What would John Lennon say? (You know the answer)

HATE

The following is a completely NON debatable fact. There are no political sides you can take. There is no religious ground to stand on. The world is in utter turmoil and people are dying for a couple of basic tenets of civilization. (Perhaps the word ‘civilization’ is the important part of that sentence.) There is an inordinate amount of HATE and INTOLERANCE. That’s it. I know I have said this more times than I even remember, but put a bunch of toddlers in a room from every corner of the earth and guess what? They will happily play together, form bonds, giggle and share their toys. Hate and intolerance is taught. Nowadays, it is ACTUALLY taught, but it has been seeping into the minds of people more covertly over millennia by passing down one’s personal and inexcusable hate filled philosophies.

Currently, there are three hate-filled aggressions taking place in the world and on the news right NOW: in Northern Iraq/Iraq, Ukraine/Russia and Israel/Gaza. And I ask myself, why? Iraqi’s have made no effort to hide their intolerance: “Leave, Convert or Die”. That seems pretty straight forward and horrifying. Ukrainian’s trying only to live their lives are being ‘bullied’ in the most violent sense of the word, by a most formidable bully, in Russia. Gaza being governed by another ‘bully’, Hamas, has forced Israel to defend itself with deadly repercussions.

If you find yourself judging the above statements, then that is part of the problem. Why do we hate? In the most simplistic sense of a t-shirt derived concept, ‘Why can’t we all just get along?” The truth is, I have my intolerances. I hate STUPID people. People who are too lazy to think. People aren’t inherently stupid. Stupid, for these purposes, is a word I use to describe ignorance and idiocy. We don’t start out that way. It is learned, it is taught, and it is THE problem.

Now that I have narrowed down the OBVIOUS core of the world’s problems, how does it get rectified? Well, the answer must be above my pay grade, because all I can think of is a line from the movie WarGames. When considering the go to answer to all conflicts is usually destroy thy enemy at any cost, I remember Joshua—the computer—in WarGames saying, “The only winning move is not to play.” These conflicts have been there, on the surface or below, throughout time. Allowing people to live their individual lives without interference and without trying to change their beliefs is, in my opinion, the only way the world’s people can coexist. And I cannot wrap my brain around the type of hatred that is any more than, “maybe we shouldn’t be friends anymore.” My oversimplification is deliberate, because I think it SHOULD be that easy.

I would not call myself a peace-monger. In fact, I very much believe in a strong armed forces. I also believe that there are TOO many situations that call for armed intervention, and there are, sadly, times in which collateral damage is perhaps—unavoidable. You can argue that point if you choose, but it will not change the point I am trying to convey. And culturally speaking, it is not possible for me to clearly understand the thought process of someone in Iraq or Ukraine or Palestine or Israel. I am an American. And just as all Americans can hardly agree on anything, I have to believe that the same exists in countries throughout the globe.

So, live and let live is the simple answer, with no simple or even complex strategy to achieve it. In the course of The United States of America, it is a very short time frame in the bowels of our history where we have become tolerant and accepting of things that WE once thought ‘wrong’. We are still—quite slowly—growing in becoming tolerant of our own differences. But within our countries boundaries we abhor violence when it comes to ‘hate crimes’. Everything going on in the news today is a ginormous HATE CRIME.

I wish the world could learn from my analogy of the children having no preconceived hatred. They are a beautiful clean slate. Without being fed hate and intolerance, they would go along blissfully. Oh sure, perhaps there would be the tantrum, or crying if someone took a toy and didn’t give it back, and perhaps one of those kids would take a swing at another or—God forbid- bite them, but those are usually resolved quickly. I don’t believe that Johnny taking Billy’s dump truck would go on to be a decades or centuries hate filled WAR.

Living while allowing others to live is the only answer. Play nice. It’s over simplified and sadly—probably never to take place in my lifetime. But I am tired of the media making it any more than it is and placing blame. At the heart of these conflicts is people NOT wanting other people to even EXIST. Sorry, that’s just stupid. And I think I already said how I feel about stupid people.

