Daily


When you say you work in IT most people assume you work on computers. Some think you literally make the computers, while others might assume you write code since you’re Korean. It’s kind of similar to when I say I was in the Air Force and people automatically ask if I was an officer and what did I fly.

Working in IT fully remote is nonstop. I moved to full remote due to COVID and then recently switched jobs to one that is permanently remote. It’s definitely got some pros and cons.

Pros:

1) I don’t waste two hours of my day driving. When I was in Colorado I lived 15 minutes from work, 13 if I ran over a few bunnies on the way. Here in Phoenix I was 45 minutes away with no traffic. The one day I got stuck in traffic on the 51 I about lost my shit.

2) No more small talk around the break room. I’m not huge on small talk, so that’s a nice thing.

3) No human contact. Amazing.

4) I have my own home office and I normally take non video calls in a t shirt.

I just realized this list could be never ending. I love working from home.

-OM

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Daily


Sometimes all you need in common is the fact that you were unwanted. The backstory is just the meat.

-OM

44.1

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Said


The open ends of time well spent,

while drifting between the light that’s sent.

Finding ways, not always right.

But nearing that which I see in sight.

Past neverendings and new beginnings,

till beginnings become an ending.

And finally that chased light.

Turns into my final night.

-OM

44.1

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Desert livin


114 degrees in Phoenix is hot.

We moved here from Colorado about two years ago and I’m still not used to weather over 110 degrees.

Hell must suck.

-OM

Posted in Archived Articles | 2 Comments

Ok let me explain


I never said I was gonna stop blogging. I just said I was shutting down HarsH ReaLiTy…

So this is technically all legal!

-OM

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“You have your whole life ahead of you”


As I transition to a new job I keep being told this. Granted most of the people think I’m 25, when I’m turning 40 this month.

A bane of my Korean heritage I suppose.

But boy if I hear this line one more time….

If this past year has taught us anything it’s that we don’t know how many years we are blessed with. I don’t have a whole life ahead.

I just have one life to live.

-OM

44.1

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Teardrop


I wipe emotion from my eyes.

And watch it dry inside.

A teardrop never lies.

As it slowly melts and dies.

There’s a tremble in disguise.

And slowly I surmise.

That love never really sighs.

It just blossoms in the sky.

-OM

44.1

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The Lost Journals: Chapter One – Pg. 7


Santa Monica, CA

Linda Borra Conaughey

2/7/1995 – Journal Entry One

My only comfort is the companionship of my sorrow. It has been five years since he passed and also five years since I have painted. My hands ache for the feel of a brush, even as my soul rejects the comfort that may come from it. A single canvas, still pure white, sits in the sunroom waiting for my attention. I have left it there since the night I received the phone call of his passing. The moment he died the will to paint died as well.

I see images that beg to be captured all around me. We artists see still images, even as the pace of society moves around us. Sometimes it feels as if we are an island in a sea of chaos. We strive to find that one thing worth seeing each day and on those days we do not find our hart of pursuit we die just a little more that evening. Passionate of heart, we cannot keep that same passion from affecting our lives. And thus when tragedy comes we embrace that tragic sense with a foolish bravery that we do not recognize till after the damage is done. Here I sit damaged.

My counselor tells me that to get over the pain I should try to write in this journal that she gave me. I wanted to throw the notebook in her face and scream “I am an artist… not a writer!” But who am I really mad at? As I pen these words I feel my heart tremble just slightly… as if awakened by the tease of a thought. What is it that moves me now?

My pastels sit unused next to the dull acrylics. They sit lifeless having lost any desire they had due to neglect. As I neglect my art, I also neglect my soul. But what color would my painting become when mixed with my tears…

Trinity

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I hate small talk


I am not much for small talk. Anyone that corresponds with me through email knows this about me by now. I will generally avoid most questions about myself and will only answer what needs to be responded to. It isn’t so much that I think I am special or I have some identity to hide… I just don’t talk with humans very well.

I used “with” on purpose there. I can talk “to” people just fine… but I grow easily bored and distracted if I must actually interact. I will often times stare into space until they give up… Maybe that is rude. I hate being around large groups of “new people” and will generally find a way to excuse myself from such a gathering. You know sorting your sock drawer is important… right ladies?

There is very little value in small talk unless you seriously like someone, are going to date them, or are about to go to court against them. Then small talk can be useful… perhaps that is the cynic in me. Regardless, I often wonder if my lack of “communication” back is a hindrance to any real “social bond” that might be had over social media. It would be a shame if that were so, but it would also not surprise me.

I have always made friends easily, networked easily, and been able to pull social attention to myself. Like my blog, I get tired of that limelight quickly and will generally find ways to deflect that focus elsewhere. Look an abortion post…

We do what we must to survive on a day to day basis. I am just glad I don’t have more quirks or I might never function in a normal society. Maybe society is the one that is abnormal and I am simply human.

-OM

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Midnight Tears


Midnight tears trickle down a cheek of discontent. They fall like rubies to the ground, colored by different shades of intoxication. Misplaced treasures gather at my feet, forgotten emotions that are only missed when the inevitable waves of time washes away all traces of their existence. I watch as my past glitters and struggles in the water as they join the silent cries of those around me. Comforting though it is to know that my struggle is shared, still I take no solace from a stranger’s presence. For only I can understand the meaning of each teardrop and the loss I feel as they splash in the night.

