Constantly Seeking Approval

“Please like me.”

“Please like what I have to say.”

“Please love me.”

“Why do you only like what I have to say, why didn’t you love it?”

“I think you suck for not liking me.”

Looks sort of mental doesn’t it?   Did some emotional crippled person write this before going into a manic episode?    Didn’t Glenn Close say this in Fatal Attraction?

This is what humans are saying over three billion times a day on Facebook alone, according to marketland.com, a website that covers the digital marketing industry.   Every single day we’re receiving feedback from other humans via social media, on whether or not they approve of our posts, comments and views.    We’re being constantly told when people think we’re really cool, sorta cool or not cool at all.    Since humans are biologically social creatures, this kind of interaction is pretty amazing to our brains, and of course, can be quite addictive.    But is it also turning everyone into incredibly needy people whom now constantly crave approval?  No doubt you’ve posted something you feel is pretty thought provoking on social media and wondered why more people didn’t “love” it… maybe it even bothered you to the point where you thought something might be wrong with your internet connection….surely there should be more notifications by now?    And yes, I’m speaking from experience.

Social media has given us the ability to participate in thousands of popularity contests a day, some of which we’re competing in ourselves.    One would be lying if they didn’t admit their personal sense of satisfaction when a blurb they post receives positive responses in the form of thumbs up or hearts, validations from human kind that you’re on the right track… to something or another.    This goes the other way too, especially when you post something you feel so powerful, only to be knocked down by so many, crushing your hopes for acknowledgement, sending you into a downward spiral of more angry faces, or the inappropriately placed laughing emoji, utterly mocking your contribution as completely useless.   Now you’re in an approval deficit and must recover… you need more hearts… quick post something funny ASAP!     And yes, I’m speaking from experience again.

Does this happen to everyone though?    Are there some people out there that haven’t turned into little digital crack monkeys, obsessively banging on the lever for more?  Are these the ones that “don’t give a fuck” anyway?    Are these the people that throw trash out of their car windows… and… and… it’s hard to even type… don’t recycle?   Do these people post on social media and don’t even care about the likes or those beautiful little hearts?  They must be assholes for sure, because if they cared about anything, they would care how many people think cow cuddling is awesome.   I would imagine these people probably also spend very little time on social media, after all why would they even bother?    They’re clearly not social to begin with.

I’m new to a lot of this Facebook stuff.    I’ve been a member less than a year and I’ve connected with some amazing and wonderful people, embarked on new adventures and even learned a lot about myself, so I’m not knocking it.    I’m just wondering if all these little doses of digital crack is healthy for humans as a whole…distracting us from the real work that needs to be done, whether it be knocking on doors, talking to our neighbors or doing the dishes.   Three billion times a day we’re communicating with others, sharing our ideas, but is it for the sake of sharing or the little buzz we get when someone likes it?    Are our intentions really to make the world a smaller place, or are we just seeking approval, trying to make us feel better about ourselves?    Do we really want to save our planet or does it just make us feel less lonely that others feel the same way?  So many questions.

Perhaps you can separate the ones that are just getting “high” on approval from those with other intentions, by looking at their actions and lives outside of social media.   For example, if someone feels the need to constantly post about saving alien beings from Mars, but never takes the time to even look up at the red planet at night, perhaps they’re just hopping on a bandwagon because it’s popular, and it feels great to get those little thumbs and beautiful hearts.  But take a person that has invested their time, energy and money into a cause, then it’s likely they’re not a digital crack monkey, and their position deserves more attention.  Maybe those folks are too busy with really changing the world, and not how many likes they have.   They haven’t been seduced by the noise of social media or the allure of acceptance… they are out there effecting change before it’s too late, before the opportunity passes and scrolls off their feed.

If you liked this article please like it, or even better love it and share it with your friends.   Please?   Pretty please?  I need a fix like now.

 

 

Grilled Steak Condo Style

steak like it was meant to be enjoyed

Living in a condominium has its perks… being able to grill your favorite steak on a barbecue isn’t one of them.  Sure, your neighbors might not have a problem with open flame, tanks of fuel, and smoke flooding into your living room through open windows (as nature finds a breeze way,) but the local fire department does.  Chances are your association rules also prohibit this prehistoric method of preparing a meal, one that seems to give everyone the warm and fuzzies.   If you’re like me, you also have only electric appliances as natural gas in the attention deficit age of Instagram and Facebook doesn’t mix well with high population density.

So how does one serve a delicious grilled bovine dinner that tastes like it was made in an expensive steak house?   In like 15 minutes?  Allow me to introduce myself, I am the Geek With Muscles and I have spent years solving this very problem.   Stick with me kid and I’ll make you famous.   Take it from a serious meat eater that loves cows just as much as he loves eating them… that means source your food responsibly.

