I may have mentioned this before. I am doing a complete overhaul on my website. Beginning with a design change and hopefully making it easier to navigate, as well as doing a better job of branding myself and promoting my services.
Instead of 8 menu bar items there will now be 14. I've got 7 items for "My Services," 3 for "My Store" and 4 for "My Other Stuff." And under those 14 items there are other pages you can go to and then more pages under those, etc, etc etc. Even though the content of a lot of the pages (such as the EISID prints pages) is the same I am changing the overall design and it is requiring to relink all the pictures. A lot of work because I have hundreds and hundreds of images on my site and I'm also adding tons more.
The services I'm promoting include graphic design, printing (did you even know I handle printing of all kinds of stuff?), retouching (did you know you could engage my services to retouch your photographs?), photography, writing, film and teaching/speaking. Basically, I'm putting it all out there. All my talents pimped in one place for all to see and contract.
In the past I've been told that I should keep all my talents in separate boxes, where the graphics doesn't mix with the writing or photography or books etc. And lately I've been told that if you are submitting yourself for work you should only put what's relevant to that particular job on your resume. So, maybe I'm supposed to have separate websites for all the different jobs I am capable of performing. To that I ask, Whatever happened to the idea of being a renaissance man/woman? Does that not count for anything anymore?
What do you think? Am I shooting myself in the foot by branding myself as a person with abilities in several creative areas? Am I wrong to think potential clients will perceive the creative connection between all the areas I work in? Will all my endeavors cancel each other out and leave me with an empty bank account?
I'm not talking about multitasking here. I believe multitasking is an oxymoron. I don't think you should focus on more than one task at a time. When a person does that I think the tasks end up taking longer and are performed at a lower standard. I don't mind having multiple tasks on my 'to do' list, but I think it's better time management to start and finish each task one at a time whenever possible. For one thing, starting and stopping a task requires review time to catch up to where you left off.
I really hope this post will garner comments and readers (if I have any left) will share their thoughts and experiences. I'm sure we can all benefit, especially the many of us who are trying to navigate the constantly changing career landscape in these crazy economic times.
Unless you are a true fan of Terry Kath's guitar, you probably only know 25 or 6 to 4 in it's single form on the radio. Take a look and listen to this video - the quality ain't great, but wait 'til it hits the two-minute mark and watch it through to the end. If at that point you don't get why Terry was one of Jimi Hendrix's favorite guitarists, you don't get rock'n'roll...
Today was the first day I didn't have a sinus headache so I took advantage of the time I had by working in front of my computer all day.
I'm neck-deep in revamping my website. Can't afford to pay out this time so I'm doing it all myself. It's kinda hard because I'm not well-versed on CSS and how the person who did it last time made the template. I need to figure that out because I have major changes on the navigation bar. There are also a few software glitches I need to work out.
And I'm looking for work every day plus keeping a few personal projects in the air.
Dogs In My Bed
Drama (on the right) slept over on Friday and Saturday night. I had a tiny little space in the top corner of the bed.
As this blog is my witness, yesterday I was writing the text to go with my Harry Nilsson pictures.It was a tough write because there was a lot to say in very little space, but I finished it. And it started me wondering what really happened to that last album he had finished the vocal tracks on just days before he passed away. I thought about trying to get in touch with my friend who I knew Harry through, but then I was thinking, there's really no time to do that. And besides, I was pretty happy with how the text finally came out. Then last night Harry was in one of my dreams but I've been so tired lately, I'm not remembering the details of my dreams when I wake up. But he was definitely present. I know, I know, it's not uncommon to dream about someone when you've just been focused on them for seven hours.
Today I had appointments with both companies that are doing the scans for the book. While I was driving there I got a phone call from one of my movie clients asking something about a previous job I'd done for her. A couple of seconds into the call she said my voice was garbled. We hung up and she called me back. It was still garbled, even though I could hear her perfectly. Then I got another call and the same thing happened. Okay, I need to get my cell phone fixed.