Note: Holy shit… I did it. I wrote this without meds… It definitely sounds different, but it is still me. Interesting…

-OM

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A Day in the Life of OM


Many people have asked when I sleep… or if I even sleep. I thought I would give you a glimpse of a normal day for me.

01:30 – I get off work and try to quietly sneak into the house without waking my daughters. I normally answer some comments, maybe post a personal poem, and I normally take a bath every night. It keeps me young.

02:30 – 03:00 – I go to bed and dream of winning the lottery.

06:30 – 07:00 – Wake up and get the girls ready for school.

07:30 – Make breakfast for the girls and check personal and OM email.

07:55 – Take the girls to school and beat the train that normally cuts off my route at around 08:05.

08:25 – 10:30 – Depending on how tired I am I normally either nap, post a ton, or just respond to comments. I generally have around 200 or so comments waiting on my combined blogs so that takes a lot of my morning. Catching up is part of the game.

10:30 – Go and pick up my daughters and bring them back home for lunch.

10:45 – 11:30 – Eat lunch and hang out with the girls.

12:00 – 14:00 – This is really where I get my second half of sleep.

14:45 – 01:30 – Work, being tired, posting, commenting, and then I do it all again.

This is pretty much my schedule recently. Last year I got even less sleep due to working till 05:30 in the morning. I hope I never have to do that again. So as you can see I sleep… some.

-OM

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Where does Poetry go…


Where does poetry go when it dies within my mind? It is quickly replaced with the pain from its loss. I do not mourn the coming of the sun, I only wish the failing night did not steal away my words. I have become lost in this contest of will. I struggle with it weekly and yet I cannot make the right decision to turn away. For to turn away from my addiction is to turn my back on words that I love…

How does a poet live when he can no longer write poetry? Does he weep tears of imagery or is instead his sorrow suddenly solidified by the reality of his sadness? I know that I miss my mind even as I feel the scars building upon my chest. Would it be enough to kill my soul in exchange for the beauty of a perfect phrase? What would be the worth of such a sacrifice?

That is easy to answer… The sacrifice would be myself. How do the artists combat their struggles while at the same time achieving to create such wonders? Every poem I write is drawn in blood and that is a sad thing… but to deny it would be to deny reality. I just cannot do that.

Jason

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Blogging: They aren’t coming back…


I often tell you that I don’t count on return visits from my followers. I want to share with you a stat image that will further highlight this fact.

Capture

You will notice from my graph that there are definite times when my website goes up in views and then trails off to a smaller number. The normal four days or so of heightened views is due in part to my posts, but mainly due to my follower gathering methods.

You see I pick and choose when my website gets viewed heavily and when it becomes dormant. I control this through adjusting my three focus points on blogging and in doing so I adjust the “potential viewers” according to the output. Whether I am currently writing, about to post, or have just posted something I think is of value that is when I pump my numbers towards my blog. When my “weekend comes” and I decide to relax my numbers begin to fall significantly. This is all to show that my website fluctuates, just like many of yours do. It is a normal thing unless you are able to harness corporate traffic.

Most bloggers will tell you that to have a successful website you must have “focus,” a clear goal or blogging subject, and that you must post consistently to get views and new followers. Most bloggers don’t have any clue what they are talking about. They are simply repeating what they have read or what they are told and have NO REAL DATA to even go by. They are just talking. I don’t listen to “most bloggers” and neither should you.

I post when I want, what I want, and even TO whomever I want. What do I mean by “to” whomever I want? Part of gaining attention to a post or article isn’t always looking for those that will agree. I purposefully draw in large numbers of people that will “potentially” hate my work. I do this because you can easily get more views from someone that hates everything they are reading on a site than from someone that totally agrees with everything you have wrote. Most people that find a website “in line with their beliefs” will skim and save that address, but they may never revisit. Why would they? They already agree with everything you wrote so reading your work is much like reading their own thoughts. That quickly becomes boring because people are drawn to controversy and debate these days.

“They aren’t coming back…” I remember saying this to myself in my second month of blogging. It was when I began to fully understand the relationship I was creating with my readers and the potentially “deceitful” value that it had. Sure I found and you will also find bloggers that instantly connect with you. Those connections many times have an expiration date that is never clear, but normally comes around the time you suddenly stop seeing their username anymore as a comment. It happens and will always happen. If you are serious about building an audience they cannot have a face, it must be an ever changing and growing thing. When you begin to “depend” on certain audience members for views you will find yourself waiting by the door. Guess what?

They aren’t coming back…

-OM

Posted in Blogging/Powerblogging Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

What is Black Hat SEO and some of the dangers


New Bloggers might find this information helpful I hope. -OM

Posted in Archived Articles | Leave a comment

Broken Promises


Winter night of stars and light. An empty glass stands as the past. I see myself in the reflection staring back. Sharded image colored like ice… it is me. Each image a perfect imagination and yet they have reality’s eyes. I slay them slowly to remember the pain. It is not a demon, it is me. And with that acceptance I look not to the sky. I look at myself.

