Thursday, November 21, 2013

Middle Management versus the C-Suite


I'm still waiting for the paperwork to be approved, but it looks like I am the CEO of the Seraphim Foundation, my own little start-up business. Don't know what the Seraphim Foundation is? Don't worry. You'll be hearing about us very soon!

Over the past year I've been exposed to many ideas on leadership, business creation, entrepreneurship and even lifestyle choices of CEOs, CIOs, CFOs, COOs, etc (aka, the C-Suite). One of the things that struck me more than anything is the emphasis on lifestyle choices. I know CEOs work long hours. What surprised me is what they do outside of work. What surprised me is the little, subtle differences in how CEOs and others like them actual think. The C-Suite isn't smarter than anyone else. They aren't more talented than anyone else. Hell, they aren't even more driven than many of their middle-management counterparts. But they focus on different things. Not only that, they just see the world differently.

I was recently at a conference where I got to see both sides of the coin. For the first few days of the conference I was able to hang out with the C-Suite of various Fortune 500 companies. These people offered advice, gave talks, shared meals and spent time talking to a group of us about their companies. These were very powerful people, giving their time to help us. But I also noticed that their advice was very aggressive. Not "bad" aggressive. Just, in essence, "rub some dirt on it and get out there and DO what you need to DO." They emphasized things like working out and dressing nicely. They got up early. They returned emails quickly. They said, "at this level, we KNOW you can do a good job with whatever your career choice is. Now, you have to show you can inspire others, talk to peers, have creative vision."

Even the questions asked of these giants were about HOW to take what we wanted. How do we give back? When do we make a move? Who do we get to mentor us? How can we, in turn, become mentors?

On the other side, I spent a day at a Middle Manager's conference. Middle management is necessary and there are some amazing people at it. But it's hard. And it's a hard place to escape. It can be it's own purgatory. And as I listened to the group of middle managers I could see a WORLD of difference! The C-Suite asked lifestyle questions. The C-Suite said to take what you need. The C-Suite wondered how to give back.

The middle managers, on the other hand, asked about problems. Everything was problem oriented.

"I have this problem, how do I handle it?"

"My work environment is this way, so how can I change it?"

"My boss is aloof..."

"My co-workers aren't team players..."

"How do I get someone to do something for me?"



No one really asked about advancement. No one asked about lifestyle. No one wondered how to spend more time with their families. No one commented on giving back or mentoring. No one said, "take it!" They all wanted to know how to have it given. "How do we go about having whatever we want given to us, or to have whatever was broken fixed for us?"

Now, this was not universal, but it was a general feel of the hundreds of middle managers I was surrounded by. And, I couldn't honestly tell you that the egg came first. In other words, do middle managers have their passive outlook and thus remain middle managers, while the C-Suite took what they wanted while spending time attending to lifestyle things? Or, were the members of the C-Suite just as rewards-obsessed and passive as middle managers up until the time they got promoted/recruited/head hunted into their current position?

It's hard to say. Hell, for all I know, 98% of the middle managers at this conference are exactly where they want to be. Not everyone goes to work every day trying to be the Big Boss.

I can't answer for any of the people in either of those sets of people. I don't know which came first: the chicken or the egg. But I know this: Either way, I want to be the biggest cock in the room.

Hmmm. That didn't come out the way I thought it would.

CEO? Or just another dick?


Monday, September 30, 2013

The Avengers: A Tribute to Strong Women Everywhere!



The Avengers
18" x 24"
Oil on Canvas
$750


The Avengers. The REAL Avengers. Some of my readers have no idea who that might refer to. You say "Avengers" and most people assume you're talking about Thor, and Captain America and Iron Man. Some people might even mention Black Panther or Wasp. No one ever thinks about The Swordsman. Nobody. Or D Man. D Man???

No. This is the real deal, my friends. I have been itching to do this painting for years. I'm very pleased with it. And, naturally, I couldn't think of a better Emma Peel than Bestest. If anyone holds the qualities of this iconic beauty it would be Bestest.

Never seen it? Start here, my friends. And thank me later.



This was one of the first TV shows I ever watched religiously. I would rush home and watch repeats on PBS. While other kids were crushing on Daisy Duke and her cornpone charms, I was all about Emma Peel. Dynamic, beautiful, adventurous, charming and humorous Emma Peel.

This has most certainly colored my view on the type of woman I'm attracted to these days. I like my women tough. I like women who can take care of themselves. I like women who can get me out of a jam when I'm in trouble. I like women who like to drink. I like women who like to drink and can get me out of a jam!

I'm lucky enough to have so many female friends who fit this mold. Hell, just about all of them! There are PLENTY of people sitting at home every evening, keeping their couches warm and making sure that ABC or FOX gets to keep their 8pm-10pm shows on the air.

But, if you want an adventure, ladies, you can join the ranks of women like Emma Peel, Bestest, TheWife, High Priestess, The Diva, Kitten, L'Actress, Dingo, Blondie-No-More, Minx, Lemon, Aussie Diver and so many others.

While we're at it, perhaps we can get some of my gentlemen readers (or non-readers) to get off of their lazy duffs as well! The world has a dreadful shortage of John Steeds!


