success

Keeping Myself Extremely Busy

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This is the best advice Casey Neistat gives to anyone who is worried about the future…
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Casey: My advice is always the same , which is KEEP YOURSELF EXTREMELY BUSY. As long as you are doing something, you will find your path. It’s when you get lazy that everything becomes skewed or grey foggy.”
Louie: “It’s easier to steer something that is already moving. If you are just static and stationery, it is SO HARD to build momentum!”

It is also the adage I follow most days. Why? Because I hate not working. I really hate not doing anything. I truely hate standing still – unless it is the best thing to be doing (More on this another time). Admittedly, now that I am a parent, I am rarely without something to do.
OI...

Sidenote: Sidenote: My MIL is going to say that is rubbish, because of an incident that happened just a few days back. I failed to change our 13mo-son’s nappy when clearly it stunk like no man’s land. I explained to MIL and wife I had smelt worse, having grown up in my teenage years with a drop-toilet (the link is for the generation of kids who are lucky enough to live their whole lives with flushing toilets.) Fact is: I DO change the kid’s nappies. It is something, it is important, it has to be done. So right after MIL left, the lad climbed into my lap, and I suddenly realised how bad his nappy was. I cleaned him up, changed his nappy, had a bonding moment, and now he walks up to me any time of the day for a hug.

** Actually, that last sentence says a lot about where this article is meant to be going. **
Spinning Top

When we give, we recieve. If only from ourselves, i.e. self-gratification, experience, knowledge, or simple happiness. But when we do something for others, no matter what age they are, it will usually result in recprication of some kind.

I am currently giving a lot of my time to my wife. I really wish I had a day job that pays, but until then, the payoff of helping my wife whilst I am predominately homebound is triple-fold. Aha, triple-fold.

1. I am the Sales, Marketing, and Online Face of my wife’s business LSBeez . Actually, the sales happen too easily, and my wife is working that out. It’s not difficult when we are selling the most delicious Kangaroo Island Ligurian Bee honey on the planet. Check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and website/business-card.

2. I am a Dad, and I like to think pretty awesome. I am far from perfect, I have never done this before. Yeah, we baby/child-sat a lot kids over the years (as young as 2, as old as 13), but having your own is a whole new game. Never being without the kids is sometimes painful, no parent is going to deny that. Waking at the crack of dawn, not going to sleep when requested (4yo’s are the worst for that!), and older brothers getting angry when they are not the centre of attention, just a bunch of things that drive the average parent completly nuts.
But what makes me an awesome Dad? I never hit my child. We have time-out’s, chats about consequences and negotiable stuff. Yep, our #MrAlmostFour is pretty damn smart, he knows those words now! But I never hit him. I have nearly been tempted, but each time I simply say to myself “Violence only breeds violence. This ends now.”
Get it? Don’t hit your kids, work it out another way. I ain’t saying this is going to work for all kids, but we need to stop the reign of terrror everywhere. This ball of mud we call Earth is infinite, humans are not. If we keep fighting, eventually the earth will be returned to the animals and we will be a forgotten moment of time in the revolution of this planet. Stop hitting our kids, Start living smarter.
WHEW! Massive rant. My mind does this. It’s just great that I can type so fast that I can get it out of my head.

3. I said triple-fold didn’t I? Just trying to remember why … oh yeah…
When I help my wife, she helps me. When she makes dinner, I bathe both boys. Or the other way round. When I clean up the very small living space we have (our lounge room is also the family and media and toy room!), she is packing the dishwasher. (Actually, I am not allowed to stack the dishwasher anymore. Apparently I do it wrong. I say someone has OCD, but enough about that. I am happy to be wrong on this issue). When I spend half my night reading, researching, blogging, designing new tshirts or ideas, drawing, creating, uploading, listening to Ted.com, learning from edX.org, she lets me do it … because we need the money for our next big project. More about that VERY soon!