You do need some specialized equipment, I use a Cuisinart Griddler and since my recipe is based on the times and settings of this amazing piece of equipment, you need one too.   Go and buy one now and then continue reading…

First you’ll need to acquire some grass fed steak, I prefer a New York Strip, about an inch and a half thick.     The thickness is important as it allows you some nice charring without over cooking the meat.   Place it on some aluminum foil and coat it with light olive oil on both sides.    Next sprinkle with some kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, a good amount of onion power and a bit of garlic powder.    I also like “Accent” on the steak, yes I know it’s MSG but the stuff is found naturally in grapes too, so stop eating those while you’re at it.  Sprinkle the spices on both sides of the steak.

Before you go any further, don’t be a moron and take some time to read the instructions of your griddler completely.    If you burn your house down it’s your own fucking fault.  The griddler makes a lot of smoke when hot, so open a  window for ventilation or your place will smell like a Denny’s for a week.  You’ll also set off several smoke detectors and your neighbors will hate you even more than they already do for not inviting them to dinner.

Next you’re going to turn on your Cuisinart by turning the center selector knob all the way to the right to Grill / Panini mode, activating both the top and the bottom plates so the steak cooks evenly.    Then set the knob on the right to “sear,” which is the highest heat setting.    Wait for the unit to heat completely as indicated in the instruction manual.   On my unit the lights turn green, yours may be different.

go to a store with a coupon and get this $100 griddler

Now here’s the fun part.    Safely open the grill (it’s hot as hell), place the steaks on the bottom plate, making sure the “floating” hinge of the Cuisinart is doing it’s thing when you lower the top.   For perfect medium rare, cook the steaks no longer than 6 and a half minutes (for 1.5 inch steaks).   When the steaks are done, shut off the unit and carefully remove the steaks.  Allow them to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

get fancy and make some green beans with bacon

Make sure to tell your guests that they’re about to taste the most delicious steaks ever because they won’t believe you.   Watch as the gates of heaven open when they sample this amazing solution that only a Geek With Muscles could provide you.    I like to serve these steaks with some Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Brown & Wild Rice in a microwave bag.   It sounds like shit but tastes incredible.

Enjoy.   🙂

 

 

 

Being A Leader, A Follower, Or Both

I have a friend that sometimes annoys the hell out of me when she says:

“That person is such a follower, they’re not a leader, they just do what ever that other guy wants.  They can’t think for themselves.”   

The names have been removed to protect the innocent.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before and sometimes I even question myself and wonder where I fall in this scenario.    Am I a leader?  Or a follower?   Do I just take orders and advice blindly, or do I put some thought into it first?   Most recently, while pondering the cracks in my ceiling before falling asleep, (okay there are none, but it sets a mood) I realized it’s beneficial to be a little bit of both.  We should know when it’s best for us to let our inner leader shine and take command, and know when to let someone else do the driving, be the follower we need to be, and learn a thing or two.  Sometimes we might even realize that we’re following to a point that we’ve stopped thinking for ourselves, and that’s not a good thing.   When we do that, we give up a part of who we are, a slice of our identity, a hand it over to someone that may or may not know what’s in our best interest.  That sort of following can be seen in many areas of society, most notably in religious organizations and political affiliations.

Critical thinking and free thought has turned into a scarce commodity in our country.   From the time we wake up, to the time we go to sleep, we are bombarded with information that attempts, in most cases, to make us think a certain way in regards to what we buy, who we give money to, who we vote for and what we should  have for dinner… or not.  This relentless feed of choices and decisions that must be made results in feeling overwhelmed, and we willingly, and quite gratefully, hand those decisions to others to be made on our behalf.   Look no further than a restaurant which offers meals by numbers to see this in action.    Many customers, if not most, feel a certain sense of relief when a meal is neatly combined with other options, leaving the guess work to someone else.    It’s often masked as being “convenient” but in fact we’re just giving up control… and it’s okay.

Here’s where it can get rather tricky.  After you’ve ordered enough value meals, and clicked “I Agree.”  on hundreds of terms and conditions and privacy notices, your brain becomes hard wired for “following,” and trusting others with all sorts of rights and privileges, which you have no clue what they actually do or don’t include.  As a nation we have been trained to “click” and move on, without reason to believe otherwise.  Pretty scary shit if you ask me.  Not only because of the obvious ramifications, which we’re currently seeing played out on the global stage, but this sort of willingness to give up control can bleed into our personal lives as well, and with equally devastating consequences.

Apple’s never ending license agreement which everyone seems to agree to or they can’t use their phones.