Jason

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Wannabe Saints and Angels


I see wannabe saints everywhere. People are so quick to say “well if I had this or that I would do this or that.” It is very easy to speculate about what we would do if we had someone else’s wealth, position in life, or abilities but for the most part that speculation is all fluff. Humans are selfish creatures and are even more so when it comes to things they have created themselves.

I wonder how many of you would share your blog if you were me. I seriously wonder that. There are so many that will say “well of course I would give back to the bloggers,” but the reality is that you become protective of your space. You like things a certain way, posts are made in a certain order, and seeing another author’s name on your website isn’t all it is hyped up to me. It truly isn’t. What if you invite a guest blogger that is a better writer than you? Oh noes! Suddenly you feel threatened by a blogger that doesn’t even know they are a threat! Sounds ridiculous right? It is a bit more complex than people think because they aren’t making the same decisions you have to make.

I personally am not threatened by or intimidated by other writers, authors, or bloggers. I know I am not the best writer and as I have repeatedly said I am still learning. I am also still at around a 6.5 out of 10 in writing skill and that is ONLY counting style, if you add in grammar and punctuation my score drops down to a 5. Thank Buddha for spellcheck!

I follow two other “powerbloggers” that fit my description. One is the publicblogger. He has a fabulous website and also has VERY strong writers on his “team.” Now I personally don’t know how he runs his website, what he does with his authors, if he has guest authors or permanent staff, if he is one person or a lot of people, but I do know that he would probably understand what I am saying. It is a hard thing to lend your space out and even harder when you feel it might “not be worth the trouble.” But then you have this small voice in the back of your head, or at least I do, that says caring about other bloggers pays back in the end. I truly believe that and that is why I do what I do. It may not be the best blogging method, but it is the best this working Dad can do…

Jason

Posted in Blogging/Powerblogging Articles, Personal Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Silent Night


Silent night… come still this voice. Let my cares burn before me in a flare of emotion so bright it causes their eyes to turn away. And as the night creeps in I will steal away, to seek the end that must be near.

-OM

Posted in Archived Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blogging for an Audience 101 – Don’t allow a person to monopolize your time


I know… oh lord another blogging article. The amusing part is today I mentally wrote a post and filed it in the glass room about how people should stop writing instructions on blogging. And here I am writing one. Oh well, I have been called hypocritical today already once so I might as well ferment their belief.

Be careful who you listen to about blogging if your goal is an audience. If your friend Nancy is one of the “advice giving friends,” but really has no clue what she is talking about then don’t listen to her. People look down on views and follower counts. I don’t. I view them as data that if analyzed properly can give you a recipe for success. Look and see how many views or followers a person has before following their advice. Also just because they have 33,388 followers doesn’t mean they have a damn clue either. There are plenty of people running around calling themselves Opinionated Man and handing out shitty advice.

Blogging for an audience takes discipline. You can’t allow a commenter to monopolize your time and energy. It will happen, you will get a blogger that feels the need to “shine” and make a scene on your article. They aren’t always trolls either, sometimes they legitamitely care about the topic. That doesn’t mean that you have to break your blogging rules to accommodate them. When I say “blogging rules” those aren’t WordPress rules, they are my own that I have set to ensure I have enough seconds in the day to get everything done. Yes, I broke it down to seconds. Anyone that knows me knows I am that anal sometimes.

People ask “how do you respond to all those comments and keep up dialogue?” It takes practice. I currently have close to 500 “live” articles on my website, but I had over 1700 last year. I removed those and I am partially glad. While it was a nightmare for my meta, widgets, and my blog when I deleted them… it was worth not having to have the same conversation over and over on those old threads. Bloggers will ask me why I am so short with people or why I don’t debate and there is a simple answer. I don’t have time.

“Well isn’t your blog about sharing opinions? Are you only here to listen to people that agree with you?” I listen to EVERYONE and read EVERY COMMENT on this blog and my other blog as well. I don’t pander around for praise and anyone that says that is just ignorant and has no clue what I am about. I choose when to debate, which is the right of any blogger, writer, or human. I know what is worth debating, what is just worth saying, and what should be loudly proclaimed and fought over. I recognize tones in people’s comments and writing and I will sometimes check YOUR BLOG before responding to see where this will go. It is called being smart and understanding that I can’t cater to all of you. In fact, my blogging method is to view no single blogger as special. Ever.

Time is the enemy when it comes to taking on an audience. As you post more and more people will still read old posts and comment. You will quickly find yourself in 500 conversations and sometimes you will get confused as to what you said or did not say. It happens and honestly if your audience doesn’t understand that then don’t bother telling them. They won’t get it.

I have taken on the habit of clearly telling me when I will and will not debate. This often annoys them, but I am willing to live with them being annoyed. I often wonder if they can handle the emotion they have themselves adopted. You will have to develop your own etiquette for blogging, but make it your own. A lot of bad advice out there so find what works for you.

