My Current Mission Statement?

This is a wordy first draft. I’ll have to talk to the committee.

Deciding that you know everything destroys your ability to listen, comprehend and grow. It’s terrible for teamwork. Once you can admit that you don’t always know everything but will learn and build on existing levels of understanding, you can embrace a “team ego” instead of individual silos.

That’s attitude I strive to bring to my business services, training, QA, and personal life. Except when talking to my child.

—–David

 

P.S. I love smart ass captions. I call this one “Library Photo” but I may shelve that name.

My Current Mission Statement? was originally published on Creative Uploads

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I’ll Read This Again: How Blogging Teaches You To See – Taylor Pearson

Taylor Pearson Mini-Essay – Learning To See

It’s a interesting look at the fear and feeling that you have nothing to say, and pushing through to find your voice and what you want to talk about. And to build a habit.

Frankly, his essay could just as easily be: how to talk to strangers, or how to climb a hill, whatever.

Give yourself a reason or an excuse to try something, then try something. Provide some impetus to complete a critical step. Then psychological relevance makes you see it everywhere, and turn it over in your head and actually see the other angles. Even interact with others with similar interests.

—–David

P.S. So do you stay up late catching up on posts and pages that get you excited and feel inspirational so you get something pleasant off the internet before you go to sleep? I’ve often used television for that, sometimes reading. But how do we keep that little spike of happiness from keeping you up even longer? Personally I am still trying to figure out how to capture that feeling in the morning when an alarm goes off and what I love most in the morning is staying in bed longer….

I’ll Read This Again: How Blogging Teaches You To See – Taylor Pearson was originally published on Creative Uploads

I’ll Read This Again: Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 10 Tips For Screenwriters

The writers of “The Lego Movie” (and others, including the upcoming “Han Solo”) gave a talk for BAFTA’s Screenwriters’ Lecture master class, which is online in its entirety.

Creative upload stage curtain theater movie lights

I’m posting this partly to bookmark it so I can watch that video when I have time and focus, but meanwhile, here is a nice list-length summary of some things to think about the next time you are writing a script or story long enough to need sharply defined characters.*

Highlights for me: Make the story your own; it’s always about relationships; get and use feedback; and after using a positive creative experience phase you should use a critical phase to vet what you have created to make sure everything has a reason to stay in the script.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 10 Tips For Screenwriters: Learn Their Tricks of the Trade

http://flip.it/4MZ5zo

(Link via Indiewire. )

—–David

* And you should always have sharply defined characters, even if the definition is that they are dull. So it’s a trick that I said it any other way.

I’ll Read This Again: Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 10 Tips For Screenwriters was originally published on Creative Uploads

Storm In A Teacup

I always liked the phrase “Storm In A Teacup.” It’s British, but the Americanized version is a “tempest in a teapot”, which aside from being alliterative would allow for a slightly larger storm, or perhaps a copy of that Shakespeare play. I don’t know why it’s changed, we have teacups, too.

In any case it’s about making a bigger deal of something than you should, but instead I imagine a tiny tornado twisting its way around the rim of the china, as if stirred by a spoon suddenly removed, the leaves at the bottom of the cup stirred up and swirling as the brewing process makes it darker and darker.

I suppose that changes the meaning. And who minds a quick storm now and then, as long as it’s small and passes quickly? It brings a little excitement, maybe makes you dizzy? creative uploads writing teacup ride carnival

If not recommended for life, use that feeling in your writing. Great for conflict and potential resolution. What’s important to one character isn’t always perceived the same as another: was the response too big, too small, pointless, funny, sympathy-inducing? Or were they just interested in some tea with sugar?

—–David

P.S. I enjoy wordplay. And I enjoy the screeching halt when you suddenly stop. Contrast is good in writing.

P.P.S.  Songwriter Stephen Bishop wrote a song using this phrase, though it’s called “Madge.”  Here’s a nice cover of it on YouTube.  Bishop is more famous for things like “On and On”, “It Might Be You” (from “Tootsie”) and “Save It for a Rainy Day.” He also wrote and sang “Animal House.” So there’s that.

Here’s his own performance of Madge even though this musical P.S. diversion has little to do with the start of this post, it’s another tangent in how to use words to tell a story, right?