Xoxo DDJ

A dollar and a dream

kickstarter blog-page-001

Remember when you fell prey to the slogan, “All you need is a dollar and a dream”? When buying Lottery tickets was the only way those dreams had a chance of being realized? Well lucky for us we live in a world where if you have a dream, all you really need is your friends, family and some strangers to fund it for you.  ♥

The advent of such utter brilliance as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Get Funded Now, Crowdfunder and so many more has awoken those dreams to make them a reality. And it doesn’t really matter what that dream is. There are niche focused crowd funders like Quirky if you are an inventor or Appbackr if you have the next great app design. If you have an idea, almost any idea, and you think you can get people on board to support you, there is a better than Lottery chance of that happening.

I have been somewhat transfixed on the myriad of wonderful ideas out there. And I wish I were wealthy enough to fund more of them. So until I actually DO win the lottery, I have to be discerning with my pittance and place my money where my heart says to.

That being said, in the last couple of months I have stumbled upon 2 such Crowdfunding endeavors. Both films and both having literally nothing else in common. Now were you to go to a site such as Kickstarter and go to “Discover Projects”, you could lose a good week in sorting through them all. And that is just on ONE site. Even if you were to narrow it down to Film and Video, you would—at last look—have 35,922 projects to choose from—just on Kickstarter. Scouring through them, albeit fun and interesting, is–time wise–on the lengthy side. In the case of both of my recent pledges, my other addiction—twitter—came into play. A film titled Night of the Living Deb, for somewhat obvious reasons if you know me, struck a chord immediately. I mean… I NEEDED TO BE IN ON THIS, almost before I watched the Kickstarter video–WHICH IS GREAT.  I suppose I have a soft spot for the RomComZom—Romantic Comedy Zombie flicks. (Who doesn’t?) I became twibsessed (twitter obsessed), following hashtag after hashtag, finding the names of the principals involved. I followed Kyle Rankin—the director-immediately.

NOTLDeb
http://www.nightofthelivingdeb.com

  VIEW KICKSTARTER VIDEO HERE

(https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1364524925/night-of-the-living-deb-a-feature-film)

After watching, it just made my commitment to this project a virtual imperative. So much of the brilliance of a successful campaign lays in the details and the video was just the beginning. I started googling away to all those involved. Smart, talented, visionary types that made my pledge a joy far more gratifying than just handing over my $12 to $16 in a theater. I was now a part of something pretty special from the ground UP.

The use of social media is paramount in a successful campaign. If done properly, as I think getting MY attention attests to, it truly speaks volumes to what the present and future artists and dreamers can accomplish. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Vevo and even UStream can be what makes a dream a reality. Every social media available needs to be harnessed and then just let the viral world take over.

My other film pledge was to a documentary directed by Mark Marshall. Yes, this is a different direction for me, but showing my immense diversity. Again, I stumbled upon it by a tweet. It was @SeanAstin who made me take note of a historical event swept under the rug since The Civil War. THE greatest maritime disaster  in our history for lives lost.  I will admit that my knowledge of American History may not get me a spot on Jeopardy, but I thought I had a pretty good grasp of it. SO, when even those who are much smarter than me do not have bells going off at the name The Sultana, then something is clearly amiss. Again, I watched the kickstarter video and again I was moved to make a pledge. As a society we must embrace our history—good or bad—and honor those whose lives were lost. Sean Astin went that extra mile for this project.

sultana
http://www.rememberthesultana.com

VIEW KICKSTARTER VIDEO HERE

(https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1060443722/sultana)

He took to Vox Populi Radio and Ustream for a staggering 17 hour ON AIR readathon from the banks of the Mississippi, of Jerry O. Potter’s book, The Sultana Tragedy. His passion for getting this documentary made was inspiring. I watched late into the night as he got a little punchy but still reading surprisingly well!

However it is done, and by whomever, the crowdfunding concept is clearly a monumental shift in how idea’s become reality—how concepts become concrete—and how anyone can change the world. Even if I never have a single project worthy idea, it is comforting to know I can support someone who does.