After all my meetings over the hill, I dropped by Sprint - the store near my house where I knew they had while-you-wait repair service. I go in only to find out they closed the repair counter down because there wasn't enough traffic. They gave me a piece of paper with listings of a bunch of repair places and circled the second one of the list. I don't know why they picked the second one when the first one was as close, or closer.
I drove the 3 miles East on Ventura Blvd and pulled into the parking area that was overflowing with cars from from the local gym, thinking I really need to go to my gym. Fortunately, there was a reserved spot open in front of the cell phone repair shop. (Of course there was...I have a parking fairy, but that's another story). I walk in the shop and notice two guys sitting behind the service counter. The guy on the right asks what he can do for me before I even reach the counter. The other guy was online and talking to a guy leaning on the side of the counter. I tell the guy helping me that the mic is not working on my phone. He asks to see it and immediately informs me that he probably doesn't have the part, but he'll look it up.
How am I doing at dragging this story out? Pretty good, eh?
So, while he's tending to that, the other guy turns to me and asks if I know how to spell the name of the restaurant "Pasche." I gave it a shot - P-a-s-c-h-e - but they didn't think that was right and my guy was ready for me with my prognosis so I turned back to him. He said they didn't have the part and couldn't fix my phone. Shit. But the store in Encino could probably fix it since they were a corporate Sprint, whereas these guys were independent and weren't provided with a lot of older (2 years) parts. I then go out to my car to get my list to confirm with him which store it is.
When I come back in the other guy happily reports that they found the restaurant. It's P-a-c-e. "Oh, Pace," I say. Yeah, but it's called Pashay. Does it have an accent on the e, I ask? He shows me on the screen. Yes. And then calls the restaurant. While my guy is calling the other Sprint place to make sure they have the part, I overhear that last part of the other guy making a reservation. I thought he was doing it for the other customer. I wasn't paying much attention until, out of the corner of my ear, I heard him spell N-i-l-s-s-o-n and say it was for four.
I glanced at him and when he hung up the phone I made some smartass comment like, "So, I'm invited to dinner?" as the spelling of the name sunk in. How odd, I thought, as he joked back, "Sure, dinner's at 7:30." Then I mumbled, "You don't happen to know Harry. do you?" "Excuse me?" "Sorry, I just heard you spell Nilsson. Just wondered if you knew Harry."
"I'M HIS SON."
"No shit." As I looked at him a little closer. Of course. He looked a lot like him.
"Yup. Harry Nilsson is my dad."
I immediately went into my "Oh my God, you're not going to believe this but I'm doing a book and your dad is in it..." spiel. I don't think he believed me at first, until I started filling in the details with evidence that I did actually know his dad. And then he had lots of questions, as did I...like "whatever happened to the album he was working on when he died?"
He was as freaked out as I was that I had just been writing about Harry yesterday. We talked about a bunch of stuff and I gave him a postcard on the book. We exchanged information and I told him I'd be in touch so he could see the pictures. And that I'd give his family a print when I got them done and then I left...
...TOTALLY FREAKED OUT.
I mean what are the chances that he'd spell his name on the phone when I happened to be standing there? Hell, what are the chances that Harry Nilsson's son would be behind the counter at a cell phone store I was sent to to get my phone fixed?
Especially since I'd run into the woman who is directing my movie at the scanners earlier in the day. And we had a long talk while she looked at the mock-up of my book. She also had some good news about our movie and we discussed how great things were working out for both of us. I made a comment about how cool it was that things and people were just connecting out of the blue for us and that it was a sign that we were going in the right direction.
So, I'm guessing you think the story is over now, right?
I got in my car and as I was leaving the parking lot a song came on the radio.
It was One by Three Dog Night. My all-time favorite Three Dog Night song. They don't play it much on the radio anymore.
Do you know who wrote One?
And what could be weirder than that?
Someone called my cell phone as soon as I got home. The caller could hear me just fine. Then someone else called. That caller could hear me just fine. And then someone else, and someone else. There's nothing wrong with my phone.
Hi, Harry. Thanks for visiting. Feel free to stop by any time. If this doesn't put a smile on your face there's something wrong with you...
