Get off the Wall And Into Your Audience’s Head

Your responsibility on your creative journey is to share it with others. And care deeply about how to share it. You might as well slap your audience in the face if you’re going to just blow out some glass work, leave it on a shelf at a studio sale or gallery space and then secretly boil when no one cares. You are ultimately declaring, “I have something enormous to say. But I’m only going to show you the answer, not the question to the answer.

So screw you for not understanding it!” If they look at your glass bowl, they’re seeing an answer. An end product to your creative point-of-view. A response to something you experienced or saw for yourself on your epic journey. And intertwined with that form of expression is all of your other life choices and experiences rolled into that answer. Into that glass.

But they have no idea what your experiences are. Or why they should care.

A documentary can layout an entire journey. It can detail what you have to say. It can show someone else, word for word and still by still, why to care. But even if you create something so thorough and profound and just throw it on a shelf waiting for someone to discover it – you might as well say “Screw you. It’s not worth telling you why you should watch it” to the world. You need an epic title. A story. A glorious photo of your work.

(more…)

Continue Reading →

Rebranding a company can be a painful business

My parents named me after a television character – Jody, from that late-’60s, single-parent comedy, Family Affair. Remember Jody and Buffy and Mr. French? Well, the kids in my third-grade class sure didn’t. They only remembered that Jody was a girl’s name, a fact I was reminded of every day on the playground. Thus I decided, when I switched schools in the fourth grade, to rebrand under the much more boyish moniker of Joe. I thought the transformation would grant me acceptance into the inner sanctum of popularity.

The process was relatively easy (and equally meaningless) on the playground. But at home, my parents were hurt, and my aunt even refused to call me Joe, so emotionally tied were they to the image of little Jody, their cute blond kid. Rebranding a company can be just as painful. Yet, alongside premature IPOs and budget-busting television ads, corporate trans appellations have become a popular ingredient of New Economy branding strategies in recent years.

(more…)

Continue Reading →

Life is unfair

Seattle, home to two of the nation’s three richest men and a staggering array of high-tech millionaires, is Ground Zero for inequity. One economist, trying to put Bill Gates’ wealth into everyday terms, calculated that in 1986, when Microsoft went public, Gates was earning enough that it was not worth his time to spend the four seconds necessary to retrieve a dropped $5 bill. By 1998, it wasn’t worth it for Gates to pick up $10,000.

Let me put all this another way. For a quarter-century, you’ve worked like a donkey to boost productivity — and almost all the benefits have gone to your boss and his investors.

Why have we let this happen? Princeton University political scientist Larry Bartels asked just this question and concluded that, basically, we’re dumb: 20 percent of those he polled were unaware of this trend entirely, 40 percent hadn’t thought much about it, and the rest either benefited or didn’t believe anything could be done.

We keep voting for politicians, funded by the upper crust, who have protected this growing inequality. And we do so at our peril. “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics,” the philosopher Plutarch said.

(more…)

Continue Reading →

Things haven’t changed

Well, work itself has. For several thousand years, work was really work, and everybody who was anybody sneered at it. A huge population of slaves, serfs and peasants used their muscles in grimy toil to support a tiny aristocracy of warriors, lords, and priests who devoted their lives to art, religion, small mercies to the poor, and killing each other.

This system was not particularly efficient. The game for a slave, who has no opportunity for pay or advancement, might be to do as little as possible. The same could be said of the minimum-wage “working poor” of today.

It was technology that began providing opportunities for a new middle class of entrepreneurs, and the Protestant Reformation that changed Western attitudes toward work. The leading philosopher was a French clergyman named John Calvin, one of those dead white guys you’ve scarcely heard of whose thinking nonetheless rules your life.

Calvin made work not just cool but obligatory. He believed certain people were predestined to go to heaven and others to be damned, and the only way to tell the Elect was to see who was working hard and had money, wealth itself being a sign of divine grace. He not only turned Catholic teaching about the perils of riches on its head, he contended that losers should blame themselves, not the system.

(more…)

Continue Reading →

The Changing Face of Work

THE ANCIENT GREEKS knew all about work. Their word for it was ponos, which meant not just toil but suffering. And pain. Work was for slaves. The role of free men, according to the thinkers, was to avoid work as much as possible so they’d have time for war, philosophy, and art.

Them were the days.

Nowadays, everybody works, even Bill Gates, richest man in the world. We’re supposed to (Protestant Work Ethic), most of us have to (Money) and in theory, we want to (Personal Fulfillment, or Meaning).

But wait. Financial author Phil Laut has defined work as “doing what you don’t want to do.”

Certainly, I know the difference between hard work (industrial painting and scrubbing pots and pans, which I did during high school and college) and head work (writing stories like this one). My manic-depressive editor will proclaim she has the best job in the world one moment and kvetch about it the next, but we all know there’s a big difference between daily dreariness and occasional discontent, and between working poor and working rich.