-OM

Posted in Blogging/Powerblogging Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Heartbeat


Do we count the heartbeats to understand your worth? And weigh your soul against the dead. You are lifted as a banner and paraded around for a cause, but all you wish to do is truly live. We cry real tears for those that die after a long life and yet we do not blink at denying a chance to brighten the eyes of those to be born. Instead we would dim those eyes till they are dark. A darkness to match the evil that was committed to accomplish the deed.

-Opinionated Man

Posted in Personal Writing, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Black Belts, Eagle Scouts, and Ninjas


I equate a black belt to being in the same category as an eagle scout. I do not know Karate, yes… let’s just let the shock wear off for a second… … … all done?

There is no martial arts form practiced by me other than the art of bottle opening. I have that form down. Still, I of course have an opinion on martial arts even though I don’t take it.

When I was young my parents took us to a Karate Dojo in town to see if we were interested. I felt out of place. Why you ask? Well I seem to recall the Sensei’s name being Rick (my imagination wants to add the last name White) and he was very much NOT Asian. Call me racist, but unless you are Chuck Norris I don’t buy it.

I was walking past a dojo just tonight, they seem to catch my eye, and inside was an older Caucasian woman with a black belt on. I will admit it made me a little angry. Granted… perhaps this woman has the necessary skills to wear such a coveted mark of achievement, but I doubt it. I highly doubt it. When I see a black belt around the waste of a human I see a potential badass, or at least I want to believe it. You are a walking ninja out of costume to me and that belt is just as important as an Eagle Scout badge. It means you can dragon punch the shit out of Godzilla and maybe even do some Street Fighter moves.

I am ranting a little bit, but that is because I don’t know kung-fu, karate, or judo. I therefore view people that do know these forms, like my brother-in-law, in the highest regard. If you don’t even look the part though… that is an instant negative mark in my book. At least look like you can break a board with your mind ok?

Sorry Rick White… I won’t be attending your dojo.

-Opinionated Man

Posted in Creative Writing, Personal Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A Writer’s Contemplation


I am the last person that should preach on self-doubt. I have enough of it to share with the world and then some. Perhaps that is why I should speak on self-doubt because of my own experiences with it. I have finished very few things of meaning in my life. Some of that is due to motivation and attention disorders, but mainly I chalk it up to the fact that I haven’t really involved myself in anything worthy of note. I have experiences as does anyone, but that isn’t necessarily what I am speaking of. How many of you are currently working on something that you will consider an “accomplishment” upon completion?

I don’t struggle with writer’s block, but I do have the same battle as many writers in deciding what to work on. Sometimes I don’t even know what I will type until I press the first key and that to me is the beauty of writing on a blog. The freedom. It is also why I have struggled with just the idea of writing a book. The consistency of hashing out the same topic is really boring to me to be honest. I find even the tedious nature of book writing to be frustrating, annoying, and often times boring. It is not frustrating because I struggle with writing (although it could be debated upon whether I write well or not) because I write every day. I probably type 10,000 words a day just in posts, comments, emails, work emails, personal emails, work projects, coding, and everything else you can think of that I can use as an excuse to hear the tap, tap, tap I so love to listen to. It beats hearing the sound of a human voice on any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

As I pen each word of my current project I have felt great, until yesterday. I ran out of meds and because of that I stopped writing. That is going to be an issue. Without “trees” I can’t see a word three dimensionally. It stays in a boring two dimensional state and no amount of mental concentration will make that fucking word turn. Turn dammit. I refilled today so I will be good for a few days. I will try to press on and take my time with it all.

Sometimes I sit on my ledge of solitude and I observe the chaos that is the world below. Above the atmosphere of stress and human concern I am able to breath. Gone is the demand of response, gone is the doubt of a loving wife, gone is the self-doubt of writing a book, gone is the constant chatter that I love and yet need to separate from, it is all gone up here. Up here there are only words and they are fucking turning.

-Opinionated Man

Posted in Archived Articles, Blogging/Powerblogging Articles, Creative Writing, Personal Writing, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Different Paths


I view the world through a cascade of color. Prisms of light shine through the twin teardrops I have bred, but not yet given birth to. They hang upon my being and sway in a desperate attempt to not succumb to the fate below. That fateful drop, mere feet, and yet the journey ends in a splash of recognition of what we once had. How can realization be anything but that when we are forever fated to stare up at the place we once dwelled? Fallen from grace, do we strive to return to the glory we once had? No, we accept our fate for what it is and we look towards brighter paths. We continue on and we live a life without tears instead.

-OM

Posted in Archived Articles, Creative Writing, Personal Writing, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Writing through the Tired


Tired and writing through the tired right now. There is something to be said if you can write even when you are exhausted. It takes a certain amount of dedication and drive in my opinion. I like to write when I am tired because I don’t actually seek the words. I allow them to flow towards me and in turn I accept the writing for what it is meant to be. Not always what I want it to be. Sometimes our writing takes on a life of its own and that is a special occurrence. It means there is a real connection between the writer and the words we strive to put in the correct order. It is a shame when you have a perfect thought and lose it not because it escapes your mind, but rather because you fail to encase its meaning forever.

I am on day two of my writing and have added a progress board on the right if anyone is interested.