I'm really hesitant to write a post today. It's 2010. I'm supposed to be all optimistic and positive. I'm afraid if I let myself get started I'll erupt like Mt. Etna. As in spew. It's been that kind of year and especially that kind of day.
I won't bore you with all that's not behaved like the 2010 I expected. Just the one teensy weensy little thing that happened today. I was moving things around from my computer and clearing out things that were duplicated. Freeing up space. And switching files between my computer hard drive and two external drives. A word of advice... do not attempt to do these kind of maneuvers when you have a sinus infection/cold. Why didn't I tell myself that before I started.
Somehow I managed to toss a folder the housed all the stills I took on my location trip last May. I was sure there were back-ups but when I went looking for them there was nothing. Disappeared. Into thin air.
I googled data recovery software and found a trial version of one that I could could use to search for the files and make sure they were available before paying to retrieve them. I think I found most of them, although some of them came out like this...
It took a long time. And as I write this, I'm doing another search with different parameters just to be sure I don't miss anything. It's taking forever.
Oh, I also broke a glass when my clumsy arm knocked it over on my desk. It was blind luck that it was empty.
Now if we can just get some blind luck over to Haiti.
It's almost tomorrow. I've been out all day today. The last of the relatives have exited the country. My life will finally get back to normal tomorrow. Well, maybe after a day of recovery so let's say by Wednesday.
Brain is currently fried. Or scrambled. Or maybe just poached. Take your pick. Whichever it is, it's on sourdough.
To quickly finish off yesterday's post, we did not go back to pick up my phone. We got a second car at the airport and divided up the assets. And the liabilities. Some of us ended up at Lucy's El Adobe for dinner at around 8:30pm. One of us flew over the city in a private plane. Another of us flew over the city in a non-private plane. Two of us drank margaritas. The end.
On Sunday I picked up a prepaid phone and had my cell phone number forwarded to the prepaid. I was expecting an important call today. It didn't come. Welcome to L.A. My phone is on a FedEx truck somewhere between there and here. I will get it tomorrow. I don't have any devices here that can record images so here is a picture of my phone...
Thanks a heap, Pumpkin. Nobody would have noticed if you hadn't brought it up.
Made it back to L.A. last night by no small miracle. Family members were dispersing in all directions...a sister and brother-in-law off to Mesa, a son arriving for a quick hello and a ride from me, my brother and his g.f. to L.A., a mother off to Palm Springs airport to catch a plane back to Midland TX via Dallas. Hold on a second. What's the mother doing walking back in the door of the condo at 3:15 when her plane took off at 2?
Uh oh. Watch the original plan instantly blown out of the water. Original plan being son, brother, brother's g.f., moi et le luggage pour into the little green Jeep Liberty and hi-tail it to L.A. Oh, and the Pumpkin.
Now the car is not only loaded with the long-traveling brother and g.f. toting ginormous suitcases and other excess baggage, the son, moi with my shit including 12 large grapefruits I plucked from a neighboring tree, my new pillows, my old pillow and, of course, Pumpkin...but the mother is now stuffed into the fray so she can catch a 1am plane out of LAX. This ridiculous configurations can't last the 125+ mile drive. No way. The plan is a 40-some minute drive from the condo to Palm Springs airport...the only place open where we can snag an additional set of wheels to divide up the load.
It was around 30 minutes into the seemingly long, definitely excruciating ride that I had that sinking feeling. You know the one. The 'I hope I didn't forget anything' one. And I really hope it's not my cell phone that I forgot. I know it's my cell phone. It's really hard to fish through a large leather bag when you're packed like a sardine in a tin can on wheels, minus the oil. After 5 minutes of groping, I'm 99.999 percent sure my cell phone was now 35 minutes in the opposite direction. My suspicions were confirmed when my son's cell phone rang with a call from my cell phone and I wasn't doing the dialing...
...to be continued...or not.
What part of 'to be continued' did you not understand? I'm tired and am going to sleep.