(more…)

Continue Reading →

Be Prepared: Covering the Cost of Higher Education

Springtime is the time when the seeds that were planted into the tilled ground begin to produce a harvest and flowers begin to bloom.  It is also the time when, after some consideration, the decision was made that after your teen earned his GED, he goes to college. So think about college admissions and financial aid award letters.

Families who are not familiar with the terms used in financial aid documents, may begin to feel overwhelmed and confused about what their child is receiving.  Well, this article is for you.

First, we will start with some basic information.  Financial Aid basically is aid that comes in the form of loans and/or grants to cover the cost of college. Parents will complete an application providing information regarding their assets and availability of money.

The government and the school student’s apply to will assess the financial aid packages per the predetermined guidelines to determine the need value and expected financial contribution (EFC), the number used to determine your federal student aid eligibility.
(more…)

Continue Reading →

Well-being self-assessment. The 12 Vital Signs

Maybe today’s a good day to take our well-being self-assessment. That’s a good thing to do right….check our vital signs every once in a while?

By the way, why do doctors take time to check our blood pressure, temperature, and reflexes when we go for a visit? It’s because they’re indicators of our physical well-being.  Turns out, the same principle applies to our spiritual health, only the vital signs differ.

So let’s take a moment to reflect on how we’re doing spiritually through this self-assessment exercise.  Rank yourself from 1-5 for each of these categories, one being lowest, and then we’ll reflect on the results.

Ready to get started?….ok, go ahead and turn your head and cough:)

THE 12 VITAL SIGNS OF WELL-BEING

1.  TEMPERAMENT

How patient are you?  Do you have a short fuse, or become irritated easily?  Are you frequently in a bad mood?  Our temperament is often indicative of two things: our level of consciousness and degree of presence.  When we’re discontent with the present moment or in some form of self-loathing we become irritable and impatient.  To read more on our level of consciousness, check out a great article by Justin Mazza here. (more…)

Continue Reading →

THERE’S A PLAN FOR THAT- Value of insurance

The autumn flower of sun flare.
The autumn flower of sun flare.

Like a sultry movie star from days of yore, I put the bad leg up on Nate’s knee and sexily tore off the ankle brace.  He looked up at me like I was insane.  So I said, “What, don’t you want some THIS!”  He said, “The ankle brace strip tease really doesn’t do it for me.”  Apparently the bend-and-snap move I learned in Legally Blonde doesn’t actually work.  And since I’m lazy, I quit trying to seduce my husband shortly after that.

You know how some women can turn a man on like flipping a light switch?  I’m not one of them.  I guess that’s why I spend so much time sitting in the dark.  Pass me those irate birds – I have some pigs to kill.

THERE’S A PLAN FOR THAT

It’s a little ironic that I’m terrified of death, and yet I am married to a man who deals with death in his profession every single day.  No, I’m not married to a mortician or a funeral director. Nate doesn’t perform autopsies, he’s not a crime scene investigator. (more…)

Continue Reading →

Voting– A Right or a Privilege?

Is It Truly Necessary To Vote? Does My Vote Even Make a Difference?

I believe that the importance of voting depends on who you ask.  The bottom line is that it is a constitutional right for every American citizen, although it was not granted to everyone until the pioneers of the civil rights era fought, bled and died for everybody to have this right.  Unfortunately, this right is still being challenged today in 2016. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Just as there is a maturation process with eating, there should also be a similar progression in how we think, act and conduct ourselves.  In the eating process we start out on milk, move to cereal in our milk, onto baby food and ultimately graduating to solid foods.  So, I must ask when are we going to get off of milk and graduate to the level we should be on? The good book even confirms this principle:

As a child, I talked like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child, but when I became an adult, I put away childish things.  People its past time for us to wake up and rise to the occasion.

It is also written and has been proven that people perish because of a lack of knowledge. I will dare to say this is truer today then it what was before.  Unfortunately, some of us are still in grade school, while the rest of the world is operating at Master and Doctorate degree level.  They are playing chess and we are stuck, complacent, and content with playing checkers.

(more…)

Continue Reading →

Don’t Get Bored…Get Busy! How to Make The Most Of Your Summer Vacation…For Teens

 

School’s out! You’re now faced with two to three months that you have to fill with something productive to do so that you don’t waste away in the house all day. There are a variety of options depending on what grade you are in and what your interest are:

1) Get Employed! One way to have a productive summer is to get a part-time summer job. Many people don’t want to work during the summer because they think that it may be boring. Work doesn’t have to be boring though. If you like kids, for example, there are summer camps that you can work at.

You can also try and find jobs with people who are working in careers that you are interested in, that way not only do you make money but you get to see if you really like the field.

Also as you get older, especially once you reach college, your back to school cost will get more expensive and parents may be less willing and or unable to help so having some extra money at the end of the summer is always a plus.

2) Internships. If you are in college, internships are another summer possibility. There are both paid and unpaid internships. Regardless of which type of internship you participate in, they can be very rewarding. Internships look great on resumes and sometimes can help land you a job post graduation. Networking and hands-on experience are key for being marketable after you graduate because employers like to see that you have experience in that specific field.

(more…)

Continue Reading →