-OM

WC – 5086

Posted in Archived Articles, Blogging/Powerblogging Articles, Creative Writing, Personal Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Struggle to feel Accepted


Sometimes it feels like life is an endless road of wanting to be accepted. After your family it begins when you comprehend the concept of friendship and with it the pain and harsh reality that not everyone has the same amount of friends in the world. For some who find it hard to form bonds on this planet come to this realization much faster than for others, but I think regardless of how popular we are there are times at night, when we are alone, that we feel an alienation from everyone else in the world. This includes the ones we love, no matter how strong those bonds might be, for we are human and have those moments. With the severing of the umbilical cord comes a very real release into a world that will often times distrust or hate us. And so we spend the rest of our lives searching for another connection back to what we had at birth, a struggle to feel accepted.

Why do people love the Harry Potter series so much? What could you possible hate about a story of an orphan child that lives the life of an underdog and goes on to be the hero? His very struggles did not even have to mirror our own for us to accept his life as an image of “struggle” itself, an image we all deal with at some point in our lives. It reminds me of my own obstacles in trying to fit in through life. That feeling of struggle came to a stop on January 3rd, 2013 when I began my blog HarsH ReaLiTy on WordPress.com. It has been an eye opening experience and a period of personal growth to say the least. I have found I can express my opinions without feeling bridled by contempt or disdain and at the same time people can throw back their controversy literally right in my face, since I read their comments daily on a computer screen. This has provided, interestingly enough, an opportunity for this stubborn Korean to open himself to new ideas. I have even evolved some of my own values and outlooks on life, or at the very least provided the seeds for future thought on the topics.

It is amazing to me that I write daily to an audience, but in my daily life I am just another figure. Another number, a body in a chair. My current manager, who is an awesome person make no mistake, barely sees me because I work the graveyard shift. Yes, like a ghost I come in the backdoor of the building, past the working janitors and tired, oblivious late-night workers and I come watch servers to make sure they don’t go red. The only thing that keeps me from going insane is the sound of my keyboard floating into the empty office air, it is music to my ears and provides a promise of something more. Call it what you will but I earnestly seek whatever it is that inspires that feeling inside of me to press on when most would sit back and bask in accomplishment. You are allowed to feel satisfied in life, but too much satisfaction quickly becomes the recipe for a stagnant nature.

My blog has become an outlet for me. At first I created it as an online journal, but quickly it became my fingerprint on the literary world. There is a world out there of writers, readers, editors, publishers, curious minds, and growing minds wanting to keep the written arts alive and an audience can be easily found. We strive to keep this dying art form from going extent against the easily ingested television and accessible online media commonly found on at this moment in most of the world’s living rooms. I understand and I will confess to being a lover of the television myself, everyone needs their methods of falling asleep and mine just happens to be my mistress the TV. That was another motivator for me to create an inspiration that would force me to write on a regular basis, I see this often said on new blogs as their initial posts. The constant interaction and feedback I receive from my viewers has given me the backbone I needed to write this book now, one that might still never see the light of day. But I have to hope that at least by gracing this white screen they are given a life, even one as brief as the time it takes me to delete this word document.

I have often wondered if anyone on the staff at WordPress.com has been or is a manic depressive. There should never be an easily accessible delete button on anything as important as our blogs, and this is not a rib at WordPress who is gracious enough to offer a free platform for inspiring writers such as myself. I must confess that sometimes a depressive like me looks at that delete button with disgust. They make us jump through hoops of fire to cancel a credit card, but a precious blog I have spent countless hours on I can delete at the push of a couple buttons. I don’t stay on that page that long and I hope that the demons from my past don’t come back to force me to ever press that button. It would be a mistake I know.

An outlet to the world and to those beyond our room. That is what blogging has provided for me and has allowed me to achieve right from my rather mundane life in Denver, Colorado. I do love my life, my family, and the relatively safe environment we live in is one less distraction that pulls me away from writing. As a father of a four and three year old, plus working forty hours a week graveyard shifts, I have to find the time to write when I can. This past year has been my first year of addiction to blogging, but it is not at a level I consider dangerous and the potential for success through it is enormous. This provides the needed leverage on the table when trying to convince my loving and understanding wife of the need for the time I a lot to my “passion.” She is an artist and walks the same road I do, but while carrying a paint brush, so she understands in her own way. Besides, she is my number one fan and understands that my family is my inspiration for success and they are also why I hope to create a working profession from writing and not just a continuation of a hobby. That is yet to be seen, but I see a full deck and the game has not been played yet.

 

 

When I started HarsH ReaLiTy under the pen name Opinionated Man I had no idea that it would grow to the size it has now. Sure I had a business model and an idea, but I must confess I have been successful at very few things in life. Always the type that thought he was smarter than the teacher, knew better than everyone else, it is amazing I even listen to comments from a second opinion when I consider how closed minded I have been my whole life. I would like to think I have been open to opinions, but in truth I am simply well read. Reading opinions and even learning about other ideals does not necessarily constitute a growth in personal morals. We can read anything with a closed mind and it is just words. The interaction found through blogging, however, has changed the face of words and we are unhindered by a character limitation restraint. We know that the people speaking to us are real people, well at least the ones not categorized as spam by the people at AKISMET, and normally the views being expressed back are heart felt. This has at least been the experience thus far on my website and I hope it continues on.

