My Secret Is Out

There’s this concept online called crowdfunding. In basic language, crowdfunding is a group of people that buy into another individual’s/company’s idea. I mean buy as in money and buy as in you like what they are selling. I actually can’t tell you how I got involved, but believe me, it had to be something I saw online that made me say, “Wow!” I was working then, though money was tight, but what I saw made me say, “I’ve got to have this!” The problem was my spouse, who wasn’t my spouse at the time, but we were dating and living together. I knew that spending money on a watch was not going to fly. Yes, the first geeky item I pledged to was a watch. This watch connected to your phone and you got notifications. This was before smart watches were the rage. What I did was to first talk up the watch by saying how it could keep me from missing messages on my commute from New York to New Jersey. Well, that didn’t work, so I did what I knew was fail proof: it was an early birthday present to myself. While I was wheeling and dealing with my spouse on this watch, I went to a newfound website of geek items and saw another watch. This time, not only could I get notifications but I could talk into it. Dick Tracy here I come! Now, I’m talking about two watches. Well, I only have one birthday, so how could I get her to see things from my point of view? Nope, it wasn’t going to happen, so I did the unthinkable and just kept my big mouth shut. The website that had grabbed my attention that I was not mentioning was Kickstarter. 
Kickstarter

Kickstarter
was started in April 2009 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler. The Kickstarter headquarters is located in New York City. Kickstarter is a very user friendly site for project owners and backers. Kickstarter responds to questions and problems about their site very quickly and you can communicate with the project owner by clicking on the comments section or emailing him/her through the website. The comments area is also a place to interact, not only with the project owner, but with other backers, during the course of the project.
Kickstarter has a global community of people from more than 220 countries and territories. Roughly 35% of successfully funded projects now come from outside the United States, as do 45% of backers. Together, these backers and creators use Kickstarter to reach across borders and shape culture into what they want it to be, rather than accepting it for what it is. And as ideas from different cultures collide with one another, they inspire new conversations, creative approaches, and cross-cultural connections.
 

Kickstarter Project Manager 
I will discuss the technology area of Kickstarter; however, there are many types of projects that you can back, such as films, music, and books. The Kickstarter site enables people to discover and back as many projects as they believe will become a reality. When a person, or groups of people, decide to start a project on Kickstarter they must first build a project page, which includes a video with a description explaining their project. The next step for the project owner is to provide information about their budget and a timeline from beginning to end of the project. The project owner must then decide what kind of rewards they will offer backers, such as a choice of item color or engraving the item with the project name and year. These rewards are given when the project funding reaches certain milestones. Project owners have to keep in mind that they pay for all of the rewards offered to backers. When project owners think about the funds necessary to bring their project to fruition, they must consider everything because Kickstarter will not let their project become a reality if the funding goal is not met. A very important part of the project is promotion. A project needs active promotion because a project no one knows about will never get funded. Kickstarter’s fee is 5%, with an additional 3 to 5% for processing payments. If the project owner doesn’t meet their funding goal, they owe nothing.

Kickstarter Backers
There are different tier amounts that a backer can pledge. When a backer pledges early there is usually a perk from the project owner as a way of thanking a backer for coming aboard early. The different pledge tiers not only tell you the item, but an estimated month and year that you will receive the item. The shipping information will also be listed in each tier box, along with any accessories that might be given. Once he/she has met the project funding level, the project owner will give their backers updates as the project develops through each stage. Backers like to know they’ve made a wise decision in backing a project and hate it when shipping has to be pushed back time after time. My experience with Kickstarter is that projects are always pushed back for different reasons. The project owners try to give realistic shipping estimates, but often a project of this magnitude is new to many of them and they are not prepared for the problems that arise. You, the backer, have to be aware that there are also scam artist that will go through the motions of creating a project, but once funding is met and they receive their money, you never hear from them again. There is really no recourse for backers when a project owner takes the money and doesn’t fulfill his/her part of the deal. Kickstarter backing is partially about being first to get an item that no one might know about or have even envisioned. As I stated, not all projects make it to the backers. An example of this was a watch that I pledged for my daughter. It was supposed to be the thinnest watch out in 2013. The company wasn’t able to make the watch because they encountered too many hurdles that they weren’t prepared for. I recently received a letter informing us that after liquidating all of their assets, there was no money to give to backers

Some might think this is throwing money away because these projects aren’t cheap, and if a project fails you can’t get your money back. I think of it like this: It’s no riskier than the lottery or going to the casino. You never know when you’ll hit the jackpot. There is a certain rush you get as the months go by waiting for your reward to make it from the project owner’s vision to you.