I am very much looking forward to both of these amazing Kickstarters and I am sincerely proud to be a part of them. For those of you who have never taken a peek at the bazillions of ideas in need of funding, I will warn you now: There are a LOT of smart, talented and creative people out there, and you are going to wish you could fund more of them. I know I do.

xoxo DDJ

 

 

My Single Life

Carrie Quote-SIngle

I recently was out with friends and met a guy. As the evening progressed, we chatted, and had a few cocktails and—though it has been a while—I had the impression he was hitting on me. I thought I explained I am not looking to get involved with anyone, and more importantly, nor was I looking to go home with anyone… now, or anytime in the foreseeable future. Then he hit me with a line that is stuck in my head like a bad song. “But I’m not ‘that guy’.”  This got my mind spinning. First of all, who is ‘that guy’? To me, he is the guy who hits on the last remaining not hideous woman. He is the guy who ‘just wants to talk’. He is the guy who just likes spending time with you because ‘you’re not like other women’. Wow… The more he kept saying he was not ‘THAT GUY’, the more I realized he was most certainly the epitome of ‘that guy’. So I tried to explain that I was not ‘that girl’ either. I did not have an agenda, in pursuit of a very specific financial demographic, I don’t particularly care what you drive or what you do for a living, (as long as you DO make a living), nor was I the type that hooked up or waited for guys to buy me drinks, etc. I don’t think he was listening.

I live in a dating failure geographical area–also known as New York. And the question I bring up when with friends, is which came first? In a time and place where I find men to be overly self-aware of their cars, homes, job and miscellaneous and generally irrelevant things, I am always countered. It seems the men I know feel the fault lies with the women in this which came first question. The impression men have of women, is that we have an agenda, we are judging the men based on the aforementioned nonsense. So I wonder, which really came first? Was it ‘That Guy’ or ‘That Girl’?

While the chicken or the egg scenario gets debated, I can tell you this much. I am sincerely NOT that girl and trying to get that fact across is impossible when dealing with the epitome of ‘that guy’.

I would scream it from the rooftops if I thought anyone would listen. But when you are one on one with a person and outright telling them who you are, what you are not, and you are not getting through?—it all seems quite pointless.

Don’t be That Guy (or That Girl). You know, the ones who get the bad rap. Instead, be courteous, respectful and considerate and don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  CRAZY, I know. But it’s a start and works for us all. Because this is THE Guy and though quite likely hard to find, ultimately worth the time.

XOXO

DDJ – dispatches from the Single Life

The pamphlet should read, “So you’re unemployed–Good luck with that!”

unemployment pamphlet

I find myself in unchartered waters. After 29 incredibly hardworking and loyal years for the same employers, I was laid off. Because of the time I first started working—contracts were not a standard—so I left with NO severance and barely any notice. (ZERO dollars.) As that is a still a touchy topic for me I will move forward to the reason I write today: NEWLY UNEMPLOYED

Whereas I am told there are good people, willing to go that “extra mile” for their fellow-man, I am having trouble finding them. Thus far the only good I see Is in that of my friends and family who have been putting up with my incessant—probably intolerable—whining.

The varying opinions, along with the openly incomprehensible lack of tact by “supposed” professionals is mind bending. I very much want to be the glass is half full girl. I want to go back to what was clearly naivety of FIRST believing in the good of people—right before being proven wrong.

I have applied for unemployment. Another low point in my life. It has been made clear to me NOW, that my choices in life were less than perfect. The structure and consistency of my everyday life has literally CEASED. I spend hours upon hours scouring for jobs, contacting people I thought were supposed to help but literally made me feel worse, (an agency, that out of respect I will not mention), and my days are depressing.

In the past I would watch or read the news each day and hear the numbers, some of the stories, of the unemployed and have no real connection to it. WELL, I do now.

It is infuriating to think my 29 years means so little. It is embarrassing to me to be dependent on anyone but myself. It is petrifying to think that I might have deluded myself all these years into thinking I am something I am not.

Being unemployed, not by firing, but by “downsizing” or whatever the trendy word is these days, does not change the facts. I no longer wake up, shower, dress, get on the train, go to work, do my job—very well—and am rewarded with my paycheck. I am one of SO many people, willing, ready and WANTING to work, but these wages need to allow me/them to keep my/their home and food.

I have decided that the fault is twofold. Creating more jobs that cannot possibly sustain any kind of life on Long Island, is a smokescreen by the government to make you think everything is getting better. WRONG.  Employers who prefer to hire people not on experience, proven performance or quality is the other problem. Everywhere I turn it seems that the rule of thumb is to take one’s chances with the less qualified, less experienced for LESS money.

I didn’t make a lot of money. And all I want is the chance to work… make close to what I was making, doing something I know how to do, in order to keep paying my bills. (Not credit card debt.) I am talking mortgage, insurance, utilities. I am like millions of others who are for reasons I shouldn’t mention here, like my age and experience actually being worth something, are being overlooked.

