What appeals to me

Happiness Apps? I had no idea that such a thing dared to exist, but alas, it does. These are mobile apps that kind of mind your business. Being open-minded, one just might give back to themselves. It’s not that “stars and explosions” phenomenon, but with open-mindedness, you can see yourself for better or for worse.

In-flow gives us a “day in the life”. It’s kind of general although they try to be as specific as possible. I must admit that when I pulled up to my nephew’s baby shower and checked my phone, In-flow seemed a tad imposing. The timing was just not good, however I felt compelled to respond to get it out the way. Upon my return home, mind you I’ve been driving all day on my day off, I just don’t do that, but I’ve vowed to myself to be present at all costs. I’ve covered every borough in the city yesterday as I wanted my nephew’s baby shower to be a success, and I was no good when I returned home. Overall I felt contentedly satisfied ¬†with the outcome of my day.

I was tired, extremely tired when I got home. Lo and behold, here’s In-flow on my phone asking me how I felt. It felt like such an imposition and that feeling lasted all of thirty seconds, after about thirty seconds, I was afforded a great moment of introspection, however vague. This pleased me very much, to be able to reflect on the pleasantries and accomplishments in conjunction with “being present” for my family.

I then came upon another app in which I downloaded. This app is called Emotion-sense. Emotion-sense seemed quite realistic insofar as breaking down my profile into 8 categories: Demographics,¬†Personality;¬†This has five subsections consisting of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, Extraversion, and Openness. There’s¬†Gratitude, Health/Subjective Health, Sociability which consists of Relationships and Time with Others, there’s¬†Job Satisfaction, Life Aspirations¬†which subsections include Altruistic:¬†(unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others. It is the opposite of egoistic), Relationships, Economic, Political, Pleasure, Spiritual and Artistic. Mind you this Life Aspirations segment encompasses most of the things that life is in its totality. The final category but certainly not least in my opinion is¬†Connectedness. I scored low on this but hey progress not perfection right?

These categories have allowed me, the individual, an opportunity to account for my life. Simply setting up my profile are what these attributes amount to. It’s made me look at myself and my life. A happiness tracker? Probably not. It felt more like a holistic accomplishment tracker thus determining ones life’s direction to date. I appreciated it.

Anything else outside of the Profile segment consists of a week of tracking and it is all technological. This requests locations, has graphs of ones moods at certain times of the day, etc. What I get from it all is that this monitoring of happiness and well-being is big business. Although most of the apps are free, the attention that they get out of sheer curiousity, will line pockets right nice.

I’m no hater. If I like what I’ve seen, I will engage it. These apps are an effective way to check my feelings and moods, however, these apps didn’t check my happy. I checked my happy. Perhaps I was expecting a different approach from the apps I’ve looked into. Nevertheless it had a calming effect on me, allowing me to reflect and introspect in that order. Reminding me to remember where I came from, what I’ve come through. This work has, I guess it did please me somewhat. The nostalgia, the surviving it all, what I’ve amounted to after the pains and pleasures. To sum it all up, the Emotion Sense app has renewed my level of gratitude.

I Love New York

Ok so as I stated at the beginning of all of this, I was born in Queens, raised in Brooklyn, existed holistically in all of the other boroughs in between. NYC? It’s just beautiful man! We’re talking Canarsie Pier, Manhattan Beach, numerous basketball courts throughout Harlem like Rucker Park where we’ve played basketball against¬† notables such as Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, John Wall.¬†140th street and Lenox Ave where we continue to play against local legends. I can go on! However I will land on my most favorite NYC spot ever. This place is romantic, peaceful, it provides me with the ultimate solitude. It’s beautiful during the summer, but it is to die for on a¬†beautiful autumn night. This place is the Brooklyn Promenade in Brooklyn Heights.

I’ve been visiting the promenade since high school. I was invited one afternoon by some friends from another school. We patronized The Promenade Restaurant initially. It was probably the first restaurant I’ve ever patronized and I don’t have to tell you what that’s like. Full, yet adventurous, we decided to explore the area. We’ve heard so much about the Promenade¬†that we had to see for ourselves. The results that were yielded were that of pure awe! From then on one of my life’s goals became to own property around there somewhere where I can simply go to the Promenade to relax and meditate every day, sometimes numerous times a day (lol).

