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Thursday, February 26, 2009

The True Life Polish

Shoes get worn, they get dirty and sometimes the user just neglects them all together. Why put a dark, smelly, oily substance on them that makes them streaked and smudged?

Leave the mess to itself for a bit and start to rub and buff the polish into the shoe. Stay out of the shoes for a bit and let them rest. Give them the treatment they've been neglected as you've taken them along on your travels. When it's time to rest and polish a good pair of shoes back up, take time and take care to do it well.

Some people only get one good pair of shoes and most of those people will make those shoes last for a long time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Writer's Christmas

I think I was around 13 when I decided that I was going to write a book. I liked to doodle and draw strange monsters a lot, I enjoyed sports, I really liked music (especially West Coast rap), but I never developed a skill or work ethic to aspire to any of those things on an elite level. I was also quite pre-occupied with winning one of the many reputed scholarships that would pay an entire ride to college's expenses for one good poem, essay or short story. So, I decided I was going to write a good poem, essay AND short story. Only one problem; hand-written pieces were not accepted. So, I decided that I absolutely must have a computer to type out and print all my masterpieces. Christmas time was approaching and I was on a mission.

The reality of the situation was that 12 years ago, computers were still huge pieces of machinery that cost thousands of dollars and I only knew one person who had one in their home. It definitely wasn't in the budget of a single mother to buy her aspiring author any sort of professional machinery to type out his thoughts. So, instead she bought me an electric typewriter, much like the one Raoul Duke uses in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It was amazing! Although the backspace button only worked for a few weeks and the ink ribbon was always getting twisted and smudging and... it doesn't matter! I had pages of my own writing that I could send in for the scholarship contest!

I didn't get that scholarship, or any scholarships for that matter, but it made me feel like a legitimate writer anyhow. This was the definitive moment in my life when I knew I was a writer. Starting on pages, scrapping countless drafts and gnashing my teeth trying to figure out what I wanted to write next; these are some of my fondest childhood memories that slipped my recollection for a long time. It sort of just popped into my head this morning and gave me a really warm feeling. I wanted to share that memory with you.

Do you have any lost or faded childhood memories that suddenly come to you? I'm hoping these start coming back clearer and more often. It feels good!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cake Filled With Content

You've got to give the people what they want, or you've got to convince the people they want what you've got. Straight-up copy just doesn't make people's mouth water. I'm finding that I'm getting quite obsessed with one type of writing at any given moment and neglecting others. All the while I am slowly creeping up to an insurmountable wall where I feel like everything I'm writing is crap.

The solution is to keep writing, no matter which way you go about it and stuff it into some cake so people will want it. Whether they'll buy it or not is an entirely different story, but as long as people read what you're putting down on paper and coming back for more the next day, you're doing alright.

On a side note, I'm becoming well aware of what ROI I am needing from the time I spend writing. It's got to be high! About two years ago I was writing entire 500 word articles for a few bucks. A FEW BUCKS! Maybe like $3 to $6 for quality writing that I spent at least an hour on. In my mind I was paying my dues, but working for pennies is so easy to do because people will never offer to pay you more if you don't ask. Getting what you're worth as a writer is important for financial reasons and also confidence reasons. I'm almost embarrassed to post about how long I was writing for cheap, but it's in the past and with some good judgment and even better advice I'm beyond that.

So, eat up your content cake as well as your *spinach* filled brownies and don't write for less than you're worth!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

On The Road...Again

I won't go into much detail right now, but basically I might have to pack my shit and find another place to live. I've been put into a very uncomfortable position. As a grown man I'm weighing my options of compromise versus confrontation, or simply walking away from this living arrangement that I have grown content with.

... sigh...

Adsense Doesn't Work Anymore

As with most people I know, I haven't made any money using Adsense. I knew that the wave of making good money through Adsense revenue had probably passed at least a few years ago.

So, what works now? I'm trying to figure that out myself. I've read two blogs this week that talk endlessly about how it's nearly impossible for most people to make money off of blogging, yet there are people that do it. Here is the more informative of the two blog posts

Basically what I understand is that there needs to be a unique business model associated with your content and with your blog. If it doesn't solve people's problems, it probably won't make money. Writing entertainment blogs seems to not be the way to go, although I enjoy writing entertainment type posts on JR's Not So Literal Logging.