The Art of Cheating

Cheating, similar to a painting, needs all of the pieces to come together to create the perfect picture. There are three people involved in cheating: the cheater, the person being cheated on, and last but not least, the person being cheated with. That basically sums up the triangle of cheating. I would guess that most of us have been in one part of the triangle or another at some point. The person being cheated on and the person being cheated are just like an isosceles triangle in that they are equal in the hurt that can come from a cheater. 

There are signs; however, it’s a matter of whether you, the person being cheated on, wants to acknowledge the signs or not. There are always very subtle signs. It’s a sign that if you blink too fast, it will be gone. Cheaters very seldom in the beginning of a new relationship do obvious things that are easy for you to pick up on, but they do unobvious things that are small, so you have to be observant. If you have been in a long-term relationship that is meaningful to you, then you know your other half. You know if the person stops kissing you when he/she leaves the room or comes home from work. There may be times when that kiss that usually comes every day starts becoming every other day or every two days. You understand now what I mean by subtle? 

I know it may be hard to think of the person who is being cheated with as a causality in this triangle as much as the person who is being cheated on, but I believe he or she is also a victim. There are a lot of people who feel that the person who is being cheated with should bear the brunt of this triangle because that person should have just said no to the relationship. That person is looked upon as a third wheel for entering into a relationship that was solid. Actually, I guess it wasn’t as solid as it was thought to be. I argue that this person could not have infiltrated your relationship without there being some kind of hint that said it was “OK”. Again, the hint is usually very subtle. It doesn’t matter who puts out the hint – the cheater or the person being cheated with – it takes only that small acknowledgment of acceptance to start cheating.

The cheater is the big fish because both of the other parties of the triangle are being held together by this person. The cheater is not only cheating on the person that he/she has the direct relationship with but also the person he/she is cheating with. Yes, the person being cheated with has as much invested in this triangle as the cheater and his/her partner. The cheater is a bandit who is stealing feelings and emotions from the other two people in the triangle. Have you ever noticed that the drama that comes with cheating becomes stronger once it’s out in the open. The cheater and the side person’s relationship becomes closer, and this is because they have a common denominator, which is the dislike for or uncertainty of the person being cheated on. That common denominator pushes the cheater and the person being cheated with closer and closer until they are so close that they truly believe they are in love. I often wonder, without that common denominator, could that side relationship work? 

The triangle doesn’t care if you are straight, gay, or a martian; its all about you and how you treat someone. The person being cheated on has to dig down deep in their emotions to confront the cheater. I know it is easier said than done. I really believe that confronting the cheater as soon as the hint is in view is what should be done. No, don’t blink and hope it goes away. No, don’t try to do more until actions from the cheater match the words that come out of his/her mouth. The longer it takes to confront the cheater, the harder it will be. That’s a fact. You need to get the information, resources and finances together and just put all of that away somewhere for when you need it. The person being cheated with, it would be very easy to say just say no, but I know it’s not always that easy, especially as you get closer and closer to the cheater. I think you already know it’s wrong to get in between any sort of relationship, but there are times when the cheater presents such a good view of why this is ok that it’s like being hit by a Mack Truck. It happens before you know you’ve been hit. I’m definitely not saying that it’s ok to be the third wheel in the triangle. What I’m saying is that there could be a good reason why that person is involved in a relationship. For the cheater, there are so many reasons why he/she cheats, from you can’t cook to you can’t satisfy him/her. These things get ballooned in the creator’s mind once the cheater feels that there is no way to fix the relationship. Or it could just be that the person finds the need to have more than one person, like a polygamist. Even if the cheater comes back, it will never be like it was before, when you laughed at the same things or snuggled in bed watching a movie. The trust is gone, and, once gone, trust is hard to get back. It’s hard to forget that all of that occurred when the relationship grew from two to three people. 