Before I moved my family to Harlem, we used to reside in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. I’d drive to the Promenade, by myself, just to¬†be by myself (we all need that sometimes), ground my thoughts and situations and actually improve upon them. I really love the Promenade, however the reason(s) that I go there is to consolidate my life’s direction. The beautiful thing about getting back to school, is that when I’m feeling a little “scared”, I take a stroll to the Promenade, hit the diner, then walk down to the elevated walk and overlook the¬†South Street Seaport and simply revel in the beauty of it all. That totally calms me.

Of course there are so many other places. I’m a New York dude! Need I say more? They’ve actually improved the infrastructure around there. There’s now a place called Brooklyn Bridge Park in which I’ve visited a time or two. It’s nice. I’ve gone there to run the track¬†a couple of times after a tumultuous day in class. It’s really quite nice, but that serves an entirely different purpose than my beloved promenade. I’m having quite the time uploading images as this isn’t my computer. I promise to do so before Tuesday’s due. Great sharing that with you all. Wow! Was it good for you? For me, it’s certainly worth revisiting…physically, mentally and emotionally.

 

 

Can Happiness Be Computed?

I get it, but do I want it? I’m from an age of control. Where survival was purely “hands-on”. Today we have cyber pursuits of happiness. Never thought I’d live to see the day. However, my life’s pursuit is all about balance. Therefore I remain open to new things, new dynamics.

Everything in life is a choice. In this age of technology, we’re supposed to take absolute comfort in the existence of attaining happiness through the cyber world. The “Happier” site states that they’re helping you appreciate life. They’re showing different ways to just appreciate the little things. They’re goal, apparently is to enlighten others to appreciate the little things. I mean after all isn’t that what life is? A collective of “little things”? I don’t believe you need the cyber world for that.

For a fact, ones mindset of today stems from yesterday. It’s a continuous string of experiences of the past and present that constitutes tomorrow. I believe that most of these sites are attempting to reveal to the world how to channel those experiences, good and bad, and transform us into free thinking, stress free accomplishers.

Life is not a game! At the same time we mustn’t take life so seriously. The “Happify” website attempts to scientifically gauge a person’s happiness with games. These games are apparently designed to stimulate ones motivations towards their goals, thereby bringing us back in the “now” of our objectives and with these new perspectives, we continue to reinvent ourselves.

Sounds great! However this entire Cyber Happiness campaign can be an extreme also. This, as with everything, and I emphasize everything, requires balance. The term “get a life” comes to mind when I imagine a person on the computer or mobile device all day every day, looking for happiness in cyberspace exclusively.

It’s like an innate fear of tangible engagement. Tangible engagement is the bottom line isn’t it? All that is to be attained is to be ultimately tangible.

The Hedonometer depicts the variations in good feelings and bad feelings and the frequency of it all, in correlation to good and bad things taking place where these high and low feelings result from.¬†In 2014, events good and bad have occurred and public perception via twitter was gauged and translated into public moods and the varying frequency of them. That is a great science as far as I’m concerned. It’s a great way to gauge public perception or opinions about incidents occurring or recurring. Now this includes holidays. For instance, according to¬†the hedonometer, Christmas day is the highpoint of happiness in 2014. This is anticipated obviously and I can see how that would be, however the same or similar goes for most of the holidays this year. Then there are the deaths of various celebrities this year, which obviously resulted in varying low points on twitter opinions and moods.

It is very easy to get caught up in computed happiness. We mustn’t¬†get caught up in total reliance on any one thing. I said it before and I’ll say it again and again and yet again. It is ALL about balance. It’s that tree of infinite knowledge where the¬†branches and leaves are varying levels and directions of knowledge.¬†Computer generated¬†scales of happiness¬†is really just one angle. We have to be out there, engaging,¬†really¬†FINDING our happy.

 

 

 

 

The Secret. Understood or Perceived?

I’m not here to proclaim that this video depicting Ms. Byrnes’s book is factual or otherwise, or that it’s the “End All Be All”. However I can tell you from experience that, positive thoughts in the universe yield positive results It’s almost surreal to actually witness one’s positive or negative thoughts manifest themselves and come to fruition. Not so much thought specific, but more “you think good and good things will happen”. That’s it! Similiar to Arlene, a lot of the bad things in my life I didn’t ask for, however I was totally prepped for negative results because my mindset was far from positive, progressive, or proactive.

On the flip side however, I began to understand that my mindset is just as important a prerequisite to how I conduct myself, in conjunction to the actual results of my actions is paramount. Keep in mind I’m not speaking thoughts specific to immediate results, I’m speaking about the overall integrity of positivity and positive thoughts in the universe. Past or present, positive energy yields positive thoughts and overall positive results. Even when there’s the gray area of day to day human existence.