Some mini-vacation. Day 2, 3:45am I am awakened to loud sloshing water. The dishwasher. I waited and waited. It kept sloshing. figuring someone had gotten up and turned it on, I finally got up and turned the dial to the quieter dry cycle. A half hour later the freakin' dishwater started all over again. WTF?
Things went downhill from there. I already wasn't feeling well. By morning I felt worse. Drank a little fresh grapefruit juice. Ten minutes later I did something I haven't done in a million years. Yup. I hurled. It wasn't pretty. Went back to bed and then thought I should brush my teeth. Lifted my head and looked down at Pumpkin. She was eating my toothbrush.
Later I mustered up the strength to lay on the lawn chair, half on the patio and half on the grass. Hooked Pumpkin's leash to the leg and reclined. Chillin'. Two minutes later, without warning, the sprinklers went off.
I gave up. The rest of the day was spent like this...
Then, at 4:30am this morning, the dishwasher started up again. I am now calling the dishwasher Christine.
This is the one-minute movie I made called Dream Simple. It was much easier to do than the animation piece I posted in December. And hopefully more professional looking as well. I was able to make it for just over $100, thanks to all the wonderful people who donated their time and equipment. The money went to food and a few props I had to buy. Anyway, I pretty happy with it. Hope you enjoy it...
(make sure it loads before you click the play arrow)
If for some reason you can't view it here, you can see it on my website or youtube. If you watch it on youtube, I would love to get some ratings. :) Thanks.
In follow-up to yesterday's resolution post, I'm still on course. I railed on my email inbox last night and today and it's down to 194. Yay!
Wow. Thankfully, that nasty no-good 2009 has finally been extinguished. I don't know about you, but I had the worst year of my life. Not that it was completely miserable or depressive every single day. It's just the bottom line that is swayed heavily in the negative column. Financial distress being at the top of the "Fuck 2009" list. It would be nice if everything Everybody I shot Is Dead was enough to support me but, alas, I still rely on my graphics company. I still have the same clientele I've had in successful years past but with the recession my clientele have cut their expenses, leaving me with about 25% of what I did last year and the year before that and the year before that. And getting new clients was next to impossible. It's been tough times for artist types. Personally, I'm just blaming the whole fiasco on the year itself -- 2009. Because, as of today, everything feels different. Yes, I am aware there's absolutely no rhyme or reason to my (non)rationale.
If it's not 2009 that deserves the blame, I have another explanation. Time Warner. Not sure if I mentioned it here but I did rag them on Facebook and Twitter. (If you're not my Facebook friend or you're not following me on Twitter, you should - click the links to the right to rectify) Anyway, back to the evil empire know as Time Warner. I had them at my last place and they mostly annoyed me but there didn't seem to be another choice. When I got them at my new place last August the extreme torment began. Intermittent pixelation of my TV picture. Or complete drop-off. Horrible, horrible internet service. Complete interruption of internet off and on and then that escalated to the point I had them come out. They changed my modem. After that I only lost service on an average of ten times a day. It was fixable by unplugging and replugging in the modem to reset it. But it really like to make me crazy by cutting out when I was uploading a large file for a client. Seriously, I was tearing my hair out.
On December 30th the U-Verse guy came out to give me new service. I was a little concerned at first because the guy couldn't figure out my phone line wiring. It took him over five hours to do what I thought was a simple installation. But he is now completely forgiven because the fog has lifted. The internet has worked perfectly. The TV has worked perfectly. It's a far more advanced and easy to use system than the TW one. I no longer need my Apple airport...the wireless comes right off there box. The DVR can record 4 shows at a time (like there are ever 4 shows on TV at the same time worth recording) and the remote and workflow is way more logical than the TW one. Since I made my goodbye phone call to TW on the evening of Dec 30th everything looks brighter. I'm wondering if they were somehow controlling me through their signal. Watching me. Fucking up my life. No matter now. They are gone. And my supportive U-Verse big brother is taking care of me.
Alright, on to the New Year. As I recall, I only made one resolution last year. Yup, I just went back in time and found it:
I'm not real big on New Year's resolutions. I think they set you up for failure. But I am going to make one. Just one. Seemingly simple. New Year's resolution. I'm going to post something on this blog every single day in 2009.
