Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas. The Epitome of Time and Energy Loss Related to Consumerism.

We all have our own ways to celebrate or cope, especially after Thanksgiving passes by and we head to the Christmas Season. Along with Santa, Christmas brings lights, tripping, fantastic, customs, gatherings and tidings of joy.

Perception is key, but this time of year can be fun. TTOY can be considered magical, fanciful and delightful complete with carriage rides through the city. People do find themselves affected in some manner around this recognized "holiday season" but again, these affects can be uplifting and inclusive or can manifest as melancholy feelings and induce separation. With the latter pair comes confusion. The former allows good connections, positive interactions and is life affirming.

Keep it in perspective, but seriously, ask a real question during this holiday season: Did you actually have to spend all that money on stuff? Largely for people that probably don't really need that particular stuff to survive? What else could that time, energy, money and emotion have produced?

Some of it is legit because, yes, the holidays bring people together. The holidays' existence and acknowledgment can allow for deep personal meaning to be ascribed to an object, event, person or string of words. Very special, real and intimate things, all of them. Things that are and will become important. This deep personal meaning, shared or solitary, can be found in certain physical objects, memories, photos or even a scent or glance if it is embraced as it comes along.


Fingers, guitar fretboard, chord.
Music Flows From Her Fingers.

I think the true Christmas Season begins when the malls start piping in holiday music.
















We breathe in the familiar scent and we allow ourselves to see the connection and feel the meaning. In this instance our nose facilitates the deja vu. We are right back somewhere, sometime and with someone. After all, being at the place the memory was formed makes us a participant in the creation due to the joining of two souls. Not a baby this time, but a memory was created. An image or set of images (physical or not) that can be recalled to enjoy the time again.

Say I planted a tree with a friend in my front yard. We took pictures and invited people over to help us figure out what kind of tree it is. People came and saw the tree but we didn't get its name. The people coming by, the pictures we took and the continued existence of the tree are all physical proofs that the interplay between my friend and I (and this tree) happened. Two people dug a hole and planted a tree. Other people not only saw us dig and plant, but years later people walk by the tree and acknowledge the tree. If we had not planted that tree no one/nothing else would get to interact nor enjoy it in any fashion. Still though, dogs pee on the tree even as birds perch on the tree. It is a good tree. 

My friend and I form memories of the planting in our own ways for recollection purposes, however the actual planting of and existence of the tree is never in doubt. The memories are special because of the pure connection found when matching energies exist. Our time together was special, therefore it is remembered as such. Meanings are attached to the digging, the tree, the person, the lawn, the house, the street, the day of the year...Each attachment is as deep, vast and colorful as it is tangible to the individual.

There is meaning in all we do. How we spend our time is the ultimate measure of our involvement in the project at hand, whether it be spending time with a person, going out, cleaning up, calling mom, etc. The energies we create through our actions and mannerisms speak very loudly as ultimately our true intentions will shine through. Eye contact, active listening, warm and welcoming body language, honest and thought out responses; all these things show a bit about intent. Genuine attentiveness and warmth can not be falsely achieved and will be called out by even the youngest of children. This genuineness also helps you become a good gift giver if you pay enough attention and let the energy in.

Is a handwritten note more powerful than a Tyrannosaurus Rex?   


On Xmas eve I was standing in line at CVS in Eastown waiting to pay for my purchases. I was not christmas shopping, but it was one of the very few places open. I was just picking up a few overpriced items (I am not innocent in all this, I do realize that) and noticed a woman holding two colorful, plastic and cheaply made dinosaurs. In that instant I was struck by the thought of her taking these toys home, removing the price tags, wrapping them in tissue, dropping them in a stocking, and ultimately being somehow pleased that her $7.92 spent will provide the "gift's" recipient five minutes of "something" during the unveiling on xmas a.m proper. Will these dinosaurs convey the message she is attempting to convey? One hopes so.

Of the many outcomes possible after the dinosaurs officially change hands, we hope it is pure joy and elation. Perfect gifts for the perfect kid(s). Good for the giver and receiver; I mean who doesn't love to hang with a T-Rex from time to time? These toys may match the theme of the kid's room or something else positive and logical. Maybe not. If it is a well themed gift, then that is an out for her, a partial escape, but still she did not leave unscarred.

Will the toys be acknowledged after the newness and shiny colors wear thin? Might they be pushed in a corner? Might they collect dust and sit ignored for years? Might they become a quick afterthought in the midst of all the gift wrapped stimuli? Will the child be able to associate the gift with the giver? It may not mean anything now, but memories remain. Memories shape us. Memories soothe us.

I submit that this woman's money, time, efforts and energy should have resulted in a much more meaningful gift. A much more honest representation of her acknowledgement that a token is necessary to convey her message.

Her time spent getting to CVS, searching the aisles for a suitable gift for its intended recipient, waiting in line to pay, paying, potentially taking the steps I outlined above, lions and tigers and bears, oh my...phew, could amount to a block of time as great as a couple hours. 120 minutes. 

