Categories
People

Austrian Waltz: Sunday Serenade

Austrian Waltz

This sounds like fresh rain on bare earth. Imagine a semi formal brunch at old breweries on a private country estate. A woman is being courted by a man who is falling in love with her. They are meeting his family, who have warmed to her very much. She is nervous but manages to relax as the conversation starts. During brunch, the party is hearing this music in the background.

I hope you have had a good week? It has been fifteen days since I uploaded the sample track for this suite of trios. And I am happy to say that the remastering of the entire suite is complete. Uploading them one by one because otherwise, I will end up having the same track twice with different names, and other not-funny episodes.

Thank you for listening.

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men news opinion People TV writing

On Leaving (Short film)

On Leaving is a short film by Sagar Kapoor (India)

On Leaving (07:45) is a documentary short by Indian filmmaker, Sagar Kapoor.

Synopsis
Lockdown in India had just started to be lifted, however, due to job loss, increasing COVID19 cases, and other circumstances, the narrator is forced to vacate his rented room. This short film tries to express the feeling of the narrator visiting his room for one last time and how spaces can be personal and important parts of our lives.

Bio
Sagar Kapoor is a filmmaker from India and he grew up in Lucknow, a city known for its delicious cuisine, history, art, and culture. At La Martniere College, he was first introduced to the world of art and photography. Today, he works as a independent filmmaker and illustrator. His documentary films are introspective and empathetic, as they focus on our relationship with the environment. In his free time, he loves to read, write, travel, and cook. 

His upcoming projects are: 
1. Eating clouds, a documentary on a local delicacy from Lucknow.
2. On Death a City; how the uniqueness of a city dies with time and our need for modern infrastructure.

Follow Sagar Kapoor on social media:

Instagram
YouTube
Twitter

How many of you have friends who make films? Well, you have one now. And you will make another filmmaker friend next week. On October 22, 2021, drop by and greet South African poet, voice actor, and performance artist, Marinda Botha. Stay tuned as I feature more filmmakers and creatives over the next few weeks.

Categories
art People technology women

Storm chasers, assembled

MEET THE Adventurous women
(and men)
flashing througH
THE METAVERSE

Shannon Bileski
A little about me. I am a storm chaser, aurora hunter and all around adventurer, living life to the fullest, every way I can. As a child, I was always fascinated with the weather and that is why I got into photography. At first, I struggled to get a photo of lightning when I was eight years old. And four years later, when I was twelve, I did. All that was missing was the right equipment. And after witnessing Canada’s only F5 tornado in 2007, up close and in person, I bought my first DSLR camera. Then, I started capturing everything and anything I could, including storms.

My passions quickly evolved into storm and aurora photography (and a dash of newborn photography). My work has been featured in magazines and has won awards. Most importantly, my work has kept me learning, growing, adventuring and discovering. There is no better feeling than staring down Mother Nature, and this marvelous gift she throws at you. Being in the middle of it, the complete awe, is an indescribable feeling. It is a special moment in time that I love to capture and share with everyone.

Melanie Metz
I was born to chase tornadoes, just as some people are born to sing or become medical doctors. I have been drawn to the storm, wanting to understand it, watch it, and feel it. Standing in the wind of a passing supercell is where I truly feel alive. I have had a passion for storms since I was a young girl living in Arizona. There, I would stare in awe at the incredible lightning shows and dream about tornadoes. As I entered high school, photography became my other love. I began actively chasing tornadoes after earning my bachelor’s degree, and I have been on the road with my camera every spring for over twenty years now.

During my earlier years of chasing storms, I partnered with Peggy Willenberg. Together, we became known as the “Twister Sisters” with a reality TV show on the WE Network. We also worked as Chasers for FOX 9 News in Minneapolis, taught Skywarn classes and did many severe weather presentations for various audiences. For the past several years, I have been living my dream as a solo storm chaser, as Melanie Metz Storm Chasing. I work to capture the power and beauty of storms on film.

I am just now beginning the journey into the world of non fungible tokens, where I hope to offer my work and support other artists in the community in a new and exciting way. And, let me share one more tidbit. After many years of hard work, one of my tornado photographs was recently licensed for commercial use in the cover and poster of the upcoming film, “13 Minutes”. The film is about survival. A community works together to rebuild when their town is hit by a tornado. There are several strong female characters in the story. I can’t wait to see it, because it is a huge honour. For more info about my work, please visit my website to learn more about my work.

Lori Grace Bailey
I am a professional wedding/portrait photographer who also enjoys capturing extreme weather and extraordinary skies. My work has appeared in major publications and television outlets including the March/June issue of Backpacker Magazine. I am also a brand ambassador for F-Stop Gear.

I enjoy chasing tornados in the mid-west, haboobs in the southwest. Or, when conditions are right, I captured elusive sprites using my intimate knowledge of a storm’s lifecycle. I believe that my work stands out because I can consistently get shots most people only dream of.