I am now one of the people who I read about, hear about, and my feelings  have far surpassed mere sympathy to downright heart wrenching empathy.

For anyone reading this who is currently unemployed and feeling as if crawling out from this place with your head held high seems increasingly impossible—I hear ya!

My life is changing every second as is everyone who is unemployed… and I can only hope that the upswing is nearing.

Xoxo  DDJ

Reach me at RED@dealingwithfools.com

Bushkill Falls… The autumn return.

DSC01032A bit past the beautiful colors, the trees are mostly bare and yet still pretty breathtaking.  A walk across the grounds of the hotel to the sound of crushing leaves on a magnificent, sunshine filled, unusually warm November day is calming and rejuvenating.   The crisp air is a stark contrast to the heat and humidity of this past summer.  There is a buck in the woods just staring in my direction… staring… not sure why, but he seems pretty confident I am of no threat.  And I try to assure him that I am most certainly not. My purpose is to re-create the Zen-like bliss I had in July.  This magnificent buck has set the ball in motion.

Sometimes I am reminded how lucky I really am.  The Bushkill Inn and its surrounding area has made an impression on me.  And for whatever reason, I seem to have made an impression on the people here.  How absolutely blessed am I to go back to this WONDERFUL resort and have people REMEMBER me!?  Picked up like it was 4 months ago.  Jen, the most amazing bartender in ALL of Pennsylvania, recognized me immediately… How great is that?  The people of The Bushkill Inn are really lucky to have such a genuinely great girl at the bar! I know I have said this before, but I will say it again.  I absolutely LOVE this place.  The people, everywhere I go are friendly, and kind and well… REMEMBERED me.  A stop for lunch at Petrizzo’s and—Shelly remembered me from my last visit back in July.  And a patron, Sue, remembered I have a—let’s just call it—healthy appetite. Both couldn’t have been nicer, and the food and service, as usual, fantastic. My lunch was not only great, but I was surrounded with friendly and fun people.  Total SCORE!

An unusually warm 60 degree day in Mid-November and I took a chance.  It could have been a bust with freezing temperatures or snow, but I really LUCKED out.  Was able to hike the Falls again.  I never get tired of that scenery.  It is awe inspiring, relaxing, and exhilarating all at once.  When you pass a couple or family or people with their dogs, everyone smiles and says hello.  A small, seemingly innocuous thing—unless you are a New Yorker…. THEN–I have to say–it is not just a little startling, but astonishing and wonderful.  I believe that kindness is contagious.  I come here to get infected.  😉

Back at the hotel, I made some new friends…. I wish I could name everyone… in fact I wish I remembered everyone’s names, but when the ENTIRE staff is amazing, it gets hard.  Next time I will take notes.   🙂 Again, the food at the hotel is wonderful, and I got to meet the chef, Marcos…. And what a great vision he has for food at Bushkill Inn and to expand the horizons of people who haven’t yet realized the JOY of being a “foodie”.  And Angie… Infectious and genuine laugh… If you are lucky enough to have her at your table… then you are LUCKY.  I wandered into the bar when the entertainment, Jimmy Brown was playing a really fun collection of tunes.  Exorcising the New Yorker out of me is a difficult task, but I was beginning to feel my blood pressure lower.   I had a little time to sit with my laptop and put words on a page–there is inspiration in this fresh air and motivation from all I come in contact with.

There is something about coming to The Bushkill Inn that just makes me happy. And it’s not just the S’mores at the fire pit… though that really DID help… And someone has to tell me the name of the young man who meticulously kept that fire burning with such precision because he was GREAT.  Like I said, I wish I could remember all the names, but they elude me right now… I remember Logan and Joe… I will just call them Dish Cleanliness Inspectors.  Good guys…  (And guys, listen to Marcos, he knows best.)

I am just prattling on about how great everyone is… and how wonderful my stay was—again—but I mean it.  Between the amazing staff, and wonderful amenities, and its proximity to Bushkill Falls, I just don’t know how you get better than this when you just need to DE-COMPRESS.  This IS the place to go… For me, I am just going to call it my second home.

See you all in the spring!

Xoxo DDJ

NOMOPHOBIA – 66% of us have it

cellphone

I feel lost.  Adrift at sea.  Alone on a deserted island. Frightened.  Anxious.  Worried.