Purchasing something other than non-domestic made riff-raff-disposable-re-gifting tchotchkes would be a great start. Taking a few moments to tune in and recognize the perfect thing when it shows itself. A hand written note, teddy bear or anything as long as it is not those goddamned dinosaurs and the waste they represent. Her time, her money, her time spent earning the money she spent, gas, etc.

Are we all not partially at fault since the butterfly's wings flap as we exhale into the night?



What gift would best convey endearment, age no matter? 

Is it an endearment of sorts you are trying to communicate? Through one of your love languages? 

Is it a color? A word? A symbol of something else? A truth? A message?

Passing along information in an attempt to lift some veils and expose half truths? 


Trying to convey your Love through the passing along of material things can get convoluted quickly. It is similar to the attempt of texting huge thoughts, inflections or silly voices. Potentially lost in translation and easily confused. Be careful and invest yourself accordingly. 

An object that you can pass the message into and trust it says everything you wish to pass along? Can you find that gift? 

When tongue tied and twisted how are you able to see a person through their fog? Through your own fogs? What then do you gift them?

Whatever you believe, don't be shy with it. 


Thanks for reading. Enjoy the week.

Ryan


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Haiku


Very Recent. Late Night. 

Handwritten with a brilliant pen.

I learned no s is needed for multiku.


*

Thought I'd be better.
A yawn approaches your mouth;
hide it with the hand.

*

You open a book.
The first three words you see might
spell it out for you.

*

The ether sends words.
Grab one, two, fifteen or six
as a puppeteer.

*

You see that color?
It can be heard if you slow...
The prism vibrates.





Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Poem About Criminally Responsible Broccoli. Funny YouTube video transcription via PechaKucha Grand Rapids.


After discovering PechaKucha through my friend Sue Stauffacher, a local author of children's books, I was very fortunate to be a part of a recent event. 



PechaKucha Grand Rapids is organized largely by Rob and Dan Terpstra. They do an amazing job and are very gracious hosts. For much more background info about PK and how it wound up in Grand Rapids, please see The Rapidian article or my repost of the same.

Finding the YouTube Interactive Transcript Button
The bullshit has stopped.


I recently discovered that YouTube somehow offers a voice transcript of the audio. The resulting strings of words are pretty whacked out and do not make much sense. I talked pretty fast during this presentation having not realized just how quickly 20 seconds can go by, so the transcript is garbled and disjointed. It is humorous as well and does not really flow. I took a few of the choice words and phrases from the top and fashioned a poem of sorts.

**
one bad thing about nothing

he said it

he, anytime
he, the do-gooder 
and and and and and did you see anything?

citizen, citizen, love all things beautiful
it is seeking the emergency hands 
there shouldn't be tensions

consciousness revolution
**

Not so bad really. The power of editing shows its prowess...


Here is the whole text. Very strange strings of words follow:

0:01did you manage use the capital
0:06cytosine historical resonance president aristede active
0:11one bad thing about nothing
0:13don't usually see anything india
0:16he said it
0:19vacation initiate image
0:23he
0:28housen
0:29the
0:31anytime
0:33and and and and and did you see anything candidate
0:37clubhouse
0:38brian mccarthy
0:40now is the first initial of candidates that
0:45grantham
0:47korea alone
0:49homepage usual
0:51citizen citizen love all things beautiful
0:55it is seeking the emergency hands tensions there shouldn't be an axe
1:03he the
1:22do-gooders consciousness revolution
1:26direct
1:28criminally responsible broccoli
1:31millions towards
1:33as well so it is an outstanding groundswell close-knit community at
1:37large
1:38zero removed but not contact out of the real world not just a minute that
1:42neither of these days
1:45that ten percent
1:47neighborhood
1:49has been to us
1:51eight years
1:53imprisoned
1:54age twenty nine and ten of your life cars rationing
1:57online cabin for a long time alcohol drugs confusion on my sexual orientation
2:02sylvia stilettos
2:06footage this change
2:08we're hearing a lot
2:09formidable should stop two years ago
2:12on very fortunate that my eyes heart and soul
2:15reminder that there is beauty everywhere introduction
2:19connection self-imposed nature
2:22pas communication with joe
2:24knows that i think you're saying
2:26with all that we come
2:28i sell my house ireland
2:30alone
2:31an after-the-fact shit
2:33perception
2:34and all of the world but it was outside our house
2:37i can see the telephone line from china
2:41violet light pricing beauty
2:45super star or similar
2:46trees pages yeah
2:49this young girl you know this guy forgets what this and
2:56joined our cities you are not the only options so enjoyable to live by the last
3:01upheavals models we'll continue to seek answers most north
3:05the status quo
3:07department rules
3:08for change of being movements tons of stuff
3:11do you think this is an evening we hooked up
3:14there is
3:15organizations on uses that was used by me
3:18when i was in prison
3:19controlled methods dies the raw fat and ugly and must change we are
3:25really but let me put it exactly what we should be don't know
3:31there since the five million
3:33developments
3:35uinervtisy several states
3:37how is that when the system which is not responsible for developing long-term
3:41normally
3:42hezbollah position in words and addiction deluge of seventy eight
3:47two small people being smarter than is concerned
3:50get a job to work together
3:53testing trial fashion that or walking wealthy
3:57forbidden last april the detainees hai
4:02played
4:03trying
4:05trying
4:07therefore
4:08a lot of people
4:09this is dangerous stuff in nineteen forty five
4:11credit began presenting worldnet point to the public water
4:16details you know the consulted
4:18there for him by its ability to produce national capitals whichever lyricism
4:23this includes wm
4:25and it hurts the motel
4:28nato visit
4:29japanese wording migration
4:31families the intrinsic
4:33well all that
4:35to her in a system that's helpful
4:38i was a little more conduct nato still lives
4:41neuroticism forgot results successful
4:45alice paul's blog that you've reviewed
4:47complex clear
4:49totalitarian here w
4:51is that they're hot houses have died
4:54ourselves look at the white in assistance reasons and purposes
4:58we we integrate into marketable forest fires
5:02moneyline
5:03presentable and ten years in power
5:06the vatican
5:07irrelevant very well logos that jim baker told me to sleep disorder
5:11millions of people see every year
5:13if you realize that they can choose
5:15visible in plain sight
5:17disease as a joke as a reminder that they have lots of something
5:21in one point two billion catholics was more open
5:25what is it is for you
5:28of more than a natural
5:29hasn't seen a special celebration rose for my because this ensures
5:34accountability represented
5:36is missing the numbers below
5:38finality suits
5:40vintners also
5:42televisions aggressively using reasonably comes down
5:45in iowa
5:49perfection
5:51racist racist line
5:53back to the source
5:55colossal dealers any of the necessity of dissecting
5:59this interactions and life experiences film to look for
6:06beauty obama's that really look different receipt naka bluntly
6:10must continue to question caterpillar fear
6:13that is the only thing
6:14n_r_a_ and that the arkansas boston we are in control of reality only us we
6:19always have everything you have the right in front of us disney movie goers
6:25more beauty
6:26more until at least five three nine oh one reminder
6:30mojitos and shed
6:32and i quote rejoicing as desired dr
6:35everything i do there's no place for fear
6:38fears about fits into a pre-existing
6:41removing fear focusing
6:43criminal society thousands of miles depending
6:48northeast asia truman weeks later
6:51only create our reality your reaction
6:54to anything if she was physically
6:56mentally and emotionally monuments and avenues that was the night was yours
7:01who i am here we did was to be superman's ultimately when you decide
7:06mundu twenty four hours
7:09who both dot all the best
7:11post-season equal size
7:14mason and others in oregon
7:16i don't bother
7:17last year so that's all for hours and hours and hours and hours
7:23resistant
7:24disagrees
7:27well it like
7:28sourcing
7:29took another dive
7:30here's all that
7:32illegality
7:33julian bashing he was not a lot of
7:37vehicles are sympathetic
7:39we must the starter we must not be retrieved by southeast serbia
7:44we must not allow herself to be passive animosity pgs they live in new york more
7:49stand
7:54are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe who they are free
7:59detects life
8:01artisans allahu existence
8:03and that truth
8:04today is the realization
8:06up our own automatons rappers law questioning the status quo about it
8:11later life
8:12favour anesthesia
8:14jenifer fear incomes the evidence
8:31copycat



Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chaos. Sleeping. Showers. Writing. Dreaming. No rules. Vivid Dreams.

Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos.Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos. Chaos.




I had a dream that there was chaos; chaos everywhere. 

In this dream I was only able to enjoy life while doing one of three things: sleeping, showering, writing. There were no rules or ramifications while engaged in any of these activities. The whole world would stop and I could not be touched by anyone, anything or any outside influences. No perceptions of problems, stress, worries, nor responsibility exist (t)here.

These three things are all I want to do in this dream. Standing under the shower for ten or twenty or ninety minutes, finally warm. I was not eating anyway, so of course I would be cold. Caffeine and nicotine can only take me so far, but here I can be warm for ever. I don't have to think about my skin, my rent, my life, my lack of such and such...

Who the fuck reads this shit anyway?
Yet to find out...
In this dream I feel a lack of permanence permeating the air. I am ever drifting, time stops and I can not feel which leg is crossed over the other. My fingers become a spider on the keyboard, a support for my neck, and wash behind my ears. I can shower anywhere, sleep anytime and write a novel a day for four decades. No matter where, I can write. Pen and ink, keyboard, sticky notes in my mind. Where does it go? Where does it wind up?

Who the fuck reads this shit anyway?

At least I am clean. Who wants to be stinky in a dream?

At least I am warm.

How is it I can be asleep for 8 hours and feel like it is forever? Why does it seem that it has only been a second since I closed my eyes? But dammit, sometimes I am awake.

In this dream I write. I write a lot, but it goes nowhere. I get attached, as though there is an umbilical cord connecting my brain to the words forming on the screen. Where they come from I do not know. Sometimes they make a lot of sense and flow, and flow, and all add up.

