About Bud Gallant

Bud Gallant is a freelance writer and online marketer living in Canada. He specializes in money management, passive income strategies and relationship building. His interests include fitness, social technology, self-improvement and cinema.

Fear As A Barrier To Leadership

I recently published an article on HubPages that discusses leadership.  It was inspired by Seth Godin, who has come to be a significant inspiration to me in a very short period of time.  If you’ve wondered why it is there are so few leaders in the world today and why even the notion of leadership can make ordinarily bold people nervous, check out How To Be A Leader.

Site Re-design

It’s been pretty obvious to those of you who have hung around this long that the blog has gone without updates for a long time and has, from it’s beginning, suffered from a definite lack of direction.

I’ve learned a lot in the nearly 4 years since I began this blog.  So we’re going to have a drastic shift here.  From this point forward I’ll be using this site as sort of a sounding board for self-improvement, leadership and relationship building.  I realize this is going to be a departure from the tech news, social commentary and a thousand other things that the blog originally published.

I’ve debated just what the future of this particular blog should be, and I feel this transition is going to make the most sense given the current situation.  I hope those of you who have subscribed and enjoyed my writing in the past will choose to continue and will find the new content engaging.  I’m certain that a more clear and concise direction is going to add much more value, compared with the blog’s previous incarnation.

I’ve chosen not to remove the older posts because I believe they have their place, as far as answering questions and concerns that those finding the site through the search engines have.  The Tweetdeck post, in particular, still receives regular traffic.

So, thank you again to my readers and those I’ve connected with on this blog over the last few years.  I hope you enjoy the transformation.

Dexter Season 4 Finale: Were You Surprised?

I’ve just finished watching “The Getaway”, Dexter’s season 4 finale.  If you haven’t seen it yet, go no further.

Spoilers Below:

Alright, that being said, the hype for this episode was huge, and I don’t need to hear from the network about the drastic ratings increase leading up to this finale.  I can see just by the traffic on my blog for the past two weeks that fans were scrambling for any Dexter related details they could find.  Everybody had extremely high expectations for this episode.  We were told it “will blow the top off your head” by one of the executive producers in an hour long interview before the season finale.  Well, my head is still intact. What about you guys?

Ok, so it was definitely a series changing event, but was it a surprise?  For what it’s worth, the death of Rita was my first prediction for the end of the series, and also the first prediction of a friend of mine who avidly follows the show.  Was this unexpected?  Ironically, yes…  But only because it seemed too obvious…  Fans have been screaming for Rita’s blood every since the marriage, largely due to the writers casting her in a rather uncharitable light as a “nag” with a capital “N”.  Poor Dexter… The guy worked all day and killed people in his spare time, and Rita was still trying to make a housewife out of him. I can’t help but think the writers wanted us to want her dead, and we danced to their tune every time Dexter’s phone would ring and her irritating voice would start coming through to remind us how needy and lazy she had become. Maybe this was a way to soften the blow? If so, I think it worked.

Note: I’m not claiming to have made a solid prediction Rita would die. It was the first thing that popped into my head, when it came to speculation, but I did dismiss it quickly, for two reasons: Dexter going from “family man” to single father seemed like way more trouble than it would be worth, and all the talk that led up the finale giving the impression this would be the biggest surprise ever.  “Hello, Dexter Morgan” was a tough act to follow.  That episode did shock me.  I felt certain that the finale would have to top it, and Rita’s death just didn’t seem to fit the prescription, for what I expected would be a really shocking event.  I think that’s partially because so many people were posting about wanting her to be killed off, and she certainly seem to be the least likable character on the show (a spot now seemingly filled by Quinn).

Now, I didn’t really want see Rita die.  I wasn’t in love with her character, but I don’t think we were supposed to be.  Many male and female viewers alike, really didn’t seem to like Rita.  Was her death an example of the show giving fans what they seemed to want?  I think it was really more a case of the writers sealing her fate, in anticipation of the inevitable.  Despite talk of a “big surprise”, I strongly suspect this was in the works for some time, and largely a decided upon outcome as of season 3. We definitely know Rita’s fate was sealed as of season 4, due to actor John Lithgow being given a full rundown before accepting the role (although an interview released after the episode aired, does seem to imply it wasn’t decided upon fully until later in the season). And I’d be remiss to mention him without acknowledging his excellent performance as “Trinity”.  In fact, I was more moved by his death than I was by Rita’s.  Try not to read into that!

