Resolutions for 2019

Seeking ideas for this small blog of mine, I began last month to refer to the weekly newsletter Publishous.  Publishous is a little more than a year old, with about 5800 supporters.  The newsletter is a collection of semi-connected ideas about content and the like and includes a writing prompt.

Formerly I would refer to WordPress’ own daily prompts before that came to an end, owing, I presume, to WordPress no longer wishing to organize their once-a-day prompts.

The prompt for the current newsletter is Resolutions.  I am late because I did less work between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

As you know, the custom among many New Year’s revelers is to identify resolutions for the coming year that mark a life change.  Resolutions can be in the spirit of fun, or they can be difficult to declare if a resolution requires the kind of change that is hard to make.

I kind of hate resolutions because I cannot think of useful ones.  I do have a few tactics ready, for better productivity in 2019.

I was inspired in 2018 to read Robert Greene’s book The 48 Laws of Power.  This book was a difficult read, but rich enough with great ideas to benefit from having read the book.  Even though 2019 was far off, I thought to resolve to make some attempt to apply the book to my strategy in the year ahead.

I was not confident that I could apply much of The 48 Laws of Power until I came across a Twitter account that helps by mentioning ideas from Greene’s book–
https://twitter.com/48tweetsofpower

I want to apply more commitment to the areas of work for which I am already present.

My digital social interactions are largely confined to Facebook and Twitter.

At the cemetery, we have been working together since 2011, and we soon thought that a page for the work we do would be useful.

Maple Lawn Cemetery, St. Catharines

On Twitter, I don’t specifically refer to details of the work I do with my dad.  Instead, I tweet a few articles, generally about tech, and some about charity and a few other concepts.  I have the idea that, if I do this, it could prove useful.

On Facebook, real “real estate” is hard to market, because of the competition among business users, to make ads which are interesting.  I wish my dad and I had a marketing budget, but we don’t.

Most of the work I do for my dad’s little business is done on a volunteer basis, and I rarely include a call-to-action that deliberately invites business (you could say I leave money on the table).  It’s just not my responsibility.

That’s all part of why I struggle with effective New Year’s resolutions.  It is frustrating to think that life improvement could be worked out without a yin and yang down-side, that depletes the benefit of strategy in business, and in life.  I want to check the work in case there is a down-side, that I am blind to, that could defeat me.

I want to blog at approximately the same pace at which the newsletter prompts are e-mailed, in Publishous.  You may wish to check it out for yourself.

The spirit of the blog is to put out an “ask” identifying that I’m interested in taking “real world” work online and also that I’m capable as a creator, to use the buzzword, to keep active in a role which for now is valuable to my dad’s business in terms of the results I effect.  I’m an optimist.


Photographer:
Jiyeon Park

Thank you for reading my post here, and good luck with your own blogging in 2019. Take care, and all the best.

Passionate Ice; A Boy Desiring What Others Did Not So Much

Batman and Secret Origins and 1989 film tie-in

This is the tale of a Christmas gift.

Some of the cool moments from my life were opportunities to see films, in movie theaters.  In 1989, cinema fans filled movie houses to see the DC superhero Batman come to life.

Dimensions: 5213 x 3580
Photographer: Bruce Mars

I had a good time.  Michael Keaton’s role as Bruce Wayne, with its distance from crime, detachment from wealth, indifference to romance, makes the character of Batman seem re-imagined.  I suppose Keaton was a surprise heroic star turn, and the subplot of Gotham City TV news anchors unable to appear beautiful, owing to poison in beauty products delivered by the antagonist character The Joker, is clever.

The action sequence in a chemicals factory, when Jack Nicholson faces his character Jack Napier’s transition to The Joker, is memorable.  In other scenes from Batman, Billy Dee Williams of Hollywood fame owing to earlier roles in The Empire Strikes Back and subsequently in Return of the Jedi, appears as Harvey Dent.

The climactic confrontation of the film, at the Gotham City parade beneath a cathedral with the height of a skyscraper, is wonderful.  In 1989, my mother clipped for me a newspaper column detailing synopses of films which starred Nicholson, the other actor of Batman making a star turn.

In 1989, I thought certain films making it to the video market were important, despite evidence to the contrary.  Films, I surmised, enjoyed but one opportunity to become available for home theater fans.

Batman and Secret Origins and 1989 film tie-in
DC’s Batman characters in comic books and magazines

When the creepy little video store in the shopping plaza near my home began renting to customers Batman, the staff of the store displayed tapes of the film like a phenomenon.  Shelf after shelf in their New Releases space was full of the Batman video presentation.  The format was VHS, the cassette for running a film with a VHS player.

I’d been to see it, but I wanted that VHS.  Christmas came, and family placed three hand-wrapped videotape-shaped objects under the holiday tree, one tape for me, one for my brother, and one for my sister.