One of my other roles is Director of Monsoon Con, an annual convention in Tucson, Arizona. The convention brings together photographers and weather enthusiasts with an emphasis on storm chasing with success.

Jessica Moore
I am a female storm chaser of nearly 10 years, making a living from NFT photography and video. I am a meteorologist, professional photographer and videographer, and passionately involved with NFTs. My storm footage and photography has been aired on The Weather Channel, ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS, WeatherNationTV and FOX News. I have also been featured in several national TV news stories about women in storm chasing and meteorology. My non-fungible tokens can be found on Foundation and Open Sea under the handle name @DopplerJess as well.

Natasha S
Who says ‘thunderbolt’? Hi, everyone! My name is Natasha, a photographer by passion from Bangkok, Thailand. And here is my favourite shot of a city thunderbolt. One thing I love the most is nature of all kinds. As a kid, I always enjoyed watching lightning dancing in the sky and was never scared of it. For me, it was a light show from nature. So it becomes my passion whenever I see the light flashing from the sky, I always grab my camera and go after it.

In a city like Bangkok, finding lightning is challenging. Most properties in the city are private so it becomes difficult to find a location for the perfect capture. Great meeting you. You can find me everywhere.

Erin AKA GhostTrainPhoto
This chase was one of the best chases I’ve ever had. This supercell danced in front of me for almost an hour.

I am a psychology researcher with a passion for storms. I grew up on the western edge of tornado alley and have always been fascinated by the power of weather.

I got into photography as means of justifying the countless hours I found myself driving to experience storms. Photography has now turned into a passion of its own.

Hello, my name is Stephanie. I am a storm chaser and landscape photographer based in Oklahoma. I have spent the last ten years traveling the plains chasing Mother Nature’s fury. I grew up in the heart of tornado alley, so I have always been fascinated my weather. When I’m not chasing a storm, I spend my time traveling and hiking. I love to explore new places and push myself to new limits.

Willard Sharp
I am a storm chaser and astrophotographer based in Iowa. The 2021 chase season was really good to me this year and capturing most photogenic tornado of the year in west Texas this past spring was the highlight of my chase season.

Ujwal Puri
Hi. My name is Ujwal Puri. I am a photographer and storm chaser from Mumbai, India. My lightning photos have been featured in some of India’s leading newspapers and magazines. I have, as of now, one non-fungible token of a lightning shot. Looking forward to minting more of my storm chasing work on Foundation.

Adam Orgler
Hello. I’m a storm chaser based out of central Iowa. I’ve been chasing for 3 years now. I am currently a senior at Iowa State University studying computer ccience. What you will see is the result of an impromptu chase this summer in central Iowa. Over the course of the evening, I stumbled upon two highly photogenic, rotating supercells. The first cell was a fast mover which I had to outrun in order to avoid the large hail it was producing. It had an awesome bowl-shaped shelf cloud along its gust front. After the first cell dissipated, a second, slow moving cell formed to the north. I was able to set up my shooting location in a wind farm as the cell moved right towards me. It was spectacular.

Thomas Knepshield
Here is one of my favorite tweets from the year. I sat through a nighttime hail core in Garden City, KS trying to dent my car up and shatter a windshield. I achieved both of those goals here. I am an adrenaline-structure junkie storm chaser from Kentucky. This was my first year hitting the road to chase and I spent six weeks chasing storms along my 16,600 mile road trip. I saw five tornadoes, sat through a bunch of hail cores and captured a lot of lightning on camera. A childhood dream come true. I am twenty-two so that means I have seventy-eight more years of chasing to go (or more if possible).

Tim Slane
As a storm chaser and photographer, I chase storms, tornadoes, and lightning in the High Plains of the United States. Through photography, I share the beauty, uniqueness, and power of both storm and landscape.

Hunter Fowkes
This is one of my best storm chases I’ve ever been able to undertake in thirteen years chasing tornadoes. This was extremely close to home. What a day. There were many times this tornado felt like the ones I witnessed in Lockett, Texas, Ashby, Minnesota, and Tipton, Oklahoma. The tornado went through many phase changes and was such a sight to behold. I love this state.

Oh, my goodness. I was so enraptured by this presentation that I almost forgot to close it down with a big thank you. I was thrilled to have storm chasing superheroes featured here today. I am grateful to you for sharing your stories and being hard working and passionate, which is what we need to keep us inspired. And by now, you know the drill: Find them on Twitter, and follow them. They are going to look really cool in your timeline.

Thank you, everyone, for viewing this presentation.

Categories
Earth People technology

Photography’s hottest stars are on Twitter

Happy Sunday to you all. After Wednesday’s wonderful post, I thought it would be great to follow up today with astrophotography. What else are you going to do on a Sunday night besides look up at the sky?

As usual, when you view, please remember to visit each account and leave some feedback for the talented photographers. We have lots of tweets to view, so sit back and scroll.