So this leads me to wonder, how can I solve people's problems? What skills do I have that people would pay for? Well, I've got a lot of those skills to be perfectly honest! The act of brainstorming them will be a new way to shift the paradigm of how I think about making money.

So, I'm going to take my first step in trying a new Ad program called Chitika. It's supposedly much more effective than Adsense these days. We'll see! I'm looking forward to seeing some revenue come in based off of the page views I get.

Let me know what you think about solving people's problems and making money off of it. Also, let me know what you think of the Chitika Ads!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Proliferation of Green Jobs

The sustainability revolution is coming! Where do I stand? Where do you stand? Where do we stand?

A gajillion, million, bazillion dollars are now being circulated throughout the United States of America to help stimulate the economy and create jobs. I'm pulling for the "green" job increases and to be honest, I'm already starting to see a bit of a pick up in the talk and excitement in Massachusetts surrounding sustainable industries. Check out this article in the Boston Globe to see what I'm talking about.

Stimulus expectations run high

So, what kind of green jobs are we talking here? Green construction? Solar panel installers? Wind turbine technicians (or as I call them, trapeze artists)? Green non-profits? Green government contracts? Green street sweepers?

A year ago I was just another environmental enthusiast who wanted nothing more than to see a social and economic transformation to a cleaner, healthier economy and way of living. I wanted quite badly to work in the field of "green" business. I never got an engineering degree, never got an environmental science degree and I never got a business degree. I simply am a good writer who's good with technology and has a very small learning curve. I put myself out there repeatedly and almost, I mean almost got a few really cool jobs for solar and wind power companies. I'm not working in a sustainable industry at the moment, but I find myself in the midst of a revolutionary period, one that I've been waiting for.

Do I still want my professional future to lie in "green" or sustainable business? You bet your pants I do. But I ask, where do I belong? Where can I put my skills to use? Who needs me?

You should ask yourself these questions as well. This will be the biggest economic boom that my generation (Gen Y) will likely ever see in our lifetime. I don't want to call it a bubble. How could infrastructure and renewable energy development cause an economic bubble? It won't. This is our new direction. This will be an economic freight train. Get on or get out of the way!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Rise of Carbon Neutral Cities

Today I'm linking to a column Seth Itzkan and I wrote for The Valley Patriot. It's about the exciting trends in sustainable building practices that will bring us into a cleaner tomorrow.

As always, comments are welcome.


A sustainable future is not something that can only be enjoyed by certain segments of society or by certain parts of the planet. Many "green" innovations have been displayed in beautifully crafted, yet very expensive homes and buildings. The real, holistic purpose of living sustainably is so that everyone can live cleaner, healthier lives and leave the Earth less of a mess for future generations to clean up.

How does a world like this come to fruition? It certainly doesn't happen over night. Most of the world's big cities were developed large in scale and breadth as we know them after the industrial revolution. Over the course of time, cities and towns have grown in order to accommodate huge populations and the demands that come with them. Urban sprawl and suburbia seems to be a poor idea in hind-sight, but certain socioeconomic forces have shaped the urban, suburban and rural landscapes we live in today. Facing those forces with a new, sustainable mentality is what will help us to build greener, healthier living spaces.

What makes a sustainable region? Reducing the collective carbon footprint of a city or town is done in multiple ways. Changing the way a city is laid out or planned can dramatically alter the dynamic of foot traffic as well as the number of internal combustion vehicles used throughout. Changing standards and regulations towards requiring a high level of energy efficiency in all new construction projects is also a way to greatly reduce an areas carbon footprint.

With so many buildings, homes and structures already existing which were built long before efficiency standards were considered, there is the question of whether it is better to retro-fit or to build anew. While both ideas have their benefits, some governments are looking to model future cities after state of the art eco-colonies.