As the number of people and countries grew that were regularly viewing my posts, I began to evolve the way I viewed the potential for the platform I was writing on. This was not just a few “wannabe” writers and struggling authors pandering out their materiel for free in hopes of book deals, what I found were real people that had real issues and lives that they were relating at real-time speed for the viewing pleasure of whoever cared. I think the concept of blogging is growing even today and is still gaining popularity and the result is that it is easy to connect with individuals from across the planet. I recently ran a project on my blog called “Project O” in which I featured articles that consisted of templates participants filled out and submitted to me by email. One hundred and twenty-eight bloggers from around the world took part in the project and the feedback and conversation that came from it was invaluable not only to my own personal growth in knowledge about the world and the people in it, but I think it also helped to correct some stereotypes we have when we consider other people as so different from ourselves.

The project also offered the opportunity for the creation of new connections and that is what the “social” in social media is all about. If writers wanted to simply write we would do so on a word document or journal, we blog our writing to get it out there to an audience so we can get feedback and free critiques and we use that newfound knowledge to improve our writing. That would be my goal at least, but added to that is the new community feeling that is received when you encounter others that are also trying to complete the same journey you are. I have dreamed of becoming a published author since I read my first fantasy book and thought to myself “I could have wrote that.” It is only now, after writing on a daily basis and receiving positive feedback that I think I have what it takes to put out at least one novel and see how it floats.

Inspiration is an unpredictable emotion because it can come at any moment. I find that it comes far more frequently when we surround ourselves with things that might contribute to that occurrence happening. That is why writers congregate in corners and artists socialize with other artists, we seek out people that understand and relate to us. HarsH ReaLity, yes I can be very Korean sometimes and that is how I choose to spell it, has become an almost forum like webpage of writers and people with many other talents that congregate to discuss topics of similar interest. Since I am pretty much a dabbler in any topic, my interest range from the obvious to the curious, I provide articles frequently that people find interesting. That accounts for the high number of views my website gets in comparison to perhaps a far more skilled writer in a specific genre that only garners viewers from that similar interest. I suppose this book will fall under a genre, we are forever labeled as human beings that cannot be helped, but at least my blog is still free of any such label. That is how I intended it.

I am not a very malleable person nor does my personality lend me to accept differing opinions very often or very well for that matter. I force myself to read CNN.com, even though I am a Republican, because CNN has better reporters than FOX News and I like to see what the other side thinks as well. I have frequently opened up topics on my website that have caused open debate, even some heated discussion and argument. Luckily the members of my more frequent audience show a lot of restraint, but it can be shaky ground when you are dealing with human emotion and ideals. People tend to fire first and ask questions later and that is why I have been rather surprised at how open the bloggers have been when interacting with one another. There has even been a cordial nature between nationalities I did not think really liked each other, to put it bluntly, put Project O showed me that not all individuals within a nation think alike. A concept that should be easy for an American to understand, but is surprisingly difficult for many to realize when we consider nationalities across the oceans. We like to believe stereotype because often times stereotypes are accurate or based on fact and are also the only things being fed to society through the media.

From small to large can basically sum up the concept of the expansion of my mind and views on the world through my personal growth found from my blogging experience. This is not to say that I am some reformed man that has fully changed the ways in which he lives or observes the world, no on the contrary it actually has reinforced some of the views I have conceived but it has also introduced me to some new opinions which I respect and love to hear about. That is the beauty of creating a website that has a “forum like atmosphere” and welcomes the sharing of openly expressed opinion. I appreciate allowing people to say what they want even if it is against the grain and I highly encourage anyone that has the backbone to stand up for their own ideals. That is what is great about blogging and the uncensored content that is floating out on the internet. While some of it might be obscene, others might make you want to scream, yell or curse, but what you really have is a freedom of expression. That is a freedom people will not give up lightly and Project O clearly showed the value that everyone in the world has placed in having an opinion and further being able to express that opinion.

We hate to be labeled and yet we gladly place these labels on people to make them easier to categorize. For instance, it might be assumed about me that since I am Korean, have a successful blog, consistently post a lot, and have a family as well that I must not have any other life. People also assume I am technically savvy, which actually if you ask my brother in law I am not very technical at all. Oh sure I know the basics about many things, which places me at about average in today’s computerized world, but I just bought my first iPhone this October and I will admit it makes me feel dumb. I think there are really only a few things that make me a successful blogger. I type between 85 – 100 wpm, I process information quickly (this has been widely debated), I speed read, and I enjoy the interaction only found through an online setting and creating an atmosphere and writing in a way that welcomes conversation. That is the goal of any blog I think is to seek out comments and the fastest way to shut down conversation is to start labeling people.