Amit, Exploring Night Sky, is on Twitter. By day, he is a software developer. His work as an astrophotographer has won him awards. He is based in New Zealand, and he says that his photography of the night sky has helped him overcome the fear of darkness. This is why he enjoys bringing the night sky to you. He is dedicated to his art, and in Guiding Light, his patience won out after eight hours of driving and eight hundred steps to the top of a lighthouse. After a long wait, the dark clouds cleared, and you can see what his camera lens picked up.

Adrien Mauduit is an engineer, author, aurora guide, professional night sky photographer and cinematographer. He is mostly specialising in time lapse images. This collection features some of his most innovative astrolapse work, which is also the first such photography work to be minted on the ethereum blockchain.

Ross is an astrophotographer from the UK and he uses photographs to inspire people to get outdoors and see the beauty in the heavens above. His favourite image is one of the Andromeda Galaxy, but I am going to showcase this video of the Orion images he has worked on. Ross did a lot to help organise this showcase, and he did so by spreading the word among his colleagues and friends. Thank you, Ross.

Mustafa Aydin, from Turkey, is a superstar on Twitter. Shield your eyes before looking at his spectacular follower count. He is adored on Twitter, and I will tell you why. He takes amazing photographs and he has a great personality. He regularly drops into conversations by replying to my tweets, and he was kind enough to join in this showcase today. Mustafa is interested in deep space astrophotography as well as widefield and Milky Way astrophotography. He loves the endless learning curve and we love the goosebumps we get from looking at his work.

Josh is a sixteen-year-old New Zealander, and he is part of the Twitter astrophotography community. During the day, he explores our beautiful planet, and at night, the stunning night sky above. You can see some of his beautiful work on his Twitter profile.

Tom is also from New Zealand, and he is the same age as Josh. Isn’t it heartwarming to see young people so enamoured by our planet, our solar system, and this expansive universe? Tom is well-loved wherever he goes, and it is always a joy to chat with him in Twitter Spaces. He reminds us that his work is based around creating a connection between earth, people and the universe. His passion for art and the stars has been there ever since he was very young. Like him, I am happy he discovered this amazing hobby.

In his own words, “My work is based around creating a connection between earth, people and the universe: to bring it to those who can’t access it due to the sad reality of light pollution within our cities. I try to spark a sense of curiosity for the night sky through my images, as I believe it can teach us valuable perspectives on how we live our lives, the world around us, and who we are as people. My appreciation for art and the stars has been there from a young age, first inspired by the Hubble space telescopes incredible images. I am so happy to have found something that I’m passionate about and to have others supporting me with it!”

Diego Juaregui is from Argentina and he is an amateur astrophotographer. He likes the feeling of being alone in a faraway place watching the stars and thinking about infinity. It is a comforting feeling.

Marcel Strelow is a landscape photographer from Munich, Germany. He has been into nightscapes forever and fell in love with deep sky photography during the last lockdown in winter.

Mark Coull is from Scotland and is relatively new to astrophotography. He is learning incredibly quickly. His fast progress might be due to his eye for detail, which he refined as a multimedia designer. He loves to learn and is here to teach. We are glad he is. Our galaxy has a beautiful palette, and you can find more of it on Mark’s timeline.

Yusuf Qureshi is a UK astrophotographer now based in New Zealand. He says that the skies out there feel so special. And under the shining stars, he feels at peace as he is pointing his camera lens up towards them. Let us join him outside soon.

From Switzerland, we have Marco Kern, a landscape photographer who is passionate about stargazing. He loves the silence of the night when he can be alone under the stars.

And here comes Willard Sharp, stormchaser from Madrid, Iowa. It was wonderful meeting an American astrophotographer, as my time zone puts me closer to Europe, Asia and Oceania. In this image, you can see the rig he set up in his backyard. Then look below to see an example of what he captured. That is a truly spectacular view.

In India, we have Ubik, a photographer and filmmaker who has been documenting life in photos for the past 12 years. He enjoys running around on sleepless nights to get a glimpse of the night sky. And then, he takes it all in on camera. He finds the process meditative and we love that about his work.

Ronan Hunt is from rainy Ireland, and we are happy he is able to capture beautiful images for us to enjoy. If you want to make friends with Ronan, his Discord server is linked on his Twitter bio. Feel free to follow him or add him to your list of favourite photographers so you can keep up with his amazing work.

Our other American friend comes to us from New Jersey. His handle name is Desclafani Photography and he loves to share his knowledge of photography with his followers. Visit his profile and follow him. He is always ready to share his process.

Lee and Brenda Amber are a family of photographers based in California. They have a fascinating story, and if you want to learn more, please join them in Twitter Spaces. As a family, they love the magic of capturing a moment with a camera. They enjoy sharing images that show what they saw and how they felt.

Across the ocean, in the UK, we meet Sajjad, who is based in London. He traveled back to Pakistan to take photos of the night sky here. From his rooftop, he took some of the Helix Nebula, NGC 729, a planetary nebula located in Aquarius. Below that, you can see the image he captured of the North American Nebula, NGC 7000.