Essay 1 Pre-Draft: Thesis Paragraph

Some people say¬†that they’re rich in life with or without any significant currency in their life or their person. So what is it to be rich? Is it an evaluation in happiness? (“How Happy Are You”? by John Tierney; April 30, 2011),¬†Are there stark contrasts/cultural differences?¬†(“Why Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals” by Arthur C. Brooks; July 7, 2012). Is it a question of “old vs. new” traditions? Is it surviving¬†a traumatic experience or experiences?¬†Or is happiness draped in poverty, plight, empathy and being humane in one’s selflessness aka philanthropy? Or is it when one is so low on the totem pole of life, that he/she¬†has no choice and nothing to look forward to, that they’ll sit in this lowest level of status and wallow happily in their misery. See that’s the thing, this “happiness”¬†that¬†has everyone so culturally contrary is really just a matter of perception. Isn’t it? Hmmm…¬†¬†

Gone, hopefully not forgotten

ATTN: To all my HUS and Eng1 classmates. I’ve been gone due to seriously unavoidable commitments. Notably, going to the ER because my eyes were injured. I’m back and hoping to make up some ground tomorrow. I’ve been reading the blogs. Very enlightening…that being said, if there’s anyone or any all (lol) that has the time to hit me up to bring me up to speed in both (and here’s the hit) Eng1 and HUS. Email me directly at damondrumgold@gmail.com, or call/text me at 917-272-3306. I’m desperate!!! Thank you ALL in advance for your consideration in this matter that I consider dire. Please know that if there’s anything that I can do for ANY of you, DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK.

Sincerely,

Damon C. Drumgold

 

Class Notes for Tuesday 9/9/14

I’m back guys and I sincerely apologize for my absence on 9/11. In any case, these are the class notes for Tuesday 9/9:

Professor Belli has established that minutes be recorded for every class. It’s voluntary, sort of, however everyone is to do it at least once. Professor Belli is now discussing tenure which is status granted to an employee, usually after a probationary period. Indicating that the position or employment is permanent.

She also discussed a variety of other words in which we are to kind of learn and understand the definitions of ANY word that we’re unfamiliar with. Adjunct being another one for me. This is a person associated with lesser status, rank or authority.

The discussion for 9/9 was on an Op-Ed (which means opposite the editorial page) piece from the LA Times, 5/19/2013 “How To Buy Happiness”, the italicized piece directly under the title. This is known as the thesis. We’re analyzing the piece as we reverse/outline. We’ve discussed various segments of a paper such as the conclusion (noun): the final result/answer; counterintuitive (adj): counter to what intuition would lead one to expect. ex: The direction we had to follow was counterintuitive. We had to go North before we went South. We discussed what a colon (:) is. It’s a prerequisite to a definition, list, or explanation. We’ve established that¬†a complete sentence has to have a subject and a verb. It means it’s an independent (self-sufficient; stands alone)¬†clause.¬†Now independent clause vs. a dependent clause ex:(because I run, I am tired: However, with a colon(:), you may insert a dependent clause (incomplete sentence or phrase after a colon) ex: I learned today about thermodynamics: Now I tell you what¬†I’ve learned.

Other components of a paper are the fact that it’s formulaic (meaning a¬†specific¬†formula is required); Summarizing (taking the¬†main idea(s) of an entire text (paraphrase); Quotation marks. We’re reviewing how paramount objectivity is in summarizing a piece. Also discussing concisely pulling out “the main point” of a particular paragraph in the “How To Buy Happiness” piece.

The three components in writing/rhetoric:

1) Pathos: The opposite is apathy (no feelings). Pathos is appealing to the (emotion).

2) Logos:¬†An appeal to someone’s brain. A rational appeal to the (logic)

3) Ethos: (Ethics)

All writing is an exercise in persuasion. A visceral reaction: Actually feel it in your body. Pathos: of evoking feeling of pity or compassion.

1st person: I, me, we, us

2nd person: you, your, etc.

3rd person: it, them, they, his, hers, etc.

We’ve attempted to summarize the first two paragraphs; Professor Belli posed the question; What would one do with $1 million under your mattress and not bedbugs OMG!!! “There are bedbugs on the subway, have you heard?”. Anyway if this were to happen, then¬† this would happen (the possibility that). Commodious: Comfortable

5th prgh: Define: (Diligently, paradox)… But/However

Fundamental  assumptions: Basic conclusions or feelings about.

6th prgh: Supporting those fundamental assumptions in prgh 5.