Balance is critical in our lives, now more than ever before.    In every aspect of our society we are being pushed in one direction, or being pulled in another.    Choosing when to lead and when to follow is no different.   Finding that sweet spot of knowing is the key.    For some people, especially supreme independent thinkers (and we’re not all independent thinkers trust you me,) this is an easier task since decisions are made with the utmost objectivity.   For others, it can’t be daunting and arduous, as many don’t feel comfortable making decisions on their own.    So when do we know when to step in and take the lead?   By listening to our gut, our primal instincts… otherwise known as our stomachs.

When you trust someone to make decisions for you, it should feel fluid and relaxing, without fear or prejudice.   You should be able to down a greasy pork sandwich with ease at the same time you’re allowing this individual, or organization, to take the reins and lead you cross-country across the Oregon Trail.   However, when you get that sick to your stomach feeling, or you find yourself becoming agitated or resented, it’s time to take a step back and figure out if this is what you signed up for.   Perhaps this isn’t the right church, political party, person to date, pretty girl to marry or value meal to order.   Listening to your heart, or rather your stomach, will give you a clear indication when something just isn’t right and it’s time to move on. Or in some cases, do more research.  Humans have an incredible innate ability to sense deception and danger if they would only learn to trust it, not ignore the signs or not turn it off intentionally and follow blindly.  Alternatively, this can be a clear indication that you’ve reached a point in your life when you’re ready to spread your own wings, and become a leader yourself.

The next time that friend of mine criticizes someone for not being a leader, they might not being seeing the entire picture.   Perhaps this is by choice, and they’re choosing the right time for subservience, as a tactical advantage of sorts.   Or perhaps they’re stuck, fallen into the sticky trap that is constant noise coming from every possible information source imaginable, and they just need to disconnect and detox for a while.   What ever the reason, it all boils down to being aware that you actually have choices, and why you’re making them.  Knowing what’s for dinner wouldn’t hurt either.

 

 

I Know Things

I was driving back from lunch this afternoon and parked the car, when I was suddenly blessed with this little poem in my head.

I know things

I know things that most let pass by.
I know the bird that soars, across the morning sky.

I know the child that’s ignored by their kin,
Laughing still, because of love within.

I know the lost dog, searching for a home.
Wanting someone to hold them and say they’re not alone.

I know the serpent, hiding in the grass.
Just wanting to live, waiting for a meal to pass.

I know the man, with bitter and anger on his face.
His life suddenly gone, not leaving but a trace.

I know the woman, weeping in her hands.
Trying so hard to keep it together, and dealing with life’s demands.

I know the world, that’s crying for change.
Wondering when the balance of power, will finally rearrange.

I know these things and I keep it to myself.
All of them inside, on a tiny little shelf.

Michael Robert

So This Is Podcasting

A little over a week ago, my friend and co-worker Nzinga told me he was listening to a podcast and thought I’d be really good at doing one myself.    He even took it a step further and said he had this “strong urge” to tell me.  Of course this pushed all my spiritual buttons about diving timing and law of attraction, so I just had to do it.   It’s not too far a reach from my other hobby, video production, so I’m pretty familiar with the editing, software, hardware, etc. associated with putting something like this together.   It was just a matter of slightly shifting my perspective.  Less than a week after the conversation, I was recording my first podcast, the energy behind the idea had gained so much momentum, I wanted to do it before I convinced myself it was a bad idea.    So I took the leap and didn’t look back… yet.

“Holy shit! What do I say?”

I’ve never really put too much thought into doing a podcast.   I’ve been on the radio a couple of times, doing promotional spots for a local bay cleanup event, but a podcast?  The weird thing is when Nzinga mentioned the idea, it just made a lot of sense.   I mean why not?    I already conquered one fear of mine and started blogging, I have a YouTube channel with a couple of videos, why not take the next step?  After all I really love to talk as many of my friends and co-workers have made a point of telling me.   I guess I’ve reached a point in my life where you realize you have to just go for it and see what happens, the worst outcome being that you fail.   At least you can always say you tried.   That actually ended up becoming the topic of my first episode, following your dreams and thinking positive. 

The most interesting thing about this experience, so far, is listening to myself over and over again during the editing process.   Since it’s generally unscripted, you find yourself critiquing the way you talk, the intonation in your voice and just about everything else.  I’m even wondering if I sound too gay!   What’s up with that?    And what does too gay sound like anyway?  Sometimes I find myself listening as if I’m someone else, and that sort of freaks me out, like an audible out of body experience of sorts.    Is that even a thing?