Give a warm welcome to Thai photographer, Notto. I am happy when I see his work in my timeline. And not only is he a member of one of the most wonderful communities of artists on Twitter, but his work there is also admired by photographers everywhere. Visit his profile, follow him, and enjoy his wonderful work.

We round out the presentation with Jack, a New Zealander who is actively involved in the NFT community. He was the first person to respond to my call for submissions and I am so glad he did because his work is stunning. Or is it, “Stella”?

I think we have covered most of the planet, and I am proud to be colleagues with these talented artists. Each of the astrophotographers featured creates non fungible tokens from their photography work. They are also active members of the NFT community and we wish them all the best. Thank you for viewing this gallery.

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Instagram’s smart tech is a loving me thing

It is Saturday afternoon and as I write this, I am waiting for a meeting to resume. Unfortunately, two expatriates seated at the far corner of the conference room are talking loudly about assorted bedroom activities. I gather that the man is gay and his friend is a married straight woman. I suppose they are comparing notes?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

It was impossible to hear myself think, so I am standing near an open window to let the sound of traffic drown out their voices. And while I am here, I thought it would be good idea to update you with my Instagram goings on.

At the moment, I’m hardly posting on Instagram. But for the past eight days, every 23 hours to the hour, I see that I have 25 new followers. This exact number, at exactly the same time, tells me that this is the work of a machine. 

Remember that last year, Instagram was burning my posts. And now, after two months on the platform, the smart tech is working for me. I was advised in a Clubhouse room, a couple of months ago, that Instagram was doing a big reset. I was also advised to take advantage because this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. The problem is that I am an introvert and going live on video will never happen. Because of that, I needed a modified approach.

Photo by Tim Gouw

Here is what happened after two months and 18 reels, 3 (15-second) stories daily, no lingerie selfies, and zero live posts. I am at 472 followers. My account is growing every day, so I will continue on this path. (If only Twitter were as malleable).

Metrics 

  1. This is a business account. 
  2. I do not pay for ads which means that all of my engagement is organic. 
  3. All of the new followers brought over from Instagram’s smart tech are 85% artists in the NFT community, 5% follower boosting accounts and 10% crypto investors. 
  4. Quite a number of my other followers are from Clubhouse. The apps share data with each other. Instagram will automatically suggest my account to anyone following me over there and vice versa.
Photo by Fiona Art

Posts and engagement  

  1. After my first five posts, I started posting reels in the form of animated videos showcasing my artwork. 
  2. Avoid captions. Only a few of my reels have them. Instead, I tell a story in a slideshow or MP4 video. 
  3. Nearly zero hashtags on posts or reels. Instagram treats hashtags like spam. 
  4. Edit all videos or images (to create a slideshow) in the IG native editor using filters.
  5. Add music and carefully choose clips within the song to match the story. Music choice is the number one compliment I have received so far. People seem to have a positive emotional reaction my artwork because of the music. 
  6. Repost my own reels/posts to stories. 
  7. Hashtags only in stories – limited to one per story and this is always NFT related. 
  8. Follow back as many accounts as possible. Check occasionally to make sure that all followed accounts are active. 
  9. Restrict spammy, fake looking accounts and never follow sales people (crypto investors). 
  10. Reply to all comments and respond to private messages. Delete messages I don’t want to answer. Accounts look spammy if they don’t talk to each other. 
  11. Mute accounts that post more than 5 reels in one hour. These kinds of accounts rarely engage with my posts. Then I look spammy to the smart tech. 
  12. Visit new followers’ profiles and engage with posts. 
  13. Engage with my timeline. Hide, mute, like or share posts to friends.
  14. Join live broadcasts even for a few minutes. Send comments and reactions while there. This signals that I am a real person.
  15. Engage with my followers’ stories by sending reactions and comments. Gauge feedback to these and mute accounts that are not responsive. 
  16. Remix posts from active followers and share them to my stories. Add music, fun stickers, gifs, scribbles, text and mentions.
  17. When a follower adds the above remix in their stories, immediately share to my stories.
  18. Use voice memos or calls where possible. 
Photo by Steve Johnson

If you are interested in testing this approach, try it on your Instagram account. I must point out that I am niche specific. I am an artist in the NFT community. I focus on graphic design and I’m interested in paintings from visual artists. And though I never tell Instagram what my specific niches are by using captions or hashtags, the smart tech introduced me to blockchain specialists, abstract painters and 3D/animation artists in the NFT space. Then, bear in mind that I spend no more than 30 minutes a day creating at least three stories. I also respond to all of my messages.

No selfies, no bikinis, no bare butts. Only plenty of good music, interesting stickers, and artwork to inspire me. Best of luck.

Categories
People

Music for book marketing

Do you like classical music? Are you squeamish about reading romantic fiction? Well, I am working on a story you might like. I am vaguely romantic in my head, but do not give me any details, please. I do not want to know what happened after the first button came undone.

In this post, I will share a marketing strategy that I am working on for my current WIP.

Photo by Jansel Ferma

After stumbling into the NFT community on Twitter and Clubhouse, I found myself minting my artwork on the tezos blockchain late last week. When I first discovered NFTs in March, I set about minting the treatments for my current and future writing projects to protect the copyright.

