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Writing 101

Love Your Daughter

Daughters are put on this earth to be loved – no matter what. I recall reading something alone these lines a long time ago. What the author failed to mention is that these same daughters can be a tad challenging at times when they do not get their own way. Then again, that is what makes them so special.

Weekends are times to reflect on the week just past and your successes and achievements. Ah, but that is before Tes arrives home on Friday afternoon in one of her argumentative moods. The cats run and hide under the bed while the dogs disappear into the far reaches of the garden not to be seen for the rest of the day.

The heavy oak front door bursts open and thumps loudly against the wall, allowing the cold winter sunlight to stream into the house. Tes glides through the entrance heading for her room, “Hey dad, you home yet?” can be heard from behind the now closed bedroom door. “University was terrible today.  The lecturer did not arrive and the assignment he left us to do had a page missing”.  “Worse still, it rained on the way home and I got wet”. Can you fix this for me?” “Who me? Of course not! Remember, men do not understand anything” and with feminism the flavour of the day I decide not to try. A quote borrowed from the movie Madagascar, “Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave” seems to be very appropriate.

smile-and-wave

I have learnt to walk on egg-shells when Tes is in in one of her moods. Is it the right approach?  Definitely not, but sometimes it is the best approach. Do I understand her moods? Oh yes without a doubt. Any father that has raised a daughter on his own develops a very special bond with her and understands her in ways nobody else ever will. I know when she is happy or sad, when to leave her alone and pen an article like this or when to sit with her and let her cry on my shoulder.

Then along came dating and another new amazing yet concerning chapter begins in Tess’ life. The hormones are racing and dating is now the name of the game. Boyfriends come and boyfriends go (without my help of course). Some do not even get to the first date but who cares? Not me sir. The sooner they leave the happier I am.

I have a motto about dating that has served me well.

my-dad

 

So, to all you wonderful parents out there, have fun raising your daughters. Even the bad days will be remembered fondly and your frustration will quickly be forgotten.

 

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Writing 101

Spend 10 Minutes Doing This Every Day and You Could Transform Your Blogging

 

 

Today I want to suggest an exercise that has the potential to improve your blogging profoundly if you build it into your daily routine.

Look at another blog

OK – this may not sound that profound – most of us read other blogs every day but it doesn’t revolutionise what we do – but stick with me for a second while I explain HOW to do it in a way that could have a big impact.

Here’s what I do every day

I choose a blog and then spend 5-10 minutes reviewing it. My aim is not to ‘consume’ it as a reader…. but rather to review it with the view of learning about blogging.

 

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Writing 101

Boost Site Traffic Through Google Plus

Always wanted to know how to boost my traffic.

Web Marketing Newsletter

google-plus-social-icon-20438843You can boost your website traffic by posting your blog links on Google Plus. How come? You might ask. Well, it’s because of these three things:

1. Google Plus is owned by Google.

2. Google search is what most people use when searching for stuff online.

3. Google gives importance to links that are being posted on Google Plus.

It really is that simple. So all you have to do is make sure that you have a G+ account. If you’re logged in to your Youtube account or Gmail, you’re also automatically logged in to your G+ account. Now, what you have to do is just optimize your Google Plus. Join circles, follow people, add your contacts from your other social networks. Then start posting your blog links to your G+ account.

For more information on how to do this, please head to:  Increase website traffic with Google+…

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Writing 101

Writing 101 – Character Building

The Boss! He turned my life upside down the day I joined the firm. A tall man with broad shoulders, wild red hair and piercing green eyes.  Quick to anger, his booming voice is often heard lashing out at the unfortunate staff member who makes a mistake.

Demanding only the best in the shortest time possible from all his staff ensured that everyone stayed focussed all the time. There were no “bad hair days” or slacking off early on a Friday afternoon. No sir, not when the boss was around.

Well, that is what I thought. I soon learnt that he had a soft spot for the women, young or old. Don’t get me wrong, he was not a player. Actually he was happily married and had 3 children, a son and 2 daughters.

I had the good fortune of meeting the eldest daughter for the first time one afternoon on my way out of the office. She was walking towards the ground floor lifts when I spotted her.

Beautiful, stunning where the first words that sprung into my mind. I was in love, instantly and without a doubt. How is this possible? Until then I was a firm believer that love at first sight was a fallacy. How else could I explain my sudden emotional turmoil, other than to say it must be love.

She had on a long flowing green dress that clung to her supple young body and complimented the colour of her eyes. Moving with grace across the floor, the tips of her painted toes could be seen peeping out from under her dress with every step she took.

As she got closer her refined features became more apparent. Her fair skin complimented the colour of her hair and eyes. The dimple on the corner of her full lips may be seen as a flaw to some but to me, it was beautiful.

She caught my eye and smiled mischievously. “You must be Gordon” she said, as she came to a stop in front of me. “And you are Carol, I assume”? She smiled and nodded her head. “I have been dying to meet you” we both blurted out and then stopped, and started laughing like two old friends.