Adventure is just around the corner. Every corner. We can either watch actors pretend to go on them, or we can stand up and go on them ourselves.

"Readers, We're Needed!"
----------------------------

Living a life of adventure? Got some great TV role models? I'd love to hear about them!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Rules For Developing Your Tagline


You want to create buzz or generate some excitement with the mere mention of your company name.You want people to Just do it or to realize that you Bring good things to life... and that you can do it in 15 minutes.

Well, here's a little help for you. A few rules that will help you win friends and influence people.

1. Your Tagline Is A Focal Point
There are entire websites devoted to helping you create the world's greatest tag line/slogan. Suspiciously, however, business schools spend very little time on this. Do you know why that is? Because a tag line is only as good as the marketing behind it. You think Just Do It was enough? That by sticking that everyone Nike was able to gather a following the size of Alpha Centauri?

Not at all. A lot of work went into making Nike's tagline as popular as it is. It took focus. Every ad you see from Nike is about people out there, DOING it! And, of course, we want to be those people. Nike makes sure of it.

That's your goal. You not only want a tagline that motivates, but you want to make sure you give context and a reason for that motivation. If Nike had started creating ads that concentrated on the comfort level of their shoes, no one would give two farts about Just Do It.

2. Your Tagline Isn't About You
Fisher Price could have easily have said Our Toys Are Pretty Damned Great. Not many people would have argued. But, it doesn't inspire, either. Instead of simply bragging about the company they reminded us of what we want for our children. Play. Laugh. Grow. Simple, but very effective. When we hear those words, we feel as if we understand the message behind what makes Fisher Price who they are. And it aligns with what we want.

If you're working on your tagline, or just reviewing it, and it reads Jimmy's Art, It's Really Good, you might want to do a little altering. Now, Jimmy's Art, It Looks Really Good Over Your Couch could be just the change you need. How about Jimmy's Art, So Good You Just HAVE To Buy It!

3. When You Need A Tagline
According to Abby Kerr of The Voice Bureau, you need a tagline when your business name is bland, like The Geraud Gallery. No one knows that I do, or what they will find there. It's screaming for a tag line. She also recommends a tagline when your business concept isn't made obvious by the name of your business. Keyser Soze Accessories could be anything ranging from necklaces to kitchen appliances. A tagline will help it out. Personally, I like Keyser Soze Accessories, Memo Boards For The Quick Thinker. Or, perhaps Keyser Soze Accessories, Killer Shoes For The Everyday Man. 

4. Make It Visceral
Your tagline should be filled with emotion. You want me to relate to it, then you've got to wow me. Let's forget that there are 1000s of advertisements on TV, in magazines, and for the first 47 minutes of every movie in the theatre (which is also when my popcorn runs out). Most of these are bland. Even the good ones get lost. But forget about that. It's not a competition. Not really. It's about connecting to the people that you want buying your product or using your service.

Now, MAYBE visceral is bad for your business. Stepford Ladies Tennis Club, Breaking A Foot Off Into The Competition would probably not bring in the sort of people you want. But, generally speaking, you want people to get excited when they see your name and hear your slogan. Action comes from excitement. You want me to get up off the couch and call, you'll need to give me a charge. I'm not turning off the game just because I hear Cagney Exterminators, We'll Get Rid of Your Bugs. But, if I hear some guy or gal doing a Cagney voice and I hear Cagney Exterminators, We'll Never Take 'Em Alive I may just head over to the phone. If not right away, then definitely later.

5. Make It Long Lasting
You can change your tag line. In fact, it's good to review it every year or two to make sure it still rings true and aligns with what you do and what your customers want. But, you aren't TRYING to change it every year. So, make it last. Global Fireworks, Best Fireworks of 2013 is terrible. It may be nice for January of 2014, but after that no one cares. Also, don't reference pop culture (unless, perhaps, you're a pop culture-based business). These references get old fast. Iggy's Housecleaning, Cause Ain't Nobody Got Time For That is hilarious for a little while. But, in a year or two, people will just think you're grammar is terrible.

Looking for some steps to build your actual tagline? Check out these 19 Steps For Creating a Great Tagline. But, more importantly, just get cracking! Start thinking and see what you can come up with. I'd love to hear your ideas!

Geraud

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Mystical Future - Art show



I'm very excited about my Friday the 13th Art Show, A Mystical Future, coming up in a couple of weeks! The show will feature many of my tarot paintings, as well as a few other pieces, including some new, unseen works!

 For those of you who can make it, it will be in Carrboro NC at the Beehive Salon. Artwork will be up on Sunday the 1st, but the party will be happening on Friday, September 13 starting at 6 pm. There will be snacks, drink, music and plenty of art.

I will also be raffling off one of my favorite paintings, Geezer. Raffle tickets will be available through me (in person, email or Paypal) or at the Salon. The winner will be announced on Friday September 13th at the show. If you want to buy a ticket or three and can't get to the salon, just let me know, either in the comments or through email at gerauds@gmail.com.

Raffle tickets are $5.

Geezer
18" x 24"
Oil on Canvas

I hope to see you all there! And if we haven't met face-to-face, please be sure to introduce yourself!