Then, after selling out my first three collections of art as of Monday, I had enough to cover the costs of hiring a composer and musician to help me create music for my YouTube channel. My YouTube channel with 43 followers. It is great to know that for once, I am not out of pocket with marketing costs. And if I plan to do bigger projects, I had better sell more art.

Photo by Ludwig Kwan on

You may recall that I had mentioned this music project in an earlier post. I wrote that, “My YouTube channel is dry and ashy so I asked a composer friend to help me out. I am hoping to share the music with artists and creators who like listening to music as they work.”

I am happy to announce that this project is ongoing. After waiting eight weeks to hear back from the composer, I was told last week that his schedule had cleared up. I am officially a music producer. And I imagine that this sounds fancy but it really means working to find the right sound, recording them, and refining arrangements. It has been great waking up every morning this week to find new tracks and librettos in my inbox.

Photo by Budgeron Bach

What we will have arranged is a suite of nine etudes for piano, violin (which he plays) and cello (which I play). Three tracks have been completed so far. Two of them sound fantastic, and one needs to be redone. It will take time for the entire suite to be set in jelly, but it is on the way. I wanted to share one of the tracks with you right now, but the composer will surely m3rd3r me, so I will not.

The purpose of the compositions is to capture the moods of the story and develop emotional ties with readers. The moods are serene, romantic, regal, grounded, and broody. The music is created for writers, artists, and other professionals who enjoy listening to background music as they work. My social audio apps of choice for promoting the music are Greenroom, Clubhouse, and Twitter Spaces. By the time you read this, I will have already spoken about the project on Twitter. And soon after that, I will be asking my networking contacts on the other two apps to consider streaming the songs in their rooms.

Photo by Eleazar Ceballos

Quite a number of armchair marketing experts say that you have to sell a project before you start it. Why will my plan work, even though I am not selling the music? As I mentioned earlier, several people from social audio have bought The Quarter Percent, and they also enjoy classical music. Pitching (shilling) the second book will happen every time I talk about the music. Even for people who do not read, playlists of classical music have value over time. They might share the playlist with friends who may enjoy the music and might want to read my work.

Again, the music is pure marketing, but I will be minting the librettos and artwork for the story. The former process will protect the copyright and selling the latter will generate funds to pay for more bizarre marketing stunts.

Please watch this space because one of the tracks will be featured here when it is uploaded to my channel. I hope that when I do, you will visit my channel and listen in.

Thank you very much for reading. See you soon.

P.S. I am getting better at shilling. Last night, I tricked a friend in Dehli into buying my book off Amazon. In vocal fry, I said, “Yeah, dude, like, did you not read my Twitter bio?” But he also read the reviews out loud while I groaned in agony. So, we are even.

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art artificial intelligence creative writing entrepreneurs fiction opinion People science fiction technology women writing

A reel turnaround

Hello everyone. I am sending happy weekend vibes to you. As you might guess from the title, I’m back on Instagram. Does anyone remember last year how I spent three days on Instagram and then spent another four trying to deactivate my account because they kept burning hashtags and deleting my posts?

On Wednesday, I downloaded the app again and created a fresh new business account. My experience is much more pleasant because I’m not using captions or hashtags. Instead, my method for increasing my engagement has been to make demands and threats. This has worked so far.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I get asked daily why I am not on Instagram, so I created this business account to connect with professionals I meet through social audio.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to make friends with someone who works with Google to train business owners to use Instagram for marketing. Thus, I have a strong incentive to not toss my phone out the window.

Instagram’s smart tech is impressive, something Marvin Stone would have approved of. I’ve only been on there for three days, not scrolling or searching for anything, and it showed me my favourite dish: charcoal grilled eel on sticky rice. The person who posted the image also has his headquarters at Starbucks and like me, he has the same drink every time he goes there. I had better behave or that thing is going to publish all of my secrets.

So in one of the scenes for my upcoming novel, I wrote about a social media application that shows only one post at a time. One of the characters, Mimi Hollingsbrook, is preparing for her work day. Because she works in the Royal Household as Baby Pudding’s nanny, she has agreed to keep a low profile on social media. Against her better judgement, she decides to look at her feed, and notices something in a caption from a famous influencer. She has a meltdown after reading it. Within a few minutes, her response, which is full of expletives, gains 5 million likes. This prompts her to permanently archive her account. In a later scene, Mimi is given a taste of power when a quarter percenter asks her to decide about that influencer’s future.

When writing notes about the social media applications I would be using in the story, I thought about reactions from readers. I was convinced that this feature would never be adopted in the real world. However, at the moment, the trend is to be super minimalist on Instagram, with as few posts as possible. At this rate, if I don’t hurry up and finish drafting, I will be publishing historical fiction.

