Mike! Where Have You Been?

Whatever happened to......


Where have I been, indeed? On February 6th, 2011 I wrote my most recent article for HubPages: “Why Do Artists Create?” I wrote about spreading a little love around for artists who put themselves on the line for their craft and are so often met with indifference or outright derision. The perhaps overly emotional tone of that piece was in part a response to several things that had recently occurred. The first was my removal from the Google Adsense program. Someone had flooded an article of mine with ad clicks, and the whopping $2 and change this underperforming ad placed in my coffers escaped my attention. Google assumed I was scamming them and dropped me from their Adsense program. I always played by the book, and I was angry that I became a victim of someone’s random actions. The second incident occurred a few weeks later and involved a young man who posted readings of HubPages poetry on a YouTube site. The intent was less than flattering—this person’s goal was to mock HubPages writers and their work. I asked YouTube to remove his rendition of a poem I wrote, and they canceled his account. He regained it within three weeks, re-posted the material and offered a profane response to me in his comments upon his return. I have thick skin, but I was tired and offended. I needed a break.

There were other issues, as well. I wished to stamp my DNA onto a business and industry that has paid the bills for me since I was a young man. I was working longer hours than ever at this “daytime” job, and I have discovered I am not as young as I used to be. The sustained effort took its toll, and continues to do so as I have regularly contributed fifty and sixty hour weeks to my job. My craft suffered along the way. I just haven’t had the energy for writing and artwork. I confess the dishes haven’t always been washed promptly upon finishing dinner, either.

While I haven’t contributed regularly to HubPages or other online venues, I haven’t been idle, either. What has Mike been doing, you ask?



Have you seen this man?

What has Mike been up to?
What has Mike been up to?
I have kept in touch via Facebook
I have kept in touch via Facebook
New technologies have impressed and fascinated me
New technologies have impressed and fascinated me

What does a guy in self-imposed exile do?


Social Media.

Most of those who know me from HubPages are aware that I haven’t disappeared entirely. I periodically comment on my activities via Facebook, Twitter and other sites. I have also discovered Pinterest, and I’ve found “pinning” things I like on “boards” to be fun and interesting. It has offered me a new perspective on the things I enjoy, as I caught myself pondering not only what I like, but why. As a mosaic of interests grows daily on Pinterest, I have searched for insights into my personality and psyche that might promote an increased self-awareness. Perhaps I’m thinking too hard about a simple collection of photos, but that’s okay. Posting on Pinterest has been an attractive diversion that I heartily recommend.

I have also experimented with technology during my exile. I realized that tapping away on my aging laptop computer was inherently limiting. I acquired an iPad 2, and a friend has allowed me to tinker on occasion with an ASUS tablet to explore the rival android technology. Social Media and the tools to facilitate its use are rapidly evolving, and I am convinced that understanding this phenomenon will make it easier in the future to thrive as a creator. A failure to embrace this new age of gadgets could be as self-defeating as continuing to use Zip-A-Tone following the advent of home computers. I am hardly an expert with this new technology, but I have been intrigued with these tools and their effect on our lives. They are certainly more than toys, and they will allow us to communicate in a manner that most of us still understand only in vague ways. The iPad and android tablets will shape how we create, although the way it will do so is not entirely defined. I may not be ahead of the curve in this regard, but I’m working not to fall behind, either.


The Autobiography of Mike Lickteig.

If there has been a theme of introspection and self-discovery in my year of self-imposed isolation, it is most evident in the time I have spent writing my autobiography. Anyone who has read my autobiographical articles might recall that I have described some fairly unusual occurrences that have taken place over the years. I wished to recount them in a cohesive manner before time eroded my memory of events. Some things I recall as if they happened yesterday. Other things I thought I would remember forever have become less clear over time, and I wanted to document events before they became mere fragments of memories. To that end I have contributed over 500 pages of reminisces, and there is still more to recount. Incidents are recalled and truths are revealed here. The book will answer questions and tell stories no one has yet heard. The end result might be of interest only to me, but that’s okay. The stories will endure for anyone interested in knowing them.