 

 

 

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Writing 101

Writing 101 – The Letter

A woman brushes past me as she dashes to board the last train to Cape Town. In her haste she drops a letter and I watch as it drifts slowly to the ground at my feet. Without hesitating I stoop and pick it up before rushing after her.

Too late! The train doors hiss close and I watch in dismay as it accelerates out of the station. I turn away from the edge of the station and walk back to the bench where I left my luggage, letter in hand.

Seated once again, I examine the letter hoping to find an address I can return it to. The outside of the old envelope is blank so I gently remove the single sheet of paper from the open end. The paper is delicate and has a soft feminine fragrance.

There is a short scribbled message in the centre of the page.

Mom, help me please! I am in serious trouble, and need you here. Paul is missing and the police are not taking me seriously.

You warned me that this may happen, but I did not listen. I have moved in with Mrs Smith because it is no longer safe at home.

Please hurry mom, I think Paul is dead…

 

 

 

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Writing 101

The Loss – Part One

Walking down the familiar cobbled street to the quaint coffee shop were we first met, still brings tears to my eyes. It has been over a year since the tragic accident, yet it still seems like yesterday.

Our first meeting was by chance, when I dashed in there one night to get out of the cold, pouring rain. On entering the coffee shop I spotted an empty table near the fire. Without checking that it may be occupied I made my way over to it, and dropped my weary frame into one of the over-stuffed comfortable chairs.

The room was warm and snug. The roar of the fire was a pleasant change from the organised chaos on the city roads outside. Old stagecoach lamps hung from the walls, throwing pools of dim light over the tables. Large oil paintings of winter scenes in old London adorned the walls, like windows into the past.

My exhaustion caught up with me and I fell asleep in this warm and comfortable environment. I woke slowly to the gentle touch of your hand. Opening my eyes I saw your radiant smile for the very first time. You were sitting in the chair opposite me. Only then did I see your handbag on the table and realised that I was an uninvited guest at your table.

Apologising for the intrusion I stood up and looked around for another empty table. You just smiled, touched my hand briefly, and asked me to sit down and share your table. I looked down at this beautiful young woman, smiled and sat down immediately. The rented video I planned to watch that evening, suddenly became unimportant.

We sat next to the fire until the early morning hours talking and laughing like old friends. This was a dream come true for both of us. It was as if fate had guided us to the coffee shop. Little did we suspect the heartache that lay ahead for both of us.

This chance meeting changed both our lives forever.

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Writing 101

Writing 101 – 3 Songs And Their Meaning

Music has always played an important part in my life. It is an anchor to my past, my present and my future. It has the power to raise my spirits and just as easily, send them crashing into a pit of despair.

Looking back over the years, I have been fortunate to experience the rock movement of the 70’s, punk of the 80’s and so much more. Then along came Rap and the likes of Eminem and his “Rap God” song. Now I do not know about you but rapping 100 words in 15 seconds is an impossible speed for most of us.

One of the big musical moments in my life was the release of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. The censor board released the movie without an age restriction. However, 6 weeks later they reversed their decision, deciding that the track “Touch-a Touch-a Touch me” was unsuitable for public viewing, and set a date for the banning of the movie.

The night before the banning every cinema in the country aired a double feature of the movie for one last time. The irony being that the entire audience consisted of school children.  Those were the same children who skipped school or slept through half the lessons the following day.

The next song on my list is from the “Rock” genre. Go and listen to the way Meatlof sings his song “Bat out of Hell“.  The music is wild and noisy but it carries a message if you listen to the song.

My last selection is the theme song of one of the “Rocky” movies starring Sylvester Stallone. I refer of course to “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. A very fitting piece of music for a powerful movie of the time.

There are so many more songs that come to mind that are worth mentioning so it is actually sad to stop now.

 

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Writing 101

Writing 101 – A Room with a View

Slowly walking to the aircraft, weighted down by my parachute. Thoughts are racing through my mind. Is this real, am I really going to do this – again?

I stop, turn and take one last look at the safety of the departure lounge. Shaking my head at the madness to follow, I turn and board the light aircraft. The interior of the aircraft is but a husk of its former glory.

All the seating and decor have been stripped out to make it lighter. Instead it is packed with sky divers seated on the floor next to each other, all speaking very loudly and excitedly. We are all aware of the danger, but the adrenaline rush of the jump is awesome.

As is custom, there are no doors on the plane and nothing is placed across the gaping hole to prevent anyone from falling out. Who wants a door on a plane when the intention is to jump out of it at heights of over 6000 feet?

The ascent to 6000 feet takes over 15 minutes to complete but once there the fun really begins. At this hight the aircraft hangar looks the size of a match box and the runway is reduced to a small smudge in the sand. The phrase ” Space, the final frontier.” was made famous by Star Trek. Who needs Star Trek? Space can and is found at 6000 feet.

