Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tips to Eliminate Brain Clutter

Ever try and concentrate on something but your brain just doesn't seem to want to cooperate?  Welcome to Brain Clutter.   I've always had this problem, mostly because I have so many interests and ideas always popping into my head.   I am often told that I 'Think too much.' 
Honestly it's not something I can control, I do think a lot, and when I can't figure something out it gets worse I end up not being able to stop thinking about it until I do.... but is it good?

I'm not sure... I mean on one hand if you think too much eventually you have to make a decision or lose opportunities, on the other hand if you don't think about it at all and just jump in blind you may end up in a worse situation.  So I guess the key is balance.  I recently did some research on the topic and found some helpful tips for 'Decluttering' the brain.

1. Write it down. If you have a bunch of things on your mind, it helps to get them on paper and off your mind. ( This is useful, which is partly why I created this blog, I am horrible at keeping a journal, so I feel blogging when I have something to say is a lot easier and more rewarding when I get contacted that other people feel the same. After all a journal can't email you thoughts... yet. )

2. Identify the essential.  Figure out what needs to be done now and what can wait and focus on the 'Now' rather than trying to figure everything out at the same time.  ( I have been working on this, I think a talk with my dad about this helped, he had mentioned once that instead of trying to tackle one big problem, chip away at it by trying to solve small parts of it... makes sense.)

3. Eliminate. Now that you’ve identified the essential, you can identify what’s not essential. What things in your life are not truly necessary or important to you? ( This is also interesting because I've discovered that we all have 'Wants' but most times I think we 'Want-to-want' in other words and for an example, you may want to go fishing, or you see other people do it and it looks interesting, so you go out and buy fishing tackle only to discover a year later you never went fishing...because you don't really want to, you just thought you did.   By eliminating 'pipe dreams' you can focus on what you really want and then put all of yourself into it, rather than trying to do many things at the same time.)

4. Rethink your sleep. Sometimes we aren’t getting enough sleep, or our sleeping patterns aren’t ideal. ( Again with the sleep!   I've tried changing my sleep cycle...but it's useless, I am a night owl, all my thoughts and creativity seem to appear at night no matter what, so what I decided was to get the most quality sleep instead of longer amounts of time sleeping.  Hopefully that helps. )

5. Take a walk. Getting outside and doing some kind of physical activity is a great way to get stuff off your mind. ( This I need to do more often, I used to do it a lot. )

6. De clutter your surroundings. Cleaning up your house or organizing it will go a long ways towards helping your brain function well.

So there we have it, a good list, let's see how it works!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Star Wars - May the force be with me!

One of my 2013 New Years Resolutions was believe it or not, to watch Star Wars 1977, the movie for the first time, ever.  Yes, believe it or not I have never seen the movie or any movie in the Star Wars series.  Why?   I don't know.. I mean I never watched it when it first came out, and then going back to watch it years later just never happened... and light sabers?  It just seemed too weird for me, but I will give it a try and if I like it, I will watch the rest of the movies.    So, I shall let you know how I like it.. maybe do a review of it.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Iam Rughter's Big Camera

Pretty cool vid, I came across this the other night on youtube, Chase Jarvis with photographer Ian Ruhter and the biggest camera, I found it a little interesting but at the end, is the reason why I think I am def pro digital.  It's interesting and creative though, so check it out.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Being Moody... because I can!

Wow, last couple days I have been so moody!  Just a lot going on in and out of my head, I imagine quite a few people are going through these mood swings lately with all that is going on, and the weather here in New Jersey isn't helping much either.   I think I am finally ready for Summer to get here, I am tired of all this dreary-nasty weather.
So with that said, here is some things I have found quite amusing during my mood swings. :)

So rumor has it Beyonce Wants Ugly pics of herself from the Superbowl off the Internet....

I mean really?  You're a human you're going to have ugly moments... get over it.

...and why would people care anyway?  I mean have we never seen someone make a ugly face before... on purpose or otherwise?

The other day my Facebook wall exploded with posts about 'Pretty girls' making ugly faces... I suppose in response to the Beyonce thing?   Seriously?  This makes me wonder if eventually people will get plastic surgery to make themselves look ugly because it's the 'In' thing to do.... so confused.

I refer to my previous post about Technology... and I am more positive than ever that the internet and television is changing us slowly and turning our brains to mush.