A Working Class Philosophy.

I have watched the Occupy Wall Street Movement and its subsequent effect on other cities (and the upcoming political campaigns) with great interest. This is a critical time for working class men and women in the United States, and I believe what happens politically and economically within the next five years will define how lower and middle-class families live for generations to come. The Occupy Wall Street Movement convinced me there is no true voice speaking for the working class in the United States, and that is what is needed most—someone to address the concerns of working people while articulating a philosophy of pride and honor and commitment. The working class has always been the one essential segment of society; civilization could not function without the products of labor.

It would be presumptuous of me to assert that I am the voice of the common man, and that is not my ambition. I am, however, interested in further studies of class issues and articulating my own views on this most important topic.



A new beginning?


The Second Coming of Mike Lickteig

What are my goals? What do I want to accomplish with my words and pictures? The answer is not simple. I will look to more clearly define my work as an online writer and focus on a few themes important to me. As stated above, I hope to find a forum for the discussion of class issues that the United States in particular must address to thrive as a nation. I will ask questions and seek answers.

Another topic I feel qualified to address is the plight of creators. I am a writer and an artist, and I know from experience the issues facing creative people. Artists are subjected to judgments and criticisms not found in other fields of expertise, and because we put so much of ourselves into our work, we are sometimes wounded by the opinions of others, both personally and professionally. Artists are amazing people that contribute to an upward trend in our universe. They have a voice in their words and pictures, but that voice is not unified or necessarily even understood. I would love to help the world understand creators.

I also hope to pick up where I left off with other online writing efforts. While my basketball articles were deathly dull to most of my readers, I simultaneously found a following that began seeing me as an “expert”. I hope whoever might still be reading my work will indulge the hoops junkie that yet lurks inside me. Talking basketball isn’t deep, but there is an interest in it out there I hope to connect with.

As time permits, I will venture into other topics, just as I always have in the past. I must follow my heart and write about what interests me at the moment—I have no desire to stay within pre-determined creative parameters. I will continue to share stories from personal experience, armed with the personal memoirs I have labored over within the last few months. As in the past, if I want to also write an article about Star Trek or Gilligan’s Island, I will.

Am I back to stay? I hope so, but I don’t really know yet. There are still expenses to meet, and while my writing and artwork is a profession and not a hobby, the money I make as a creator isn’t steady enough to pay the bills—at least, not all of them. I am hoping to correct this, but a lot can happen while I work toward transitioning into a new phase of my life. This article is an invitation for you to join me in my travels. It should be a pretty wild ride.


August 27, 2012: An Update


I'm back, but perhaps few of you have noticed yet. I have written one piece about college basketball since writing these words--hardly cause for celebration. And yet, in a very real sense I am back. I am seeing HubPages more clearly than before, and understanding its role in my creative endeavors. I have realized its value in connecting me to the community of writers that contribute to this site, but I have also been able to more accurately assess what this writing site means for my future work. I will still be here interacting with the wonderful and talented people who write for HubPages. I don't expect that to ever go away. In the future, however, this will likely be just one of many places readers will find my work.

I hope you will continue to look for me, wherever I am, and I thank you for reading and leaving comments.


More by this Author


Comments 40 comments

ytsenoh profile image

ytsenoh 4 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

Interesting. Reminds me when I went to my fictitious mountain coming down only when I needed to, but for me it was self-analysis driven. Retrospection is good. When you reach a line, stopping (not stepping back) is good for reevaluation purposes. There are a lot of people, places and things in this world that will annoy us or embrace us and bring us joy. I think we just keep performing in a world that seems like fiction, bringing the effects of non-fiction to the surface. Keep writing!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ytsenoh, thanks for your comments. I am given to self-analysis, I guess... When I left here, it seemed the thing to do and I didn't think I would be gone so long. I hope to stay for awhile this time. Thanks for your encouragement.