In further news, I have been sucked into the vortex and I am now managing my social audio apps on two phones. One for Clubhouse, Discord and Twitter, and the other one for Greenroom and Instagram. That’s because one of the apps keeps crashing if I’m in audio spaces on two others. (Don’t ask). Juggling two phones might look cool on TV but I’m an introvert, so it does not feel right.

Why, oh why couldn’t I have found a marketing firm that was good at their job? I could’ve been friendlessly redrafting my new book right now.

Please send prayers. Thank you.

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about me art entrepreneurs fashion opinion People technology women

Scrum Mastered

Scrum for creative focus

Are your goals clearly defined? Your next step is to collaborate with likeminded individuals. Work with practical, updated information. Record results and refine your process as you go. To master the practice of scrum, recognise when it is necessary to regroup and realign. Then do it.

Screen caps from the desktop version

The first iteration of this installation was a mass of crawling text that broke WordPress. Yay! But after it broke my phone’s browser, I decided to update this post with a collage of screen caps from Reader and the main site.

Glitched text on main page and in Reader.

Thankfully, I had saved the screen caps for the tweet design below, so it was easy to make another pass with the two typography posters. I hope you enjoy them.

It’s art and it is business
Categories
People

I just wanna (love) you over

I just wanna (love) you over
Are you moved by the spirit?

If you’re an artist and you feel apprehensive about showing your work, don’t overthink it. Please take a good look at that page of a fashion magazine. I really like it because it shows you don’t need to have the best handwriting ever to use yours as art.

I had one of those days when I felt truly ****** over and it seemed appropriate to scratch something meta on the side. Then, in a different magazine, I found a monochrome photograph of a man’s left hand. I cut it out, dressed it up, and put it in a box. As I photographed it, I realised I had a fun throwback story for Thursday.

Collage from magazine prints and other objects
Skin care for a dry, paper hand

A few years ago, I was approached by a chocolatier out of the blue. Chocolate-making is profitable here, so they were adding a bistro to their shop. They needed a huge favour. They said, we heard that your handwriting is totally unreadable so we want to use it for our handwritten menu cards so that nobody can say we copied theirs. Plus, we don’t know how to translate katakana to French with proper spelling because we don’t know foreign languages.

And I was like, okay.

Daiso is successful because they give good quality advice
Daiso gives good quality advice

The bistro was a gorgeous, modern, stone structure with stained wood interiors and a sunken kitchen. While I sat there staring at the printed out pages of the menu, the chef brought out the first plate of the tasting menu.

One of my friends, who decided she was going to come along and watch, was the designated taster. And she was elated at the chance to eat gourmet food for two hours while I chicken-scratched on menu cards in two languages.

I have to say I really enjoyed that job.

Hoping you have a great Thursday.

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about me art opinion People women writing

Back on the Ferris wheel

My novel has been released into the wild, and I should be celebrating, but I am back on the Ferris wheel. I finally understand why some writers don’t even try. The book promotion game is not necessarily about self-confidence, diligence, originality, or skill. What happened?

THE QUARTER PERCENT is on Amazon.
FREE downloads through Friday, August 7.
Click that link and find out what the fuss is all about.

Playing with stickers on paper. Cucumber.

Friday, July 31, 06:20. I am on an influencer’s website binge-reading suggested articles. In twelve hours, it will dawn on me that this is an elaborate scheme to drive up page views and create demand for her services.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Onion.

Only an hour after expressing my confusion with her process, I see two blog posts demonstrating the effectiveness of promoting free books for a limited time. They presented statistics, and graphs, as well as screen captures. My plan should work fine, but the influencer insists that people will never download a free copy of a book unless it has at least ONE five-star review on Amazon.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Pink.

Keep calm, I get it: readers want to know what to expect, and they want to hear it from another reader. I completely agree. This is why I’m doing the promotion in the first place.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Orange slice lip.

The influencer now advises me to get on social media and spend literally hundreds of hours tweeting and emailing strangers to ask them to read and review a free copy of my book. This contradicts her assertion that people won’t download my book unless it has reviews already.

Screen capture from my publisher’s desktop monitor. Click the image to grab a free copy from Amazon.

I go back to the first message I sent her. Sure enough, in my pitch, there is a longer description and a link to the trailer. There is also an invitation to download a free copy when the promotion starts. It takes me a full day to realise that “books with five-star reviews on Amazon” was code for “don’t wanna read it.”

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Cucumber eyes.

Her next suggestion is that I pay almost US$900 to an elite online book club in exchange for a single honest review by a team, on their website, a process that could take seven weeks.

I need to get off this Ferris wheel. I am told that I can’t promote my book without reviews, and that I won’t get reviews if I don’t promote my book. I stop reading, and in a panic, compose an email to my publisher.

🌺🧡💚❤️🌺

Paperback format available soon. Big ups to my publisher, StelaEVF, for making this possible. Thank you, everyone, for your support.

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about me creative writing fiction People

Oh my gosh…

Google is doing a terrible job stalking me on my new iPhone SE. Look at the ad they showed me (renting out your property circa death) while I was watching that Nicki Minaj video. Like, what exactly are they trying to imply? The Anaconda music video is at 943 million views, so I know you all saw it.