You, the person being cheated on, has to be honest and open with yourself. Can you look past the hurt? Can you believe his/her words that come out of his/her mouth? Can you release the heartache that comes with having a third person in the relationship? The person being cheated with thinks that once the cheater is out of the relationship, they can be together. That’s a bunch of poop. You might lose out just like the person being cheated on because you will, in fact, get that title. I don’t get it. Just because the cheater is out of a relationship doesn’t mean you will be the chosen one. It just means you were there and were used to break up a relationship, and that’s all it means, nothing more or nothing less.

Honest communication is the only way to stop the train wreck that will come from cheating. This honest communication has to occur before the third person is brought into the relationship; otherwise, honest communication becomes lying communication. There will be times when honest communication will lead to a relationship breaking up because you may find that you two have grown apart or maybe one of you has fallen out of love. It might happen that breaking the bond between the two of you is the best thing and maybe neither of you can see it at that very moment, but down the line you both will wish that you could say to the other person, “Thank you for being honest with me.” 

I hope that anyone who is currently in a relationship and is not happy, that you stop and talk to your partner/spouse before things get sloppy from involving a third person.

Bullying Straight Up No Chaser


Think back to when you were a child, I bet there is a fair amount of people who were bullied. We seem to forget that bullying is nothing new. Bullying is about power, it’s about making the bully feel good as much as it’s about making the bullied child feel hopeless and worthless. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that in this age of technology bullying has so much power that it could make a child commit suicide. The computer is not the problem, the problem is that people hide behind a screen and feel entitled and empowered by this sort of protection to say whatever they will – their words are the real issue. I’m one of those who don’t believe it’s guns that kill people, rather it’s the person behind the gun that’s the problem. Growing up, when you were bullied you told your parents, you had a fight or you just hid behind the other children to stay out of sight. Now though, virtual words typed on a keyboard have so much strength that they make a child feel there is nothing else they can do but tie something around their neck and hang from the highest point they can get to. Have we birthed children that have no backbone? Have we neglected our duties as parents so much that we can’t see the signs? Are we not able to hear our children calling us for help? I believe that technology takes away the ability for children to learn how to socialize. These days, when you look at kids, even when they are in a group, their eyes are constantly on their phones so they don’t really socialize anymore. This new generation of kids take it as the norm to be isolated rather than to socialize and make friends with their peers.  

There must be signs that parents don’t see when their child gets to the point where they feel hopeless and alone in their fight. I imagine the signs are there but they are hidden behind a façade of happiness. Maybe they try to be happy. If they are introverted within their family circle, they all of a sudden become extroverted outside of it. A child who doesn’t talk much becomes loquacious, whereas a talker becomes suddenly quiet. There are always signs, but we are missing them because we are so wrapped up in our own lives. No-one can accept the fact that an adult has contributed to the death of their child. Nevertheless, it’s time us parents take some responsibility for sticking a phone or a tablet into our children’s hands as soon as they can hold them. It seems like phones and tablets have become the new pacifier, one that takes away some of the parental duties that kids need the most and which should come in the form of interaction. Interaction is very, very important for a child’s growth as it gives them the confidence to deal with all types of situations. Interaction is a confidence booster that the new generations lack more and more and this lack means that parents see their children but they do not really know them. The distance between parents and children is wide and when parents realize what is going on with their children it is too late. The children have buried themselves into so much grief that pulling them back out would require a miracle. Miracles do happen, but how often? Not too often.