To ensure I am putting in the full effort necessary to achieve my goals, I spend a lot of time finding ways to earn money utilising the internet. Let me be clear here: I am not trying any g3t-r1ch-qu1ck schemes (mispelt to avoid google algorithims putting those awful adverts underneath). Instead I have countless photography galleries, two of which earn me pittance – but I enjoy it. I also have a few tshirt collections, one of them earns me a few dollars each month. It’s infuriating, yet I enjoy it.

Now that I have gym two nights a week (sometimes four times!), I am glad to be on the move more often than not. I also changed my work desk to a standup, but that may not have been totally smart. My feet hurt, but the upside is that I can simply walk away from my desk anytime.
Bouncing Off The Walls
After reading through all my words in this post, I now realise that vlogging could seriously work for me. Since I have a Youtube channel, I am working towards vlogging. The biggest challenge with vlogging is geography and internet plans. Australia has abismal internet upload/download speeds. We get roughly (unresearched, just an exaggeration that may or may not be correct) 1/25th the speed that any other country has – which is goddam crazy. If the NBN ever happens, will it fix that problem? I am yet to be impressed. On the upside, my cameras are now all setup.

This is too much words. Who is going to read all this? Did you? Leave a LIKE and a COMMENT below if you found any of this interesting, or if you like to see me try my hand at vlogging. 

Why I Create Graphic Art

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Written for linkage to my graphic art page on my website.

#46 Clothing Combo'
I first started producing really simple graphics early in my internet days, around 1998.

It was quite by accident, yet I have always been the creative type. It turned out to be a good idea because at that time I had a fairly boring day-job, so being able to be creative in the evenings made up for the monotony. [I left that job in 2012, so I can say that now.]

The night 9/11 happened, I downloaded a freebie GIF-maker and made a dozen images that basically said how I was thinking about that whole event. [The images have since dissappeared into the archives].

Shortly after I discovered GIMP [“a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition”], bought a bible-width reference book – and haven’t stopped creating or editing images.

With some amazing scripts (eg: saving all layers individually), I taught myself basic graphic-design – and now produce awesome tshirt designs AND manipulate my photographs similar to photoshop.

Wait, what did I say? Use GIMP instead of Photoshop:
Yep, For about eight years now I have been using GIMP for manipulating my photographs. Yeah, not many people realise that. Whilst everyone was raving about Photoshop, I kept learning GIMP. And I freely admit I still don’t know half of what is capable of doing. But it did teach me how to be creative.

Because producing parts of a graphic often meant asking yourself [Q1] “With the little I know, how can it be done?” For one example, I taught myself how to create (often B-grade) shadows for trees that had been manipulated from another photo and stuck into the current photo. Yeah, (hangs head in shame), I do that. But you wouldn’t spot it, and I am not going to show you where. (Smiles gleefully).

#43 I'm Crazier than Almost Everybody Here
Then in 2012 my tshirt sales started making some series G’s … per annum. Not a lot, but it got me thinking … and I decided [Q2] diversity was the key to success. I now have two Redbubble accounts – stephentrepreneur is photography, ezcreative is tshirts – and I market them like crazy.

Gotta be honest, [Q3] marketing is the key to success in any game, and particulary online. It doesn’t mean whoring your wares: It means seriously spruiking via social media to your full advantage. It works. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, I am there, showing off my skills.

In 2015, sales started ramping up. The monthly balances were not going to make me a millionaire, but my creative side was impressing my corporate side no end.

It is now 2016 and I am trying new ideas. A series of about 30 graphics are in production as we speak; They are based on observation of what sells most in my creative collection. [Q4] Never let your best work stand alone, use the experience to your advantage.

These days I spend a few hours each night drawing my ‘brain-farts’ onto paper, selecting the best, then determining how I can create them with GIMP. It isn’t easy, I don’t deny it, but it is fun.

Someone said I should do tutorials, but I now have two beautiful children who need more Daddy time, so I won’t be spending much more computer time than is neccessary. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever do a tute.