Mike


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Mike, you definitely have the talent for writing. This article kept me interested from start to finish. I like your straightforward style. It is interesting, has lofty ideals that are not stuffy and is easy to understand and relate to. That is the essense of successful, standout writing in a field that is super-saturated today. You've given me a lot to think about. Thank you


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 4 years ago from Michigan

Welcome back Mike! I have been on my own sabbatical and have just returned ... I experienced some deep hurt and pain also originating from another person.

I have missed you and your excellent writing and heart filled hubs.

So the ipad 2 is really that good? I have read some of your biographical hubs, I gather you are preparing to publish a book. Let me know when it goes to the presses okay?

There are jerks everywhere Mike and being on hub-pages exposes us to all kinds. If I get a mean spirited note to my mailbox, I delete it as soon as I realize what it is. I don't even read it. Why open ourselves up to the garbage?

God Bless and Look forward to reading your hubs again!

Mekenzie


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York

I certainly hope you're back to stay, Mike. You were missed.


BrightMeadow profile image

BrightMeadow 4 years ago from a room of one's own

I recently celebrated my one year anniversary on hubpages. Your latest article caught my eye because I remembered your last article of a year ago. I remember that it was very good. It was the first one I commented on and you were the first hubber I decided to follow. Good to see you back. I eagerly await your next article.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

Have to admit I have wondered. Saw you at Facebook so knew you were alive and well, lol. I have certainly been through much here too so I totally understand that, from friends no less! Well I only thought they were and I still have the real ones, which I hope includes you! I don't even try to have ads anymore so no one can hurt me. I guess that is having the last laugh. I would wish you luck but hey, looks like you are doing OK! But good luck with your writing and hope you are here to stay!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

You were one of the first writers I followed here on Hubpages. I'm glad to see you back.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I have wondered where you were. I'm glad to see that you are back, and hope here to stay.


KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California

Welcome back! I look forward to your future Hubs. I get lost in social media from time to time, leaving one site for a while and then going back to it. At times we all need a break and to come back with fresh eyes and mind.

I have an Ipad 2 and love it. I use it for everything, games, social media, school work, schedules, notes, etc. I find more things to do with it all the time. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine. Take care.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Amy Becherer, thanks for your kind words. You are very gracious in your assessment of my work, and I am appreciative. I hope to be here for awhile again, and folks like you make it worthwhile. Thanks again.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Mekenzie, it is so nice to find you still here! There are indeed some hurtful folks out there, and I'm glad they haven't driven either of us away for good. I have missed you, as well. The iPad is a gem, and I am so lucky to have mine. It was a stroke of luck that I got it--I couldn't afford one without a little bit of luck. I am still figuring out how to use it well, but I certainly enjoy it. If you ever get a chance, you should try one out.

Thanks for your comments, and welcome back--to both of us.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Paradise, I thank you for your kind words. I have been very busy, but I hope to be here for awhile. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone has been up to. It's nice to know that folks still remember me. Thanks again.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Brightmeadow, thanks for remembering me and my then-swan song so well. I intend to be around a little longer this time, and I'm glad to see that folks that found me a year ago are still here. It's nice to be back.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi, Polly. It is nice to see you here again. Perhaps not dealing with Google Adsense really is the last laugh, although I was angry that a casual, random act could get me dropped like the proverbial hot rock. It is nice to be back among friends, however--including you. I look forward to catching up with your work. Thanks for stopping by.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Pam Kinnaird, I apologize for apparently bailing out right after you began following me. Hopefully I can stay a bit longer this time. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a message.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Susan, thanks for looking for me, both here and on Facebook. Time will tell, I suppose, but I very much hope I am here to stay this time. I appreciate your support.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

KimberyLake, thanks for stopping by. I think the iPad is terrific also, and I have used it more and more each and every day. I truly enjoy owning it, and I believe it is an early indicator of a technological path. Tablets will soon be indispensable.

