opportunity

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.

Farmers are Entrepreneurs

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Somehow I stumbled upon Penelope Trunk’s website this morning. Very quickly I read this quote below – which reminded of conversations I have had recently – so I had to share it!

Farming is changing a lot. It’s a lot like what you say about how corporations won’t take care of you and you have to take care of yourself.

… by Penelope’s farmer

Yes, I will most likely become a farmer within the next 12 months. It will mean moving our family to Kangaroo Island; Bees will be our main focus, plus we plan to keep goats, chickens, geese, vegetables, and a dog. My wife and our kids will move over first, I will follow them after I complete a few job contracts here in Adelaide. Many factors to consider first before this is all finalized. But it will happen.

Smoking the BeesThen I found this comment on the article that says exactly why farmers are entrepreneurs. So I have adapted the comment text to best fit our situation:

It’s true: Beekeeper farmers are entrepreneurs and marketing gurus.
We have to be: With family farm’s nearing extinction due to government intervention, middleman markups and overall high economic issues, they have to find a way to make their money at a grassroots level.
Many farmers combat this by creating their own product or restricting their product range. Rather than selling their product to international and impersonal conglomerates, now make their own boutique or unique products – then sell them to niche markets and a smaller customer base.
What’s amazing about entrepreneurial farmers is they manage to create a means of carrying on a family-owned business. By creating high-quality premium products – local products that defy corporate enterprise – they will stand out in their local community. Better yet, they often preserve their land, keeping the environment pristine and natural, instead of selling it off to real-estate developers.

Penelope also says exactly why I look forward to being a farmer after twenty five years of Adelaide city life.

That felt good to tell you all. May the future also be entrepreneurial for you!

Birth #2

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A child was born yesterday. Our second. I wasn’t able to be in surgery for the birth of our first child, so I took the opportunity this time to capture images of everything permitted in the surgical-theatre.

Here are the few photos I am permitted to show of the experience.

HOLDING
Hands are wonderous, even covered in latex. These are the anesthetist nurse’s, holding my wife’s hands. I found the creases in the surgical gloves a detail worth capturing.
Holding

INJECT
Another glove shot, this time with a needle. The nurse informed me their was a bubble in the drip, this was the easiest way to manage it.
Inject

TOOLS
I aimed my camera over my shoulder and pulled the trigger … capturing the surgeons tools, waiting for use. They are not nearly as macabre as movies make them out to be.
Tools

FULLY EQUIPPED
I am sure it all did something important, I just have no idea what.
Fully Equiped

PRE-CRIB
Upon removal from mother, babies are placed here for all their tests and jabs. The bed is small yet warm and ample space for several nurses to work.
Pre-Crib

UNDERNEATH
My Canon EOS M will fire randomly in a language-filled room. This was one of the shots captured as I held my camera in my lap.
Underneath

DUTCH
Clogs at the angle. This was one of a few shots randomly taken by my Canon EOS M whilst I held it at my side.
Dutch

BALL JOINT
Each arm of mother is supported by these simple clamp systems attached to the gurney. All I could think was “Oh, that would make a great monopod joint!”
Ball Joint

CLOGS in monchrome
Clogs

That is all. My wife and I choose not to show photos of our children in an open-internet environment, so this is all you will see. Family excepted.

Stop, It’s Travel Time!

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We want to travel. Alex Maccaw has succinctly said what is in my head:

…Ultimately that list ended up as:

South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, NYC, SF, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.
… See as much as possible in that one year, and then revisit places properly in the future. If you don’t have as much time, I’d recommend focusing on an area, perhaps Asia.
For example, for my next trip I’m planning to:
Start in Beijing. Take the train to Tibet. Go down to Nepal. Travel overland to India. Make my way down to Mumbai. Fly to South East Asia and travel through northern Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

I have no idea how people simply afford to get up and do this. This would take years of saving and planning for us.

Maybe when the little boy is a few years older at which point he can appreciate it all. Currently we are planning to be in England in four years time for his honorary grandfather’s birthday. 

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.

Multi Skilling Keep the Mind Sane

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Diversity is fun, but it can get difficult to focus on so many things at once. It’s actually what’s keeping me away from Facebook.

Right now I have my fingers in a bunch of proverbial pies that are starting points to potential virtual end-products.

One part of my brain is focusing on a new site design for my primary site – ezcreate.com.au. It is going to be filled with LOTS of circles. Some of them transparent PNG’s, others created with CSS utilising multiple background techniques AND circular bordering. That will be interesting. A lot of online research is being put in to determine exactly how to write the code.

Another part is currently doing the ASX Sharemarket Game. I read the Australian Financial Review most days from cover to cover. That is actually fun. I scan in those of interest, write copious notes on information that may or not relate to the companies I am investing within.

Another part has an idea for software that could revolutionise a whole lot of stuff I have been involved with over the last 18 years. Enough said on that for now. Anyhow, more coding and program to learn. Why? Just for fun. Aha, I am weird like that. Not sure when that will happen. Amusingly I have already designed the logo and app icon. Weird still, right?

Yet another part of my brain is currently job hunting. L1 Helpdesk is my preference. [See my LinkedIn.com account for my skill base]. Facilities Management would be also very interesting. [Again, LinkedIn]. Records management at a push, but I am not a big fan any more.

And I am contemplating a few courses, particularly in business management AND/OR getting RPL for my IT Helpdesk knowledge, experience and ability. Because it is all mostly self-taught, taught on the job, or simply experience from my long-term government role.

Not busy at all. Diversity is a no brainer. Completing the bucket list is the next step.