They were VHS tapes, but what titles were they?  Us kids wouldn’t know until Christmas morning.  At the appointed time, I opened mine, and to my delight, the tape inside was Batman.

As the family opened our presents, the second tape of Batman under the Christmas tree emerged.  My mother’s brother and his wife had arranged for the gift of the movie Batman as well.  Two VHS tapes of the same film!

A double.

What did my mother pronounce, you might ask?  This was a bummer.  She would quietly return my copy of the film to the store.

As a twelve-year-old, the price of a brand-new VHS edition of a blockbuster film must be extravagant, I reasoned.  The VHS copy of Batman we had would belong to us all.

I suppose that taught me a lesson, like not to count your chickens before they hatch.  It was as if my uncle and aunt had felt I deserved my own copy of Batman, and Santa Claus did not.  The VHS tape of Batman was a gift, what I wanted and what I was losing.

Thanks to film director Tim Burton, in 1989, fate unfolded for Batman mobster character Jack Napier.  The criminal mastermind fell into a vat of burning acid.  He lost the pigment of his skin pigment and became molded with a permanent smile on his face.

 I hadn’t earned my own copy of Batman, and I suppose the real lesson was that I should share.  It is a state of being tantalized by the promise of something gold and being humbled by the requirement to give it up.  Maybe we didn’t know that doubles of the Batman film were under the tree, but no contingency plan was in place.

I was cheesed.

My job on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited –and I’m available on Twitter at https://twitter.com/findingenvirons

#gifts

15 Ways the Most Youthful Adherent to Video Research is Totally Overrated. Part II

I’d been focusing when I could on five more ways you can dispense with some of the time you’re putting into video research.  If you do anything like that and if you think of consuming video content as being video research, then increasingly I don’t think there’s a consensus that anything like video research is useful.
I’m looking back in time when there were different attitudes to video.  I mean that it wasn’t as accessible as it today.  It occurs to me I should argue that if you are committed to any research activity utilizing video, and there’s a ready workaround, you should concentrate on the workaround.

Published on Nov 21, 2018
Free speech in Canada died today https://bit.ly/2BEP6cW

Photographer:
Rawpixel.com
Aerial view of black board with the letter forming hello greeting concept
  1. The first part for this post, about chasing an adherent to research, left off with points how you can turn some of your conclusions into blog posts.  Or if you don’t have a blog, there’s somewhere you could start.  I would like to make the point that the best conclusions you can form from watching a lot of videos can indeed be put somewhere, like in a blog, or a podcast, etc.  For example, on Patrick Bet-David’s Valutainment on the internet, I watched Bet-David and Robert Greene discuss Greene’s latest bestseller.
    Bet-David pointed out that Greene sat down with three hundred books to write his latest book, for the pay-off.  That’s the traditional sense of research that I don’t think you should disregard in any way.  There is no way that you can eliminate the process of reading the page, or perhaps your Kindle, from the actual work of doing research.  Sad but true.
  2. The traditional sense of video is taking a video camera to a wedding and then selling it to the wedding party.  The best research you can cultivate from a video of that kind is whether a particular family member was in attendance, or perhaps how the bridesmaids looked when they were standing side by side.
    Do you see many wedding videos, apart from celebrity weddings, that make it onto the Internet?  I am not sure there are, particularly as the advent of the handheld video camera has given way to the smartphone camera.
    If you are a young person reading this, and you don’t relate to the idea of a videographer at a wedding, it isn’t that different from a professional photographer taking pictures.  It is just that the videographer mingles with the wedding party and gets a little movie of the wedding.
  3. I’m writing there about commercial consumer video, not expensive TV productions.  The thing about the video you watch is that when it is a pricey production, I don’t think you can count on it for insight.  Particularly when focusing on video production for TV, in the nineteen sixties, seventies, and eighties, when the technology was useful enough to shoot material for television, and before computers were beginning to infiltrate it, there just wasn’t a lot of purely informative video.  The novelty on being on video overshadowed a requirement, to be honest.  As soon as the camera was recording, everybody was immediately acting at all times.
    That sounds like a polarized argument, but ninety-nine percent of the time if you were being paid to appear on camera, you were acting to do it.  Speaking jovially, you had to nail it.
  4. What happened in the mid-nineteen-eighties?  Computer effects were beginning to be integrated into more and more of the ready video, which starts to become interesting for the possibility that more and better information could be communicated by video.  With more information is born the reality that better information begins to come across.  Purists might disagree, but fast-forward fifteen years and amateur video is not only more accessible but could also be edited on par with the best of people in the trade in previous decades.
    There had been an explosion of video on cable TV which meant more ways to deliver information by video.  Did that mean you could derive better conclusions in the sense that by better I mean better located in reality?  I think so.
    You always want the past back, once you’re past a certain age, but there is some logic, or I am doing my best to apply logic here.
  5. The apparent irony is that the development of the computer industry accelerated at a much faster pace than did the growth of video.  I’m tempted once more to stop, but it’s true that by the time video was in its golden years, the computer industry was spritely, pardon the pun, spritely and skyrocketing for many, many people.  I don’t want to mislead you unfairly, but surely some blame for some of the big, really bad troubles that have hit people where there is free access to information lies with what’s just bad information.
    That caution gets sounded frequently, and where before I was tempted to stop then and there, now I really am going to stop.