I truly believe it’s our duty as parents to ensure that in the future technology loses some of the power it has gained so far. We must teach our children exactly what the power of words is. Children must be told of experiences that parents have had, so they know their folks can relate. Parents must find the time to interact with their children on a regularly basis and tell them they understand their challenges and are open to discussing them together. Is that going to be easy? No, it won’t be a simple task, but you have to keep trying. Children have to know their parents won’t be judgmental, but understanding, so they can try to find a solution together. It’s easy to take away their computers or monitor the time they spend online, but that doesn’t mean they will get enough attention from you. Where is the interaction? Parents, you must be ready to bare your soul to your child and keep trying over and over again. A child needs to feel all the attention they feel they aren’t getting from you. A example of what I’m talking about is when your child comes home from school and you ask “How was school?”. You don’t just settle for “Okay”, that is not good enough because what does that tell you? Nothing at all. It will take time and you will get frustrated, but you have to keep trying, without pushing too hard. Don’t give up. I just don’t want to read about another child taking their life over some words they found on a computer screen. Remember that bullying can only go as far as your child lets it and it’s really up to you to equip them with the tools to fight back.

Unique Ways to Find A Spouse

 Times have truly changed when it comes to dating and marriage. It used to be that you went to church functions or you met people through friends. The most popular, and still popular, Match.com is a leader in bringing people together. I can personally tell you that I met my spouse on Match.com and we’ve been together for 12 years and married for 3 of those years. The computers age changed everything. It gave you the ability to meet people all over the world. The new computer age didn’t just give you the ability to meet people in different countries, but it also allows you to meet people in your area that you maybe would have never met. Television has taken the step to meet people even farther, with shows like 90 Day Fiancé, 90 Day Fiancé Before The 90 Days, and 90 Day Fiancé The Other Way, and then there’s Love After Lockup, a show on Wetv, which shows another way to meet with the end result being marriage. These shows may seem crazy and you might just be saying, “Not me,” but these shows are uniting many couples for marriage.

90 Day Fiancé premiered in 2014

90 Day Fiancé is a TLC series about an American who goes across the country to meet the person he/she hopes to marry. The American has usually visited websites that are specific to what they want in a person, such as a Cuban dating site to meet a Cuban woman. The couple has just 90 days after getting a K-1 visa to decide whether or not to marry. The K-1 visa allows a U.S. citizen to bring his/her fiancé to the United States. The couples get to know each other mainly through FaceTime and texting. The couples are often of different ages and a few couples have a 20-year separation in age. They do get paid to let cameras into their lives from the time they start communicating through their whole courtship process. As noted previously, their communication is mainly through FaceTime and text messaging. What a way to get to know someone. The participants in the show are paid $1000 to $1500 per episode and $2500 if they appear in the tell all show at the end of the season. That sure seems like a cheap amount to put your emotions and life out there for public scrutiny. There is a 90 Day Fiancé casting group on Facebook for you to apply and get more information. You can go to Auditionsfree.com to get information about casting. The person going to the foreign country has to pay for traveling to the foreign country and the K-1 visa. This is not a cheap way to find love. The show does give you a look at the way other countries’ values in love and marriage are dealt with as well as the foreign person trying to understand the American ways. 

Love After Lockup premiered in 2018

Love After Lockup is another unique way to find the person of your dreams to marry. It brings together one person in prison and one person out in the free world. The person not in prison writes to or responds to letters from the inmate. It is through these letters that the communication grows into wanting to marry the person in prison and wait for him/her to be released from prison. The camera follows the couples as the prisoners are released and adjust to their new freedom. We get to watch the ups and downs of dealing with the prisoner’s restrictions and learning of how to maneuver the free life. The person who is not in prison usually takes care of all the prisoner’s needs, both in prison and once they get out. The participants are paid $2000 per episode and if they appear on Life After Lockup they get $3000 per episode. That’s not too shabby for a convict just getting out of prison. If you would like more information email to: LOVEAFTERLOCKUPCASTING@GMAIL.COM.

These ways of finding love might seem too far out to imagine, but to a person that’s looking for love, these shows offer a viable alternative. The participants in both shows are often of different races, religions, ethnicities, and ages. There hasn’t been a gay participant in either show, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. These types of shows highlight the fact that finding love is not easy, but some people will do just about anything to find that perfect somebody.