Storm In A Teacup was originally published on Creative Uploads

Build A Better Mousetrap

“And the world will beat a path to your door.” That’s the saying, isn’t it?
I don’t know why the mice-killers get all the foot traffic, but I get it. Who wouldn’t want to be able to mass murder cute little rodents? (I wonder what Walt Disney would counter with. I suppose he just made better mouse)

creative uploads mousetrap photography dream inspiration

Of course the point was, if you can improve upon something simple with something just as effective but better, people will want it. Doesn’t even have to be cheaper. (Heck, these days a lot of people think more expensive is better. Suckers.)

Now in the creative engineering field that’s a good goal, but in the creative entertainment arena, better is relative. I write songs, for example, and I think some of them are just as good or better than songs by some of my musical heroes. That’s my opinion of course, but we all start with our own opinion, so there I go. Some of them, not at all.

So a better song than the pied piper, I suppose.

For creative types with more arbitrary measurements, this phrase could be reduced to “build better.” And measure against yourself. And while I write songs, I’ve properly recorded only a few with any patience and care. That’s the “building” part I’m leaving off. (Something my heroes excelled at.)

Goals are funny complicated things that we think are easy. We come up with the end of them in a snap. But even a complete basic mousetrap has a process. You have to prepare the cheese, set the spring, and put the trap carefully in the right spot to get to the snap in the first place. Also watch your fingers.

Build better. One step at a time. You can make many complicated steps or a few simple ones; it depends on what kind of cheese your mice likes, and how long you are willing to spend to get to your goal, but realize it’s more than one step. Build.

And once you have the staircase…. it’s a snap.

—–David

P.S. I didn’t have “Mousetrap” when I was a kid, just the commercials and friends with the game, so I loved it of course. Never got the chance to be bored with it. Friends always have the shiny stuff you never get to play with, while you are stuck at home on rainy days ignoring the boring toys you never bother to play with that make your friends envious. I have a bunch of creative toys now I am just waiting for a rainy day to play with, because I figured out a trick to try. It’s even in two steps:

  • Pretend they aren’t my toys so they seem fresh.
  • Point a hose at the roof so I can imagine it’s raining.

P.P.S. This works for all sorts of things, music, writing, photography and video projects. Heck, grocery lists if you like to buy more interesting stuff when shopping. But if you’ve read this far you’re probably creative enough to figure that out, so this is a just a complimentary confirmation bias.

Build A Better Mousetrap was originally published on Creative Uploads

More Pics Than You Can Shake A Selfie Stick At

I have been taking pictures since I was a child, back when it was expensive to get a camera, buy film and have it developed, wait weeks to see what turned out, and treasure the magic of those twenty-four shots at a time. 

I still treasure the magic even though it works faster and further, and since going digital over a decade ago I’ve probably taken over 80,000 pictures, some of which aren’t worth paper they weren’t printed on and many, as I continue to improve with such vast practice, are pretty delightful.

I do consider it practice still, and I also realized I already have more pictures than I need, but it doesn’t make me stop. I still enjoy looking for new shots to take and even finding uncaptured frames accidentally. (Never mind the search for particular ones afterward, that’s becoming less a stroll and more a marathon.)

I also write songs and music, stories and scripts, joke, laugh, love, eat… I don’t intend to stop any of that either. Life is a journey of learning and experience, and it’s better when you embrace it that way, as if you are on a trip and not just standing still. Even if you are. Your perspective doesn’t have to stay the same even if you are standing in one spot.

—David

P.S. Maybe that’s why 360s and panoramas are popular, it’s a secret metaphor….

More Pics Than You Can Shake A Selfie Stick At was originally published on Creative Uploads

Hey, Mr. Spaceman

So back in 1998 when there was some controversy about sending John Glenn up again at his age and in an expensive mission, I wrote this parody to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Thanks for bookending the inspiration, 2016. Now quit it.
I thought he was great even if Shepard beat him up, he took the space race into orbit.
 
Here's a western scene: This is a stickup! Reach for the sky!
Space Oddity 1998 lyrics by David Watson, music by David Bowie
 