So there you have it, my moody post.... feels good to rant occasionally. :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Technology Friend or Foe

I 've always looked at Technology as an advancement, as a 'good' thing, but now I am not so sure.   Have we as a society, as humans actually gained anything by technology?  Or has it caused us to become dependant, has it dulled our senses, our compassion, our creativity, our ingenuity?
I suppose the truth is, it is how we decide to use it, but are we disciplined enough to use what we have and are we advanced enough intellectually to see the future implications of it's use and application?  Again, I don't know.

Humanity, throughout history has been chaotic, but if we look at our history we can see a natural progression of advancement, for example.   Human needs food, 'invents' spear, Human needs to cook food, discovers fire, and so on... it is a necessity that drives Humanity towards progression and invention.

The light bulb, the automobile, all of these things were invented to aid us, to help us get to where we needed to go, but at some point, we decided we could create technology to do the things other humans could do, so that we can save money and be more 'efficient' ... but has it worked?

I don't know, I think it's possible modern technology has actually reversed human evolution.

Why do I think this?

We no longer invent things to aid us, but rather to replace us.  We want to save time, so rather than spending a day washing clothes, we invent the washing machine.  Instead of cooking when we come home from work, we throw something in the microwave.  Instead of sitting down and writing a letter, we send an email, or text.   All of these advances seem great, and make sense and also save us time, so what's the problem?   If we have saved ourselves so much time, why then is it, we so often say we have no time?  Or we are too busy?  What happens to all that time these machines saved us?
The answer I think is about fulfillment.  While these things, do save us time, we also lose something very important. For example, when I was kid I used to have a pen pal, I barely remember the details now, but I remember waiting for a response to come, via snail mail, and when the letter arrived in the mail how much joy I felt.  That joy no longer is there, I send an email and get a response in minutes, and I take it for granted.   
Do I think we will ever go back to those days of writing personal letters by pen?  Doubtful, should we?  My logic says no, but my heart says yes.  

So using that example, what is the cost vs gain?  We gain time, but we lose our writing technique, and the joy that used to come from receiving a personal letter.   Seems trivial I know... so let's move onto another example.

Computers and the Internet.   We invent computers to handle processes normally handled by humans, to save time and cost, we use them to run factories which are almost entirely automated, which used to be handled by humans.  We also use personal computers to access the Internet, so we can search information in minutes that it used to take us weeks to find, by using books and other means.  

Again, this is a good thing right?  Again, I say yes... and no.

What of the cost?  We build computers to replace human thought, we build them to replace our workers, we build them to replace books, and again by doing all this we gain time, but lose fulfillment.   So what do we do with all this extra time?  Also, what do we do with all of those humans we just put out of work?

Here is another example, that is very close to my own heart and one I deal with daily.
Creative Tools.  During my time in high school I was also taking a home-study course in film photography, and learning all about composition and lighting and different types of film.  When I started working, using these tools, it was about skill, it took great skill and knowledge in fact to be able to take a good photograph, not to mention a great one.   When I got the film back from the developer it was such a great feeling seeing those images.   Digital comes along, and removes all of that.  Now we see our images the second we take them, and if there are flaws, we can remove them in Photoshop or hell, we can put a different sky in the background, why not add a building or person that wasn't there either.  Again, these tools are amazing, and I cannot imagine my life without them now, except once again the cost.    
Sure on one hand it allows everyone to be able to express themselves and 'create' great images, and that is a good thing, but it also makes it unnecessary to understand photography, we lose the art, the craft.   Now, they are inventing cameras which no longer require a photographer at all... so once again Technology removes the human component.

So to sum up this post, I am conflicted....

On one hand technology is a wonderful tool, to aid us, to inspire us and to give us more time to do the things we love, my worry is that we are losing the things we love through technology.   We have more time now than at any point in history, yet everyone complains of not having enough time.   We have more opportunities to help others and to use the internet for good, but how many actually do?   Do we use these tools or do we depend on them for our happiness?  How often does it drive us nuts when do something online and no one reacts to it?  We start a blog and no one follows it, or we create a Facebook page and no one comments, or we need to text a hundred 'friends' so we feel popular?  Are we in control of technology, or is it ever so slowly invading our humanity and controlling us?

Something to think about....

