Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Me And My Modem

Where am I? Or better put: Where have I been? For those of you wondering if I've dropped off the face of the blogosphere, forgotten the importance of social networking, ignoring comments and site visits, I have an excuse.


Here is a photo of the little culprit, the reason why I have not been able to access the Internet for five days. Cute, ain't it?

One second I'm sitting at my workstation, doing my thing, earning my bread and butter as a telecommuter when...


My DSL connection is no more. Maybe "Bang!" isn't quite right. It was more like:


We've all been there before, all know the symptoms: connection all of a sudden no longer connected. Reboot, try again. Still nada. Pick up telephone and make that phone call we all dread, the one where some techie walks us through a version of hell that none of us are looking forward to, and then...nothing again. After a few hours of this it was finally diagnosed that I had a bad modem (please don't tell my wife!) and needed a replacement.

Here's where it gets good. The nice doctor, I mean, technical assistant, assured me that he would get a new modem out to me that day, Friday 1/23/09, with the promise of it being delivered to me the next day, Saturday 1/24/09.


Of course you know that. But did you also know that you can't get a tracking number until SOMEONE ACTUALLY SHIPS YOUR PACKAGE!!

Bringing us to today, the day said package, containing my brand-new, shiny and wonderful modem, finally arrived, having been shipped not on Friday, but on Monday. Better late than never and thus ending this mess of a modem predicament.


Not nearly. Newborn modem in hand, I call my favorite technical assistant and spend the next two hours attaching and reattaching cables and wires to hard drives and routers, troubleshooting and wishing it was 1975 when PC merely meant Politically Correct and not Personal Computer.

Finally, after munching on aspirin, an ice pack and heating pad on my shoulder and back, and my brain the consistency of my favorite breakfast food, me and my new best friend gave birth to a spanking new baby modem (I think I'll name it Marvin), and I am back in business, baby!

I appreciate all of you who continued to support my sites while I was in modem limbo and unable to participate in the social networking life that is so vital albeit exhausting yet integral and rewarding part of blogging. Continuing that same theme: I am putting the final touches on my latest song and video that just happens to be about social networking, called, "Social Network Blues." It should be ready for your listening and viewing pleasure in a few weeks.

My next post, as previously promised two posts ago, will be the second installment of Veg Out With Mike, featuring meatless meatloaf, garlic smashed potatoes, and brown gravy. Here is a preview:

Until next time...



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Near-Death? More Life!

We all saw it, that amazing photo of the plane that went down in the Hudson the other day. All those lucky people standing on the wings of US Airways flight 1549 as it slowly sank into the icy water. Survivors with nothing more than damp shoes and socks as a reminder of what could have been as ferryboats arrived to motor them back to dry land. The pilot, expertly and swiftly reacting to a flock of geese that took out not one but both engines, a reluctant hero. A horrible disaster averted. Elation, rather than tragedy, painting the faces of not only those who survived and their relieved families, but a recharged country, and world, desperately in need of some good news for a change.

I think I speak for many of you out there when I say that watching your life flash before your eyes, or vicariously viewing it through the eyes of those survivors of that doomed flight, reinvigorates your life. It makes you grateful, true, but also reminds us of the precariousness of life, the gift that we are given every day that allows us to breathe, to live. It also, no doubt, forces us to take accountability for our actions, our lives--are we living our lives, every day, the best we can? And why does it all too often take a near-death experience for us to embrace this precious and fragile thing called life?

Have you ever had a near-death experience? I have, a few of them.

Besides feeling relieved and elated, frightened and thankful, what else can we learn from near-death experiences? The answer, as always, can be found in this blog and my video site, livelife365.com.


Life, being a precious commodity, should never be taken for granted, and certainly never wasted. But so many of us, myself, at times, included, do just that. We need a near-death, or more optimistically put, a miracle, to awaken inside us what most of us already know. Why is that? I’m not sure, but I feel that sometimes life, with its repetition and routine, its nightly news forecasts of financial doom, war, uncertainty, and sadness, wears us down. To the point of forgetting how wonderful life actually is. And while most of us try to look at the more positive sides of life, we still, more times than we like to admit, forget to greet each day as an opportunity to do something great, practicing patience and kindness, being positive and enterprising, and embracing the gift that has been bestowed upon us. Because, like it or not, we are not going to get out of this alive.

Bringing us back to that miraculous landing on the Hudson that could have started this new year with tragedy, rather than hope. And reminding us how lucky we are.

Now, what are you going to do about it?


We just got a fantastic wake-up call. Well, time to wake up, right?

Right. Wake up and not only smell the coffee (or green tea), but embrace this miracle called life every day. To its fullest. By being the best we can be and doing all that we can to live our lives 365.

Until next time…



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Look

Notice anything different? Take a good look at my face, go ahead, I won’t bite. See it? No? Think: hair, like in “I Miss My Hair,” only I’m not missing it, but adding it. Figured it out? That’s right, I grew a beard. But didn’t I already have a beard, some of you may be asking? Yes, but only a goatee, a little chin whiskers, if you will. This hairy mess covers the entire lower half of my face. Why, you may also be asking yourselves, did I grow a beard? Now that is a good question.

Here’s one answer:

For those of you who did not watch the video, here’s what I said: Winter. More to the point: a few weeks ago, I was so cold and out of it (lazy) that I didn’t feel like scraping a sharp razor over my chilly, tender face, so I decided to grow what I am calling a winter beard. Problem is, the temperatures right now are unseasonable warm (I know, pity me, right?), hovering in the low 70s, and it feels more like spring, the time of year when one shaves off his winter growth. But if anything changes on a whim, it’s the weather, so I will hold off a few days before I do anything drastic (less lazy) beard-wise, unless I am so overwhelmed by reader comments then, maybe, I will be forced to grab that razor and shaving cream.