Geraud

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Too Many Irons In the Fire



The Hanged Man
24" x 36"
Oil on Canvas
$1200

Here is the latest in the Tarot series I'm working on. I'm really enjoying this series, though I'm not working as much as I would like. Then again, is any artist? Have you ever heard someone say, "Ugghh, I'm so sick of drawing stuff! If only I could go work in a field or do some digging or something!" only to throw themselves onto the bed and stay there in a deep depression? Not likely.

I know I haven't written much since my return from Prague. Honestly, there is just so much to write that I'm a little overwhelmed with it all. Do I talk about the various leaders who's manifestos I read, including the amazing Dalai Lama and the very fucked up Valerie Solanas? Do I discuss the ways in which I want to apply social entrepreneurship to my future endeavors? Perhaps I talk about the wonderful people that I met while I was there, some of which who've already proven to be among my dearest friends. Maybe I talk about Absinthe Weekend?

"Bwahahaha! 3 parts guilt, 4 parts regret, and 12 parts YES!"


Actually...no. We NEVER talk about Absinthe Weekend.

There is too much. And, it's not like I didn't have anything going on before I left. I'm opening two businesses. I'm working on graduating summa cum laude. I'm applying to UNC's MBA program. I'm training for the Tough Mudder. I'm writing a book.

I have a lot of irons in the fire. Too many, even for an over-achiever like myself. I could get rid of some of them. Just grab them, like Kwai Chang Caine at the beginning of Kung Fu, and discard them. The problem is: I LIKE all of the irons I have in the fire. I don't WANT to discard any of them. I enjoy them all and want to be able to succeed in all of them.

But what I want may not be what's best for me. And the truth is, short of some terrible accident...like being mauled by a honey badger...I've got a long time to hang around this giant mud ball that I like to call "The Planet Earth." So, there is no reason that I need to try doing every single little thing that I want to do within the next six months.

This realization should take some weight off of my shoulders. I should breathe a sigh of relief. I don't have to do it all!!


Nothing embarrassing about this. Nothing at all.


Instead, I wonder what I should put on hold? And I can't think of anything!!

I hate when my over-achiever and my hedonist traits collide!

_______________

Got too many irons in the fire? What are you working on that you can't or don't want to put aside??



Saturday, June 29, 2013

Prague: The Little Quarter

It has been a whiplash tour of Prague for these first few days. TheWife and I got in from the airport on Wednesday afternoon and took a walking tour of our little section of paradise. The Little Quarter is beautiful, filled with cobblestones, BMWs and at least 5 Audis for every 7 tourists. The Wife can barely keep her head on straight. The drool is starting to be noticeable to passers-by.

The view up the hill from The Green Lobster.

Our hotel is quaint. The Green Lobster got it's name from the green lobster hanging above the door. Ok, so maybe it's more complex than that, but I'm too busy looking at the rest of the city to care.  Still, the rooms are nice, the furnishings are comfortable and the bed seems...sturdy. What more can you ask for on a vacation with TheWife?



We took a walk around western half of the Little Quarter (Mala Strana)  This seems to be the equivalent of DC proper. The place is filled with diplomats, embassies and ministries of all type. I'm starting to believe that at least 1 out of 5 people is actually someone's body guard. Then, I notice that for every embassy there are two or three hostels. I breath an internal sigh of relief. Looks like I'm not out of my element after all.

"No, you can't come in here. Go tour a castle or something. I meant ANOTHER castle!"

We have a very light dinner. TheWife and I eat hamburgers for dinner. Not because we're unadventurous Americans, but because we're naive Americans. The place we were at had "The Best Burgers in Town." In a town with two burger joints, that wasn't much of a bragging point. Neither was the burger. The beer, on the other hand, was fine. Pilsner Urquell must own stock in everything Prague. They seem to run this city. Every place we were at had Pilsner Urquell as the only beer served. Like Coke products in America...but there was no Pepsi of beers. Pilsner Urquell played the beer market lottery and won in spades. Granted, it's made not far from here, in the town of Pilsen (Plzeƈ). It was the first pilsner beer in the world, made back in 1842. Guess it deserves its place.

We spend the rest of the evening enjoying the amazing views from the Little Quarter. We head to the room a little early, though. We've got a lot more of the city to cover, and we've been up for nearly 36 hours. We manage to stay awake until 8pm. Even the sun laughed at us. He stayed up for another two hours.

The view from the northwestern edge of the city.



Monday, June 24, 2013

Lady Deadpool



LADY DEADPOOL
18" x 24"
Oil on Canvas
$750


I know it's been awhile since I posted, my fellow adventurers. I blame society. I blame my parents for how they raised me. I blame it on Rio.

Regardless, this is the first of three new works that I've recently finished. There may not be any actual paintings for awhile since I'll be in Prague for the month of July. However, I will continue to post from my trip, including pictures and stories (some real and some made up...or as some people call it: fiction and non-fiction.

But, over the next few days, while I'm en route, you'll get to see the three paintings I finished.

Until then!


Friday, May 31, 2013

What Does This Dream Mean??