Honestly, I feel a bit let down…  I was thinking something bigger…  I don’t think many of us really expected Dexter to be saddled with 3 children to raise on his own.  Of course, that outcome is an assumption…  What will become of Astor and Cody?  I have some mixed feelings about the episode.  I love the series, and I really enjoyed this season. It seems almost wrong, but I have to admit that I enjoyed the preceding episode a lot more than the finale. Am I the only one?

What are your thoughts on the finale and it’s surprise ending, and where do you think the series will go from here? What about Rita’s death? Was this a vengeance killing from an otherwise methodical, fatalist killer? Are you convinced that Trinity did in fact kill Rita, or do you have another theory?

Reminder for Dexter fans: You can get all available seasons on DVD at Amazon.com for $56 right now, or individually for around $20 each!

If you didn’t catch that December 6th interview with Dexter executive producer, Clyde Phillips, and want to see his reaction to talk of Rita’s potential death at the finale, or to try and notice other hints he dropped, see: Clyde Phillips Video Chat. There’s some other little tidbits here that will interest hardcore Dexter fans, as well.

Also see this post-finale Q&A with executive producer, Clyde Phillips.

Update: Clyde Phillips has confirmed Rita was killed by Trinity, and addressed “conspiracy theories”

Dexter Season 4 Finale Approaching!

The finale episode of Dexter is just a few days away!

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this excited about a TV series.  Last week’s episode was a huge cliff hanger, and the internet is buzzing with speculation about how the situation with “Trinity” (or is it the-serial-killer-formerly-known-as-Trinity?) will resolve. If you’re anything like me, you’re looking for whatever small tidbit you can find to get you through the last remaining days until what is sure to be an absolutely explosive season finale.

I decided to throw all the resources I’ve found together in one place, and include a bullet list for everyone detailing what we know about the season finale so far.  If anyone out there has anything to add to this list, please post it in the comments section and it will be quickly updated.

Spoilers follow. Here’s what we know so far:

  • The season finale (season 4, episode 12) is titled “The Getaway”
  • Deb discovers who Dexter’s mother really is and that Dexter is related to the “Ice Truck Killer”
  • Dexter and Trinity agree to a truce of sorts (at least in appearance)
  • The police become aware of Trinity’s true identity
  • Trinity has an urgent need for money and demands whatever he can get from his family
  • The SWAT team raids Trinity’s home
  • Dexter and Trinity face off on a least two separate occasions, struggling with one another
  • A “series changing” surprise is in store for fans in this episode

As longtime fans of the series know, there’s a history of leaks when it comes to the season premier and the season finale of Dexter.  Apparently the network has took many precautions to ensure that this does not occur for “The Getaway”, but there’s always the possibility that the episode will be released unofficially ahead of schedule. I’ll be surprised, actually if it is not leaked before the weekend.

Watch the official promo here:

If you haven’t yet caught up on Season 4, now is the time to do it.  You’re not going to want to miss this episode or be left out of the loop.

If you haven’t seen Dexter yet, or are looking for a great Christmas gift for a friend or family member, you can get all available seasons on DVD at Amazon.com for $56 right now, or individually for around $20 each. Pretty great deal.

Additional Resources:

Dexter on SpoilerTV (includes 3 new segments from the actual episode)

Dexter Official Website

“DrDaleArcher” Twitter Spammer and Lying Conman?

drdalearcher spammer twitter psychiatrist

A little while ago, I received a follow from “DrDaleArcher”, who it seems by his follow/followers ratio is using a classic Twitter spamming technique. Specifically, he  appears to be running some type of auto-follow script to try and gain followers himself.  I’ve seen this a lot on Twitter, but I’ve never seen it done by someone who is claiming to be a psychiatrist.  A nice touch, in addition, is the direct message spam he sends out en masse, commenting on profiles he hasn’t actually read.  Note to any patients of “Dr. Dale Archer”, if he is practicing (which I doubt): When your psychiatrist starts outright lying and spamming on the internet, it’s time to consider other options.