Fibromyalgia Sucks

I am 62 years old and have had fibromyalgia for the last 20 years. Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease. When I was first diagnosed, I was told it wasn’t lupus and no other information except to see a rheumatologist. That was the beginning of a life I didn’t want. Then it was test after test and so many different medicines that it made my head spin. One day, about 15 years ago, I was out walking on my lunch break in New York and as I was walking, both of my feet started hurting. I mean, they hurt like I was walking on glass. I struggled to get back to my job. I went to see the rheumatologist and my pain was given a name: fibromyalgia. I was somewhat relieved because now maybe I could get a medicine that would help me. I was wrong. I now know that I was having a flareup, which made diagnosing it much easier. It was tired of being a medical experiment. The years went on. Sometimes I could take the 90 minute ride to work, but there were plenty of times that I couldn’t motivate myself to get out of bed. It was a daily struggle. I got married and there were many times we would have to cancel plans because I just couldn’t go. I stopped making plans. It was better to be spontaneous. Fibromyalgia doesn’t just affect you; it takes a toll on each person that is close to you. My spouse is understanding, but I still feel bad because she didn’t sign up for this, being in the house most of the time. It got to the point that I just didn’t have the energy to go commute any longer, so I retired. She retired two years later and we moved to Florida. I thought Florida would be better because the temperature stays constantly hot. I would have a flareup every time the seasons changed in New York, so Florida seemed like a good idea. Wrong move. I forgot about the humidity, so I’m still in the house most of the time. I can’t take the heat. She tells me it’s okay, but I feel even worse now because we are both retired and we can’t do the traveling we wanted to do when we retired. There is no cure for this disease, so the most I can hope for is what I have right now. I take things one day at a time. When I feel good, we get out and just enjoy being out. It’s wonderful.

Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease that causes widespread muscle pain and tenderness. There are other symptoms that are also associated with it such as fatigue, low energy, trouble sleeping, headaches, and tingling in your hands and feet. Fibromyalgia usually affects both sides of your body, such as both of your arms or feet. This is one of the ways I know it’s not lupus, which I was diagnosed with later. 

Treatment for fibromyalgia once it is diagnosed is hit and miss. There are drugs for the pain, such as hydrocodone. There is medical marijuana, which I now use. The doctors here in Florida try to wean you off of pain medicine, with the marijuana taking the place of dosages of the pain medicine. My problem with medical marijuana is sometimes the marijuana is good and sometimes it seems like I’m just throwing money away. Tai Chi is supposed to help because of the gentle movement on the body. I tried yoga once and was in bed for two weeks from all of the poses that I put my body in. I have tried going to the gym many times and each time I end up in bed with a bad flareup. A flareup is when the disease gets ahold of my body and beats it up. I still try to exercise though, but very slowly and I time myself so I can gradually work myself up to at least 30 minutes of cardio. I prefer exercising at home so I can shower and lay down right after without driving anyplace. The plus about exercising at home is that I don’t have to get dressed, so I can look any way I want.

Relationships are hard. I know how I feel when I can’t do something. It’s very frustrating. But for my spouse I feel worse. We haven’t been to any support groups, but now I feel we should. We both need support to understand the feelings we have when a flareup occurs, which as I’ve gotten older, is more frequent. It’s important that you and your partner sit down and talk about everything about this disease. It takes a lot of understanding and patience. Thankfully, she has shown both. It might not always be this way, but for now, I’m just happy that she loves me and takes up the slack when I can’t do my part. I sometimes get mad and lash out at her for no reason whatsoever except I mad at this disease and she’s here. She’s learned to just let me be and I calm down after a while.

You know how your body feels and never let a doctor tell you it’s nothing. Fibromyalgia is hard to diagnose, and after seeing doctor after doctor, you might start to think that what you are feeling is not real. I went through that in the beginning, with doctor after doctor and trying this medicine and that medicine. I started to wonder if I was losing my mind. There is a doctor out there that can help you. You can only do what you can do. Don’t push yourself because that only makes things worse. Be good to yourself.