There I was yet again exiting an aircraft with the most intense adrenaline rush you can imagine and my only safety-net being a parachute strapped to my back. This is my room. It is quiet up here and strangely peaceful. There are no distractions from cell phones or any other electronic device.

This is the only time you get to experience the  amazing feeling of flight.  From up here the earth is beautiful and the air is crisp and very cold. All too soon gravity reminds me that it is time to deploy my parachute, ending my visit to my room.

Even while I sit and write this article I can mentally put myself back up there and the warm weightless sensation returns.

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Writing 101

Writing 101 – Free writing

Where to start and what to write. So many thoughts flow through my mind. Nothing holds my attention long enough before it is replaced by another idea that seems even better than the previous on.

Well, thankfully this is all about free writing, giving me the freedom to dream a little and let my mind wonder. However I better rein it in before the entire 20 minute session becomes a blabber of meaningless words.

How does this relate to the theme of my blog I ask myself. Frankly it does not. There is no structure and clear direction, no statement to make or logic to prove. A total sense of free thought that has a mind of its own, going where it pleases and dragging me along for the ride. Buckle up and let’s see where it takes us.

I can hear the sound of distant traffic humming down the motorway through my open window. In South Africa winter is supposed to be approaching and the days are getting cooler. Well, that was the way it used to be. Now the mornings are cool enough to be pleasant while by midday the temperature soars to 27 degrees centigrade. That is warm for Cape Town at this time of year.

There is a beautiful tree in full bloom outside my window. Nature has forgotten that winter is, or should be approaching in this corner of the world.

 

 

 

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Writing 101

Productivity Grinds To A Halt

Productivity grinds to a halt when the boss is away

The age-old adage that “the mice will play when the boss is away” is so true even in the most organised office environment. Let this happen on a Friday and even the dedicated workers take time out to watch the pranksters at play.

When-the-boss-is-away
When The Boss is Away

It is fun to watch and even better to be a part of the “action”. Behold the day the boss returns unexpectedly. All hell breaks loose when his / her presence is noticed. A tangible silence suddenly hangs over the merrymakers followed by a flurry of activity as all the participants try in vain to look busy with their work.

Has it happened to you yet? Well, not to worry it will, trust me it will. When it does, you will discover your brain turns to mush and you make the lamest excuses trying to explain why you are not hard at work completing the task you spent the better part of the day discussing with your boss. If he was in a foul mood before he left the office, trust me he will be even worse now.

Have fun at the office my friends, have fun. However try not to get caught by your boss when she is having a bad hair day.

 

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Writing 101

My Dream Reader – Assignment 4

My dream reader will possess a well-developed sense of humor. He or she will love to laugh and be able to see the funny side of life. Making time to read a good book and enjoy a glass of wine in the company of friends is important to me. Where is the fun in life  if there is not enough time to be silly once in a while?

The dream reader I have in mind is not a particular person, but rather someone that possess qualities, interests and characteristics similar to mine. So much of my time is spent at work where being serious is the order of the day. Being able to let your hair down and just be yourself at the end of the day is very important to me.

A while ago I went “Sky Diving”. It was an amazing experience that I would consider doing again. The group of friends I made are very brave people. A little crazy, but very brave none the less. To have a reader from this group of people will be an honor.

On second thoughts, maybe going “Sky Diving” again is not such a good idea. The wife will be out in full cry marching up and down the runway swinging her baseball bat waiting for my return. There will be no prizes for anyone that guesses what she plans to do with her baseball bat. 🙂

What has this got to do with my dream reader? Well, nothing actually. It is just my vivid imagination getting the better of me.

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Writing 101

Who I am and why I’m here

This has always been a good question! Well, to tell you the truth it is to learn and expand my circle of friends in the blogging community.

I have written a few articles for my company and re-posted some of them onto my blog. However, there is more to blogging than just computer jargon wrapped up in very fancy words. So why am I here? To learn and to meet fellow bloggers who are also just starting out.

So why blog publicly? Well that is a question I pondered over for a long time. With all the security issues and loss of privacy being discussed in the media it is surprising that anyone still blogs publicly. However here I am joining the ever increasing ranks of bloggers and less than a year ago I would not have done so. It is never too late to see the light.

There is so much I do not know about blogging. What I know about the technical detail most likely fits onto the back of a pinhead. I hope to change all this over the course of the next year and make a lot of friends along the way. So, please join me and give me your feedback. I am here to learn.

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Writing 101

A tentative approach to blogging

Well, this is my first blog enty. I am not too sure where it will lead me but I will let my thoughts be my guide. Where to from here, and what to write about is the burning question.

I read about keywords and search engine optimization, where that all fits in will have to wait until I understand more about them. For now a start has been made.

I am starting a blog so that I can jot down my work experience as a software developer and in software sales. I will cover topics that relate to software I sell and tips and tricks I have learnt that I use while selling software.

Join me on my journey as it meanders from topic to topic.

Ryan