If things go as scheduled I’ll be publishing my podcast in just a few more days.   It will be available here under the “Podcast” tab that doesn’t exist yet.   While I’m super excited, there’s that part of me, that little voice in my head that says “you’re stupid for doing this”, that’s trying to gain a foothold.  I’m pretty confident I’m gonna win this battle and while it’s a little scary, perhaps a year from now I’ll be wondering why I didn’t do this sooner.  Let’s see where this journey takes me.

Break a leg Mike.

North Pole Data Breach Affects Billions

November 22nd, 2017 – 1:56 PM North Pole

Turns out no one is immune to the sting of cyber crimes according to representatives from the North Pole who reported a massive data breach on Tuesday. Hackers have reportedly stolen personal information from over 1.5 billion children around the world in what elves described as “naughty” behavior. The attack, thought to have originated in China, sought to gain marketing information obtained from millions of letters to Santa, regarding children’s preferences on a variety of toys, most of which are made there. “It’s very disturbing” said Mrs. Claus, before offering reporters hot chocolate and cookies, “children have a right to privacy also.”

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The Need To Control

I was looking for parking the other day at the local grocery store and immediately located a middle aged man, with just a few groceries, loading his vehicle.    This was probably the most simple and mundane of tasks, not requiring much effort since the amount of plastic bags he had in his cart was probably fewer than twelve.   Yet he seemed to relish in the idea that I was anxiously waiting for him to finish and leave so I could park my car.    Clearly he was in control and he milked the opportunity… so much so that another person came, loaded their vehicle and left before this guy finished.    I ended up taking that spot instead, with some level of satisfaction that the guy with control issues never got to achieve a power-play orgasm.   Clearly he would have climaxed while backing out ever so slowly, suddenly stopping for traffic that wasn’t there.  Still, I was completely pissed off at this obvious and pathetic need to control.

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Why Are Gay Men So Damn Needy?

I’m sure it’s happened to you before.   You get home after a nice date with a handsome guy, he looked just like his pics online, so that’s a plus right out of the gate.    Sex was pretty much a slam dunk so he’s definitely getting a second try and you’re actually looking forward to it.   You get the usual text message accompanied by some cute emoji…

tonight was really great, thanks for being so cool.”   

 You smile and drift off to sleep as you contemplate how dating really isn’t that bad after all.

The next morning you wake to the familiar routine of shutting off the alarm on your phone, oversleeping, and suddenly realizing you’re late for work.    As you rush to get yourself together and out the door, you notice you have a text message on your phone which must be from the office reminding you of a meeting you’re late for.  In what has become a very automatic set of movements for your fingers, you navigate immediately to your texts and retrieve the poorly timed piece of information…

“thinking of you.”

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Journeys: How Winn-Dixie Changed My Life

Life wasn’t easy when I was in my late teens.   I was 17 and completely lost.  I was sleeping all day and awake only at night, a soon to be high-school dropout fighting depression and the realization that I was gay.   Therapy was gradually helping me out, but there were many days when the thought of living life as gay man would churn my stomach.   Those days were extra dark, mostly spent staring at the ceiling, contemplating the best way to end my life.  Sometimes I’d be on the phone well into the night and early morning, talking to one of the few friends I had. Unfortunately, she was also suicidal and shared a very dark place.  Instead of lifting each other up, we’d compare notes on the best and least painful ways of making it all go away.   My mom picked up the phone once and overheard the conversation.  Unable to process what was going on in my life, she started yelling at me… screaming… words of desperation… saying I was “sick” and then she broke down crying.   Mom was fighting her own demons, trying the best to raise us without our father around, while her youngest son, her baby, was slipping through her fingers before her eyes.

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The Toxicity of Social Media

I’ve only been on Facebook for a short amount of time relative to most, a couple of months has gone by since I made the leap into this digital equivalent of humans in herds.  I administer content management systems at work (ECM), so the least thing I needed was a personalized version.   Then my blog came along and I gave into the temptation of having a platform to share my articles.   While during my first week on Facebook, I was amazed by this unified form of consciousness I seemed to be observing, I quickly became aware of a darker side to this mass method of communication.  Unlike social interactions in the flesh, people feel free to act or react in ways that they wouldn’t do so in public.  I used to teach an orientation class at work on cyber manners, back when this new thing called the Internet became a tool for business.   It was then that I was first introduced to the analogy of people acting the same way online, as they do in their cars, especially during incidents of road rage.  The comparison was made of someone getting in front of you in the movie line, to if they did the same action in their car while driving.   In the later example, you might scream and yell at the person, shoot them the bird and hold your hand down on the horn.    While if you acted the same way face to face, you’d probably scare the shit out of everyone around you and might even get arrested.

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