Last night, I had a dream. I call it "The Pisser, Water Bottle, Doug Benson Dream"

I was going to New York with my friend Shaggy, who isn’t really a friend I guess. In fact, I haven’t seen him in 4 or 5 years, but we were in a couple of plays together. He’s gay…and yes, that matters to the story because he spent the whole time we were in New York hitting on me. But not in a classy, cool, one-liners sort of way. He hit on me by finding excuses to stand behind me. “Oh, did your ticket not print out? Let me stand behind you real close and look at the screen over your shoulder.” That sort of hitting on me. Hitting on my like a pirate might hit on me. 

So, we end up getting tickets to this great comedy show. Lots of stand up, improv, skits, etc. We need to catch a bus to get there. So, we’re hanging out in the lobby of some school. There were city buses and school buses and kids were everywhere. Shaggy had our tickets. He inches up behind me and says, “We’d better get going. The bus should be here in a few minutes.”

“Great,” I say, trying to get away from him, while my actual, dreaming self is wondering, Why don’t you tell this dude to stop touching you?  Then I remembered he paid for the tickets to everything. What a guy won’t put up with for money. I felt like a receptionist on Mad Men.

Shaggy runs out to catch the bus, I take a quick stop at the rest room. I spend an inordinate amount of time in the pisser. I’m not dropping the Cleveland Browns off at the Super Bowl, either. Just following the white brick road to see the Wiz. But it took forever. I just kept peeing, on and on and on like I was trying to put out a California wildfire. I'm looking at my watch, freaking out, knowing I'm going to miss my bus.

When you gotta go, you gotta go!

Finally, I get done and as I’m about the leave a little kid in a wheelchair is trying to get into the bathroom. He’s all alone and I try to help him out, but this bathroom is ancient and there’s no way to get him squared away. There's no rail, no stall, nothing. After spending, again, too much time trying to figure this Rubik's cube of a dilemma, the kid's father comes in and thanks me for trying to help. I get on my way. 

As I run out of the bathroom I run into my sister BoosterGold (I don’t know why she’s there…she lives in Durham) and she tells me I've missed the bus.

And yet, somehow I’m now sitting in the theatre at intermission. I have missed a lot of the show, but I’m looking forward to the next half. I go to the concession stand and order a bottle of water and some twizzlers. The girl behind the counter asks me to hand her the water, but I don’t know what she’s talking about. She comes around the counter and underneath me there is a stack of water bottles, all used and empty. 

She says, "they are clean but they have to serve water in those bottles instead of open cups. Theatre rules."

"That's fine," I say charmingly, leaning on the counter.

She takes one at random, goes back behind the counter, pours some water into it from a glass pitcher, hands me the bottle and the twizzlers and says, “That’ll be $28.”

“Jibba whuuuuu?”

This is not the image from my dream. We can't photograph dreams yet.
Jeez, what year do you think this is???

“Yes sir. $28.”

“Why is it $28?” I ask, naturally aghast.

She says, “this bottle of water is all-natural, sparkling.” She shows me the bottle, and sure enough there’s an all natural, sparkling label on it. “The all-natural sparkling is $9.95.”

I say, “this is just tap water. I don’t know how much this water would have cost in a new bottle, but it’s an opened bottle with tap water poured in it.”

She seems to not understand me.

Intermission is over. The show is about to start. I should let it go. I haven't even given her the money. But its the principal of the thing.

“I’m not paying $10 for a bottle of water.” (Notice I don’t seem to care about the $18 bag of twizzlers. I really like twizzlers.) We argue for a little while, and finally she caves and will give cancel the sale. I HAVEN'T GIVEN HER THE MONEY YET! The cash is still in my pocket. I’ve wasted all this time when I could have just walked away. 

Oh Twizzlers. Why can't I quit you?


She swipes her card, says it’s almost done, and asks if I want a receipt.

“Yes,” I say. <forehead slap>

She says she has to get the manager.

I actually wait for the receipt, for a refund that I’m not getting because I hadn’t paid anything. I sit and wait for the manager to come from the back. Meanwhile, the show is going on. I hear laughing and cheering and I’m angry at OTHER PEOPLE for them putting me through this. 

Finally, the manager comes from the back and says, “Hey, you have a message. Doug Benson wants you to talk about this on stage.”

He flips me some magazine. On the cover is Shaggy, smiling like he’s just won the lottery. I open the magazine and have NO idea what to say about it. While I’m looking through the magazine the manager says, “Doug wants you to call him.”


I wander away, trying to figure out what to say about this magazine. I don’t get Doug Benson’s phone number from the manager. So, naturally, I spend the next half hour asking people for Doug Benson’s number. No one has it. Then, the show is over and everyone wanders out of the theatre wiping tears of laughter from their eyes. I finally see Doug Benson (yes, I’m going to keep identifying him by his full name) and I run up to him.

“Doug Benson,” I say. “You wanted me to talk about this?”

He grins at me and smells of marijuana…the good stuff. He says, “nah man, I was just fuckin’ with ya.”

Then, he walks away.

"Hello? This is Doug Benson...
Nah, I'm just fuckin' with ya!"

And then TheWife comes out of the theatre. I tell her about the concession stand, but I pat my shirt pocket to say, “but I didn’t spend that money.”

That’s when I notice that my shirt is actually a bathrobe, tucked into jeans.

“You let me leave the house in a bathrobe??” I ask her, like it’s her fault.