I have used my blog as a window into parts of my life, but as one blogger mentioned it is very hard to pry out very many “exact” details about me. That is of course on purpose, as the safety of my family is first in my mind, but I have taken the opportunity on my blog to write some on my adoption and my feelings towards my birth mom and the sister I have not met since we were separated as children. The internet has actually provided a very nice avenue for therapy for me through allowing me to express my feelings about the past openly and accepting the unchecked criticism or encouragement sent back my way. It has been an interesting experience connecting with both adoptees and parents with adopted children and I think we can all agree that each story is different. There can be similarities, but it does an injustice to the lives of those individuals when people try to label and categorize things too much.

My adoption story received a lot of views and was a create way for me to finally pour out how I saw and felt during the course of those events in my life. It was a trying period and no one can really say they understand what I went through because there was only one Korean kid walking in those shoes. I am thankful for such support during those times, my family and mother in particular helped me to see there are reasons for living even in the darkest of hours. It is just very hard to know that when you are living those moments. I was adopted when I was 3 years old, left on the street with my sister by our mother in front of a police station in Busan, South Korea. I did not find out about the part of the story involving my sister and birth mother till I was eighteen years old and was on a trip to Korea with a group of adoptees that were also adopted through Holt International. It took me 9 years and one suicide attempt to get over it all and I can’t actually say I honestly have moved fully forward. Do you ever? I may still write more on my adoption other than the few articles I wrote on it. It would make a good novel, but sometimes you just don’t feel like reopening a door over and over.

I think in many ways blogs are windows into our hearts. We allow people to see our feelings, emotions, and sometimes our personal stories because we feel the need to share without actually physically sharing. We press that publish button and that post is sent out into the web and we half fear, half hope that someone will read it and care enough to respond. That the response back will somehow matter. That is what I hope when I publish any article on my blog and I also seek out other bloggers that feel the same way. Simply because we are unsocial in the real world, and I really wouldn’t fully label myself as unsociable but more on that later, doesn’t mean we cannot still find connections that broaden our world. Who has the time to listen to a whole conversation anymore when instead we can have thousands of conversations at once and more importantly the control to interact with that conversation at our own convience. The power of writing on a website like WordPress is the ability to control your own speed, no one should say you have to post every hour or even every day, what readers look for is content with meaning.

I also find I like to pick on political issues even though I know a very large number of my readers are not of similar political party or mind on many “hot topics” in current news. I still speak strongly on my stance on these issues whenever I feel like and that is something I will never change. Surprisingly this has actually caused many to support me in my stance of at least sharing and standing by my opinions, even if they strongly disagree with them and it causes them occasional flashes of anger. These topics have ranged from abortion, Korean’s having eye surgery, the Russian Orthodox stance on homosexuality, opinion and the importance of having the right to an opinion, and any current news topic that floats my fancy. I also include frequent posts of what I like to refer to as poetry, but I believe might be accessed by a professional as utter garbage. I once submitted my poetry through a computerized website that grades them and it almost shutdown from computerized laughter at how low my score was. I didn’t even know computers had such a sense of humor.

I have labeled people my whole life and even harbored a racist view or two. It is a common practice these days to take on a shocked look of appall at the word racism and anyone that even admits to ever having had a racist thought in their life. Luckily I am not planning on running for any political office and I can safely assume I cannot run for President of the United States of America since I was born in Korea. That leaves me liberated to at least express my opinions and views with those that will listen and I have found an audience that actually accepted my admission of past views and appreciated my progression. Dare I even admit I have found people that have walked a similar path? That is encouraging to me, a person who often thinks not many others consider subjects in a radically different way. To find those that consider it ok to admit that you have had a racist or improper thought and that the world will not forever label you as a hooded demon or extremist is a good thing in a current society that loves to ostracize those that dare to speak against the current “trending view” even if that view is still far in the minority of what everyone feels. The irony of this is actually remarkably bottomless, but it takes a certain type of cynical humor to appreciate it.

The daily interaction I have had with people from countries I have never visited is remarkable because it has broadened my mind and understanding of the different cultures out there. I am forced to recognize preconceived notions as ignorant and the resulting strengthening in character can only serve me in the future. I actually had a feeling the other day that even though I watch and read the news far less than I did, I still feel more connected to the world the individuals within it. I of course do not converse with every human on the planet, but I am speaking to far more people on a regular basis than I ever have in my life. That definitely expands your mind especially when you are not privy to topics that are perhaps not widely known about or discussed internationally. Someone once asked me why should we care so much, “why do you care so much?” I replied that the day we stop caring about a story, about a person, is the day that something dies. That is a sad thing to me.

Blogging has opened my eyes to the fact that it is a good thing for us to have a social fingerprint to be known by and perhaps even to be followed by. It allows me a little comfort to know that there are people that care if I am still alive and kicking, even if those people have never met me in their lives. I once blogged about a Saudi Blogger who received a grossly unjust sentence for simply creating a blog and forum to openly talk about religion. One commenter asked me what good it did to simply write about someone and I responded that by writing about someone we spread notice of their existence and in this case their trials or tribulations. I went on to say that I hope if I were in a similar situation that my readers and friends would also take to social media and campaign for my cause. People easily forget that we have a voice and that voice is as powerful as the engine you put behind it. I went from speaking to three hundred followers to twenty-five thousand in ten months and it is all due to one thing. I cared to get my voice out there.