Masdar City, in Abu Dhabi is slated to be the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste city. Within this walled city, no cars will be allowed and all of the energy used will be in the form of electricity generated by renewable resources such as photovoltaic panels and wind turbines. The goal for Masdar City is to create as much energy as it uses. Current goal is to produce a 130 megawatts through a photovoltaic network and 20 megawatts with wind farms. In all, Masdar City will be host to about 45,000 residents with 60,500 people commuting there daily.

There are also examples of existing cities and towns that are called "transition towns." The use of the word "transition" signifies a conscious, active and collective move towards building a more sustainable community.

This approach has varying aspects to it, including raising awareness of carbon and environmental issues, connecting with local governments and having community defined goals, projects and timelines which would ultimately seek to achieve a carbon neutral city, town or region.

Transition towns are varied in size and culture, with some examples in the United States being Montpelier, Vermont, Boulder, Colorado and Portland, Maine. The Obama-Biden platform was notably pro- environment and many Americans are looking forward to an Obama Administration push towards sustainable economic development. A large part of the platform is a commitment to highly efficient Federal buildings and more stringent standards for all new construction projects. New building efficiency will be 50% more efficient and retro-fitted existing structures will aim to be 25% more efficient. These ambitious, large scale projects are going to require a well trained and motivated workforce, which will hopefully signal a new reassurance of new, green-collar jobs in the near future.

Speaking of his proposed Environmental Agenda, President Obama said, "We cannot afford more of the same timid politics when the future of our planet is at stake. Global warming is not a someday problem, it is now."

Speaking to policy specifics, he said, "It will lay down three thousand miles of transmission lines to every corner of our country. It will save taxpayers $2 billion dollars a year by making 75% of Federal buildings more efficient and it will save American families hundred of dollars by weatherizing 2 million homes."

A city of any size uses massive amounts of power; that this may someday soon be achieved without any carbon output is remarkable.
Policies put fourth by the Obama administration promoting the greening of the built environment are a step in that direction and may provide useful incentives for The Merrimack Valley.

Czech out the actual Column at The Valley Patriot Online.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I've Decided to Become a Millionaire

In the past year I've made millions of dollars and signed countless copies of my book in a tour that spanned the globe twice over. Would you believe me that six months ago I was working at a gas station in downtown Baltimore making $22,000 a year annually and now I'm a MULTI-millionaire internet marketer. Sound unbelievable? I'd have said the same thing in your shoes. Let me show you how I turned my life around to become the biggest selling book writer, the most followed Twitterer and the most charismatic public speaker in the world with my webinar JR's Not So Literal Logging: A Peon's Guide to Generating Money From Thin Air.

I can't promise that you too will become rich, famous, attractive and amazing at every venture you take in life, but if you purchase my JR's Not So Literal Logging webinar series, I will show you the steps that you can take to put your life on a one-way rocket ride to success.

Please leave a comment and you'll be put on my super secret mailing list that will give you back-stage access, pre-sale information, ultra confidential tips, tricks and videos of me having burping contents with the chimpanzee friends I bought with my MILLIONS!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sustainable Spaces

I may not have mentioned Jetson Green before due to my tendency to keep things that I really love private. This website consistently hosts the most inspiring, beautiful and innovative green, sustainably built projects in the world. reading a blog like this is encouraging because it really helps you realize that many places throughout the United States are adapting some form of sustainable building principals in application to their own spaces.

A little over a week ago I visited Alex Cheimets in Arlington where he and his neighbor are living amidst the Massachusetts Superinsulation Project. This project is a great example of what can be done with supplies available to virtually anyone and some applied scientific reasoning to make a relatively old residential home become energy efficient. I will cover this project and compare it to other projects in further detail in the near future.

When not working with existing residential or commercial structures, there is a seemingly blank canvas left for developers, architects and construction workers to build something new and innovative that serves a purpose of livability, functionality and general aesthetic appeal.

A new design that I'm excited over today that I learned about from the folks over at Jetson Green is Dr. Jim's "Really Nice" space. This walkable, sustainable, rentable commercial space just screams downtown renewal, something that my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts is in sore need of. If developers and city officials were ever able to pair reasonably priced, sustainably built housing and commercial space down where the Worcester Common Fashion Outlets used to be, that could bring an entirely new dynamic to the city's brand.