I am not connected to my cell phone.

I cannot get news alerts, weather alerts, and random sales notices.  I do not have the ability to set my DVR, pay a bill, transfer money, or spontaneously purchase something I don’t need.  I cannot Facebook, or tweet or Instagram ANY of these concerns because I am without TECHNOLOGY.   I am CUT OFF.  Nomophobia… I have it. (Fear of being without your cell.)

For now this is just a horrible and unthinkable day—nightmare, BUT…

I have been going to and from my job for more than a quarter century. When I started, you were just UNAVAILABLE. You were unreachable.  I would get home from work and, if I was lucky, find messages on my tiny tape answering machine.  Ahhhh how that # 2 flashing would fill me with delight. TWO people are looking for me… must be important, they left a MESSAGE!   How I long for those days.

I have become someone I really don’t want to be.  I want to just turn it off. Leave it home.  But I have been brainwashed.  I hyperventilate at the idea of not being able to reach someone or have the profoundly joyous ability to send someone off to voicemail.  I am one of THOSE annoying people who wants to share every bit of paltry minutia that pops into my head…. WHEN it pops into my head!  If I wait, and the idea of it is horrific, I could forget to post the MOST adorable cat video…. EVER.

But I can’t stop. I am a tech addict.  I know people who want nothing to do with social media, who choose not to have their cell with them at ALL times, who don’t need to text or use their cell phone to book a spontaneous trip, who are fine not setting their DVR’s—and OH MY GOD, I hope they have one—or Instagramming the most amazing Street Cart Waffle in HISTORY. I just don’t really know how they do it. For me, this is an unimaginable scenario with unspeakable consequences.

You just know the day I try to prove I can do without my beloved technology will be the day I have won something and they try to reach me but CAN’T, or the day that “oh, Red… had an extra ticket, first row… tried to reach you” kind of day.  The ‘what if’s’ are staggering and again… I am hyperventilating.

Is it possible to go BACK after you have enjoyed the benefits this kind of technology has to offer? Can I just NOT be available for a day or a weekend?  Can I put on pumps and a dress and pearls and bake pies?  NO … NO is the answer.  I can NOT do it.  I really would like to say I am above this. But I am not. I am incurable.  I have the techno bug, and a thirst for knowing everything and knowing it now. Without the ability to GOOGLE at the drop of a hat, what on earth would I have done when trying to remember the name of an arcade game from 1996 that was SO awesome, I decided, I not only wanted to remember the name, I wanted to find one for sale, and maybe even buy one in the next 5 minutes? WHAT would I do without GOOGLE!  No worries, evidently, the PROP CYCLE by NAMCO of 1996 is something of arcade legend and is really hard to find… at a price that would make me MORE nuts than I already am. (Figures).

But still, the very moment I thought of it, I was able to track down the name, find out its history and subsequently find one for sale in under a few minutes.  The circle of my neurosis complete, I was able to put to sleep my wondering what it was called, and whether I could have one. Mission accomplished.  Heavy sigh of relief.

Now, same scenario, pre this kind of awesome technology, I would be dead in the water.  It’s not as if I could go to a Chuck E. Cheese now and say…  “Hey, by the way, remember in 1996 when you had that game where you rode a bicycle and popped hot air balloons in the sky on a video screen?”  First of all let us sincerely hope the same people aren’t working there. But the point is I like instant gratification, and I will not apologize for that.

Is it really wrong to need to know the news, or the weather, or Hollywood gossip, buy a pair of boots or find a recipe…. NOW?  When I think of how completely integrated my life is WITH technology today, it is actually a little scary.  The dependence, for me, is all consuming.  For the record, had I been trapped on Gilligan’s Island, it would have been the Professor I would have cozied up to.  He did, after all, build a radio from a coconut. 🙂

I am going to try to go—oh dear—without my technology for maybe a day, soon.  I don’t hold out much hope for success, at least not without vicious side effects.  But I don’t believe that my proving that I CAN’T be without technology in any way should portray me as weak or pitiful.  Some people need oxygen…. I need PULSE. (It’s an app, look it up.)  Well, back to some shopping, or baby Panda watching, or California Sea Lion watching.  Still have 30 minutes on the train.  I am—perhaps—a little weak.  But I can live with that—on 4G LTE.   🙂

xoxo  DDJ