That says enough, I am quite sure, but I plan to post some related articles in the next few weeks.

Oh, you’re probably asking what is with all the [Q]’s in this post? I have discovered that I really can write some seriously awesome quotes. So I have marked them for reference. I may add id-links soon so they can be tweeted. Noice.

Anyhow, nothing else to say other – except: Check out my tshirt collection here and here – and buy a cup, mug, tshirt, doona cover, and/or phone cover. Buy one of each! All purchases help to fund our next big project.

Dell Upgrades Causing Intermittent Buzzing

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My DELL laptop, running Windows 8.1, started buzzing every 60 seconds during YouTube video’s earlier this evening (16 Feb 2015). It was annoying and I wasn’t sure what was doing it. Was it Youtube? Was it the laptop? Was it my gaming software?

Rather than being an average user (ie: wondering how much I would have to pay Richard Pascoe to fix my laptop), I researched online to determine if it was a known issue.
Colour Coded

TIP #1: The first thing you learn on most ICT help-desk’s is that Mr Google is your best friend. Heck, every job interview I have there is nearly always this question:
Q: What do you do if you don’t know the answer to a user’s query?
A: Google it.

Bingo. I had to test a few key words; Initially I was thinking it was due to Nvidia updates,  so I searched Google for ‘recent Nvidia update problems’.

TIP #2: Always seek for your issue with the word ‘problem‘ in the search. Then select ‘Search Tools‘, drop down on ‘Any time‘ to ‘Past week‘, thereby reducing search range to most recent information. If you don’t, it will default to the most common looked at page – which are often many years ago!

Initially some of the results suggested Nvidia, but most were not recent enough. I suspected the issue might be closer to home: The laptop. So I changed to the search parameters to ‘dell audio buzzing’, the answer was revealed and verified in the DELL community support forums:
Pile of Computer Boards

1. Open ‘Control Panel\Programs\Programs and Features’
2. Remove ‘Dell Support Assist’ and ‘Dell Support Agent’
3. Reboot or Restart your machine.
4. Play youtube video to test if issue persists.

DISCLAIMER: This remedy fixed my laptop with its specifications. It may not suit every brand or computer. If you are not sure or don’t feel confident doing this yourself, I highly recommend Richard Pascoe, the Adelaide Tech Guy. I get no kickback from recommending him, we are just good friends.

Using Twitter to Get Camera Recommendations

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Rear view of Professional SMC Member

Hard to believe it, I have had a Twitter account since mid 2008.

For a long time it was just something I looked at from time to time, not understanding how anyone could cross-converse in such a hectic and vibrant community. It looked (and sometimes still does) like a bazillion monkeys chattering over the top of each other, all clambering for the highest point to ensure their voice is heard.

Yet it turns out to be the best way to ask questions that a MASSIVE amount of people can respond to and (mostly) give a good response. Here is one great example:

I asked on Twitter earlier this evening…

With only one response, I chose to follow the link.

Considering many of my friends are complete arseholes, that was a big risk. Wait, wait, what I mean is they are Australian’s who like to use any opportunity to make fun of each other, which all of us, including the recipient, laugh till it is someone else’s turn. So when an Australian calls you an arsehole or a bastard, more often he is saying either “Aha, you got me!” or “Damn, you take the best holidays!”

Turns out this is a great sugggestion for a second camera. So I tried to follow with a less than 140 character reply. Considering all of the amazing features, I had to find just one or two that warranted a twitter response. So, Ric, @aqualung, this is what I have to say about the Fuji X-T1:

Read the full review of the Fujifilm XT1. I got what I wanted from Twitter. Which really is amazing.

Being Very Right

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I like proving the vocational assessment I had 3 months ago to be very wrong.

Captain Eco Nomy Yes, one might say a thing is either wrong or right, there’s no place for a combination of the two. To that I’d like to butcher a quote by Stuart, owner of the profitless comic book store on #TheBigBangTheory – “It is a little wrong to say I could Swim in Jello, it’d be very wrong to say I could Ski on Sandpaper.”