Match the concept of new development with retro-fitted existing structures and I can foresee an exciting vision for Worcester, Massachusetts and many many other cities and towns like it. This sort of vision will create jobs and be conducive to community involvement. I like the sound of that. Plus it just looks nice!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Start Now, Not Later

Why wait until next month to start kicking out the jambs? I was driving myself up the walls trying to figure out how I was going to make the dough that needed to be made for the month of February. I keep stressing over my business website and setting that up to look "professional."

Scratch that. I got into the swing of focusing too much on making money in one particular discipline. How else can I make money? Writing isn't the only ways. Editing, babysitting, demolition, trade shows, you name it! You can't knock or limit my hustle.

I feel like this is my best effort in putting the last month behind me and really turning the corner towards an exciting 2009. I'm looking to stay positive, stay caring and giving to the people who display the same traits to me and even to some of those who don't.

Not that I'm a bad person, but I feel like I need to be a better person moving forward. Better, stronger, smarter and tougher. More understanding too. More flexible?

We'll see.

On a side note, a picture is probably worth a thousand words and a million memories when you consider the tableau of three Worcesterite males sitting around a semi-furnished apartment drinking wine from Martini glasses and talking about life with the type of vigor that you'd expect from upwardly mobile cats who haven't quite hit their stride. You'd have to be there... with a camera!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Charlie Haden- Jack Black's In-Law

I was driving home from work this winter and heard a sample of this song on NPR. (As corrected by my friend Seth Itzkan, an avid bassist himself)The bassist's name is Charlie Hayden. The son is on vocals. His daughter is married to Jack Black. This song touches me very deeply. I suggest looking up the song "Shenandoah" as well.

Link Love = More Blog Traffic

About a month ago I got an un-welcomed email from stating that I was not being paid per post anymore after earning a dollar per 100 word post every day for about six months. My income from side writing projects has been negligible in the past month due to commitments at my day job so I didn't want to waste time writing on my blog if I wasn't getting paid for it. The link love and community of was nice, but out of spite I wasn't going to be part of another ad-revenue sharing program.

About a week after I stopped posting on my blog, my visitor states for JR's Not So Literal Logging starting going way down. Looking at the source of where a lot of my traffic came from I was surprised to see that people were visiting this very blog from my blog!

What does this tell me? Don't ditch your social media circles on a whim! Keeping a regular blog posting routine at my blog might have possibly kept my visitors engaged and clicking links on my page.

Might I re-start my blog? I'm not sure yet. It was a themed blog about my quest to get back into grad school. Now that Grad School isn't at the forefront of my life anymore, I might chose another topic and start from scratch.

Any thoughts on this? Do you owe your traffic and reputation to social media outlets that seem to be a waste of time otherwise?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Blog Posting Late In The Day - Get Over That Wall

Sometimes I wonder if posting to my blog this late in the day is worth the trouble. It seems like if I don't post to my blog early in the morning when people begin checking their RSS feeds, my posts don't get read and my traffic begins to die down at a steady rate, as it has for the past month.

My traffic stats do not represent my inner beauty! *breathes deeply*

I posted a question on Twitter earlier today that read like this:

JRMoreau: I need to take a different angle at working efficiently at my side business after/before work. My old way isn't effective anymore.

I was busy at work today. Not busy like, too many meetings to go to, or trouble-shooting busy. I simply had piles and piles and piles on top of piles of work that I needed to grind through before days end. I suspect it will be the same tomorrow. This is why I am getting a blog post out before I leave my desk so that I can at least say I did one today. Any momentum is good momentum (except backwards momentum, duh!)

While I won't take work home with me tonight (I'm trying to be disciplined as much as possible), I'm also slipping into the tendency of wanting to relax when I get home. What a foreign concept! Who does that?

All snide sarcasm aside, I started out last year with a wide eyed idea that I'd start a writing business and get it really cranking in 2009. I've had some personal obstacles arise lately, but I'm handling them all well enough.

The true test of an innovative, hard working person is how they face adversity and worse, a perceived lack of motivation. I used the word "perceived" because I don't think motivation ever really wanes, it's the energy to keep running into the same wall at the same speed, from the same angle, day in and day out. It's less a question of motivation than it is a question of feeling refreshed in perspective.