At least I have coffee and cigs. Nicotine. Caffeine. Delicious and dangerous. Always seem best when paired together... Good to know that my vices exist in full force even while dreaming.

I feel pulled in so many directions while sleeping and dreaming these other lives and experiences, but when I do write the focus is there.  As measured time is never referenced, tunnel vision takes on a whole new meaning since all that exists are the words on the screen.

The channel is automatic. The filter is automatic. The engagement is lacking. Lol.

There are times when I get so exhausted from a writing session I have to sleep in my dream. Or take a shower in my dream. When I do catch the playful muse, or channel my Awen, writing becomes a fanciful delight. It is swift, it flows, and the strange mathematical equations the words produce actually do have sums. These sums are full and round numbers. These sums are their own reciprocals. The fractions they equal are neither vulgar nor common. It becomes easy to break down the parts and deconstruct to reconstruct and learn.

The source of inspiration is always near. Even while dreaming it is impossible to escape the true source of influence and motivation. It is in me, it is drawn from her and it exists everywhere. I carry it close as it is but a breath away. Because it pulls and pushes so mightily, I have to ignore the Muse's bright light from time to time, but it is here; it is always.

On/off. Left/right. Black/white. Up/down. Boy/girl. Stop/go. Yes/no.

Put me back in the middle please. I want to wake up.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PechaKucha Night at Stella's Lounge in Grand Rapids



PechaKucha to visit Stella's on Devil's Night

    On Tuesday, October 30, Stella's Lounge hosts PechaKucha. The Japanese networking event has made its way to Grand Rapids!


    Sue Stauffacher Presents about Wireman at Stella's
    Sue Stauffacher Presents about Wireman at Stella's /Ryan McCarthy
    Event Poster - Devil's Night!
    Event Poster - Devil's Night! /PKFB
    April's event at Stella's
    April's event at Stella's /Ryan McCarthy
    Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
    PechaKucha (PK) takes its name from the Japanese phrase meaning “chit chat," such as the din of background noise. Originally devised in Tokyo in 2003 as an opportunity for networking and sharing, PK has now taken off worldwide. In October 2011, Grand Rapids became the 428th city to host PechaKucha Night, after event producer Rob Terpstra “signed the handshake agreement in August 2011 that committed” he and his group to at least four events per year. 
    Events consist of meeting up in a public spot, preferably with food and drink available. After all, PK is designed to be a social event, but in the end it is about connecting and sharing. Pre-registered presenters supply 20 images that are projected onto a large screen and then have 20 seconds per slide to speak. The grand total on stage is six minutes and 40 seconds and the slides advance automatically. Topics are essentially endless and open, and the gatherings are designed for creative people to get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts or even vacation photos.
    A few years ago as Terpstra and a few of his Herman Miller contemporaries researched ways to energize showrooms while also creating a dialog with customers, the suggestion of PechaKucha was offered. He did some research and connected with one of the founders, a man named Mark Dytham, with whom he would eventually meet in late 2010 in West Michigan. After the meeting with Dytham and enjoying the inspiration he received from it, Terpstra traveled to Milwaukee to see a PechKucha Night in person and decided he would make the commitment to bringing PechaKucha to Grand Rapids.
    “Our inaugural event was at Stella's Lounge with eight local presenters on October 18, 2011 with two more events occurring at Stella's in January and April of 2012. This past summer we did a special lakeshore edition in Holland at New Holland Brewery in which we pulled another great variety of storytellers including a great presentation by Charlie Wollborg of TedX Detroit. For our next event we are back at Stella's Loungein Grand Rapids on Devil’s Night with a diverse lineup of presenters and lots of energy and buzz," says Terpstra.
    The Stella's Lounge event starts at 7:30 pm and admission is $3. There will be at least eight presenters, including Hugo ClaudinJohn Serba and myself.
    With the levels of awareness and consciousness in our fair city constantly evolving, there is an interesting energy in the air. This flow results in many unique ideas and events being fostered and realized. ArtPrize is a beast on many levels, but thanks to Rick Devos, there really was some beautiful crazy crap all over Grand Rapids. GR also recently hosted TedX and Wealthy Theatre offers many community events that are quite often free of charge and most definitely open to the public.  
    As PechaKucha becomes a household name, it will continue to assist in strengthening Grand Rapids’ creative community while allowing paths to cross that may not have otherwise. Three cheers to diversity, non-censorship and connections!

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    My Google Search For Consciousness, Truth, and Freedom.

    You gotta get your name out there somehow!

    How much of it is in the packaging? How much is it content or message? Don't forget, there has to be SEO.


    Pic courtesy of Terry Johnston.
    According to Google Analytics Support, the terms 'visit' and 'session' have similar meanings and can be used interchangeably. Good to know if you know the definition of either, but if not, you better go google.

    We must also deal with figuring the difference between clicks, visits, visitors, pageviews, and unique pageviews. Wikipedia has a decent enough explanation of web analytics that define the majority of terms, and Google offers an explanatory PDF that offers up pretty fair advice, definitions and explanations, but damn, this stuff is complicated.





