Networking, Networking and more Networking

Since the start of my business Greenleaf Enterprises LLC I knew there would come a day when all my equipment was set up and software was purchased and installed and all my backup strategies were implemented that I would have to get to Networking. And that day was actually about six weeks ago.

I know, why the heck am I just getting to this tasty morsel of news? Because at first I wasn’t sure where it was going and didn’t really know what to make of it. However…fast forward 8 weeks, 1 surgery, 1 partial recovery and about 9 more networking events I am starting to get the hang of what I am supposed to do at them. More than that, I feel comfortable enough and believe enough in what I am selling (Me) that it doesn’t really bother me to speak in front of 100 strangers any more. Weird?

Initially I started going to JobGroup, then Portland Connect, then OAME then back to whichever was next. There is literally a networking group for everything you can possibly imagine in Portland. My experience, although challenging at first has become a part of what I do for my business. When I worked for “The Man” I came to work, punched in, worked my 40 each week and that was it. As the owner I have to do everything; research,  purchasing, setup, IT, sales and…networking. After having to do all these things for myself and not having anyone else to rely on I have learned some respect for those people who did all those things and had to listen me cry when something went amiss at all of the other places I worked.

Thus far I have met some really great people and got a few leads which I am excited about. Every single day is an adventure and I don’t know what the day holds but I am looking forward to it.

Peace be with you all!

More to come…

Posted in Career, Greenleaf Enterprises LLC, Voice Over Acting, Web Conferencing Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Post Op +5 – things looking good

It has been five days since I had what amounted to a laminectomy on two of my discs. No infection or swelling so far and I am off pain meds completely. Not to say that I am not feeling a bit tight or uncomfortable, just that I want to be off the narcotics as soon as I can and I feel like I am at that point.

I have been able to walk several blocks several times a day without issue and am feeling more confident with my recovery being swift and without incident. Not so say there wont be any negative developments, only to say that I am choosing to be optimistic and dealing with whatever issues arise from this than worrying about what may happen and letting fear control my actions.

To everyone who did wish me well and sent such wonderful notes of optimism, I want to say thank you once again. It does make me feel very much-loved and I appreciate it.

Peace be with you!

More to come…

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Surgery went well -recovering now

Surgery went well. Feeling pretty good right now. Surgery lasted about 3-3.5 hours and recovery for a couple more. Staff has been great. Provided everything goes as  planned, i will be heading home tomorrow.
I want to thank everyone for their tremendous show of support. I feel very loved and am truly thankful to have friends and family that are simply the best people in the world.
I will write more tomorrow once i get settled.

Peace be with you all!

More to come…

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The big day has arrived…

That’s it folks, the big day has finally arrived. And none to soon if you ask me. Surgery should be around 1pm and I should be under for 2.5 hours should everything go hunky-dory.

The surgical procedures being performed for my pleasure will be a laminectomy and a discectomy. I am positive I spelled both of those wrong, so sue me. As I have been saying for a while, this has been a long time coming and although I will endure some pain and discomfort in the short-term now, I am positive this is the best thing for me and my health long-term.

I should be convalescing at home tomorrow provided everything goes as planned. Things I can’t do while I am in a janky way: bowling, disc gold, sitting for more than twenty minutes at a time so gaming and Magic the Gathering are both out. No housework, mowing the lawn or any of that nonsense either. :) Things I do get to do: request a beer or some other tasty beverage from any available persons and they have to get it for me (I think that’s a law somewhere). All my meals prepared for me. Well that mostly happened already so that stays the same. I do get to watch a crap-ton of T.V. at first along with being able to write. If you have any suggestions of shows to watch I am all ears.

I will be up and walking around tomorrow once I am home. That will be my only form of exercise while the surgical site heals. No driving for 1-2 weeks. Physical therapy will start sometime in the next couple months after it is determined I am ready for it.

I think those are all the big buckets I can think of for now. Send your well wishes and good thoughts my way and to my wife. She is probably more nervous about this than I am right now. That will all end when I am a giant pain in the ass at home having her run around for me while I am recovering though.

Finally, I do want to say a heart-felt thank you to everyone that has wished me well and offered assistance during this time. I am truly fortunate to have such wonderfully loving friends and family.

Peace be with you all!

More to come…


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Odds and ends…

Big news first; I am scheduled for surgery on the 17th of this month. That is 1 week from today. They are going to be working on the discs at the locations of L4-L5 and L5-S1. There are a couple other bulging discs that later in life may give me troubles but for now they will be left alone because they appear to not be causing any of my issues right now. Keeping the surgery as short as possible is probably best anyway. I am really just eager to be done with the whole mess and on to physical therapy and recovery.