There is another part of me that is sporting a new look these days, and that’s my video website, livelife365.com. Some of my new visitors may be asking, “What is livelife365?” To find out, check out my new front page, or watch this video:

My goal is, and always has been, to try to make my video site as user-friendly and easy-to-navigate as possible. By adding several more links, like Diet and Nutrition and my popular Walking and Talking with Mike videos, right on the front page, it makes it literally impossible not to be able to find what you’re looking for. I will continue to tweak the front page, adding a Video of the Day, among other things, as the days and weeks progress.

Besides being a labor of love, livelife365.com was developed to help people and share information. If that information is not being distributed in the best way possible, I would like to hear about it. Feedback and comments are invaluable in making this possible. Visit my site and drop me a comment letting me know what you think about the new front page changes, I’d love hear what you have to say.

Why, you may be asking, am I so determined to share my views, via videos and the written word, through two websites with similar names? Because through hard work, determination, proper diet and nutrition, motivation, and perseverance, along with the ability to laugh every day (at myself and the world), I have been able to change my life for the better. Did you know that a few years ago I lost over 40 pounds in less than 6 months? Here’s proof:

For more helpful videos and blog posts on how to not only lose weight but change your life, keep visiting livelife365. Every day. Every way. You never know, together we may just change your life.

Until next time…



Next post: More Veg Out With Mike (here’s a preview: Vegan-Friendly Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Beat Those Winter Blues

Where’s the sun? Is it freezing in here, or is it just me? Pass the Kleenex…ah, could you hurry…ah…ahh…ahhh. Sniffle, sniffle. Hey, are there any more holiday cookies left? Is your brother ever going to leave our guest bedroom? Man, I feel like…hold on…ah…ahhh…ahhhh


Winter. Blah.

Is it spring yet?

Nope, not for a long time.

Does this sound familiar? This time of year, after weeks of overindulging on fattening foods during the holidays, compounded by icy and sun-deprived weather, further complicated by the cold and flu season, can take its toll. Hey, I can go on and on, complain with the best of them. Instead, I’d rather offer up some positive tips on how to:



Or at least take a walk. Too cold or rainy outside? That does present some problems, but ones that need to be addressed if you not only want to help combat those winter blues, but stay (get?) in shape. A daily thirty-minute walk does wonders for you. It gets your blood flowing, which actually warms you up, shaking the cobwebs off the old bones and sending much needed (and appreciated) endorphins to the brain that stimulate your soul (and life) with happiness. Still too cold for you? Get yourself a treadmill or stationary bike, anything! Just pump those legs and pump that blood. Be sure to dress accordingly: hat, gloves, waterproof jacket, and, always, good walking shoes.


Eating the right foods and the right amounts is a reoccurring mantra for me and this website. There is no better time to adopt healthier nutritional eating habits than right now, during the blah winter months, following the holiday (overindulging) season. Besides assisting your weight loss goals (and we all have those, don’t we?), proper nutrition can actually make you FEEL better. These fitness and nutrition videos can help get you started.


Sneezing, coughing, phlegm-laden human beings that you come into contact with are everywhere this time of year, and often unavoidable. But you CAN protect yourself from catching whatever illness is ailing them by following a few precautions:

*Try to avoid shaking hands or having other contact if you know someone is sick.
*Wash your hands with HOT water and soap throughout the day. If you can’t, then carry a hand sanitizer with you and use that until you can wash properly.
*Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, hoping that others will do the same for you.
*Always use a Kleenex, and toss it when done. Don’t use hankies, they hold germs.
*Wash your hands BEFORE and AFTER using a public restroom, then use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and one for the door handle.
*Try to avoid sharing telephones, keyboards, pens--anything where hand-to-hand contact is prevalent.
*ALWAYS disinfect hotel room TV remote controls!


Winter weather can swallow up the sun for days on end, and that’s not a good thing. Why? Vitamin D. A lack of this important vitamin, which we get naturally from exposure to the sun, can lead to myriad health issues, as well as contribute to the winter blues. A simple solution: Take a vitamin D supplement. A not so simple solution: Move to Maui.


Sometimes boredom or the same old, same old contributes to the blahs this time of year. Why not start that hobby you’ve been putting off? I love playing my guitar. It helps take my mind off things and it is said that music, be it performing or just listening to it, can cheer you up. Not musically inclined? There are hundreds of other hobbies that may interest you: sewing, reading, collecting, the list is endless, the rewards many.


Enjoy the simpler things in life, especially during these challenging financial times. Play with your kids. Take a nice stroll with your spouse…to the bedroom. Cook a meal together. Work a puzzle, jigsaw or crossword. Interact, in positive ways, with those who mean the most to you and those winter blues will evaporate like a snowman in July (except in Canada and parts of Minnesota). Deal, adjust, cope, enjoy. Live life.


(see prior post)


Nothing beats humor and laughter to make those winter blah/blues go away. Laughter not only cheers you up and makes you feel better, but it’s proven to be healthy for you. The significance of laughter is often underrated as a healthy option for what’s bringing you down or making you sick.

Winter has just begun and will not be over any time soon. Why not make the best of winter (can you tell it’s not my favorite season?) by taking action and doing everything you can to enhance each day, living life to its fullest. Every day. Every way. And beat those winter blues.

Until next time…