    In the end all I want is...



    ...to be seen.


    It seems that each page view or impression should do as it is supposed to and showcase content, therefore keeping readers through natural engagement. This would be ideal as it would lend credence to the theme and presentation, but how to actually get people's attention in the first place? Keywords, tags, meta tags, image properties, links, comments, white hat, black hat, lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!

    Raising eyebrows, money and awareness in a manner similar to PETA, Grand Rapids based nonprofit Carol's Ferals grabbed attention with the human-in-a-cage style at their booth during the 2012 Eastown Street Fair. A certain donation level had to be reached in order to "free" the caged human and they shouted out to all passersby. They definitely got some attention from the crowds, but it was also fun to watch people completely (and intentionally) ignore their pleas. It seemed like some festival attendees were uncomfortable seeing and hearing about the plight of the feral cat, as they kept their heads down when passing the Carol's Ferals booth. Tough stuff, that truth stuff.


    PETA protest.


    Carol's Ferals at Eastown Street Fair.

    Unfortunately, there is some practicality found within promoting and sharing online these days. It is what it is. This is not something I am attempting to change, but I dislike Facebook, tweet very infrequently and tend to enjoy sharing by just existing. This relatively passive involvement combined with the inevitable inertia that comes from conscious living can still create a force and sneak up on us! I believe my life is my testament and pedigree and that fact is the same for everyone else, formally educated or not. Our experiences speak for themselves and can result in amazing revelations about life, love and happiness if we allow them to. I have been very fortunate to find great meaning in all I have ever done and attempt to represent these findings in my day-to-day living.  

    As I attempt to practice what I preach and maintain a healthy awareness that my actions affect others, I realize how much I appreciate this ongoing education. Although times have been difficult in the past, it all had a purpose and place. There is an understanding and belief that the pieces of the preceding months, years and lifetimes all fit together, were organic and completely necessary to unfold as they did.

    So I float around online...

    I came across a site called 'Technorati' today. Technorati is a blog index and directory claiming to have over a million blogs listed. They have a Tag Index page that shows the tags used in blogs over the last month, but none of the big three words listed in the post title are to be found. 

    The top tags on Tumblr, Instgram (No.1) and WordPress all contain the word Love, the other big one/umbrella term for life, but Consciousness, Truth and Freedom are lacking a presence. Of course, a Google search for consciousness brings over 88 million results, but which of the first page's suggestions to click on? It contains a Wikipedia article, a related (potentially scholarly) article or two, and a few dictionary definitions. As we all know, most people do not migrate past the first page of results, sometimes not even beyond the virtual "fold" on the screen. Can we trust that the top results found for any search actually contain the information we actually are seeking?

    Does a high Google ranking equate to trust, or just allow misinformation to be shared more easily by those with the money? Either way, one page of results offers only a few clues to true consciousness, let alone tells people how to achieve an enlightened state. Keep reading, and remember: To ever bear fruit, a seed must first be planted.


    Thirty million people may say its true, but that don't make it true, y'all.





    Awear Yoga

    Maybe I am not searching deep enough. Maybe people are not writing about these topics. Maybe there are not enough people searching. Maybe we are not asking the right questions. If that is the case, it is  impossible to generate the right answers and the cultivation of our personal evolutions is stunted. You must grow for me to grow...

    Maybe it truly is all about the packaging and not content. How disappointing if that is the case. It would be much more comforting to learn that people are done being mislead by advertising and marketing campaigns. This would result in the desire and drive to find their own truths -a great first step in finding freedom.

    According to Seattle Organic SEO, here are the top 25 searched terms from 2012. Wow. Really though? Over 3 billion monthly searches for Facebook? Time to step away from the computer, people...


    Porn found at 18, but still occupying one quarter of the list.

    Sharing. Living. Learning. Writing. Loving. These are the things I commit my time to. I give, and it is returned multiple, multiple times over.

    Now if I can just figure out how to get people to read this damn blog...

    Ryan

    Observe, Absorb, Manifest.









    Friday, August 31, 2012

    The Next Step. Observe, Absorb, Manifest #2. Grand Rapids Consciousness Revolution!

    All right, GirbeI'm ready for my close-up.


    On Friday September 14, I am taking a leap. Without a formal education and leaning heavily on life experience, I am being filmed giving a presentation I have been working on for a little bit. The long term goal of this DVD is to act as my professional introduction to the world. I will speak largely on Love, the fostering of individual gifts, the rewards of deep (and dark) looks inward, the rewards of asking questions and how to tie it all in to your personal individual situation. It begins with an explanation of me, I suggest a few things to think about and then introduce three keys I have identified as being the ultimate tools in finding ourselves.

    My attempt at a practice can be found in the original Observe, Absorb, Manifest post and no, it is actually not a video of me tweaking.

    Art by Silence.


    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Other Midwest Adventure Photos, all by iPhone, thank you.

    Some additional photos from my recent Midwest adventures.


    Late night drunk fun!

    The Bunkhouse. Not too shabby.

    Nice grease burn on my leg.

    Trump reflections in Chicago.