I don’t want none of this ad, hon

I am preparing to publish my first novel, The Quarter Percent, while working on new projects. Hurricane Nisto is still angry but her story will unfold in a different part of this solar system.

The Quarter Percent pays homage to Greek tragedies and is written in an episodic format with a ‘time-as-protagonist’ feel. I wonder if I should worry that some readers may not understand this even after I have suggested “focus on the timeline” in the two blurbs and the trailer? The story itself is based on William Shakespeare’s play Lear of Britain. We meet King Cordial on a Sunday morning and almost two weeks later, on a Friday morning, … read the novel.

Don’t judge me…

I grew up around famous people and I know that for them, every problem is an image problem. The narrative style of The Quarter Percent is meant to illustrate the superficiality of this world. Quarter percenters are obsessed with what others think, and are doomed to live from one crisis to the next.

My question for you is do I need to create a long blurb for the back cover or should I trust readers to work things out for themselves?

Categories
People women writing

Rinse, repeat …

Collage with postage stamps

So far, the new WordPress editor is driving me bonkers and is about to get slapped upside the head with my pimp hand after trying to stitch me up via Siri. 

Warning! Rant …

I spent the last four days trying to delete my Instagram account, which I started four days ago. Before that, I was forced to shred my Twitter posts, all 202 of them and delete my account. Long story short, Twitter is Babylon.

I have sworn that I would never use Facebook products ever. I had to go back on my word because I’m not able to travel overseas this year. 

Instagram’s software decided that my photos were professional-looking. I was prompted to upgrade to a professional account and pay for advertising. They then said that I needed a Facebook page (so they can mine my data and sell me ads). I declined because I wasn’t going to sell my artwork anyway, and their analytics are irrelevant. I was planning to post photos from my archives to establish some credentials. I wanted other artists to pay attention to me when I engaged with them. Instead, from the fourth post in, my photos started vanishing. Soon after, I was not allowed to react to stories, or comment on more than four consecutive posts. So I said, I’m done. Four days later, after several thwarted attempts, I finally did it.

I was miserable the whole time.

You have to understand, I study programming and machine learning so I know how algorithms work. I don’t believe that their algorithms are even-handed. Machine learning code requires human input and all of that “the algorithm changes constantly” nonsense you see in tech magazines, is shorthand for “our programmers are constantly re-drafting the code so that people who are not buying advertisements will feel compelled to do that”.  

I had zero followers and was getting suppressed. It is a clear sign that Facebook exists to sell advertisements. They don’t cater to anyone who refuses to add to their bottom line. I don’t have access to their servers, so there is nothing I can do to change their policy to help myself.

Please do not ask me about all of the accounts I visited in stealth mode. Oh, I spied on everybody: neighbours all the way to my former teachers, classmates, childhood friends, crushes, crushes’ crushes, uni friends, colleagues. People are so nice when they don’t know it’s me commenting.

One of my cousins, who is a fashion designer, sent me a lovely welcome audio message to thank me for joining her army of fans. In real life, her husband banned her from talking to me because I told my cousin she should not allow her husband to name himself CEO of her multinational fashion brand, which she started on her own. He has no business training, mind you. He claims on his social media accounts that he is naturally better at business because he’s a dude and men are traditionally the provider. It’s a very long story – and you can read about it at that link. 

I woke up on Sunday morning to a face full of the power couple in an Instagram live stream. Their marriage is amazing and perfect and stuff so they were cohosting a marriage counselling session with a very good-looking celebrity singer couple. I had to intervene after a guest complained that her man wasn’t ready to have children. She joked that her friend told her to take a sample of his you-know-what while he was sleeping. I quickly jumped in the chat to say that it was assault and battery. (If I had a partner kinda sorta joke that they would impregnate me in my sleep, there’d be no discussion about it: that would be the very end. Don’t say hi to me, get lost forever).

Of course the power couples ignored me. Because, they don’t have any knowledge about fundamental human rights. And why would they? They’re not really helping anyone, they’re building a brand.

 

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People

Don’t ever change yourself

I finally did it. I finally gave into my deep-seated aversion to non-specific socialising. Blogging on WordPress, I had something to talk about: A photo, a piece of art, poetry, a short story or a reflection. I feel better relating to people in context and not simply blurting thoughts out into the ether.

an assortment of stationery cans, a few Disney Frozen and Heartful Fairy, colour

I deleted the Twitter app from my phone. That means I can only access my account from my tablet, my laptop, and every single computer at work. (There are about one hundred of them and I have administrator privileges.)

The thing is, and I know what you’re thinking – that one deletion is not a huge deal – but it’s significant.

What put me over the top was looking at a retrospective from a fashion blog sitting above a post about the World Food Program and other United Nations programs. The juxtaposition feels weird because I’m interested in clothes and I also want to help people.

Another issue that bothers me is that many communities are not being helped by these programs. They are facing food shortages; they don’t have access to clean water or soap. And these wonderful organisations are practically unreachable.  