Why would I make that my one resolution? Because I figure if I post every day, everything else will stay the course. And let's see...how about with each blog entry I commit to posting a photograph. I think. Maybe. Or. Hmmm. Damn those swirling ideas with no brain to sort them out.
Anyway, if you don't see a new post you'll know I'm dead.
This should be fun.
And, surprise, surprise...I DID IT!!! I posted every single day and I believe I put some illustrative in every single post. Except maybe when the internet wasn't working and I had to post from my phone.
There were times when I didn't want to post. Times I had nothing to say. Times where it was like pulling my teeth out. But for the most part it was very satisfying. Setting out to do something every day of the year takes a lot of focus and even more discipline. But the accomplish gives me the feeling that I can do anything I set my mind to. It's the same feeling I got when I walked on fire and didn't burn my feet...only in this case it went on for a whole year.
What did I learn? Resolutions are a good thing. And I should have made more resolutions. Just think of all the things I could have accomplished. I also learned that a public resolution beats out the one you make to yourself. It's a lot harder to break a resolution you make publicly. It's easy to sneak a cookie when you've vowed to diet. But it you put it out to the public that you want to take off 20 you might think a little harder before stuffing a pound of butter in your pie hole.
I have multiple resolutions this year. All designed to make my life more organized. Which in turn will make me happier and help me attain greater success. Some of these resolutions were put into practice six or seven days ago.
Here are some of them off the top of my head:
1) I will not go to bed without my kitchen being clean. I'm 4 days in on this one and I believe it is changing my life. It may seem like a small thing but not having to pull a cup and teaspoon out of the sink when I make my morning coffee changes my day.
2) Do yoga every day. I'm 6 days in on this one and am hoping by going public with it I will continue for the rest of the year. This is definitely life changing. I've been doing yoga off and on since I moved to LA many moons ago. When I do it on a daily basis I feel so much better. I'm not stiff in the morning. Minor ailments disappear. It really is a form of preventative medicine.
3) Post on my blog every day. I wasn't going to do this one again...but why not? I'm almost one day in on this and since I'm already in the habit it shouldn't be too difficult. However, if I do miss a day here or there I will not consider myself a failure.
Now to the harder stuff...the things I haven't started yet...or maybe I should say the things I am starting today but still have to catch up on from past digressions:
4) Better communication - Answer emails and phone calls on the day I get them, or at least within 24 hours. I currently have 499 emails in my inbox that need my attention. Of those, 175 haven't even been opened. How appalling is that? Lots of them are ones that I have kept because I want to check them out...and will most likely not need a response. But there are a lot that I really want to respond to but supposedly haven't had the time. For example, one of my favorite people in the world (who I believe is still reading my blog) sent me a birthday greeting in November with lots of news from her end and I have not written back. I AM BAD. I also got an email in September from a guy I used to hang with in high school that I haven't responded to. Not because I don't want to or don't plan to...it's more of wanting to be in a certain frame of mind. But that's not how it's going to be this year. I am going to have my inbox emptied by next weekend. Oops, that's 71.3 emails a day to file, delete or answer. Not counting any new ones. OK, I can do it. I expect this resolution will also change my life.
5) Keep on top of my finances. I'm figuring a half an hour a day would be enough time to enter receipts and bank transactions in Quickbooks and ultimately be less time than letting it pile up and doing it all at once. I can't tell you the number of times I've looked at my bank statements or credit cards and couldn't remember what the charges were for.
6) Keep on top of my filing. This is a tough one but if I think I can do it within the half hour I've allotted to #5 and ultimately save tons of time I could put to more self-satisfying tasks. This will likely require a whole new filing system but I think I have a way to make the transition relatively painless.
So, that's it. I'm pretty sure everything I'm resolving to do is a solution, not a burden. All are good habits that will potentially free up a shitload of time for me to actually have a life. I will let you know how it's all going from time to time.
In the meantime, what are you putting into practice this year that will bring you happiness and improve your life?