A refreshed perspective is something that everyone needs from time to time. It's tough to get out of bed every day if your perspective is that things cannot change. With great effort, passion and all the good stuff that got you into this mess in the first place, you can bring about change.

I don't like to see my blog go too long without a post. I've gone through several blogs over the last decade and I promised that JR's Not So Literal Logging was going to be the first blog I kept writing in forever.

That same feeling goes towards my writing business. I've had lots of great ideas in the past that I didn't follow through on. This is the first day of the rest of my business owning life. I am tired, behind schedule and dealing with some tough things in life, but things that you build define you better than your hardship.

Get to crackin'!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blog Writing - You Are What You Eat?

I wonder how much blog content is recycled information that a blog author gets from his or her RSS Reader on any given day? I see a lot of themes and concepts recycled. Sometimes people don't even bother changing the order of the top 5 (or however many) bullets they write on a subject.

It's all gravy, though. I'm guilty (or a participant) in the art of content recycling. Sometimes I have a hard time getting inspired to write a blog post unless I wake up with a bright idea or think of something crazy on the commute to work. I guess this is natural?

There's always the concept of ideating (yes, it's a word). It's basically the slap in the face answer to anyone who tells you that they've got writers blog. You essentially kick start your brain into creative mode by analyzing your surroundings and your immediate needs and building from there with a vast series of customized steps. It's a fairly effective tool, especially for people who get paid for their writing and need to come up with great stuff on a regular basis.

Today I let the ideation take control and wahlah, an ideated blog about ideation. Enjoy!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Where You're From - An Adjective

Do you have any interesting, funny or shameful characteristics about where you're from that immediately get pegged on you when you're out of town?

I've been called Worcesterish (Worcester-ish) and have also been told I've got "Millbury Street etiquette." I think you'd have to be from the city to know what that means, or at least be familiar with the area. I'm not even sure what it means to be honest. I actually call myself "Worcesterish" proudly. It's one of the first adjectives that my friends use to describe me to their friends and it's always an endearing term.

I read a lot of Facebook posts about "you know you're from Boston/Worcester if..." Are any of you from a city or town that isn't considered a "major" city, but rather a working, urban area that has it's very distinct culture from surrounding metropolises?

As always, if I meet you and you ask me where I'm from, it's Worcester, "Wista," but never, ever Boston.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Becoming a Professional = Learning to Walk Before You Fly

As I try new things the older I get, I seek council a lot from people who have been there and done that. Even though I admittedly have a hard time learning from others mistakes, I do enjoy talking a bit about my next potential steps and life and hearing people talk about their trips, falls, bumps, bruises and successes.

Being a Gemini, I have at least two sides to listen to at any given decision making point in my life. I've learned that one of those sides in me is always right. I try not to explicitly ask people exactly what I should do. The roundabout method of questioning is a good way to exercise all possibilities and come to your own conclusions.

Sometimes someone will take it upon themselves and tell you exactly what they think you should do. This can be great, because it shows that one of your actual options is something that others have convictions about. But, it is necessary to be careful of people who try and steer you. It is easy to come across these people in life. They're either individuals who stand to gain from you choosing a certain path and are persuasive irregardless of your circumstances. There are also individuals who are naturally nervous or apprehensive and are averse to risk who would rather you take the path of lesser resistance every time.

Being able to weigh risk, others opinions and still move forward is the true sign of professional maturity. Having others hold your hand the whole way simply won't work. Even though it make feel good to have tons of support, it surely doesn't feel as good as flying under your own power.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Keeping Flexible

In staying flexible, I don't mean bending and twisting before and after exercise. What I mean is maintaining an open mind about what life can bring at any given moment and realizing that you're ability to be passive or active is a choice left entirely up to you.

The emotional, intellectual and physical strains that people go through on any given day can be enormous. The attempt to find fulfillment in a day, or a month or a lifetime can seem all but impossible with the harrowing task of making ends meet financially and meeting as many personal goals as we think we might like to achieve over a course of time.

