Friday, June 30, 2006

TOPIC: The Paradox Of Pain: A Male Perspective
Article by Gavin Levy (Fibromyalgia Online/NFA Newsletter)

As young boys growing up, we are taught by society not to cry when we scrape our knee. If we bruised a knee when playing football, we learned how to hold the sensation of pain on the inside. In England you’ll hear the expression, “Grit and bear it,” and this is just what we did. So it can certainly knock a man’s ego when you cannot “grit and bear it.”

When the cycle of pain goes on every day, week, month, year, it makes the “If I just ignore it, it will go away” approach seem ridiculous. It is tempting for a man who has fibromyalgia to see himself as inadequate or not manly anymore. I am going to put it to you that we are the iron men of men, the strongest of the strong, and I’m going to tell you why.

If we think about the toughest men in society, we might think of those in the mafia, or boxers, or the Navy SEALs. These men know how to inflict pain on others and endure large amounts of pain themselves. And yet, yet, there is a reprieve from their pain. A boxer has to last the fight and can then recuperate over the next days or weeks. A mobster may inflict a great deal of pain on someone, but this is usually going to happen in an intense period of minutes or perhaps hours. It is only perhaps the likes of a Navy SEAL who will come close to our league by having to potentially endure the torture of months or even years of pain.

This being said, men with fibromyalgia are keeping good company. The difference for many of us is that our pains have been unrelenting, unyielding, uncompromising, ruthless in their execution, and for many of us a continual daily companion. And yet through it all, we manage to keep on smiling, keep getting back up, and refusing to give up this dream called life.

It is also worth noting that we get no sympathy from those around us because most people have no concept of what we are living with. I have found that I will get more sympathy from having a common cold than from fibromyalgia. Remember, people can relate to a cold—they can see a cold—but not the roaring tiger within us.

Of course, we are all working towards relieving our symptoms sooner rather than later—only a true man could do that—and with new knowledge comes new hope. Only a man of iron strength could look pain in the eye each day and say, “You will never conquer me, for I am stronger.” How many men could deal with the numerous challenges of this complex condition? Perhaps only a certain type of man—a real man!

Forty-four year old Russell Brooks adds in his letter Not Lazy-Not Crazy, "Fibromyalgia symptoms are the antithesis of so many masculine attributes, strength, stamina, etc. Without strength and stamina, it's been my experience that I'm seen of less than a man. I look forward to recapturing my strength and stamina again. Through NFA's great efforts, I'm confident that I will. In addition to all the wonderful things it's doing, NFA will, at the end of the day, help me once again be seen as a respectable man, not lazy, not crazy—just a man with a real illness who wants to get better."

The article, along with Mr. Brooks' comments sum up my feelings and (admittedly) my frustrations quite well.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

TOPIC: Lustful eyes
From the book Faith Walk, by Woodrow Kroll & Tony Beckett: You have heard the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Perhaps an appropriate updated version would be, “Beauty is too often in the eye of the beholder.” We live in a visually stimulating age. Gone the way of dinosaurs are black-and-white photographs. Today, graphics and photos are full color, eye-catching and often sexy.
Mankind has always struggled with lust, especially lust of the eyes. A beautiful woman named Bathsheba caught David’s eye and that first glance became a lustful gaze. Immorality was the result. Jesus condemned lust in the Sermon on the Mount, saying the person who lusts is committing adultery in his heart (Matt. 5:28).
As Job wrote in his own defense, listing sins he knew he didn’t commit, he began by mentioning what he had done to avoid lustful looking. He made a covenant [promise or pact] with his eyes “not to look lustfully at a girl.” While some say, “What’s the harm in looking?” Job knew that it was wrong. The look can set the hook, and it’s downhill from there.
Sex sells, so ads are full of sensual images. Television programs and movies are full of sexual themes. Clothes are made to be enticing. We cannot escape seductive images, but we can covenant not to look at them.
Are you careful about what you view? Job’s words are forceful for men especially. When your eye strays for a second look, remember what Job said. And determine right now to enter into the same covenant.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

TOPIC: Google MashUp -
Google MashUps are, in my opinion, some of the coolest (though oft times useless) apps on the Internet these days. I've had a lot of fun perusing the websites dedicated to mash-ups. Since I'm on a 10-day trip to New England, a relatively new mash-up caught my eye. It's called The site allows you to map all the states, countries and continents you've visited. It also offers lots of travel info and advice. The downside (IMO) is the site also has advertisements and commercial related pages. Overall, is a cool mash-up based on Google Earth technology.
In case you're wondering (and even if you're not), here's a map of all the US states I have visited or lived in:

Monday, June 26, 2006

QOTD: I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- Albert Einstein

Thursday, June 22, 2006

TOPIC: Top Ten Ways to Motivate Geeks
The list is from a blog I've never read or seen before. Therefore, I offer NO endorsement of the site. However, I did run across their Top 1o list -- and I agree (almost) wholeheartedly with everything on the list.
Here are the motivational tips:
1. Geeks are curious. Let them feed their desire to learn things
2. Geeks like to be self-sustaining. Let them figure things out on their own.
3. Geeks are creative even if they don’t know it. Give them a chance.
4. Geeks need tools, good ones. Give them more than they need.
5. Private, yet collaborative. Geeks need to be left alone, but not too alone.
6. Free stuff. T-shirts, food, desktop widgets, whatever.
7. Control
8. Geeks need recognition
9. Freedom
10. Compensation - Saved this for last, but geeks gotta live too
Read the entire blog post by clicking here. I assure you that it is well worth your time -- especially if you have a geek in your workforce or home.

Friday, June 02, 2006

QOTD: Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom. -- Unknown