    Cloud Gate at Millennium Park, Chicago.



    Shit here, please.

    Tattoo on a fellow cheese guy.

    Tesla, the really cheap seats.


    Downtown Chicago.

    Crazy Parking.


    Logan cleans the dusk off the window.

    He looked like this when he started eating.

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    Creating and Expressing Free Will in a World of Perceived Evil. Are We Born into Sin?


    The creation of, expression of and honoring of Free Will must be fostered at any given opportunity.


    That truth does not leave us without responsibility as we utilize our tools in our day-to-day survival.  The freedom to do what you desire and to live your life free of constraints does not come lightly.  We must share our stories of survival and assist others in achieving their own enlightened state.  There may become an overwhelming need to share, but it can be done.  If we are not overzealous and can present the message appropriately, people will listen.  This is an exciting prospect.  When people start listening to the things you are sharing, permitted they are honest and pure, the resulting idea, thought, dream, action/reaction or state of reality just cannot be stopped.

    Ouroboros.
    Life begets life. 














    Our existence allows other existence.  That truth should lead us to the realization of our own omnipotence. Because people show their love and teach with openness while fostering an environment geared towards self-discovery, the resulting manifestations are pure and absent of all evil. 


    I was taught early on-and recently reminded- that we are all 

    BORN INTO SIN.











    Q: Does sin transmit through amniotic fluid? 

    Land That Job! Unique and Fresh Approaches to Resumes and the Search for Gainful Employment.




    LOOKING FOR A JOB STINKS.

    Or does it rock?


    Resumes are routine and boring.

    Or are they sexy?



    Don't find yourself here!
    Perpetual Break.

    Searching for a couple tweaks that can set you apart from the masses? Read on...
    Firstly, please understand that a resume is an evil but necessary component of adult life. Secondly, a resume does not get you the job; it only gets a foot in the door. That proverbial foot can get you an interview though, and an interview can get you the job.

    Finding a full-time job is a full-time job. The days of filling out applications and leaving them at the front desk are over. It’s time to practice interviewing, research your potential employer, dress up, smile, and talk to people face to face. Let’s start refining, shall we?
    Resume Design/Layout
    There are a few general and accepted resume formats. Without getting into the "Functional" vs. "Chronological" vs. "Combination" vs. "Targeted" resume debate, just remember that none is better than any other. They all have their place and the most suitable format will be obvious after researching the position, company and requirements. Keep a couple variations of each on your computer, at least somewhat handy. It then is easy to edit and tailor your info to that of the position's requests. A "Functional" resume then can also be a "Targeted" resume and exist in both capacities.

    There are many factors that play into resume design; find what works best for your personality and experience. Education and degrees are still paramount in HR's eyes, although perhaps to a lesser extent these days, but if you are bold, it is possible to take charge of your resume and get noticed.

    Your full name should be prominent but not overwhelming, as should your contact information. If necessary, create a new email for sending your resume electronically and use it exclusively for job hunting and emailing leads. Do not use your casual or silly email name as employers serious about hiring notice these things and you will quickly get lost in the shuffle. 

    Contact information should be easily prominent, readable and up-to-date. Full name, phone number, email, and home address -debatable if address is necessary- should all be on the top. With the contact info, try lining it up left or right instead of the traditional center for a different look. Also debatable is the presence of a summary of qualifications, or objective, at the top. Use one if you deem fit, as it is traditional and expected, but wisely, taking care to not just repeat bullet points from the body.

    Use a font that is easy to read and keep the body text around ten, eleven or twelve. Your name and other info can be larger, or even in a different font, as long as the similar elements are formatted exactly. Remember that your resume may be printed and referenced during your interview, so don’t overload and make it difficult for the reader.

    When you decide to hit the bricks and need printed copies to hand out, use white or off-white resume paper. You can get resume paper at Target and countless other shops.  Yes, it is an investment of sorts, but a necessary and reasonably priced investment. Do not spend a fortune on paper! Also, printing can get expensive, so look for job assistance centers, low income assistance agencies, or a friend's printer that can cut down on those costs. Keep your printed resumes clean, corners unfettered and bound (if two or three pages) with a paper clip or small binder clip. Staples? I say no. Your full contact info should appear less prominently on additional pages as well.

    Although it still hurts to bring up, grammar and (almost) all the rules still apply on resumes. Yes, protocol is  forgiven a bit due to the acceptance of sentence fragments and the need for space, but please proofread multiple times before hitting send or print. No misspellings or formatting errors are allowed under any circumstances!! Never, ever.