The doctor says that I should be in the hospital overnight and can go home the following day provided there are no complications. I should also be able to walk around and am strongly encouraged to do so to exercise the muscles so they don’t atrophy, making the physical therapy harder.

With any luck bowling will be in the cards this fall and maybe some actual hiking later this year. Also and because my mind wonders about, so too will this post. The doc mentioned that I should lose weight which will in turn make it easier to strengthen my core. I thought to myself that my core really isn’t the problem and that I DO work on it everyday before I get out of bed along with other stretches but rather it is likely the beer I drink. If they made a diet beer I am sure I wouldn’t be dealing with a pony keg right now. :) In all seriousness, losing weight is part of the overall health regimen that will help me steer clear of more back issues for the foreseeable future. Getting older sucks. When I was young being fit was called hanging out with friends after school. Now it is called working out or as I like to call it…torture. Honestly it has been so long since I have been able to walk for a long period of time without pain or jogged that I have become soft or more soft that I would have liked. Now I need to suck it up and do the work and get back into the game and back to fighting weight.

Something that just struck me; other than a piece of frozen steak (inside joke – I will tell you about it later if you ask real nice ;)) is that losing weight should be a gradual thing, like gaining weight. We however are becoming programmed more and more often to want everything instantly that the prospect of long-term never enters the picture.

I think that I have fallen into this same trap. I have worked most of my professional career in the internet conferencing industry and subsequently worked with computers and sat behind a desk for eight hours a day on average. Everything I did was always in the short-term and measured by how quickly I could get a project done and out the door. Gone were the days where I did manual labor for a living, often hours long jobs or all day. Also gone were the days I could neglect the slow creep of time upon my person because of it.

I guess we all have to grow up some time. :)

Peace be with you all!

More to come…


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Surgery is scheduled…at last.

It seems like things are finally locked down for surgery (later this month or sooner if there is a cancellation) that I will be having to correct, or (at the very least) alleviate, the problems I have been having with my back for over the better part of the last decade. Currently I have six bulging discs and of them, two are apparently herniated and need to be fixed. The fix will likely come in the form of “trimming” back the part of the disc that is bulging out and putting pressure on the nerves (sciatica). The scar tissue from this procedure is usually enough to keep the disc from bulging again but it is not a guarantee however so more rigid control over my activities and a lot more exercise is in my future to prevent or at least stave off any more issues for as long as possible. See look at that, I am already exercising with that last run-on sentence. Boo-ya! I still got it! Shut-up Ralph, you never had it! Bonus points for who can correctly identify who I am talking about.

I am a little nervous but not as much as you may think about the procedure. The surgeon is a very meticulous doc and has me run through a barrage of tests and procedures to accurately give detailed information on what is really going on with me, how my heart is, am I a bleeder and so forth.

I have had back surgery before 27 years ago and since that time have had four others, although not as serious. I am really just looking forward to getting it done so I can move on and start to heal. With nerve damage there is no telling how much, if any of it, can or will heal based on the trauma already sustained. All I can do is be excited about forward progress of stay positive.

For all of you that have given me well wishes and offered help and good thoughts and the like, I want to say THANK YOU from the very core of my being. It is nice to hear from you and know that you care. (Now I am going to get  a little mushy here) Often enough we don’t say what or how we feel to the people we care about. We use excuses like, “They know how I feel” and “I have said it before” or some other expression we have all used to hide our true feeling for those we care about because for some reason we have by and large as a society learned to hide our feeling from those we care most about.

Let me start a change right now (for myself for I feel I haven’t often enough said how I truly feel); I want all my friends to know that I love all of you and am deeply touched and honored to know that so many of you have been in touch offering help and support. I could not ask for better friends!

Peace be with you all!

More to come…

Posted in Health | 4 Comments

Book Review – “Ready Player One” – Spoiler Alert

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

First off, let me start by saying WOW! This book, which is a quick 374 page read, is a fantastic journey down memory lane. For me the pages simply flew by more than any other book I have read in recent years. I am sure much of it has to do with it book referencing most thing 80’s. Things I personally connect with.

Being born in 1969, I was 11 in 1980 and would turn 21 in 1990 so I did all my growing up during this time period. Every time a video game, RPG, band, book, comic, tv show or movie was mentioned I was immediately rushed back to a time and place far removed from the one I live in now. It was like magic. Simply a wonderful blast from the past and stroll down memory lane.

Initially this was going post was going to discuss more of the finer parts of the book but then as I started writing it became more a moment of reflection. Growing up in the 80’s had not been easy but there were so many distractions that it was hard NOT to get sucked up into some part of it, I mean, there were some many distractions that could and did draw you in. As I was reading and came across something mentioned in the story that I personally remembered having experienced, I would be instantly transported back to when I experienced those things. No other book has been able to capture so many of those elements like this book.