She seems hurt. She says, “I thought you were dressing like a Jedi.”

I consider this and it makes sense. So, all is forgiven.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Aaaannnnnndd…scene.


What the hell does this mean???? Help a brother out.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fun in the Sun: Ninja Challenge Part II

Part I of the article is >>> HERE <<<

The hour drive was great. I listened to some old Never Not Funny podcasts that I had. I laughed the whole way into (and past) Raleigh to the little town of Fuquay-Varina. What's to say about Fuquay-Varina?

Umm...

Anyway, drove there and got out of the car and was greeting by a woman in a green cape. She smiled, I nodded and I would have said something charming but a guy dressed like a Teenage Turtle Ninja Turtle walked by and I couldn't stop staring. There was no way he was going to make it through the obstacles with that thing on.

For the next 15 minutes or so I was all eyes. There were some great costumes there, but mostly there were just beautiful people. Men who were carved out of granite, or marble or quartz; women so hot I'm surprised they weren't surrounded by actual flames. It was a fun time.

Look Ma, I'm a ninja!

Then, it was time for my race. I lined up with perhaps 50 - 75 people. There were a lot of teams out there. The NinChillas was my favorite. Their logo was a chinchilla dressed like a ninja. Most teams only went as far as wearing the same colored t-shirt, adding the name of their team to it, and putting a clever nickname on the back. One team used their real names interspersed with vegetables like "Johnny AsparaGriffon." I was a little jealous of the teams. They were definitely having the most fun. There were even some couples and a few pals just hanging with each other. But, I also caught some solo folks and we chatted while we waited for the countdown. And then, it was time to run!

This was a fun one. Easy to do, helped a
few people over the other side. My Good
Samaritan work for the week. 

Once running starts, there was no more fretting about being alone, how hard the course might be, what I would do when it was over, etc. It was a blast! Most of the course was your typical obstacle course fare: walls to climb over, over-unders, tire runs, and a shit ton of hills. These hills made Julie Andrews seem like a crazy person when she sang about her stupid hills. These hills were like, Super Hills. Drew Hill would have hated these hills. Benny Hill was buried in this hills.

I think you see where I'm going with this: These hill had eyes! That's what I'm trying to say. I may be statin' the obvious, but afterward I caught a dose of the hill street blues. That's how big these hills were.

By the way, BEFORE the correction, I had said Sandy Duncan instead of Julie Andrews...but don't people confuse the two all the time? I know I do!


There were a few obstacles that I hadn't done before. Naturally, if you're going to be on a ninja course, you have to throw some shuriken. The old throwing stars, as we here in the States call them. We got to throw them into a target about 20' away. Yes, I hit the target the first time. What did you expect?

We did a waterwalk. That was fun. Check it:



You just run over these floating planks. They were attached to each other with some string. But, mostly, they just floated there. You ran over them fast or they tipped and you were dunked. I watched people do it for about 45 seconds before it was my turn. It looked easy. What I didn't count on was that those people weighed about 73 pounds each. So, I get ready to do my run, I leap onto the first board and there's a slosh like some giant's butter churn and I am hauling ass trying not to get dunked into the water. I sprint and leap across this thing with as much grace as I can muster while saying over and over, "shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!"

It's such as spectacle that when I got to the end everyone behind me cheered. A guy in front of me gives me a high five and says, "those things are NOT for big guys." No shit!

There was also something that I call a chimney. I don't know if that's really what's it's called. You have to shimmy up two walls, feet on one and back on the other. That was the final obstacle and it was a mother! I'm a tall man, and I was wedged between those two walls like the Grinch. It was tight. But I managed to pull it off.

Wanna-be Santa's start out here.

And at the end, there was beer and celebration and bananas and pretty people stripping off dirty clothes. But the best thing at the finish line was victory, accomplishment and, quite frankly, an incredibly fun experience. I'm already putting next year's Ninja Challenge on my calendar.

But first...The Tough Mudder! November, here I come!

Alone Ain't Bad: Ninja Challenge Part I

It's the morning of the Ninja Challenge, a 5k obstacle course set up in Raleigh NC. I signed up for it a long time ago using a LivingSocial deal for the low low price of $35. Not too shabby. I was excited about it. Have been for awhile. I put the call out for some folks to join me and even got a few nibbles.

Unfortunately, much like the Tough Mudder of 2012, I am getting ready to eat breakfast at 7am on a Saturday, and my one-man team will be headed out to the course without support. This time, there won't even by TheWife, who seemed incredibly excited to have the house to herself on this cool Saturday morning.

I got some water boiling, adding just a dash of salt, and while I waited for that to boil I threw three thick cut slices of bacon on my grill pan. As I stood there watching the pot that never seemed to boil, I was feeling a little unmotivated.  For the first time in awhile, I heard The Manipulator's voice.

"Why bother?"

For you long-time readers of the blog, you know that Alan Rickman seems to play the role of the Manipulator in my subconscious. For you newbies...um...Alan Rickman plays the role of the Manipulator in my subconscious. There, you're all caught up.

Don't know what he's like in person, but his voice is a real dick!
So, I say back, "yeah, why bother?"

But, as I'm cooking that bacon, watching the grease dance in the pan like goat men dancing around Baccus, I realize that alone isn't particularly bad. Alone is a step up from...um...from...