There has to be more. I'm not speaking in any religious sense, but rather in the sense that we cloud our minds so much with tasks and desires that don't lead us anywhere. Working a day-job, to make money, to buy things, to grow old and then to die. What have we built? What is left when we are gone? Each of us has our own calling and natural abilities that set us free when we embrace them.

My freeing activity is writing. I'd really like to write for a living. Copywriting, creative writing, academic writing, journalism; I love all forms of writing. I feel much more alive after I've written something from the heart. I know there is something in each person that makes them feel the way I do about writing. How long until you side step the massive boulder you're working on getting to the top of that never-ended hill? 10 years? 30 years? 45 years?

Doing what you have to do to survive for however long is your own prerogative. Some people figure out a way to make a living doing something they love. Others need to work different jobs that they don't like for a while until they're absolutely sure that they're meant to be on another path. I think relative to the time-line that is life, it doesn't matter whether it takes us 2 or 20 years to find out what we love to do and actually start doing it. What matters is that we make the change and stay ready to pounce when the opportunity presents itself. Before and after that point, it is a matter of listening, learning and taking as much in to make that beautiful moment where your life changes count for everything it's worth.

This post is dedicated to two completely un-related friends of mine, Neil D. and Julie Roads. Neil's talk on Mankind's Search for Harmony through Architecture and Julie's eBook called How to Become a Successful Copywriter both have inspired a ton of thought encouragement in myself and many others, I'm sure.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Working Out in Pairs

Venturing away from my common subjects, I wanted to talk about something that has been fresh on my mind with Spring slowly, but steadily approaching; fitness! I have had various levels of personal fitness over my life time. Some years weren't so great, other years were phenomenal. As of now I'm relatively fit, but not athletic by any means. When it got cold and I stopped riding my bike, my average hours of exercise per week went way down. I also find myself going on long walks and to the gym a bit less due to work and weather constraints.

All excuses aside, I must say that I do miss working out with friends like I used to in college. It seems like no matter where I lived, whether it was in Prague or one of the dozen or so apartments I lived in in Boston, I always seemed to have interesting roommates who valued fitness in their own lives. I took to thai kickboxing quite fondly thanks to one roommate, I got my first flat "four-pack" stomach with another roommate who probably did 1000 crunches a day and I took to road biking after living with people who really enjoyed mountain biking.

My next adventure? Well, there is a rock climbing gym going up in Worcester. I've always wanted to try rock climbing and up until 4 years ago, I thought I'd never be able to because I couldn't do a pull up. Now that I'm strong enough to do a few pull ups, I'm really looking forward to tying a rope around my waist and scaling some funky studded walls. I kind of want someone to do this with so I can share a mutual interest. I am able to do things solo, but do enjoy a slightly competitive bit of company with things like this.

What are your opinions of rock climbing? What are some of the things I can expect? I'm kind of excited! I might try it at the YMCA where my sister works too, but if I like it, I'm going to join the one noted below:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Working Alternative Hours

When's the last time you left work when it was light out? The summertime? Do you justify it by noting daylight savings time? Or, are you working much longer hours than normal and not really taking the full benefit of what a flexible work schedule can offer?

Some jobs can be subject to unfair, tyrannical rules and procedures that make like miserable for pretty much everyone involved. Showing up to the office no later than 8PM Monday through Friday and working late whenever needed isn't exactly my idea of a good work-life balance. I can be counted as somewhat hypocritical in this regard because I do, after all, work much, much, much more that 40 billable hours per week, but I also do my best to make my essential knowledge and work ethic work for me by working alternative hours whenever possible.

If you're going to be on call, or asked to put in lots of extra hours on a regular basis, you should definitely consider asking for a schedule that suites your needs a bit better. Most jobs have the capability to allow their employees to work remotely. Many managers simply don't let their employees work from home because they feel it is taboo and bad for team morale and productivity. Most studies on working from home have proven that theory to be wrong.

Having a healthy work-life balance is essential to your personal and professional progression in life. There's no real reason, aside from an inflexible culture that you cannot have a flexible working schedule that allows you to work remotely or have alternative hours if you're putting in the hard work and time needed to get the job done.

Finding smart, reliable, hard working employees is hard, keeping them happy shouldn't have to be.