The 80’s were a time of growth and discovery in so many different areas. Pop culture never had it so good. A glutton of new and crazy ideas made manifest for our senses were all being displayed for consumption and we all cozied up to the all you can eat buffet. Music which had an explosion in the 60’s was still going strong but things had mellowed and now synthesized music was starting to enter the fray, shortly to be followed by hair and metal bands…and Michael Jackson. Yes MJ was already a permanent fixture but his solo career was about to take off in a huge way and would set him apart from the rest of the world for decades to come. But I digress.

It now seemed that cartoons were making a huge impact on television as more and more households could afford them and kids were spending more time in front of them. I remember all things by Hanna Barbera (The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera), He-Man, She-Ra, Thundercats, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, Babu & Jeannie, The New Adventures of Johnny Quest, Captain Caveman, Groovy Goolies, Blue Falcon & Dynomutt, The Hairbear Bunch, Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, The Grape Ape (Show), Jabber Jaws, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (not a cartoon but what the hey, I watched it all the same. The Super Friends, Speed Buggy, Here come the Littles and who can forget School House Rock!? The Land of the Lost.Far Out Space Nuts, Electra Woman and DynaGirl (I am sure this was something to compete with Batman and Robin), and Honk Kong Phooey. The list goes on and on.  You get the idea. I did have fun looking up these titles though.

Comics had always been around but saw some explosive growth during the 80’s and 90’s with a few small companies creating some characters that gained traction that could compete with the big 2 (DC & Marvel). RPG’s (Role Playing Games) although technically had been around since the 70’s and likely before that called something else but saw mainstream growth in the 80’s. I remember buying the Monster Manual, Deities & Demigods, and a small off-white box containing 5-8 smaller booklets of gaming material at a garage sale for a few bucks. I was drawn to the fantastic cover art of the Monster Manual. I was very much into drawing and seeing the centaur on the cover just drew me in. It would be a few more years before I actually played but this was my first initiation into the world of gaming that I still enjoy today.Eventually I had come to buy more than 160 modules and purchased just about every hardcover that came out as well as all the softcover stuff during the 2-2.5 expansion of D&D. I ended up selling almost all that stuff as I was just hanging on to it for nostalgia sake as well as being part collector and hoarder. I did have to grow up and move on sometime didn’t I? That and I have a tiny house and never played with this stiff anymore. Eventually we (the group of peeps I play with to this day) played through 3, 3.5 and are currently on 4th edition.

Along with the console based games which I only participated in with an Intellivision were arcade games. I eventually (and my brother) had worked for a time at a nickel arcade (The Avalon Theatre) during the early 90’s. Here we got to see first hand all manner of games come through the doors. Pac-Man, Donkey-Kong, Defender, Galaxian and Galaga, Dig-Dug, Space Invaders and Centipede were all games that had seen there prime but were still actively played. Now player .vs. player games like Street Fighter were all the rage. One of my favorites games was Marble Madness – anyone else?

Now we get to the movies element of the book; they referenced so many of the movies I saw first hand in the theaters it was pretty ridiculous: Lady Hawk, War Games, Explorers and Blade Runner (although I didn’t see this until later) were films I really enjoyed and were a part of my history, my truth. It was like the author had seen right into the heart of this geek-in-training and said “Oh, you like this, this and this – great, me too!” and wrote about it in a way that took me back to a time in my life that was awesome in retrospect. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have to deal with abuse or one of the many terrible things a lot of kids did that I needed to escape from but I didn’t appreciate the 80’s until I was out of them. As much as I enjoyed them (now) it was not until later in life that I could truly appreciate what they offered me; a way to express myself and feel connected with something other than music which liked but not nearly so much as I do now.

Another thing that resonated with me; the blatant escapism that played such a dominant role in the book. It got a little too close to home. But what the hell, we were kids and that is what kids do, they play games and listen to music and read books and comics and wear crazy cloths that piss off their parent and pretty much any authority figure that took more than a second to read the snarky comment that was likely displayed on their t-shirt. I imagine things haven’t changed really all that much. Technology is way better and faster or more everything really. Although some small part of me really gets nostalgic for those old times when computers displayed in one color and music was still listened to on vinyl records and cassettes. This was also during the time CDs were just coming out and 8-tracks were just going away.

If you get a chance, even if you weren’t growing up during this time period but have a fondness or yearning for something that kind of hits the nail on the head for recreating some ultra-geek-nerd-fanboy-lost soul type of thing then this book is for you.

I truly enjoyed it. I think you will too.

Peace be with you!

More to come…

Posted in Novels, Reading Material | Tagged , | 2 Comments