Mood Lights · 29 August 2015

We got mood lights. For the kitchen.

My wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, wanted to brighten up the kitchen with under-the-counter lights. We looked at the hardware stores and online, but never really found that perfect fit. There were puck lights and fluorescent lights and LED strips and a myriad of choices. They came in white light, not so white light, and colored choices. And of course, there were battery-powered, plug-in, and call-the-electrician-we-need-to-rewire-the-house choices. I was actually surprised at what The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi finally liked.

When I first started looking into the whole under-counter lighting, I saw some multi-colored LED lights. I thought they were pretty nifty, but did not think that my wife would. So I just kept looking at the same old choices and kept thinking that puck lights were nice, but they did not really appeal that much to me. The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi was about ready to strangle me since I had not made any decisions and because she wanted to light up the kitchen before the sun started going away for the winter.

Well, after turning over just about every stone and going to stores and websites, I finally took The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi out of town to The Home Depot. They had about the same choices as our own local warehouse hardware store, but they also had a few different choices. We stood in front of these different choices and looked and debated and still could not decide. The thing that shocked me was that my wife thought the multi-colored lights were a good choice. The best choice.

After looking at the different choices and talking to somebody who worked there and asking her for other options (which led to the call-the-electrician choices), we finally decided. Actually, my wife said she was going to look around a bit and that while she was gone, I needed to decide. It was one of those, “I don’t care what you get as long as it is what I want and you ought to know what I want without me telling you” directives, which you know about if you are married. Thankfully, she did let me know that I ought to choose one of the multi-colored lighting options.

So I did.

We ended up getting the Sylvania Mosaic LED light strip. It is what might be called a flat rope light. (I remember DJs with rope lights that changed color or danced around to the music. In fact, there are videos online with those types of lights being used on houses for Christmas decorations. I know it sounds crazy, but I actually think about putting up those kinds of lights on my house permanently and letting them dance to the music on a nightly basis. But that is definitely another story.)

I installed that thirteen-foot long light rope under the counters when we got home. My wife acted like it was Christmas. Maybe it was a little like Christmas. Or some holiday.

The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi tried all the different colors. She hit the green light button on the remote. Then the red light. Then the yellow light. She tried them all. She tried the fade and the flash and the Fourth of July button and the hallelujah button. (The last two are not really buttons, but they ought to be. The button that ought to be called Fourth of July button alternates between red, white, and blue.)

By the way, if you just heard somebody yelling, that was my wife. She was calling me a liar again. And she is right. After all, I was the one who pushed all the buttons. She tried the fancy buttons, but I made sure to push each and every button.

When all was said and done, we got more lighting under the kitchen counters. The LED rope lights did the trick. They gave us more light and they gave us a little treat. They are not really like the lights from the seventies, but they are mood lights to us. And if you can believe it, we installed those mood lights in our kitchen.

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Listen · 22 August 2015

Antique Japanese Arebo wood club
(original size 600 × 450 pixels)

by Samuraiantiqueworld licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

I am sure we have all had the thought, “Somebody must be trying to tell me something.”

It seems this experience is universal. It goes something like this. We hear a preacher (or a friend or relative or maybe even somebody we do not know) telling us about something that is relevant in our lives at the precise moment we need to hear it. And then, we hear it again from somebody else. And again from some other source. The something could be advice or insight or just a consistent message. It could come from friends, relatives, dreams, or even the media. It is an odd occurrence, but like I said, it seems to be universal.

And annoying.

When I get messages like this in my life, it is like being hit over the head with a cudgel. At least until I finally listen.

My sister and I were emailing back and forth about this recently. I was telling her that I had recently been diagnosed with glaucoma. She was telling me that I have lots of support from friends and family. And of course, she was telling me that God was with me. Then, she went on to the misquote many people give as advice or consolation to those in pain or suffering. She said that God does not give us more than we can handle.