Yet back in early July 2013 I was assessed as being unsuited for a helpdesk or any role that included repetitive tasks.

Whilst I’d much prefer to continue to shoot abstract, architectural, landscape & vehicular photography AND have people buy sufficient artwork each week to cover my mortgage, the truth is I need to do a job that utilizes my real world skills.

So winning a 6 month contract on an IT HelpDesk has proven I do have sales, people, communication, tutoring & computer skills which help me to provide a full service to all my clients.

So I am doing a role that I not only exel in, I also enjoy doing. Talking with people at all levels, taking a moment to discuss the impact of the issue at hand on their working day, working through and resolving or escalating the issue, then doing the necessary computer based logging of the job … heck, I am smiling as I write this all done. I am in my element!

That assessment was very wrong. Which leads me to believe my response was based on utopian world, not real world.

Because now I am doing a job where I am most suited, well placed, and everything feels very right.

24 Movies I Really Really Want to See

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Wow. Over the last two days, between fatherhood duties and sleeping, I have watched the complete three hours of the 85th Annual Academy Awards. The glory of YouTube!

The first 30 minutes is Seth McFarlane beingg himself, yet worth it for all that comes after.

Consequently I have developed a LONG list of movies that I really would like to see.

Some might say that uTorrent might be my only answer, but I don’t do that. I suspect I may be spending time either on Youtube or any remaining video outlets in my neighbourhood. But with Blockbusters no longer available, I welcome advice on where else I can hire the following movies.

AGFA Isolette 1 - Lens Mechanism

Anyhow, before we go any further here is my list of movies I really really want to see:

  • A Royal Affair
  • Argo
  • Amour *
  • Asad
  • Beats of the Southern Wild *
  • Buzkashi Boys
  • Chasing Ice
  • Death of a Shadow *
  • Django Unchained *
  • Dreamgirls
  • Five Broken Cameras
  • Flight

Wait, trust me, this is NOT every movie mentioned. Yet, yes, it is almost all of them. Onwards…

  • Kon Tiki
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Paperman
  • Searching for Sugar Man
  • Silver Linings PlayBook
  • Skyfall – both the movie AND the Adele song!
  • The GateKeepers
  • The Impossible *
  • The Invisible War
  • Zero Dark Thirty *

I should really point out that these movies are in no particular order other than alphabetical. They are all as equally amazing as each other. BUT – there are a few that I NEVER thought would interest me. So I have put an asterix next to those alone.

What I enjoyed most is the amount of Australian actors on display. All the usual crowd were there – Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman. Yet it was a slight shock to spot both Jackie Weaver and Naomi Watts now standing alongside the who’s-who in Hollywood.

AGFA Isolette 1 - Open

Despite Seth McFarlane’s butcher of his pre-written lines, he did a fairly good job of hosting the show. Set doesn’t seem to be a natural comedian, nowhere in the league of Richard Dreyfuss or Robin Williams, yet has a go at it. I doubt he will get asked again. Likewise, if there is a sequel to Ted, I see a sea of cotton-stuffing and … wait, they did that in a Katy Perry video clip!

Adele performed her song ‘SkyFall” at around 100 minutes into the show, and what a performance it was! I still consider her my favourite singer/writer/artist since 2011.

One of the most important part of every Oscars is the ‘In Memoriam’ component. There have been a LOT of amazing contributors to the movies over the last hundred years, from writers to cinematographers, sound artists to composers, and so many story writers who capture the imagination and make it a visual masterpiece.

As a photographer myself, I continue to be inspired by the imagination of those who have succeeded in Hollywood. Though it is not my dream to make it that far, it is awesome and amazing to watch those that have succeeded and consequently recognised for their effort.

Three hours later. My mind is filled with possibilities.

PostScript:

The SkyNet Data Centre has been built. Nobody let the machines take control.