I have promised one more post on the subject, with five remaining ways you might want to dodge video.  You’re welcome to like, comment, and/or follow.


Photographer:
Sticker Mule

I am humbled by the attention I receive and I shall make some effort to reciprocate interest if I am lucky enough to make a tiny ripple in this pond.
We need to go back to the future

supermarket
November 26, 2018

How Literature Can Keep You Out of Trouble #LiteracyDay

Blog author with positive contrast

Today, September 8, is International Literacy Day.  It was celebrated for the first time in 1967.  Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities, and societies.  Celebrations take place in various countries.

From Wikipedia, Retrieved 7 August 2012.

 

If you are intellectually-minded, you will probably find yourself reading a number of works of literature, the best-regarded and the most-often cited.

Dimensions: 4608 x 3456
Photographer: Jess Watters

I completed two semesters of literature in college, the second part of 1996 and the first of 1997.  The curriculum included a lot of assigned reading material.  It required devoting a good distribution of time outside of lectures and seminars to turning the pages of important writing, historical in the sense it is enduring.

No one disputes that a lot of partying goes on in college.  I’m a mortal, however.  I wasn’t going to the bar environs with my friends much at all, as many peers were doing.  I didn’t see any way around reading in my room, at least some of the time.

I’d been in eleventh grade between 1993 and 1994.  I had elected to take, as one of my high school courses, the subject of ancient history.

When the summer of 1994 arrived, Mr. Simpson, the gentleman who was teaching an ancient history class, signed my 1994 school yearbook with a note that he predicted I’d spend my life doing a lot of reading.  I think he felt I was a smart student.

Ancient history explained what human life was like, as best we could calculate in the day, life in ancient times when other civilizations than the present existed around the planet.  It reminded me a little of the game Dungeons & Dragons.

Mr. Simpson taught us about nations such as the Roman Empire.  I’ve inferred that the historical Roman Empire inspired some of the gameplay of nineteen seventies’ Dungeons & Dragons.

In the school board governing my high school, in the first part of the year 1996, the teachers went on a work-to-rule.  It was my “grade 13,” the year that tried to most closely prepare students if they stayed in schooling.

Blog author with positive contrast
WordPress with positive contrast

“Work-to-rule” meant that high school teachers would only work the hours specifically matched to the student timetable and that teachers wouldn’t support any outside activity or assign homework.  It was worrisome because I needed to get a jump on the skills I’d need for college.  The teachers I had on hand to me simply weren’t working other than carrying out the minimum effort possible.

 

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise”

 

 

Rudyard Kipling

 

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/346219-if-you-can-keep-your-head-when-all-about-you

 

I might not have got into so much bother at that time.  I feel I wasted time partying with friends, as there was no homework to be done and I was characteristically young, an early student.  I wasn’t a self-starter, I would say, as I wasn’t challenging myself to learn all the essential skills to start college.

I didn’t have much help from our teachers–none of the students did–and when it came time to start college, I had a disadvantage.

It was a bad break.  My college grades dipped more than I would have liked, more than they might have had I taken the initiative to develop study skills necessary to deliver the goods in college.

I mentioned the game Dungeons & Dragons.  In various editions of Dungeons & Dragons “initiative” is a rule that game players help decide strategy combat by dice rolls which inform which game character has the first choice to act in the rounds of battle, an advantage in being first.

I should have tried to win the initiative roll.  I plainly didn’t.  I regret it to this day.

I certainly ask for you to “like,” comment, and/or follow.  I wish you well in your own “game.”  Good luck to you, however you decide to play your hand.

It’s the Beginning of the New and the Time is Noted

Sacrifice is inevitable, and, really, a loss is the essence of tragedy. That’s why tears are shed, whether the sacrifice is deliberate or not, and, in the end, what was most dear to us is gone and never again had. Whatever we lose, no matter how hard we fought to earn it or how profusely we sweated to realize what we hold close, the day comes when it goes and you may not even have a chance to say goodbye.

Dimensions: 2999 x 1854
Photographer: it’s me neosiam

What do we hold precious? Whatever seems to us to be the best, what we cherish if we are among the lucky, people, animals, places, property… it all goes.

It can be gone in the wink of an eye. What’s more, it will most likely be that we will never have known it at all, except in our memory.

