The Power of Influence

  I took this picture in the Summer of 2014 when Hurricane Marie grew into Category 5 storm as it hovered over the Pacific Ocean heading towards Baja California. Even though this hurricane was centered hundred of miles from this spot of the California coast it left foam on the beach as each wave powered by this enormous storm dissipated on the shore. We have the same potential to influence the lives of others; constructive and destructive. We choose. 

Remembering Marie

 The noise of the growing and curious crowd, tractors building berms, and news helicopters hovering overhead still couldn’t drown out the sound of the massive waves produced by Hurricane Marie, which churned into a Category 5 storm in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles off the coast of Baja back in the late Summer of 2014. 

Lifeguards tried their best to close one section of this local beach to keep the crowds safe as the moving machines made small hills of sand to protect the homes in the crosshairs of the mighty waves.

Marie produced the surf event of a lifetime to the coast of Southern California. Instead of the usual 1-2 foot waves the locals were used to at this beach, this storm created waves 10-15 feet. More popular surf breaks along the coast were getting pounded by 20 and up to 30 foot giants.

And the surfers came. They came on the biggest day. They dreamed about this day; years for some. Many were literally in over their heads and left injured, exhausted, and disappointed. News circulated quickly that a fellow waterman lost his life that day. They underestimated the power of Marie.

The people kept coming the days that followed. Most came to marvel at one of the most powerful natural forces known around the world. Some came to ride giants. They all came to experience the force of Marie.

Boys Playing With Guns

I spent a week in Egypt last week and posted this shot on my social media accounts earlier today. I snapped a pic of this boy as he walked by on a Cairo street.

There were literally hundreds of boys out in the streets playing with their toy guns and pellet guns during The Feast following Ramadan. The response I got wasn’t the usual “Cool pic” I normally get.

“A culture of war is being filtering down to the children,” was one of the responses I read. Do you agree? There is a presence of religious and political extremism that we here in the States don’t experience. In fact, a group of Muslim extremists ambushed and killed a number of Egyptian soldiers the week I was there.

Is this picture of the Arab boy accurate to that “culture of war” comment?

Is it different in comparison to our boys here in America playing “Cops & Robbers” and “Cowboys & Indians?” Ok that’s my age speaking. Is it any different when our American boys playing “Black Ops” in the streets?

I’d love to hear your feedback.

Living with Spam

 Modern day technological advances comes with modern day crap, and there is no more crappier crap I know of than spam. 

I’m old enough to have experienced the daily junk mail piling up in my mailbox before the advent of electronic mail. (I see the junk piling up in my email inbox as I type this.) Today, spam is everywhere I go on social media. 

Within the span of a few hours of going through my email inbox or browsing though My Twitter feed, I will be informed that I qualified for a student loan of an online college, can make money making deposits for a prince from an African empire, earn an iPhone for completing a 20-minute survey, can talk to a lonely supermodel in Russia, and buy a bot to gain more followers. Of course. 

On top of that- businesses and individuals are paying for programs to build their followers and even make a buck. These social media bots they use are designed to create fake friends, automate likes, followings, and even comments. It’s disengenuous and just made me type out another paragraph of this rant. 

Oh, my First World frustrations and yes, I continue to interact in this world. Read my pictorial version of my rant on Steller

P.S. Don’t worry (edible) Spam lovers. I like my Spam with rice and eggs sunny-side up. 

Finding My Audience

I am sharing my stories and poems on Steller now.  Finding an audience is not that easy. I had been on Backspaces and there was a wonderful community of creatives there from which I got a lot of engagement. However, once the app makers had moved on to other projects, the development stopped and now it has turned into a ghost town.

It reminds of being a freshman in high school. Do you remember that chapter? True story: I was loving life with my social circle of friends. I accepted a dare to run for VP of the freshman class and actually won, so I had an audience outside of my circle. This next part didn’t really happen but what if a “Backspaces” moment happened, and the school closed down and the community scattered? I would have to move and start over at a new school.

A friend convinced me to share my writing on Medium. That’s a great place as well, but it is very broad and full of established bloggers. I started reading, following, then posting my own content.

Back to our high school moment. You walked on campus of the new school and everyone who was not you was already engaged in life with someone else. You started looking for a former classmate or someone who was willing to lock eyes with you to start a conversation. That’s what it feels like for me and trying to find an audience for my content.

The one post I started on my WordPress blog first that actually got traction on Medium was titled “Lessons from my iPhone camera.” It got a half-thousand reads, and couple dozen re-posts, and a few followers. Does that mean I should blog more non-fictional content? There doesn’t seem to be much interest in my 2-minute stories and poems.

Back to our high school moment. Eventually you found a kindred spirit to link up, or you stumbled into a motley crew and after a while they brought you into the fold to do life with. The important thing is that they listened to you, especially when you spoke their language.

My first post on Steller, “She Calls Them” is a haiku about a surfer’s relationship with the ocean. The app itself is very similar to Backspaces in storytelling, and it already looks like a giant community filled with amazing photographers and storytellers. So it’s time to jump in, speak my voice, and find an audience there.

So I have a brand new backpack draped over my shoulders with an unused lunch card in my pocket. It’s time to find my motley crew: and hopefully a really big motley crew who is willing to listen.