Ground Con-trol to Ma-jor Glenn
Ground Con-trol to Ma-jor Glenn
Take your vi-ta-mins and put on your De-pends
Ground Con-trol to Ma-jor Glenn
The guy from Wheat-ies called a-gain
Can you read me? Put your hear-ing aid back in.
This is Ground Con-trol to Old John Glenn
Turn your left blink-er o-o—off
‘Cause it’s been on since you missed that a-ste-ro-oi-d
And the a-li-ens be-hind you are a-nnoy-ed–
He trained Spock, Mc-Coy and Cap-tain Kirk
So NA-SA, have no fe–ar—
He’s the on-ly thing up there o-lder than Mi-ir
Well, ex-cept the hip that got re-placed last yea-e–e-ar
Here am I sit-ting in the ship’s can
Thanks-to fi-ber pillsPla-net
Earth is green, but it’s no-thing I’ve not-seen
I may have been se-cond all a-long, but I’m still in the race
Like Viagra I’m back up where I belong – My frequent
flier miles beat Shepard and Arm-stro-o-o-ong
I got a sen-ior dis-count on the suit And made the Se-nate pay
and I hope my space-walk makes it on C-SPAN
So my grand-kids can all see me wave my ha-a-a-and
Here am I sitting in a tin can, Looking for the Tang
The spaceship’s have all changed, but the planet looks the same
This is Ma-jor Glenn to Ground Con-trol
I’m step-ping through the hatch and I’ve fall-en, can’t get up, but I can fly
Got-ta go now, Meals on Ro-ckets com-ing by-y-y-aye
Oh Ground Con-trol to Ma-jor Glenn you for-got your hel-met, come
back in
Can you hear me, Ma-jor Glenn?
Can you hear me, Ma-jor Glenn, Can you
Here am I, float-ing in my mem-ories
Far too old for this
Planet Earth is pissed, but it’s some-thing that I missed.
(Who cares what it cost to get back something that we lost…..)
 
(converted from a WordPerfect document: time flies….)

Hey, Mr. Spaceman was originally published on Creative Uploads

Musing Is Its Own Muse

I haven’t written a poem in quite a while. Decided to take a nap today and while pondering a great many things, one started to come to me, and I decided to fight to a draw and write down a couple of lines then sleep while I had time, and the poem won.

Here it is. Still working on the title though, so a victory for procrastination!



When wearily I lay down to rest


When wearily I lay down to rest

The answers to the universe come to me

The secret of life just about to be revealed

A peaceful moment brings a sense of clarity 

History dwelled upon uncovers hidden truths

Like a dream everything is in my power, possible,

Has been unknowingly under my control for ages

And the instructions for the machinery are all clear

It isn’t just imagination but understanding, for I am awake

Foolish insecurities vanish into confidence

And everything is so pleasantly obvious

And comfortable 

And comforting 

And peaceful

That just as 

I am ready

To wake up,

I sleep.

—David

P.S. The spark not just of inspiration but of action here was a realization that almost the only thing that ever pulled me out of bed when I have ideas at these moments is music. I can and have written notes to myself on paper or my phone or my pad over the years, though not often enough, but when a song comes to me * and grows beyond a verse into a chorus, I’d feel like I needed to rescue that moment from oblivion; so I would arise and go to a piano or guitar or just my songbook and often end up sketching out an entire song in fifteen minutes to an hour, usually with chords included. “Who needs sleep?” but also “who can sleep?” with a song stuck on your head.

Still, why music? A simple matter of two against one (words and music vs. sleepy/lazy me). Plus I always love music, but don’t always love having songs stuck in my head.

* “A song comes to me.” What an arrogant, incomplete and inaccurate description of a multi-faceted process with its myriad of possible avenues of inspiration. Sometimes it’s a flash, from stray thought or deliberate one, and sometimes it takes years, literally, for the shape to  even start resembling a song. Yeah, but songs come to me. And being able to recognize them in all their forms is pretty great.

Also this gives me the idea for a song….

Musing Is Its Own Muse was originally published on Creative Uploads

Why Worry About Not Worrying?

My daughter told me tonight how she was worried about the lanyard pouch she had left at school in her last class, which had some money and her school ID card. This is the lanyard I told her to write her teacher about when I picked her up, to make sure that when she got to the class late tomorrow it was there and put away. Seemed to make sense to me.

Of course when the teacher didn’t write back to her tonight, doubt and fear crept in, possibly in part from that seed I planted, though she may have come up with it on her own. “What if someone….” Of course I tried to reassure her that having been sent the email, the teacher would probably grab it early. And extolling that most people are honest. “Don’t worry,” I said.

And then I realized that doesn’t help her. It’s a command, not instruction.

Half of “Don’t worry” is worry. Does anybody worry less because they are told to? Unless it’s that great sixties song, “Don’t Worry, Baby,” I think that helps, but that’s probably the music.

