I have been writing more and more. I have been blogging, writing articles, working on screenplays, and have just started on another book. This is not to toot my own horn but to illustrate how pursuing your own interests can bring joy to your own soul as well as others. Hopefully like this blog post.

I hope this post find you well as we wrap up 2022 and that maybe it brings you a small amount of joy. Or better yet that it brings you joy that you can share with the world. We can all use more!

The Decline and Fall of the Theatrical Experience

The theatrical movie going experience as we know it is dead, and my theatrical movie going behavior is helping to seal its fate. I am a 100% died in the wool movie lover and personally enjoy watching movies in theatres. The problem is that I don’t go to the movies nearly as much as I used to, and I cannot see this changing any time in the foreseeable future. Let me tell you why…

Today I have a basic internal calculus I use to determine whether I see a movie in a theater vs waiting to see it on a streaming platform. The first part of this calculus begins with the question:” Is this a movie that is best enjoyed on the big screen?”  I guess what I really mean is: “Is this a SPECTACLE movie?” Examples of movies that fit this bill, and that I watched in theatres in 2022, are: Top Gun: Maverick, Bullet Train, Black Panther: Wakanda and finally in a few days the new Avatar sequel. In my mind each these films represent the type of spectacle films that I will show up for.

The second criteria in my theatrical vs streaming calculus resides in this question: “How long am I going to need to wait before I can watch this film at home?” For The Fablemans the answer is clear. Not too long!  The Fablemans was released “wide” theatrically few short weeks ago and is available to stream at home NOW, albeit with a $20.00 rental fee.  What I also know is in around 30 days this film will show up on one of my paid services for “free” and that is the most likely time I will view it.  Let me say this… If you told me that I wouldn’t rush to see a new STEVEN SPIELBERG film opening weekend I would tell you that you were crazy, plain, and simple. 

It is the second part of my calculus that is contributing to the decline of movie attendance for “smaller” films. You see the entertainment industry has TRAINED its consumers to be more particular about what types of films they go out to see. Do you really want to spend north of $50.00 to see a film (popcorn and soda included in this price) or do you simply want and watch this with a (much cheaper) bag of microwave popcorn and a can of pop. We all know with certainty that the wait to see films the comfort of your home is not very long so why drag your ass out to see a film? Honestly this makes me sad, but this is the reality we live under.

I would like to mention a little ray of hope. There are some “smaller” films that I will go out of my way to see as I don’t want to wait to see them at home. This generally the result of “buzz” surrounding a film 

Two of films come to mind. The first is called The Menu. I heard a TON of word of mouth about this one, and I left work early to catch it before it left the theatres. The second film is one I wanted to catch in a theatre but was unable to see. This film? Glass Onion. I 100% would have caught this in a theatre but Netflix only released it in theaters for ONE WEEK ONLY! The word of mouth was awesome, but my schedule was not, so I guess streaming it is for that one. 

I really wish this situation was different as I really love seeing films in theatres and will continue to do so albeit at a lower rate than I did in the past. As for the theatres themselves?  Who knows… Their business has been severely disrupted, and they are in sore need of a pivot of some type. Lets see what the future brings… The movie business has gone through multiple disruptions and it will be interesting to see what comes out on the other side of this

A Positive End To A Shitty Week

As you can tell from the title I had a rather shitty week. Monday night members of our team became concerned that there may be an issue with one our mission critical systems. I immediately took action and began checking for issues with servers and software related to this system. I ran down my list… Servers are all up.. Check! CPU utilization is in acceptable ranges… Check! Web process are operational… Check! Load balancer is operational… Check! This issue was a head scratcher. The following morning I added extra logging to our processes hopefully this would provide some insight. Well it did I just didn’t realize how to interpret the data we were receiving to pinpoint the issue. Long story short I was on a call with two team members and I said “I have no idea what the issue is. Maybe I need to just restart the servers.” As I was about to do that I connected to the server and by pure accident opened a screen and found the issue. A server process had had silently failed and we didn’t notice. I turned the process back on and our issue disappeard.

This was just the start of the week and it didn’t get too much better. We had other services that decided to flake out on us all week until we found those issues and resolved them. Funny thing I was really looking forward to getting some code written. We did have some successes delivering some new features but overall I was just happy that this week was just about over. Then today happened…

This morning helped turn what was a shitty week into one that ended on a positive note. Let me tell you why… A few years back I started attending a monthly group called Creative Mornings Austin. Every month a lot of the “creative types” in Austin get together to meet other “creatives”, listen to music and hear an inspirational speaker. I really love attending these monthly talks and find that they help me recharge and rebalance. Well attending today was more important that I ever figured it would be AND I nearly didn’t go. I nearly bailed out at the last minute as my wife may have needed the car and it would be difficult to coordinate. Well Jess was awesome as usual and sensed that I needed this so we figured it out. I would drop her off, go to CM and pick her up on the way home, provided she could get off work early. Coolness I could attend!

After dropping her off around 6:00am I found a coffee shop and worked until the CM meeting started at at 8:00am. When I got to CM I soon realized that this month was the December meeting and THIS IS MY FAVORITE meeting every year. You see December is the month when we get to create our own ornaments. One of the members of our group creates laser cut wood ornaments which we get to decorate. Check out mine…

Wood cut ornaments painted by Rod Paddock

Nothing too fancy from me but it did bring me a certain amount of peace. Then we moved on to the music part of the meeting. I really enjoy this as the types of musicians the organizers find are generally not part of my musical rotation of heavy metal and hard rock LOL. I closed my eyes and let the lovely music from artist named Lisa Marshall wash over me. More peace entered my worn down psyche. Then we moved onto our main speaker. Jodie King. Jodie is a local artist and spoke of her transition from business person to full time artist. It was THIS talk that confirmed that I really NEEDED to go to CM today. There was one statement that stuck out: “Thoughts turn to things” meaning if you think negatively you will get a negative outcome, yet if you think positively, you will get a positive outcome. She added an additional message the XX which to Jodie means cancel, cancel. When negative ideas creep in CANCEL CANCEL and and turn the thoughts positive.

So lets just CANCEL CANCEL the early part of the week and end on a positive note!