Thanks again for your comments.

Mike


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 4 years ago from Vermont, USA

Mike-

Please allow me to add my voice to those celebrating you return to this venue. I had just begun to follow you here and to enjoy your well-written offerings when the unfortunate circumstances you encountered left us Lickteigless. I only had the chance to attempt to comment on your last hub, about why artists create, and suddenly your output ceased.

At least I knew it couldn't have been something I said. Your essay prompted me to compose a lengthy comment that I began to consider a minor masterpiece, delving into the depths of the why's of my what's...until some errant keystroke deleted the whole thing, leaving me dumbfounded and drained.

My ensuing feeble comment was but a dying ember of the major brain flame you had kindled. My disappointment was doubled because it seemed I had encountered a kindred spirit only to embarrass myself and then lose further contact.

Happily, now I can look forward to reading more of your fine writing...and perhaps redeem myself in the comments section.

Welcome back.

CP


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Chris, thanks for your comments. The idea that something I wrote could elicit the thinking you describe in response (whether I got to read your first comments or not) is the real reason we do this. Not for a few bucks from Google. To connect with people and share a thought, an idea or a new perspective on an old idea--that's what it's all about. That is ultimately what brought me back, as well. I missed it. I don't miss the nutjobs who prowl these sites in order to mock our work, but the rest of it--finding someone of like mind, sharing a thought or idea, reading something so heartfelt and beautiful that it touches my heart--that's why I came back.

Thanks for reading and being a part of it.

Mike


coffeesnob 4 years ago

Hi Mike,

I have been away too. I am not really sure that I am back to write as yet, but am doing some reading. I wondered how you were doing and went to your profile page to find this article. I am looking forward to reading more of your articles..and the book when you have it completed.

I am I am happy to say that I have finished a book and hope to have it out soon. Maybe after that is done I can venture back in writing here. Many blessings to you,

CS


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 4 years ago from Michigan

Oh, I just have to pop in here and say congratulations coffeesnob!! What is the name of your book? It's nice to see your face here too. I have been away over a year and am just starting to write again.

Welcome back to my friends!


coffeesnob 4 years ago

Ha! Mike, Mekenzie and I know of others too who have been away for awhile. We should all write about the reunion!!

The name of my book is "When Warriors Fall" The publisher has it in hand and we are going thru the process of working out the deatails..


BigSerious profile image

BigSerious 4 years ago from Harrisburg, PA

Hey, Mike! I'm so sorry that happened to you. Does AdSense not have an appeal process? Surely that stuff can easily be checked through their servers (IP addresses, etc.)? And the youtube guy - what is it that drives people to be mean? Makes me sad. Glad that you're writing here again. I've got a few articles in the drafts folder after a looooooong time off. Let's hope it works out well for both of us. :) Take care!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

CS, it's nice to find you back here. As you can see by the length of time between comments, I have not returned full-time, but I'm trying. I am happy to see you here, and it's exciting to hear that you have a book in the works. It sounds like life is good. It's great to hear from friends from the past. I always enjoyed the sense of community.

I hope you have a Happy Easter holiday!

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Mekenzie, I think the news about CS's book is great, also. And it is so nice to find folks back here and writing again. I hope to join you all on a more permanent basis soon. Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Big Serious, thanks for your comments and support. Google's Adsense program does have an appeals process, but they rarely reverse their decision. Their goal in being so rigid is to keep their advertisers from being scammed. I understand this, but it is disappointing because there has never been an occasion of impropriety on my part. I was the victim of a prank.

As for the fellow on YouTube--I hope that other Hubbers might have taken him down again, since I was not the only one he mocked, but I have not been back to look. He claimed his efforts were in the interests of humor, but his definition of humor is pretty cruel.

On a brighter note, it is nice to see so many people here and saying they are writing again. That's what it's all about. Thanks for your comments, and keep writing!