Dr. Dale Archer (DrDaleArcher) on Twitter“Dr. Dale Archer” claims he specializes in “chemical imbalances of the brain”, however strangely when I took him up on his supposed offer to answer questions, he quickly unfollowed me and declined a response.  The question was regarding his method of diagnosing these chemical imbalances he specializes in.  It seems asking “Dr. Dale” what scientific tests he uses to declare someone bipolar strikes a nerve with him.  I might have expected more from a man who supposedly has his own Fox-affiliated TV show, but expecting professionalism from a liar and a spammer, would be wishful thinking, indeed.

I’m glad you think I have an “interesting profile”, Mr. Archer.  I find yours interesting, as well. I even decided to check to see if you are licensed in Louisiana where you claim to have established a clinic, but sadly there is no record of you either with the medical board or the AMA. I also tried New York, and obtained similar results, although it is listed as your location on Twitter. Then I tried to find you in Virginia, since that’s where your website is registered under the name of  “Dr. D, Inc.”, but yet again… No trace of you. Perhaps you can share your license number, if you in fact have one? If you do not, can you clarify in what capacity you are a “clinical psychiatrist”?

Psychiatry Advice - Psychiatric Advice Column | Free Online Mental Health AdviceI wonder why “Dr. Dale” is so vague about his current standing and in what state he supposedly practices in. His website, Askdrd.com states he is offering “free online mental health advice”.  This is quite curious, as it is illegal to offer medical advice without a license in the state of the person you are providing it to. Maybe “Dr. Dale” is has one of those special internet psychiatry licenses, though…  Hey, I’m waiting “Dr. Dale”.  Which state medical board should I contact to check the status of your license and file a complaint regarding your solicitation and offering of medical advice online? Perhaps “Fox” can point me in the right direction, but strangely I can find no reference to “Dr. Dale” on any Fox website, either.

Maybe I’m “doing it wrong” when it comes to Google, so if “Dr. Dale” would like to clarify this situation, I’d be happy to hear it.  I’m also interested in hearing from readers who have any information on Dale Archer or can point me towards some links that verify his claims, or exempt him from the law when it comes to offering medical advice online.

If you’re a Twitter user who is annoyed at DrDaleArcher‘s spam, feel free to report him as you would any other spammer. Deceptive direct message spam is even more disgraceful coming from someone who makes a pretense at integrity, and is soliciting people to share personal information with him for his own benefit, under false pretenses.

If you have received “mental health advice” from Dale Archer, please contact your local state medical board and inquire if he is licensed to practice medicine in your state or authorized to dispense advice in the capacity of a psychiatrist. Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. Report this man to the proper authorities for further investigation, if you believe he has crossed-the-line.

I’m not exactly sure who “Dr. Dale Archer” is, but I certainly am getting the impression he is not what he purports to be. Feel free to email me any information you have, or post below.

Update: It’s also interesting to note that the domain name askdrd.com is registered to “Dr. D, Inc”, in Virginia. I was unable to find further information on this company Is “Dr. D” a person or a corporation, for the purpose of providing “mental health advice”?

Who Else Is Excited About Dexter?

dexter_season_3Dexter Season 4 recently started. I saw the premier only yesterday, but that means I’ll be catching up for the new third episode tonight! Dexter is pretty much officially my favorite current TV series.  It’s extremely well-written and the acting and story lines are always pleasing. I know there’s a lot of people out there who haven’t seen it.  This is a show which is predominantly spread via word-of-mouth by a very excited fan base.  In fact, Dexter fans seem truly unique in their devotion of the series, and for good reason.  This is a once-in-a-decade kind of a show, easily.

Dexter doesn’t seem like the type of TV I would really be interested in, and I think that’s really a testament to just how generally it excels.  My favorite TV series before Dexter was Babylon 5 with Millennium close behind.  I never imagined I’d find a show about a serial killer forensic blood spatter analyst more engaging.

I first found out about Dexter from a coworker a few years back, who like a true TV evangelist talked me into giving it a chance.  Unfortunately, I had reached a level of near apathy in regards to TV, and she had to reveal a whole lot of the plot-line for me to finally realize the potential of this series. Once I caught the first episode, I too become a Dexter convert, and did my best to spread the good word of this great show.