    Get Creative!!
    Use tables or graphs sparingly and minimal but effective font colors and fonts. A “Core Competencies” or “Danny’s Top Ten” 3x4 table or graph, in the top ¼ of the first page grabs the eye allowing your “big MEGA skills” to be highlighted while instilling an initial overall trust in your abilities. Not only is it visually appealing, but it augments the traditional objective if you do decide to use both. Otherwise, creativity in design seems an apt replacement. I have a 'Core Competencies' and 'Objective' on a current version and have gotten good responses.
    Color? Sending Electronically? How Long?
    Using font color is good for printing and display, but keep it simple. If you are sending electronically, your best bet is to save as a PDF since the formatting should not corrupt if going from a Mac to a PC or vice versa. Regardless, your resume should not be longer than three pages (at most!) but must be at least a one solid full page. Feel free to play with the margins on whatever program you may be using, but be aware of the overall appearance. Print preview is your very good friend in this case. Word is an effective and common program, even for minor graphic design, and Pages for Mac is about equal. You can find resume templates all over the internet; use them as a guide. After all, your individual talents, skills and strengths truly need to be showcased here. A sense of modesty combined with the expected braggadocio make for intricate, careful word choices. Enjoy showing off a bit by exhibiting less relevant, less obvious skills with the layout, design, and word choice of your resume.
    Creating Engaging Content
    Showcasing through design is one thing, but in the end, content rules all else. Each bullet point should show a positive, practical outcome due to your direct involvement as it also explains your mastery of arbitration, taking blood, floor cleaning, underwater basket weaving, trimming turkeys, etc. 

    “Mediated discussions between tenants and owners to collect past rents due which resulted in payments received, a clean ledger and the recovery of multiple accounts' arrears.” 

    “Organized and lead a team on a weekly G.I (general inspection) cleaning of public facilities in building while saving 10% of operating costs by using coupon to buy supplies and rent equipment.”
    Here are a few from one of my current resume variations:
       Translated project’s ideas and goals to web designers in order to produce an indispensable website supplying reentering individuals helpful resources to succeed.
       Maintained theatre’s operational details including leading weekly staff meetings, scheduling staff shifts, hiring necessary outside contractors and ensuring a clean, professional and relaxing theatre experience for clients and guests.
       Evaluate reports of social media analytics yielding a deeper understanding of client/customer interaction and satisfaction, generating more sales and leads while also allowing for precise anticipation of customers' needs.
    Rarely Oversell, Never Undersell

    Make sure your strongest and most relevant capabilities are represented completely. Take care to show any promotions or growth within a respective organization and also note new talents learned along the way. It's possible to weave the reasons for promotion into the bullet points if you choose as well. Be clear and concise in your descriptions, and don't worry about boasting. This is your chance to sell your skills! One of the very few times it is perfectly acceptable to convince others of our perceived awesomeness. Simply be honest and realistic with your bullet points and don't overdo it. Keep in mind that someday you may be asked to demonstrate your skills in real life, so be ready to back up any claims of greatness! A working interview is very possible depending on the field -don't embarrass yourself. If you can do it, speak it. If not, save it. 

    Create Your Own Content!
    Make your own experience by learning a new skill. Did you recently learn how to sell on eBay? Do you design event posters for friends? Recently edited a friends manuscript? Are you editing promo videos for local artists or musicians? Fixed your car? Fixed a few cars? It all counts.
    Changing an alternator.
    Assuming you have gained proficiency in these talents, they definitely justify being listed as strengths, right along side the more formal, and expected, background particulars. The relevant experience you list does not have to come directly from previous employers. You are special and this is your chance to showcase those skills that set you apart from the other applicants. Tailor them to the position you are currently applying for. As discussed below, knowledge -no matter how specific- can translate.
    Identify specific events, processes, and procedures from prior jobs and deconstruct them to gain insight. Even though a part of your job may only take ten minutes, an hour, or five seconds, think about all the individual steps using linear thinking, A+B+C+D = proficiency. Each step contains dozens of individual steps to form the whole, therefore each step we are actively engaged in can (should) teach us something. It is up to us if we decide to absorb knowledge from these daily activities, but the lessons are there. Learn them, take from them what you can, and decide how to apply the resulting knowledge to the task at hand: marketing your skills in the brightest light to get that elusive job interview. 

    Below in red, I pose a further explanation of the need for "content creation." The question and its obvious answers in blue seem to show a legitimate correlation between that particular job's duties and dozens of others. Observe, Absorb, Manifest. 

    Q: What transferable skills does answering the phone fifty or a hundred times a day foster?

    A: Excellent spoken communication skills, multitasking while customers may come in, creative problem solving when a customers question is kind of weird, the development of a confident and clear speaking voice, note taking, composing clear and concise emails from phone messages and on and on. 

    Not only can each talent above be presented as a skill or strong point, but each can be expanded upon for even more resume fodder.

    Getting The Right Resume Into the Right Hands
    If you are responding to an online ad, i.e. Craigslist, Indeed, Monster, read the post carefully. 

    No attachments allowed? Don't send them. 

    Apply on company website? Do it. 

    Must have cover letter? No problem.

    Salary requirements? List them. 

    Note cut off dates and other specifics. Then just do what they ask of you. After all, that’s hopefully where this is all headed after an interview or two anyway, right? Plus, following directions shows you can follow directions. An imperative thing if you are looking to work for someone else. Proper submission can separate the amateurs from the professionals, automatically placing you in the "next" stage of the hiring process.