Mike


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Voted funny because your dry sense of humor is endlessly redeeming my friend. Sorry to hear about your trials, I haven't published much via hubpages either recently and yet I haven't as eloquent an excuse as you. Well done also on your autobiography and your observations about working class folks' voice in our country, a well thought out Lickteig piece, glad you're still kickin' hombre!

Ben

P.S. One of my favorite authors, Larry Watson, is also a basketball fan (college ball I believe) and as far as I know he doesn't indulge it in his writing, but I found your comments/laments about basketball writing entertaining even though I'm not a sports dude. I have also been entertaining the idea of getting an Android tablet and your advocacy pushes me that much further...have you tried the blue tooth keyboard for those devices? Inquiring minds wanna know...


BigSerious profile image

BigSerious 4 years ago from Harrisburg, PA

Hey, Mike. Have you seen this series of Hubs? http://hubpages.com/community/Warning-About-Google... (Her account was disabled, but then Adsense reinstated it).


BigSerious profile image

BigSerious 4 years ago from Harrisburg, PA

Her recap hub: http://hubpages.com/community/AdSense-Account-Disa...

I love her hubs, btw. LOL.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ben! It's nice of you to have stopped by. I have missed your comments on my work, and I always enjoyed seeing what you were up to, as well. Life makes some of this stuff take a back seat to more pressing issues, but I always appreciated the time you spent reading my work and offering your comments. I hope life is treating you well, and that you are enjoying your time with your growing family. Having a baby in the house is a true joy, all things considered.

Thanks again for stopping by. Let's keep in touch.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

BigSerious, thanks for coming back. I just read the hub you provided the link for, and it is encouraging to think that the Google Powers That Be might be inclined to reverse an opinion. I have been away for so long there is probably nothing left to revisit, but I wonder if overtures for reinstatement might somehow be made. I appreciate the heads up, and I will look into the possibilities you have presented here. Thank you so much.

Oh, and I will look at more of Jamie's hubs, as well. Thanks.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ben: I have tried the keyboards for the android tablets and I think they are great. They naturally will be slightly smaller than a normal keyboard and therefore take a little getting used to, but I find them a huge improvement over the touchscreen keyboards on tablets. It might label me as old-fashioned that I prefer keys to touchscreen keys, but it also allows me to see the screen in its entirety. They are terrifically easy to use and I readily endorse them.

Mike


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Thanks for the advocacy on the keyboards Mike, I see one of these in the future for me and like you, I"m a little old fashioned in that I enjoy something mechanical to type on, makes me feel more like I'm creating something rather than just moving pixels around on a screen! Ha!

Cheers


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ben, I will admit to a fondness for the new gadgets on the market. If I could, I would own an iPad, an android tablet and a Kindle Fire--all of 'em. Would I need all these things? Nope, but they interest me and I am sincere in believing they will play a significant role in how things work in the future, whether in their current form or in an evolved state. I can see them someday replacing personal computers entirely. It might take longer to replace computers in the worlds of business or true science, but I think the tablets will evolve and make inroads there, as well.

Let me know what you wind up getting, okay?

Mike


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Will do amigo! Thinking towards end of summer, but who knows, we pay $75/month for internet piped in via cable, Verizon has a set up to get it direct to the Android tablet via their network so I might be comparing sooner than later...

Cheers!

Ben


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi Mike nice to see you back, and I can understand you being fed up about the google money, it seems everybody is getting caught on that even though they haven't done anything, drives me mad! I tend to ignore people who insult me now, to start with I used to go up the wall and down the other side! lol! but its good to take time out, good luck with your writing and everything, nell


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks for stopping by, Nell. It is easier to ignore the insults now than it once was, but I am still sometimes irritated by those who throw the venom around for no reason. Google disappointed me, but I am doing fine without it on sites like Triond, so I guess everything works out. It is good to be back.