7th prgh: Sacrificing for a selfish endeavor is counterintuitive.

Prghs 8 & 9: Spending on others brings more joy.

Prghs 10 & 11: Doing for others gains you the experience of true happiness.

Prghs 12 & 13: Treating others brings more satisfaction.

Prgh 14: How we use money matters more than how much we have.

HW Assignment due 9/11

“How To Buy Happiness” Archive #3/500 words minimum. Start thinking about the connections in summarizing. Go back to the article, particularly the 1st paragraph.

Is Happiness A Rich Or Poor Trait?

In the article “How to buy happiness” by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, it analyzes if a person can truly obtain happiness with a million dollars all to him or herself. The first thing on many people’s minds traditionally, is to “do them” meaning spend money on them. However, research conducted by a generation of behavioral scientists conclude that the acquisition of material items is a temporary conduit to happiness. The true conduit to happiness is doing for others.

Researchers made a case in point in the study of buying a home, which, according to them, is the American dream. However, it yields basic satisfaction and even less happiness because it becomes hollow when there’s no one to share that with. It’s more about experiencing life according to the authors and I tend to agree with them. Selflessness is paramount in the pursuit of happiness. I tend to be a very cynical person, however as I’ve matured, I began to appreciate the wealthy’s philanthropic nature. Besides it being advantageous to tax breaks, it actually is quite impacting on the receiver of one’s generosity. There have been studies researching whether a person’s generosity actually results in a person’s happiness, conducted throughout various countries such as Canada, US, Uganda and South Africa. Needless to say, it was discovered that there is a correlation between doing for others and being happy.

The overall conclusion, per the “Starbucks” study where gift cards were distributed among three different groups of people. 1st group: Instructed to use the gift card for themselves, 2nd group: Instructed to pass their card along to someone else, and the 3rd group: Instructed to use the gift card to buy something for someone else. The only requirement: Hang out with the person you’re buying something for. It was concluded that the happiest and most satisfied were people hanging out together.

It takes next to no money to indulge in true happiness. For me it’s nothing more than hanging out in the park with my sons. Throwing the football, buying pizza for my sons and their friends, taking my sons and their cohorts to school, etc. You see? That takes next to no money, and I get immense pleasure from it. It keeps me young and totally in the loop.

This is my introduction…FINALLY!!!

My name is Damon Drumgold. I’m a proud 45 year old freshman. Born in Queens, raised in Brooklyn. I am a veteran with 4 sons ranging in age from 22 to 3 years of age. I enjoy working out, eating out, eating right, playing sports with all of my sons.

I love to read a great book, indulge in intelligent conversation. Particularly in relation to what was read or written. I also enjoy discussing current events. The proud freshman in me would like to inform the world that, like when I finally obtained my drivers license, I was ecstatic. Well that’s what I’m feeling for finally making it back to school. Needless to say, I’m bubbling with joy.

How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know

The article “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” by John Tierney researches Somerville Massachusetts. This research is premised on a Census report taken April 30, 2011 where they rated the population’s overall happiness on a scale of 1-10. The results would by and large dictate the social policies of Somerville. The Census is also backed up with a detailed telephone survey from a randomized sample of Somerville’s 76,000 residents.

In my opinion, granted, number don’t lie, however the flipside is that these “Social Policies”, and the implementation of them doesn’t necessarily result in a person’s happiness. Change is imminent of course, but I’m talking holistic happiness.

For example, the question “how could it be a bad idea to measure directly the very thing you are trying to maximize?” To me that’s an extremism concept. It appears that going from 0-100 is the ONLY order of the day it seems, and that’s just not realistic. There’s no maximum without a minimum, no good without bad, no day without night. The key is balance. The pursuit of happiness, I get that, however the adage “Progress not Perfection” should be prevalent in this case. That should be the only order of the day. For that’s attainable and practical. It’s also easier on the psyche.

Social Policies, according to the article, “Are always meant to promote things that promote happiness”. Where I’m from, social policies create chaos. My neighborhood becomes a “Police State”. I’m not totally personalizing, however sometimes it can’t be helped. True happiness comes from within not without.

Parks, bike paths, etc., it all sounds good and may actually be good, but none of that is from within. I believe that true happiness derives from the simple things in life in my opinion. Work, health, great home, great kids. I am happy. The key is to make time for you: a nice brisk 5 mile run, a relaxing bath (Calgon Take Me Away), meditation, solitude.

Being cognizant of your acts and deeds in relation to how it affects yourself and others because it always, most certainly will.