I was nice about it when I replied, but I told her in no uncertain terms that God does indeed give us more than we can handle. He gives us or at least allows us receive more than we can handle so that we must turn to Him. When people say that God does not give us more than we can handle, they are misquoting 1 Corinthians 13:10, which says (NASB translation):

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

The interesting aspect of the whole conversation was that this was the same text that the preacher at my sister’s church spoke about that Sunday at their service. Talk about getting cudgeled. At least it was not me doing it. Or receiving it.

I have had such experiences before. In fact, it seems that each week the pastor at our church is speaking directly to me. But I have also had the opposite experience. Many times I think, “I wrote about that one time.” Not that I am a preacher or Biblical scholar or anything like that. But there are times when I know I have written about some aspect of what the preacher is saying. Which makes me feel good. Sometimes it even makes me feel smart. But usually I just wonder if the preacher is stealing my stuff.

Actually, I never wonder if anybody is taking my material. In fact, I would love it if somebody used my material. For more than just bird cage liner.

But back to the cudgeling.

It is nice to get messages from God. Even when it seems like we are getting hit over the head with them. Over and over and over again. Maybe we ought to take those messages to heart. Maybe we should listen when we have that thought, “Somebody must be trying to tell me something.”

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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The Secret Trick to Self-Promotion · 15 August 2015

I found the secret trick to self-promotion. At least I think I did. But whether I did or not, I find it hard to do.

The trick to self-promotion is not really a trick at all. Nor is it really a secret. The thing is to get other people to do the promotion for you. That way it is not self-promotion. It is others promoting you. Or your product, or whatever. It is the old concept of word of mouth. And on the internet, word of mouth is king. It is just not called word of mouth.

The concept of word of mouth on the internet is social media. That I do know. I should have known that a long time ago. After all, promoting my writing was the reason I joined up with Facebook and Twitter in the first place. I was not really trying to connect with friends and colleagues at first. It was just a great benefit. The problem is that over time, my social media time has become my digital voyeurism or vicarious living time. Instead of mostly promoting my writing and checking a little to see what other people are doing, I check a lot to see what other people are doing, like a few pictures and statuses, watch a few videos, and generally watch other people live. Or at least watch them post about living. Then, I do a little promotion of my writing.

I find myself doing the social media promotions sparingly rather than prodigiously. Which means that I do not get my friends unfollowing me because I promote my writing too much, but neither do I get many new followers because I am promoting myself enough. Nor do I get people to retweet, repost, retweet, like, retweet, or otherwise interact with my social media. I suppose it is because I am not doing something about it every day like all the experts say to do. Then again, they also say that I am supposed to put out a quality product. I am not sure I do that either.

But back to the secret trick. I have found that content does not really matter that much. I have written about similar topics two weeks in a row and had fewer “interactions” the second week than the first. I have written about completely different topics two weeks in a row and had exactly the same results (few readers) each week. Even writing about celebrities has had mixed results. Unless they happen to be local. Which speaks volumes to what writers always talk about. (Sorry about the about Marc.) Writers need to know their audiences.

One thing I ought to remember is that I know my audience fairly well. And I should. After all, I know almost all of them personally. I have worked with some. I have taught and/or coached some. I am friends with some outside of the internet. And most of the rest are my relatives. Oh sure, I have a few followers who just happen to see something they liked that I wrote one time, but by and large, I know my readers. And it seems that when the two readers who read every week (thanks Marc and Mike) either like or repost or somehow promote me to their friends, people read. And when more than just those two and more than my friends and relatives do the same, I get even more readers. And sometimes even a few more followers.

So thanks to Marc and Mike and the rest of my unnamed readers, I have built a following. And it has grown a little over time. Now, if I could just get others to mention me in their social media circles, I might get a few more readers here and there. Of course, I will need to put out some quality content, but hopefully with a few more posts under my belt that will come too.

I am sure it is not a secret, but self-promotion and letting others promote you is surely the key to developing a digital following. I just wish I could follow my own advice and use that secret trick.

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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