Mike


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

Mike-as I went to your site to read the Catwoman article you mentioned, this one caught my eye and curious, I clicked on it to read more. I'm sorry that you experienced so much negativity and hostile attacks that affected your account. I know of a few others who also had that happen. It is unfair and I would have probably reacted in a similar manner. The Hubpages poetry on YOutube I was unaware of and saddened by your information. I just don't get people...if you are miserable why take someone also down? All I can say is that I do believe that people who create trouble for others will eventually get their own, call it Karma or whatever...But, I'm glad that you have 'regrouped' and returned.

About technology: wow, I just had that conversation with myself on the drive home from work last night. I have an hour on back country roads from the 'city' to a rural town here in NC. I was pondering (love to ponder, LOL) about how life has changed since I was a kid and how quickly new gadgets have developed. I realized that in the online writing realm how important it will be to keep abreast of all the changes because it isn't going to go backwards. Nice to hear from a likeminded hubber.

About autobiographical writing: Kudos to you. In a similar manner I have been (pondering) thinking of the importance of leaving a legacy of words for my daughters and grandkids. I have been interested in writing a memoir and haven't started because my self critic gets in the way: what do YOU have to say of importance, etc etc I like your take on it. Do you plan on getting this published via a company or self publish?

About the Working Class-you are not alone in your philosophy and observation of this. A good friend of mine has made comments about the demise of the middle class and the need for a third political party representing the W.C. for the ten years that I've known him. I used to think it was thoughtful meanderings, but now I see it was a realistic projection into what was to come.

About working long hours-OUCH! Boy, can I relate to the 'too tired to write' and leaving the dirty dishes for tomorrow, haha. I have not worked at my 'other' day job (which is really a night job) those many hours. I would DIE of starvation first. I used to be a workaholic and didn't realize the time lost away from my children. I do know what it is like to not have the time to do anything much but eat, sleep, work b/c of my 12 hr midnight shifts. I have written a couple of hubs addressing the uselessness of 12 hr shifts on the quality of life. That said...

"Welcome back, Mike. I look forward to reading more of your work and enjoy your writing style."


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Denise, thanks for your terrific response to my hub here. I apologize for the length of time it has taken to respond--the long hours at work once again arrived to interrupt my online activities. Today is a very brief respite in a long and difficult few weeks for me. I will certainly be happy to have this time behind me again.

I have noticed in watching the economic scenario shift over time that the pendulum has definitely swung away from benefits for the working class. Thirty years ago, there was talk of paying five days' wages for four days work, and for looking for avenues to pay for caring for a home and family. Now it has reached a point where some are claiming that unemployment could be eliminated in the United States with the abolition of minimum wage laws (i.e., slave labor). It has also been suggested that a form of "debtor's prison" might find its way into society, binding someone in debt to their debtor. Whether actual plans for the future or mere innuendo, the simple suggestion of such actions is a disturbing sign of the times. In truth, only by allowing the working class to earn spendable income (more than it needs to minimally survive) will the economy realign itself.

My autobiography lives and grows. I would like to find a means for its publication someday, but if it exists only as a message to my loved ones in the future, that will suffice. I can't say anything I've written is particularly important, but in a strange way perhaps it all is. Perhaps the thoughts and actions of a "normal" citizen has just as much meaning and importance as the memoirs of someone famous or wealthy. I don't know the reality here and I suppose it doesn't really matter. I only wish to be known and hopefully remembered, and for some unspoken truths to find voice. If nothing more happens with this, that is enough.

Technology and I are not always easy allies, but I do enjoy it and I am trying to embrace this ever-changing realm completely. I find my iPad extremely helpful, and I am looking to use this new technology to enhance my online presence.

And, finally, well--the unpleasant aspects of being here have not completely vanished in the year I was away, but I am learning to ignore the troublemakers a bit more easily. I can hopefully keep things positive for the time being.

Thanks again for your comments, I have enjoyed communicating with you a great deal. Take care.

Mike

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