I know this because I spent every day this month so far trying to reach them. An NPO asked me to help them out of a jam so I did the best I could. I composed emails and PSA copy, brainstormed ideas, edited an entire website’s content, looked up contacts, confirmed contacts, sent direct messages, and tweeted at organisations and individuals. 

One organisation made it very clear that they could help in limited ways, so that’s encouraging. Still waiting for a response. 

I read a PR blurb about another organisation sending food aid to a developing country. They assured me that as long as I contacted their office in country they would be fine. So I asked the NPO to do that. I’m hearing that the NPO can’t raise this organisation on the phone, nor receive any response via email or LinkedIn. 

This evening, I saw a PR blurb from the WFP saying they raised $3 billion to alleviate food shortages in the world. They were so concerned about the plight of displaced families. Does this make any sense? I feel like an alien sometimes – I have no idea what’s happening on this planet. Maybe I’m too naive and it’s time I grew up.

I’ll be spending much of Saturday brainstorming with the NPO about how to get a community with homeless children fed. There is food aid available but the official channels seem completely cut off from the communities that need help the most. And yet, they are somehow able to collect data from those same communities in order to raise funds. When I see all of this ‘Let’s help hungry children’ and ‘Donate now’ on their websites, my heart breaks a little.

Categories
creative writing fashion People women

Shame-free Romance (PG 16+)

 German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi doing the tango
Photo courtesy Chigirev

If romance were like sports, winning would be easy. A game has rules and a clear winner. But as Grace Dent elegantly states it, “real love with actual humans can be an arduous task.” That is why, if you’re bashful, like me, you will be appalled by the idea of approaching a person and saying, “Please, like me, please.” It seems pushy and even rude but lots of men and women do this with no fear whatsoever. I wondered if I was missing out.

Over dinner, a friend helpfully suggested that I try to be bouncy. I thought she meant I was to change into a thigh-split dress and hurl myself from a moving car.

 Rebecca Ferguson in Rogue Nation
Photo courtesy Business Insider

I liked the idea, as it is a subtle way of asking to be introduced. Until another friend explained that she meant I should mislead witnesses with a padded bra.

While my friends discussed these details, I recalled three attention-grabbing techniques favoured by women Glampions. I’ve seen these tactics in sports: The Wedge, the Lob and the Shirt Pull. They are 100% shame free.

Wedge | When a woman is talking to a man you want like, wedge yourself into the conversation with a tango style pasada, and body block. Slowly caress his thigh with your thigh, à la Gisela.

 Lonestar Rollergirls, Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Lobbing | Pretend to misunderstand information.  Lob a series of pointed and penetrating statements at your rival’s pride. For example, Fantastic Bachelor says, “Ai, you look lovely this evening.” Ai says, “Sorry I’m late. I stopped for gas.” You respond, “Oh, no! Go home and get over your case of bad gas, that’s happening right now, at this moment. Remember? You mentioned it in la toilette yesterday!” Keep at it until she evaporates.

Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open
Photo courtesy Fansided

Shirt pulling | Pull up your shirt and expose your tummy, on which you’ve scribbled your phone number. This may cause Fantastic Bachelor’s brain to short circuit. If it does, he will text you over and over until he passes out.

 Photo: London 2012 Olympics

All right. I’m not sure I’ll ever be 100% shame free. But the tango looks enticing. It is a contact sport and it has a very dressy uniform.

Categories
fiction opinion People women writing

Wallis

Wallis Simpson photographed with former king Edward on their wedding day. She was a real feminist, unlike some contemporary feminists who pay lip service to the idea, mistakenly thinking that a strong woman is angry. Faux feminists wouldn't recognise an actual feminist if one stomped on them

The Merry Widow looked weary this afternoon. Her minders took note as they unearthed her body from a trough of pink salt. People said she was well-preserved, meaning it as a compliment. They had no idea how literal that was.

Despite the attention on spa Wednesday, she felt hollow. A long walk outside would have helped but her sponsors forbade prolonged exposure to the sun. They shuttered her windows. They gave her books, soft lights and sweet music to keep her subdued.

From the walls of her bedroom, the covers of Life and Time mocked her. “Parasite of international society has zero net worth. Ha ha ha ha ha!” Sponsors fetched her every three weeks or so. They shoved her in front of cameras to promote various agendas. They fed her milk and farm fresh produce. Only enough, and the nurse made sure, to maintain her trim figure. When she was younger, she had been ruthless about looking petite. These days, she always felt a little hungry.

It is possible to succeed and fail miserably at the same time. She was a strong woman with more ambition than decorum. There were two lessons she hadn’t learned. One, do not offend the wrong people, starting with her sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. And two, when you reach your endgame, stop. The high profile fling was a ploy for social deference. Instead, she found herself serving the establishment for the rest of her life.

~_~

Photo credit: Duke and Duchess of Windsor on their wedding day, June 3, 1937. “Los Duques de Windsor, un amor que cambió el rumbo de la historia,” via Hola magazine