"This is a terrible analogy."

It's not an analogy, it's a simile. Or is it...the other one?

"You're going to make an excellent writer someday."

Shut up!

Being alone isn't bad. At least I'm out there doing it. I stick my tongue out at an imaginary person in my head. I mean, I actually stick my tongue out, because I may be just a little crazy. But, the water was boiling so I poured in a half cup of steel cut oats and set them to their 10-minute simmering. As I flipped the bacon one last time, making sure it was semi-crisp...I like a little chew to my bacon, thanks...I realized that many of my friends were still in bed. Some of them will complain to me later on that their backs hurt or their knees are bothering them or they still haven't lost as much weight as they wanted to or they're actually gaining weight. I'll encourage them to join me and they won't and we'll have that same conversation next year.

Me? I'm an over-weight, pre-diabetic black man in America. If anyone is expected to be lounging in bed on a Saturday morning it's me. Instead, I'm pouring perfectly cooked, al dente oatmeal into my green porcelain bowl, serving up a few cuts of bacon, and looking up parking and packet pick-up information for a 5k obstacle course.


And the truth is, I won't be alone. I may run into some friends there. I suspect WonderMan will be there. Probably BeerWench and her husband, BeerWench's Husband (damn it, I can never remember his name). Of course, I won't be running with then, because those fuckers run like gazelles. If I see them it will be in passing.

But one day...

Actually, I'll NEVER be as fast as them, let's be honest. But that's ok. Because I'm faster than all the people who were still in bed this morning.

I spent the next 30 minutes eating one of the greatest breakfasts of my recent history.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Back to Qigong


I have missed this feeling!

This week started my month long quest to start my day spiritually. The past few years have been amazing, so before I start to sound as if I'm whining about "some missing part of my life" I want it to be known that I am an incredibly happy man. My married life is more wonderful than I ever imagined. I've never loved anyone more than I love TheWife. It almost hurts. Weird, right?

School is also going incredibly well. I've won three different awards in the past semester, including some monetary ones. I've also won a scholarship for a summer program in Prague, including airfare and a per diem. My GPA, even after my second 19-hour semester (including French III and the ever-hated Calculus) is a 3.78.

Even my social life has been good. I've got some amazing friends. The love I feel for Bestest is powerful and I miss her on the few days a week that I don't talk to her. My family is doing well, my sister got a kiss from Robert Downey Jr. Another finally has a job that she loves. I mean, ACTUALLY loves! AND lost a bunch of weight on top of that.

The world isn't perfect, but there ARE a lot of puppies and rainbows out there right now. Hell, even Amanda Berry was found this week. What the what?

The world is not falling to shit, my friends.


But what has been missing is my spiritual connection to things. I used to meditate a lot. I have done so perhaps 5 times in the last couple of years. But, this week I started a new dedication to my spiritual and emotional health.

I start with the qigong exercise  Draw the Bow. Then, I do a very mild meditation, sitting cross-legged on the floor and concentrating on my breathing for 5 minutes. It's very mild, but the feeling I've had over the past couple of days has been amazing. Starting my day from a centered state has done a lot for how I feel throughout the day. It's a feeling I've missed more than I knew.



Here's a video of the stance for anyone that is interested. This is not me or anyone I know. I just found it in case some of you are interested in the technique.


I'll continue to report on it over the next month. But, for the first week, I'm feeling pretty good. Now, I just need to keep doing it long enough so that I can make it a hobby!

How do you start your day? I'd love to hear tips that have made a difference for you.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Defiance...it's better than Revolution.


So, if you people don't know what Farscape is, or you didn't watch Battlestar Galactica, I can tell you this blog entry isn't for you. Come back next week, when I review Iron Man 3. Or, maybe I'll review Oblivion. Or possibly GI Joe. Or, perhaps I'll actually talk about art. Go figure.

I loved Farscape, and like to think I have a little bit of John Crighton's personality (though, my wife seems to think I'm more Rygel. Not sure wh...hey, there's chips!)

Anyway, we started watching Defiance because of Rockne S. O'Bannon, creator of Farscape. It also reunites many of the production team from Battlestar Galactica, another favorite. So, how could it go wrong? Hell, it can't. Right?

I thought that about another show I was excited about. A little show called Revolution. Well, turns out I hate Revolution. And unless Defiance tightens up I'll be hating it, too. These two shows are a little too close for comfort for my tastes.

If only NBC had a blackout when they aired this illogical snoozefest!


For example, they both have an annoying female lead. Tracy "pouty faced" Spiridakos: She's young. She's brash. She's tough. Her whole purpose is to get the group into trouble. She's...annoying as shit. I find myself yelling, "sit the fuck down!"

Quit pouting. Your face will get stuck like...oops. There it went.

 If I were there I'd hit her with a rock or a pogo stick or something and leave her in the dust while me and the town/group of travelers went along on our merry way...with much less hassle in our lives. Stephanie "scowly faced" Leonidas is getting very close to...did she just cut that dude down? What the fuck..."WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING?? You're just going to get him killed later!" Ugghh.

She must have auditioned for Revolution, but she scowled too much.