Fate unfolds for one and all, I suspect. We have opportunities to wield our hand and to stake claim to everything we feel we want, but if misfortune strikes, all of it can be taken away, and even if we do everything in our power to keep safe what we love, I think you must know that it will go, that nothing is forever. You don’t have but once, I feel, and it doesn’t matter what else is taught you.

I want to tell you this with the best intentions. You have but what amounts to today, and you have to strike, to hold, and to keep fast, and to love because you can never count on what’s ahead. It doesn’t matter what controls you set for the future.

You will see this time go, and it will never return. The most I can do, I feel, is to let you know.

Today’s WordPress prompt is the word “gone.” If you sympathize, if you “like” this blog post, use the “like” button or “follow” or subscribe. I didn’t want to be the one to tell you, but if you’re the same as me, you’re already here.

Deriving Inspiration from Marvel Avengers: 14 Common Misconceptions You Can Correct

Unusual sky

Marvel Avengers Alliance Redux-PUBLIC alpha release!  https://bit.ly/2L5dmZb

I’ve decided to return to my explanation of the Marvel Comics game Marvel Avengers Alliance, through the “lens” of the renowned treatise on military strategy, The Art of War.

Dimensions: 4880 x 3107
Photographer:
Suzy Hazelwood

1. The Laying of Plans, Calculations and Estimations

In Marvel Avengers Alliance, you have to “earn” gold, and this is achieved by spending money (such as $5 on ten “gold”). Gold can be exchanged for command points. A combination of silver, which is available for free in the game, and command points together, train your superheroes at the ready–so that they go up a level.

2. Waging War – The Challenge

The game Avengers Alliance consists of a number of challenges between its “bosses,” who are wicked opponents to the Avengers, and yourself and your heroes. Come each time you defeat a “mini-boss” or a “boss” you have won a game mission, and the next mission awaits. That’s the gist of the game, which is good fun.

3. Attack by Stratagem or Planning Offensives

In the game, you have a ready store of gear, supplies and more so that with “research”, carried out inside the game, your superheroes at the ready can advance to more dangerous fights than they have previously taken on. You can also recruit heroes and send them into battle (when they are not “busy” getting you silver) at the outset of each fight, so that you have enough superheroes at the ready.

4. Tactical Dispositions or Positioning

Tactical determinations aren’t a major concern in Marvel Avengers Alliance, but there are opponents against whom you must battle, that protect their own by getting in the way of your attacks.

5. Energy & Direction

There is an energy component to Marvel Avengers Alliance which restricts you by the number of fights you can lose, at which point you need to wait until your energy comes back. Or, if you have energy in reserve to use, which is an extra in the game, you can bring your energy back instantly.

6. Weak Points and Strong / Illusion versus Reality

The game is entirely about illusion, and the superheroes at the ready are the Avengers, who you know from comics, and film. The Avengers have many illusory powers which they wield. Likewise, the villains are monstrous! Avengers is good fun.

7. Maneuvering and Dealing with Direct Conflict

Typically, the fights of the game are three against three, or occasionally fewer. The maneuvering in battle consists of directing your team’s attacks so that the enemies are reduced to zero and fade away.

8. Variation in Tactics aka The Innumerable Changes

Your team has their equipment and superpowers so you can choose your tactics while in the heat of battle. That’s a major part of the game, and if that kind of diversion interests you, Avengers is good fun.

9. The Army on the March / Moving the Force

To collect silver, which goes with training and research, you can send heroes to various parts of the world as it is understood in the game, where your heroes spend time “policing,” which plays into the game to help with your advancement.

10. Terrain or Situational Positioning

The game doesn’t include a terrain component, which is good because the app would be all the more challenging. Each fight resembles good or evil at the centre of the fight.

11. The Nine Situations / Terrains

Author Elish Bul-Godley discusses Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu in: Why Wall Street Loves “The Art of War” – A 13 Point Plan To Mastering Business Strategy, and if you have a thirst for combat, perhaps Sun Tzu’s strategy will appeal to your better judgement.  Bul-Godley quotes Sun Tzu saying: “Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.”  Indeed, often your fights will be against a trio of evildoers, and you have to decide how best to attack your enemies.

12. The Attack by Fire

Fire-dealing weaponry is part of the game, and an arsenal is available both to you (who is the “Agent” in the game), and to the superheroes who have fire attacks at their disposal.

13. The Use of Spies / Intelligence

Fortunately, Intelligence, by which you gain information, factors into the game as much as the story does, keeping the fights coming, as a mission is always ready for your heroes.

14. There is no #14

Sun Tzu must have won the war at 13, for The Art of War stops there.

Unusual sky
Sky opening on the horizon

If you have an interest in a game like Marvel Avengers Alliance, feel free to blog about it and I shall enjoy reading you!