[End]

Note: I am sharing this. It is an unfinished project.

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Memories 1, 2, 3…


*Marlboro lights – You remind me of Mary. I miss her dearly. She was a great friend, a confidant, a shining light in my life during a time I needed some light. Taken too soon from us, you will be missed.

*Kids on bikes – I am reminded of when I was younger and still living in Jackson Mississippi. I had a small dirt bike, a hand me down from my brother, and all my friends had nice new “multiple speed” bikes that were just coming out. Needless to say I lost every race. I recall often times throwing my bike into a dirt ditch in frustration.

*Dirt ditches – Anytime I see a street or neighborhood without a sidewalk I am reminded of Jackson, MS. Many of the neighborhoods in Jackson don’t have sidewalks and I get a familiar tingle when I see the same thing in other cities. Ever felt like you were walking down a memory?

*Throwing Stars and nunchucks – I get a vivid memory when I think or see these words. It reminds me of Knoxville, TN. My Asian friends (and the token white dude) were in the parking lot of one of the dorms on campus hanging out. My Filipino friend decided to show us his nunchuck skills. I will say here that he was pretty good. To this day I do not recall any glances of fear or alarm from those passing by, but someone obviously called the cops. A cop car screeched into the parking lot and two white sheriffs stepped out with guns drawn. “Get your hands up and drop the weapon!” We looked at each other in confusion, but of course complied. After making sure we were not a threat, we were left with one last memorable statement. “You boys don’t have any throwing stars or knives do you?” Nice…

*Captain Morgan – Cigarette thrown, angry Korean, guy gets a bloody nose, more rum.

*Wendy’s after midnight – Knoxville, TN we pulled up and ordered almost everything on the menu. As we got to the window we decided it was an appropriate time to spark up. The lady at the window looks over her shoulder for her manager and then says “give me a hit and the food is free.” Win!

*Seattle Washington and stupid buses – So I arrived in Seattle in the summer of the 2000 for the motherland tour to Korea which I write about in my adoption story. I arrived a day earlier so the other people going on the trip were not yet there. One girl was and she invited me to go downtown to the mall to meet some of her friends she had not seen in some time since she was not from Seattle. I agreed and we saw a bit of Seattle and I quickly fell in love with the city. When it was time to go she decided to hang around and I told her I was fine getting a bus back to the airport hotel we were staying at. The problem was that at the age of 18 I had never actually ridden a city bus before. I figured it would be as simple as walking to the opposite side of the street and getting a bus going the opposite direction. How was I to know, I was from Memphis, TN where you don’t ride a bus unless you have to… ever. Needless to say I did not get to my destination and I was forced to ask a police officer, like the orphan that I was, how to get to the airport. Embarrassment

*Scottsdale, AZ – One of the few memories I have of my father and I spending time together. I don’t begrudge him, he  is my role model when it comes to providing for a family. He was always busy, but as a chief physician and a teacher at medical schools that shouldn’t be unexpected. It is to a kid though. Scottsdale was beautiful and my father was giving a talk at a place called the Phoenician, which was a Ritz. It was my first Ritz… I will remember forever the mother of pearl swimming pool there. Amazing

*San Antonio, TX – Basic training. Getting a post card 3 weeks in from my family on an Alaskan family reunion cruise. Miserable

*Cracker Barrel – This place is really white and even though I am with white parents I never belonged there. One of the few restaurants I have ever felt that way. I don’t go there anymore.

*The 3 – My two friends and I as kids were the 3 forwards on our soccer team and we kicked some 10 year old ass back in the day. Those fools never knew what hit them…

*The Year Off – My transition from junior high to High School was funny because the inner city schools in Memphis, TN have never had strong soccer teams. When my friends and I entered into the “system” many city soccer coaches took notice because there was literally a “team” of us in the same 2 grades. I remember as we were getting ready to enter High School that I met my future coach, a real pompous braggart that was one of those soccer coaches that dresses as if he is a player too… give it up. He would even try to show us techniques, which was amusing considering most of us played competitive soccer since the school soccer was really just amusing to us. That was the year I “took a year off from soccer” to play golf. The High School coach was not pleased, he wanted us all on his new “super team.” Tough shit Sherlock, I don’t regret it to this day asshole.

*Pre-AP English – “You won’t ever be a good writer. Many people aren’t great at writing, try something new.” So motivating…

*AP English – “Mom I got a 4 on the AP English exam! Can I go shove it in Mrs. ___ #@$%#@%@#$ face?”

*12th grade Art class – My first in school fight that I got caught for. In my defense… it was self-defense. Memorable line from the Principle “we punish all offenders equally here!” My mother “well that is the stupidest shit I have ever heard!” Love…

*2008 – You are released from service Airman. “OMG… OMG”

*The King and I – I was one of the Emperor’s children in a traveling Broadway production of The King and I in Memphis, TN. That was one of the greatest memories of my childhood.

*Boy Choir – I miss my voice. I was a soprano till I was 16 years old. I got made fun of, but I didn’t care. Now I sound like a mortician.

*HarsH ReaLiTy – “This online journal should be a fun and relaxing way of writing a diary…”

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