    Talk to Everyone
    Really. If you drive, drive to a large neighborhood area with lots of shops and restaurants, park and walk around. Look for help wanted signs in the windows of the stores. If something piques your interest, go in and talk to someone. If you are nice, they will at least address you to the proper person. Musicians, try guitar stores. Dancers, try all the local studios and dance wear shops. Think about your hobbies and find places that line up with your interests. A great way case the joints? Google search for a few points of interest. Stretch your glutes and hamstrings and take an evening run to see the buildings while getting yourself just a bit healthier. This translates into confidence and it shows. Employers love genuine confidence, so build that up however you are able. 
    If you know people who hire and interview people, are writers, English majors, Executive Directors or are just generally smart and successful, ask them for resume evaluations (and life advice probably, too!). I know a corporate recruiter who has been kind enough to share some priceless and very useful info about resumes and interviewing.

    When talking to people, be honest, sincere, and keep yourself organized along the way. Make sure you have physical resume(s) handy when out and about. Clearly labeled folders on your computer for search/editing purposes are helpful as well, especially if you are using job specific resumes discussed above. Categorize the resumes by position or industry and do not be hesitant to get them out there. Just remember to rename them with appropriate titles when they are ready to be emailed.

    A few days a week go out and get a physical copy of your resume in six peoples’ hands. Just walk in to a shop you have identified as interesting, or a place you know is hiring, ask for the manager and start talking. Be polite, remember names and get all the info you possibly can from whoever you talk to. It’s great to let people see you and not just as a resume as people quit jobs all the time and employers keep resumes on file for up to a year, so you never know. Plus, it’s tough to make an impression with someone electronically, but that’s the name of the game these days, so you must be creative. You could include a printed cover letter or reference sheets if you so choose, but those will add to the expense. If required, you should have them.
    Don’t Be Shy
    Go get that promotion! Manager spot open? Go for it! You can apply skills and knowledge from prior work or experience to any new situation because of the amazing crossovers we have found. This is especially true about transfers or promotions in the same company. Think about what you know about other departments. What about all the ideas you have to improve the company in general? Use your mind and think reasonably and rationally. You have been great at other jobs and probably now possess some degree of specialty without fully realizing it. Creative problem solving? Have you had some weird assignments or come in contact with some odd people? Learned from great bosses or colleagues? The expertise you take from those situations will eventually come into play in the form of personality management, which essentially, is business management of every type. Believe me, that knowledge will be used during the most bizarre of circumstances at some point yet to come, and you’ll be glad you have them at your disposal.

    Other Ways to Connect
    Be on LinkedIn, Jobber, Plaxo and other professional community sites. Stay active. These sites can supply you with hints and info you may not be able to find otherwise. Include your LinkedIn profile link in the signature of your intro email or cover letter as well as relevant professional website links. Be sure to include your phone number in emails as well. 
    If you are on the bus or train or walk a lot, talk to people. Nice day out? Stop in the park and sit next to someone on a bench or out walking his or her dog. I got job leads and phone numbers on the bus numerous times. Try to keep a few hard copies around whenever you are out. I was hired for a sound gig at a bar after walking in a venue, introducing myself and handing over a resume. Luckily they had a sound board I was familiar with (glad I paid attention at the last place ;). Paid cash too.
    Tell your Facebook peeps you are looking. Start a FB group called “Find John A Job.” Who knows?

    Shake enough trees, you get some peaches. 
    Other
    As discussed prior, it is ok to use job specific resumes. It’s perfectly fine to have three or more different resumes floating around, as they will all come in handy eventually. A general one with all your recent history should exist as a catchall, but industry specific resumes with crucial, relevant experience highlighted are also worth keeping handy and accessible. 

    Looking for administrative assistant jobs? Highlight your organizational and communication skills.
    Retail part time? Design background, people skills.
    Anything that has regular direct customer contact? Customer service and guest satisfaction.
    Do you have food service managerial experience? Try looking for retail managerial positions. You are still overseeing staff, ordering, making schedules, and presenting a product (food/clothes/art supplies/etc), blah blah. Whatever it is managers claim to do :) 
    Pick up odd jobs. If you search around enough you can find some new and interesting opportunities to make a few dollars along the way while also making some good connections along the way. Win, win.
    Make sure to outline the skills particular to the job posting’s description. If they have very specific requirements, don’t waste any time if you can’t meet them all. If you are fortunate, you can identify the things you are GREAT at, get down to the micro-details and apply them to niche industry job pools. Apply all across the country! All across the world! Expand your territory and shift your perspective. You might be stunned to learn/find/see what is behind that tree, hidden by that building, and found inside a conversation. 

    Conclusion
    In the end it is all about preparation and follow through. It is time to commit to professional evolution and allow ourselves the best opportunities possible. Believing that securing a full time job is a full time job will aid in your search, but remember, it can be grating and frustrating. Sometimes there are weeks of schmoozing just to get an interview, but worth it in the end! Keep your resumes easily accessible at all times since you just never know if the next turn is the right one!
    Good luck with the hunt! Remember: The right job is right here! Involve yourself in your future.
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