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tips for Growing as an Artist

So here's a question for you...
Have you ever gone through your portfolio - Painting, Photography, Graphic Design, Writing or any other medium and felt like throwing it all away because you just saw another artist's portfolio?
This happens to me so many times, but what does it do?  Well, you can get discouraged and feel like giving up, or hopefully, it causes you to get better and inspires you to create more.

The truth is there isn't an artist in the known universe that does not feel like that at times, or daily... it's how we grow, we need to keep working, even when we don't want to, to push ourselves to get better but how?

Here are some Tips....

1. Get Inspired - Browse Magazines, not just in your particular field either, you never know what image will flip that creative switch.  Browse artists blogs and Websites, browse Deviantart, Tumblr, Flickr and other sources. Listen to different styles of music.  Visit Museums and Galleries.
Immerse yourself in creativity... Take a shower in creativity.... Fill your soul with creativity.

2. Don't judge yourself to harshly - I know it seems impossible, but accept that someone will always seem more creative than you at some point, use it to fuel your own creativity and help you grow.

3. Get involved - Communicate with other artists, and share your experiences with each other. You will discover that others feel the same as you.

4. Keep your skills sharp -  I know, from personal experience with Photography, there is always more to learn, new gadgets, new techniques so keep practicing your craft.

5. Create often -  You can't be a part-time artist if you want to keep growing, you need to keep working daily.

I hope these simple tips will help you on your creative journey... hey, we are all in this together!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Superbowl - Not for me, Thanks.

Superbowl thoughts...sorry I've got nothing.

I never watch it.  Why?  I have no idea.. I've never been into watching 'Team' sports much, when growing up, I enjoyed playing Soccer, Football, Basketball, Street hockey, never on 'official' teams but with friends.  I've also participated in a number of physical activities like Rock Climbing and Snowboarding, many times.... but watching 'team-based' sports never really works for me.

I do on occasion watch Tennis, being a big Roger Federer fan, I watch most of his major games and occasionally I will watch female Tennis if there is a good game on.   The thing I do like about watching professional Tennis is seeing the whole inner struggle in the player vs. player and seeing how self-confidence will make or break a game.  Those players who beat themselves up over missing a shot, or get angry will ultimately lose, and those who can keep a positive outlook and stay focused emotionally rarely lose a match.   There is no backup, no replacement or substitutions if you can't hang you lose, period.  I don't see that in 'Team' sports, perhaps it's there but it's more about winning through good teamwork, which in itself is a good thing, but just not watch I enjoy watching.

I doubt I'm alone in this, but you rarely see people post that they are not into the Superbowl.... and I certainly don't think there is anything wrong with people who do enjoy watching 'team' sports.
It's just not for me.

So you can keep your cheesy, nipple slippin, crazy-ass- halftime shows and million commercials....with a whole 5 minutes of action until the next set of commercials.   No thank you!

Friday, February 1, 2013



by New York Times bestseller and Two-Time winner of the Pulitzer Prize,  David Herbert Donald 
I just started reading this wonderful book last night and wow, first off, let me tell you... if any of us lived back then, we would have been bear food, seriously... if nothing else, reading books like this humbles me and makes me realize how much we have to be thankful for, and also how much we take for granted.

Donald brilliantly depicts Lincoln's gradual ascent from humble beginnings in rural Kentucky to the ever- expanding political circles in Illinois, and finally to the presidency of a country divided by civil war. 

I wanted to find a biography on Lincoln that went beyond the civil war, or slavery or even the presidency, and into the heart of the man.   Lincoln always intrigued me, and there was always this aura of controversy surrounding him, so I needed to know more.

Publishers Weekly- 'Throughout his life, according to Donald, Lincoln believed his destiny was controlled by some larger force or "higher power." This conviction generated both an underlying fatalism and a pragmatic approach to problem-solving. If one approach?or one general?failed, another could be tried. Although the information available to Lincoln was often significantly limited by modern standards, bold plans based on a prior reasoning were foreign to his thought process. Instead, it was Lincoln's ability to respond to events and actions that brought the U.S. through its greatest crisis and established the matrix for successful, if imperfect, reunification.'

I can't wait to read more... If you are a Lincoln fan, and want to discover the 'True' Lincoln, I say give this book a chance, you won't regret it.