Both shows have a father figure that is so badass that we wish he was our father figure. In Defiance, it's an adopted father, and in Revolution it's an uncle. These dudes may be badass, but they sure as shit spend a lot of time getting into trouble because their bratty niece/fake daughter can't keep their brat urges contained. You want to be badass? Get a grip...right around the throats of those two little scamps and march them to the docks/train station, pay for their passage, and send them on their way. Now, THAT'S badass!

Both of these shows have strong female leaders played by actresses that we hated in other shows. Defiance has the always annoying Julie "I think there's a gnat inside my ear" Benz from Dexter.

bzzz bzz bzzzzz. I'm talking. bzzz bzzz bzzzz.

*Spoiler: I could not wait for her boring ass to die on Dexter. I looked forward to it with more glee than I did with Andrea from The Walking Dead. And now, here she is again, like a spider that you thought you'd killed but it only fell behind the dresser and now you'd seen it moving toward you just as you were about to fall asleep.Yeah, she's just like that. But not that interesting. More boring than that. So, like...if you're bored at home and then someone invites you to a party and you thought you'd left the boring at home, but then you get to the party and it's boring too. Yeah, Julie Benz is more like that.

On Revolution, it's Elizabeth "two-expressions" Mitchell. I've seen more range on a cowbell.

She always looks like you caught her reaching into your purse for weed money.

Every line is delivered with such purpose. And that purpose is to deny it any inflection or emotion. So, kudos. Last I saw Revolution she was the bratty kid's always angsty mother. Maybe they killed her off, by now. The odds are good, however, that she's still there actually removing depth from the rest of the show. There had better be one hell of a plot twist to explain why she left her family behind. I mean, one wicked, Bob Newhart of a plot twist. Some real, Bobby Ewing sort of shit.

So, if you have Defiance on the DVR and you're waiting to see what people think about it, now you know. But, don't delete it. It COULD get better. I hated the first couple of episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was wrong about that, and I could be wrong about this.

Then again, I wasn't wrong about The New Girl, now was I?

Disagree? Give me your arguments in the comment's section. I'd love to be convinced otherwise!

Geraud



Friday, April 5, 2013

A Quick Thought About the Season Finale of the Walking Dead

This sounds like one of my exes.

Spoiler Alert*****

I'm Staton the Obvious, and I have always hated Andrea. Always. Since her wishy washy days as a suicide wanna-be. Then, her partnership with Shane and then...the list goes on and on. I couldn't wait for her to die. Every episode, I would wait with baited breath. Will this be the one? No? Shit. Maybe next time.

But, let me say this:the writers NAILED it! They managed to semi-explain her stupidity, her dumb decisions, her ineptitude at everything. "I just didn't want anyone to die." Awwwww.

As the Prison Gang made their way to that metal door with the blood leaking from beneath, I kept thinking "Please be dead, please be dead." But she wasn't dead. Just tired from killing Tobias Funke or whatever his name was. Guess we'll just have to wait til...OH SHIT! Look at her THROAT!! She's looking up at everyone all ashen and sweating. But at peace. And then, her confession to Sherriff Lobo. "I just didn't want anyone to die." 

Sheriff Lobo and the Predator look on in relief...uh, I mean pain!

Not just her words, but the characters's responses to it. It got me. I felt bad for wishing this on the poor girl. She wasn't bad. She just didn't want anyone to die. There was no "Thank god, bitch. DIE DIE DIE!!" I was actually feeling sorry for her. Not sorry enough to hope she pulled through, but sorry for her.

And then I remembered that she spent about 20 minutes talking to the dying guy instead of picking up the fucking pliers in order to get out of the fucking handcuffs and I thought, "yep, died like you lived. Like an idiot. Peace out!"

And by the way...does Bizarro Mayberry have a spa? Where the hell did she find time to get a pedicure!?!?

Yeah, good riddance.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Fistful of Peeps


In honor of Easter, a wonderful group of artists created a little challenge: Create a painting using peeps. Simple enough. But some great ideas came from it. This is a great group and I'm hoping we do more work like this!


HAPPY HOUR PEEPS
Kathleen Ballard
10" x 10" Watercolor


LITTLE BO PEEPS
Chris Beck
6" x 6" watercolor


A FISTFUL OF PEEPS
Geraud Staton
11" x 14" oil on canvas
OTP
Jelaine Faunce
12" x 4" Oil on Canvas

Untitled
Pablo Villicana Lara
6" x 6" Watercolor


Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Art of Distraction


I am on the downhill slide of a very shitty few weeks. I fractured my elbow, caught the flu, got something that I thought was strep, went through mid-terms and I'm currently working on a project that has been one of the most intensive, short-term projects I've ever worked on. For nothing. This doesn't even have to do with my business. This is for someone else's business.

Now, before I delve into complaining too much about it, the truth is that I'm learning a lot. This is not about how terrible this project is. All that whining was simply so I could delay going back to it for just a few more seconds.

That's right. I'm working on the project RIGHT NOW! I should be researching condiment sales over the past 5 years (don't ask). Instead, I'm here.

And this isn't even the only distraction I'm partaking in.