So, in my capacity as a devotee, I’d like to invite readers to check this series out if they have not already.  I won’t try to talk you into it by revealing the various surprises, and twists and turns that make this series so unique and engaging, but what I will do is point you to the website: Dexter on HBO. You can actually watch the season 4 premiere on here for free, but I really suggest you consider starting at season 1. Season 4 is looking good, but it’s worth the wait, to have all the background on Dexter.

If you’ve found yourself put off by the decline in good TV like I have, give Dexter a chance.  You will be glad you did.

Dexter fans, are you excited about season 4?

Great Christmas gift idea: Dexter: all available seasons on DVD at Amazon.com for $56 right now, or individually for around $20 each

Want 10 reasons to watch Dexter? Well, here you go.

Looking for info on “The Getaway”, season 4’s finale? Check out my new post (spoilers included)

Get Back On Windows Live (formerly MSN)!

Bud Gallant_s Profile - Windows LiveI’ve rediscovered Windows Live, and it’s not just a step above Yahoo IM (which sure wouldn’t be hard), it’s a step above Google, too. Now that is saying something.

Windows Live has gotten an overhaul.  Your profile is now actually good for something… There’s been an integration of Windows Live, which has left it looking fantastic and offering some very useful free services, such as SkyDrive.  SkyDrive gives Windows Live users the ability to share folders and files online, complete with permissions.  The best thing about SkyDrive? The free 25 gigabytes! It would seem that Google has more or less abandoned it’s rumored “GDrive” attempt to keep pace.  I probably don’t need to point out how lacking in file-sharing Google is.  Anyone with a Gmail account knows exactly what I’m talking about.

The other thing that should get you taking a second look at Windows Live, is your profile is no longer just a profile, it is a social networking tool, with integration of all the popular services out there, such as Twitter, Last.fm and WordPress. In fact, personally I find it more attractive than Facebook.  It’s sort of a Facebook light, without all the garbage and spam.

So, if you’ve been neglecting Windows Live, you might want to go back and have a second look. For the longest time, I’ve been a critic of Yahoo! Instant Messenger, but also a regular user.  In that time Yahoo’s IM has sunk in popularity quicker than it’s arrogant CEOs (here’s lookin’ at you, Yang).  Only with Yahoo have I used a service which literally got buggier and junkier with each version, and they sure did pump out those updates. 90% of my Yahoo contacts were Windows Live users, anyway, and the buggy integration between the two clients led to no updates on status messages, and display pictures never appearing, as well as my contacts not being able to see my online status correctly. I’ve more or less dumped everything Yahoo now, in fact.  It’s never been a decision I have ever regretted.

Rarely have I seen Microsoft absolutely excel at offering a service over Google.  Orkut never impressed me… Windows Live’s social network is much better visually, and practically. Skydrive is just the icing of the cake. It’s almost enough to make me consider using my Windows live account for email, too. Go take a look. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Any Windows Live fans out there? Anyone who, like myself, has ditched Yahoo for something better? Do you have other similar services to suggest? Comment below!

AlphaInventions.com Revisted

Alpha Inventions created by Cheru Jackson, is a site which displays and automatically cycles through recently updated blogs. I reviewed this site some time ago, and did have a few criticisms of how it was running.  Cheru Jackson was quick to comment and engage in a dialogue with readers on that post to address their concerns. Overtime, AI has been tweaked and improved vastly over it’s original design.

The site’s pacing for automatic switching of blogs is much slower.  At times, perhaps a bit too slow, but this is a huge improvement over it’s original speed setting, which was so fast that by the time your eyes caught something interesting, it had disappeared. There is also now a back and forward button, although they do not seem to work consistently, and some design flaws are apparent..

Cheru Jackson says he created the site to help people, and I think we can give him the “benefit of the doubt”, as the saying goes. The bottom line is, the site is improving and is responding to feedback.  Alpha Inventions has come a long way since it first began, and Jackson is assuring people that the traffic it is generating for their blogs is legitimate user-based traffic, not “false hits”, as some have claimed.

The bottom line really is this: If you have specific criticisms of the site, they can be addressed, or you can choose to opt-out. Most bloggers are happy for any extra exposure that comes their way, and it’s with that in mind, that I’d like to support the site, and encourage others to give it a try, if they are not familiar with it.  It’s not the only tool to help your blog get some extra traffic, but it is one tool that you can make use of.