What you really need to do is try to start a worry diet. If you want to lose weight, or stop smoking or drinking something too much, the first thing you try is self-control, but humans aren’t good at that at. We obviously put it off so long that we ended up eating, smoking and drinking too much.

What humans are good at, without any practice, is putting things off. Oh, we want, we crave, yet when it’s really important but takes good mental effort, we have the urge to put it off. The best of us can push past that quickly. But we all have the urge.

I say: give in to the urge to put things off sometimes. It’s satisfying to take such control that you can literally do nothing for a moment or hour or day, should you choose. Plus, entropy takes less effort at the start. Gotta love a lazy Sunday, right? Of course recovering from it may take longer: you can quickly roll down a tall hill with relative ease, but getting back to the the top at the same speed is another story.

So what’s the trick? 

Pick what you put off. This concept took me years to figure out. I would have found it sooner but I put it off. I wanted to drink less soda. I won’t. But I will put off getting one by telling myself to drink a glass of water first. And I make it a ritual. This lets me quench my thirst and usually means I drink the soda slower when I get it.And I have half the chance of grabbing a soda instead of water.

What does that have to do with worry? Well, I was worried I might drink too much soda. (I also worry that any soda is too much, but one thing at a time.) It is a process, so there is more than one step.

I worry less when I give myself something else to do, or think about, distract me.

Once I get there, worry is in the entropy zone. Find your thing: exercise, cleaning, stupid tv, or playing music (listening or making can work), or just tell yourself:

  • “I just can’t even.”
  • “I will think about that later.”
  • “I will worry about that in the morning if my lanyard is still missing.”
  • “I’m going to have a soda”

See, if it’s something you need to worry about, the worry or panic or fear or loss will gladly come around again; you didn’t need to worry twice, right?

You will worry a little less, then when you surrender to not caring  for a while, you can forget to worry for longer.

Now if it’s something you have some control over, you can try to do something. Not to worry, but literally, trying to fix something that would you would otherwise worry about is the best distraction from worrying, ever. That’s why we call it being proactive, and not active worrying. Sometimes all you can do is schedule a reminder or write a note so you can take action later. Okay, do that. Take your time doing it. Start immediately, but do it slowly and carefully, maybe even in a silly way.Why leave yourself one voice mail when three will over do it? Several Post-It notes in a circle. Like you’re going to forget.

And you may fail at “Don’t worry.” So what? Who cares but you? Don’t beat yourself up about it. (Now I still laugh at myself when I accidentally hurt myself or fall down, so I am a special case. But that is literally the opposite of not beating yourself up, how can you not laugh at that?) Worrying about worrying is the worst double with cheese, ever.

If it’s important, it will come up again. I accidentally posted this while still writing, and then my website went down. So I found a way to keep writing the missing paragraphs and ignored my thoughts that maybe I don’t have a current backup.. Now the website is back up and I don’t even need to worry about it. Shame it’s too late for a congratulatory soda. You know what? I am going to schedule this post to publish later. Just to practice putting things off.

—David

P.S. You can schedule the times for when you put things off and when you don’t to your benefit. Using my soda story, I don’t wake up and have one; I try to wait until I have been up for a few hours. Since I don’t drink coffee, this means I am not reliant on caffeine in the morning. I may be slouchy and show, but I’m not addicted! And since caffeine has a long half life, unless it’s late weekend night or a special dinner out, I have to get my last soda in before five o’clock in hopes of making me get to bed earlier. (It doesn’t work; I am really good at putting off going to bed.) But I literally have less time for the habit I want to reduce. Imagine applying that to worry time. “Oh, I only worry after lunch.” That sounds relaxing.

P.P.S. Another approach you can try: One of my favorite scenes from the first season of “Lost”: Kate is hiding in trees as a polar bear is trying to attack and she counts to five. Didn’t watch it? Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter. Jack had told Kate earlier about a time he was terrified but still needed to act: “So I just made a choice. I’d let the fear in, let it take over, let it do its thing, but only for five seconds, that’s all I was going to give it. So I started to count: One, two, three, four, five. Then it was gone.”

P.P.P.S. Sometimes you fail. You drink, or you worry, or you fall. Does that mean you give up? No, usually we fail because we didn’t worry enough about the behavior we were trying to change. So don’t worry about it. Now you know you know how not to worry! Just change the approach to take advantage of that. You will try again, when you feel like it. Maybe even try harder.

Or do. There is no try. Because “do not” can be a phase, the phase before “Do.”.

Why Worry About Not Worrying? was originally published on Creative Uploads