Over on the next internet screen I'm on a little site you may have heard off. It's called youtube. Check it out. It may just catch on. I'm watching a movie called "Ninja Massacre". It's a full movie. A full, ninja-leaping-from-rooftops, long-eyebrowed-megalomaniacs, badly dubbed, whimpering-girls-who-suddenly-jump-90-feet-and-kick-someone's-ass martial arts extravaganza! I'm 11 minutes in and it's terrible.

Some old dudes are standing in a square when some ninjas and the long-eyebrowed man threaten to kill them all unless they turn over The Secret Message. Of course, there is no secret message, the old people say. Long-eyebrows isn't buying that crock of shit. The ninjas attack! And, as the title hints, it is a massacre. Arrows and swords fly, and the long-eyebrowed man kills the oldest of the old dudes with nary a sweat. But hark, what's that? A...wait...is that a baby? Someone is carrying a baby? Could THAT be the secret message!??!

Long-Eyebrows doesn't think so. He's about to slaughter that helpless ball of noise with a sword lined with a bunch of rings. Just as he's about to slice it open like a letter from Publisher's Clearinghouse, some chick comes leaping in out of nowhere! She dressed all in pink, like some pink power ranger of death. Pinkie Tuscadero and Long-Eyebrows go at it for a few seconds, then Pinkie grabs the baby and leaps out of there like a pink grasshopper fleeing a formation of black ants! BOING!

There's some exposition that I don't care about so I get some water and a handful of sunflower seeds. By the time I get back, Long-Eyebrows and his gaggle of ninja are gone. There's just a group of dead old people, like bingo night gone wrong.

Wait...maybe it's about to get better. Some young guy just came in and is trying to wake up his dead master. "Master!" he screams while shaking the oldest of the old dudes's body. A body riddled with arrows. Good thing Master wasn't just trying to get some rest. I'm sure shaking a dude riddled with arrows is probably not good for him. And right on cue... "I shall avenge you!" Damn right you will! This movie just got good as a motherfucker!

"Brow before me!"


But it will have to wait. I need to pause and...yes, there it is, still waiting for me. Work. Where was I? Oh yes...ketchups.

I spend a whole 15 minutes working. Did you know that childhood obesity is actually down in the state of NC? Did you know that there are only 5 states where that is the case? Do you care?

When I get to the point that I want to rip my left eyeball out of it's socket, I turn back over to the youtube. "NINJA MASSACRE!" I yell at the top of my lungs. I hit play.

Jimpao isn't dead. Our hero finds him struggling. "Who did this?" he asks. Jimpao croaks out something about the Mandarins or Tokugawa or The Hand or Splinter or something and our hero is about to cut into action.

But first, we have to cut to some chicks. Chicks in blue. Chicks who, in the credits, must be known by their hair styles. Pig Tails wonders where their Mistress is. Bangs agrees. They can't go on without their Mistress. So, just like that, they nominate a new Mistress. This one is the Lady in Red. Everyone agrees, including Side Pony Tail and Poof Top. Lady in Red reluctantly takes control. I've never seen her looking as lovely as she did that night!

Time passes...I guess. No one tells me it does, but Pinkie is washing some kid in a little bathtub and he's got some weird tattoo on his back and the kid is, like, 3 years old. And Pinkie says, "Aha, the secret message!" So, Pinkie "Sherlock Holmes" Tuscadero, now wearing white (so I understand if that gets confusing) decides to train the boy. He's leaping all over things, stabbing shit, getting dunked in the water and treated like crap, a la Karate Kid.

"I don't wanna train anymore!"

"You'll train if you know what's good for you!" she says while shaking her fist in the air!

I watch all the way through the training montage. That kid gets his ass handed to him. Also, we learn that Pinkie is blind. What???? She wasn't blind the last time we saw her. Mind blown, I flip back over to my assignment.

Did you know that Heinz has a 60% market share of all ketchup sales? Me either. Think about that next time you dip your french fry in ketchup. Or don't. I'm probably not going to.

I make it a full 20 minutes before the words in front of me start to blur. Which reminds me of that Blind Chick and the Secret Message Baby. I go back to the youtube. But first, I yell, "NINJA MASSACRE!"

Which kid are you? Hell, even the director can't tell you apart!


Chicks in white ninja uniforms lose to Young Revenger and some kid. Who the hell is this kid? It isn't Secret Message. That kid is getting his ass kicked by Blind Pinkie. A lot. I learn a valuable lesson. If I ever get busted spanking my kid in a Wal-Mart parking lot I'm just going to tell Social Services that I'm teaching the kid kung fu. Then, when the kid does something wrong I'm going to whack him across the back with a stick. Works every time.

Back to the training montage. Now there are two kids. Secret Message and Mystery Kid. There's no Rocky music, but there's some yakety sax that's just as good. Secret Message flailing around with a lot of wind sounds while Mystery Kid kicks down some trees. Secret Message fights some dudes (but it turns out those dudes are actually monkeys. Who wrote this movie. It's AMAZING!!)

Ok, I've got to get back to work. It'll be dinner time soon. I can use that as an excuse the watch the rest of this awesome...OH SHIT!! That Secret Message kid just broke into a castle and is beating the hell out of everybody!

Screw work. I'm going to make some popcorn in my wok and watch the rest of this movie!

Peace!