For more information from Cheru Jackson on Alpha Inventions, see “What Is Alpha Inventions?”

Since I had reviewed the site in it’s original form, I think I owe it to the site’s creator and designer to give a more up-to-date perspective.  Have you tried the new AI, and if so, what did you think of the improvements?

Similar sites:

If you like Alpha Inventions, you might also like Blog Surfer. Does anyone have any other good sites for finding new blogs to read and sharing your own for others to discover?

The other side:

Not every critic has been tempered by AI’s apparent improvements. See Alpha Inventions: A big waste of time for bloggers for current criticism. But, afterall, you can’t make everyone happy. I hope we will see further improvements to come.

Steven Hawking Promotes Colonization Of Space

hawkingI just watched a pretty amazing live speech by Professor Steven Hawking on Nasa TV. I’ll post a link to a transcript when available.

Prof. Hawking spoke on the importance of resurrecting public interest in science, and mentioned the new children’s book he has written with his daughter.  He went on to discuss the probability of life on other planets, saying he believed primitive life forms were likely to be fairly common, but intelligent life rare.  He mentioned the possibility that intelligent life self-destructs upon reaching a certain technological advancement due to nuclear weapons and other methods of mass destruction, but said he preferred not to accept that explanation as the primary reason for us not having confirmed the presence of other intelligent life.

Prof. Hawking gave several possibilities for colonization, including the moon, mars, and titan (a moon of Saturn), as well as planets outside our solar system.  He suggests inter-solar system travel should be a goal for humanity to accomplish over the next 200-500 years. He spoke of possibility that life began on earth due to the intervention of a meteor carrying DNA from another planet.  He closed by stating that if humanity was to survive the next million years, colonization of another earth-like planet is a necessity.

Prof. Hawking displayed a sense of humor at various parts of his speech, and also quoted Star Trek and displayed an image of what appeared to be a “galaxy class” star ship from the TV series. He also spoke briefly about UFOs and alien abduction, making jokes about those who report such events.

This was a very interesting lecture, and rather progressive compared to what I would have anticipated at a NASA event. I’ll have more here as it becomes available.

Do you believe that space colonization is necessary for the survival of humanity? Comment below.

Update: It would seem NASA tricked me. Although, “live” was appearing during the lecture, it appears this was a repeat broadcast of a lecture given over a year ago.  You can find more information here.

Dr. Phil Under Fire Again For Sexual Abuse

dr-phil_more-advice-that-i-pulled-out-of-my-assIn what seems to be becoming somewhat of a pattern, Dr. Phillip McGraw is once again being accused of sexual abuse by a patient. Mainstream media is just beginning to report the latest case, partially due to the lawsuit which was filed, alleging sexual molestation. The specific claims, which you can find here, along with several links, are rather bizarre.

It seems that Dr. Phil’s idea of “treatment” may include forcing a female patient (if we can call her a patient, since Phillip McGraw no longer has a license to practice medicine) to remain in a room with a naked man, and then having her breasts groped. Psychiatry seems to be the profession most prone to such abuses and perversity.  Many times psychiatric abuse goes unreported due to the private environment, imbalance of “credibility”, and patient trust. CCHR reports that over 10% of psychiatrists openly admit to sexually abusing their patients.  I wonder what percentage of psychiatrists admit to lying on surveys they use to self-report?

Dr. Phil was previously accused of sexual misconduct by Sara Morrison. “Not a single day has gone by when I haven’t been affected by what Phil McGraw did to me. He profoundly affected the course of my life,” she said. Dr. Phil’s latest accuser is Shirley Dieu. Her lawsuit comes not long afterward both McGraw and his wife were sued for fraud by former employees, Deborah Flattery and Brynja McGrady.

This is certainly an explosive story, and I suspect there are many more details in that lawsuit which the mainstream media, in typical fashion, will not touch. If anyone out there has more information, please comment below. Also feel free to comment to share your thoughts on this.  I’ve obtained a copy of the suit courtesy of Fox, and I will be reviewing it as time permits.

For more information on Psychiatric abuses see The Citizens Commission On Human Rights (CCHR).

Vodpod videos no longer available.