Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why I Don't Own The Interweb

It's tough being a visionary.

When I was just five years old I sent the concept of the interweb to J. C. R. Licklider. Reluctant at first, it took him a full year before he finally went public with the idea in 1960. Technology caught up and it became a global phenomena in the '80s and then commercialized in the '90s. All along I urged the powers that be to keep my name out of it.

Why? The world of idea generation isn't always a pleasant place. I had a few hiccups when I envisioned betamax, the new Coke, blue ketchup and the 1970 AMC Gremlin and I didn't need another lemon on my record. So, the service belongs to everyone, not me. It's safer that way. No one gets upset at me if it goes all wonky.

As of 2011 more than 2.2 billion people use the service and having that many people in one place leaves the possibility open for certain icky factors to creep in. But, being human means taking the bad with the good. And the interweb is a human experience: therefore it's only natural that there will be 'web bad'.

Just remember, it's not my fault.

Have to go. I'm working on a beer container made of recycled organic pretzels that you don't have to tip to drink. It opens on the bottom and you just hold it above your mouth. Works with gravity. To stop the flow you just turn it upside down, or put your thumb over the opening. And you can eat the empties. Very environmentally friendly. You heard it here first.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

3 Years...

And you all thought I wouldn't remember. Ha! Today marks the three-year anniversary of Rand's Place (hoo-ha-ramalama-ding-dong!)

This haven of pretentious banter, somewhat wacky and sometimes questionable logic was launched Tuesday, October 27, 2009.

In celebration, I present some images from posts over the past three years.

Thank you for allowing me to share some work  
Images from the past (I'm the one on the right)

Home action

Colleagues in action

Three dimensional work

Images from my backyard

'Poke in the eye' moments

Reflected images

Graphic explorations

Preposterous theories
Intense tributes

Silly Bag Lady moments

Personal definitions
Popular revelations

Professional moments

Repurposed punctuation
Notes to Mom

Business theories

And some loves lost.

Thanks for all your visits and comments!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

You, Me, David Niven and the Universe

About three this morning I woke up with the perfect introduction to this post. And I remember thinking at the time that I'll never remember this because those great ideas that we have in our dreams never stick around. But when I got up the thought was still there. I went, "Cool." Then I fed the cat and brushed my teeth, answered a phone call and watched the news and checked my email. And then I looked around for my great intro from three a.m. to find it gone. Fickle things, those dream thoughts.

It was about how many of us live our life from a myopic viewpoint. We have to because it's the stuff closest to us that affects us more often than not. It's the little dog nipping at our heels that gets our attention, not the big one on the other side of the fence. And when we're that used to looking at stuff up close it's no wonder that when we look up and try to make sense of the big picture that our vision is a bit blurred. It's like looking at something fuzzy but still there. Like a thought in a dream. It takes a few blinks to focus. Or corrective lenses. (Telescopes, on the other hand don't help. They just see things far away.)

Maybe we're all just absorbed in trying to being perfect or pay the bills or we have David Niven dancing with Deborah Kerr in a corner of our mind, saying, "Keep the circus going inside you, keep it going, don`t take anything too seriously, it'll all work out in the end."

The above diagram is a crass generalization of course, because there are a million variations. Everyone's would be different based on their circumstances. And I didn't have the time to do everyone's. But you get the idea.

I don't consider this exercise a neurotic fixation on the big picture but more a conversation about the value of putting our relationships with others in their place. Being conscious of the big picture and where we are in relation to the influences around us, as we all move toward the future, helps us stop being freaked so often. And it permits us to recognize and ignore whatever is not important.

Gotta go. Somewhere in society cowbells are ringing and I have to go ignore them consciously.


Thanks for the feedback from FB friends who were kind enough to comment on a rough of this graphic. Thanks to Ron (who wanted more "you"... and cowbells), Linda who agreed about the cowbells thing, Kristy who thought the area that was then "things that are not possible" should really be "pie in the sky things", and Vonnie who thought the "you" should be closer to the "me". And thanks also to Manda, Charlotte, Christine and Jen for validation and moral support.

Friday, October 19, 2012

That'll Be The Day

This post is early, Pilgrim. It'll have to come back tomorrow at high noon but not after that because then it will be late and people's time is valuable. So it'll be back tomorrow. Will the post be done by then, all prettied up and presented with a bow? Ha! That'll be the day.

Wait. Bright, shiny object.

This phrase was said twice in a 1956 film called The Searchers, (amazingly, the photo-illustrations above are images from the same movie). The first time Mr. Wayne said it was as an answer to, "You wanna quit, Ethan?" And the second time was in response to "I hope you die." To which the Duke (who wasn't officially the Duke yet) said, "That'll be the day." What a great phrase that is. Short, direct, to the point and a little sarcastic when used in the proper manner.

There are so few phrases in the English lexicon that have added as much to the well being of the world. Heck, it stopped WW3 before it started. Trust me. True. And how many a crime or an unwanted baby has not been conceived because of this phrase? Think about various potential messy situations where when the bad guys were on the verge of doing what they did and they had the idea but instead of doing it they considered it but said to themselves, "That'll be the day!" Things like this never make the news. Think of all those suicide bombers. They may not even know English but all they'd have to learn is this one phrase, say it and then they could go home to their families instead of blowing themselves up. What if we were to teach people that the only answer to "Hungry?" or  "Poor?" or "In trouble?" is "That'll be the day." Then maybe the phrase could be put up for the Pulitzer Peace Prize.

So when tomorrow is actually today and I'm waiting for answers to difficult questions; I've decided that waiting for a time when more people answered with this phrase to be well worth waiting a bit longer for. Come back then. We'll have a party.

And won't that be a day?


The Searchers was a favorite of several directors including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and George Lucas. It was said to be the first Western in which racism and sexuality was explored in a serious and unpretentious way. Buddy Holly was so impressed with the phrase he and Jerry Allison wrote a song about it in June 1956.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Cure For The Sadly Compassionate

You've met my Inner Bag Lady. She's invented a new therapy for those who are confused about what profound crises to care for. It's called Intentional Compassion Fatigue Therapy (ICFT).

More and more we're subjected to all kinds of social unrest, wars, world poverty, global climate change, individual rights, and environmental issues. Add to that the mess that remains after natural disasters like floods, storms and earthquakes. And let's not leave out local causes providing programs for the homeless, the disadvantaged, or the displaced. Then, there are our own families and friends – chances are there is woe going on somewhere in there as well. Society dictates we're supposed to care about all these things but it's all so overwhelming. How can we decide where our concern, charity and compassion should be placed, and in what order?

Inner Bag Lady, of course, has an opinion. "The question should be: Why do we have to care at all? Like, hey, we're busy people. Do we have time for all this lovey-dovey-group-huggy stuff? Just who is responsible for making us responsible for others, anyway? Who are we supposed to be, Mother Theresa?"

Those questions led to her developing the Intentional Compassion Fatigue Therapy. Her three-day getaway seminars include workshops on techniques for becoming so overloaded with strife that any compassion that should creep into your mind will hightail it out of there. Workshops in her seminars include:

1) Marrying the Media. Learn techniques on reading as many newspapers, monitoring as many news sites and watching as many news shows as you can and how this will help your progress to compassion fatigue. Discover how journalism analysts argue that the media has caused widespread compassion fatigue by saturating their pages with stories of tragedy. Theoretically, this causes the public to become cynical or resistant to helping people and it can work for you as well
Gratuitous meaningless 
music demonstrations daily!
2) The Beauty of Doom and Gloom. Fringe religions, wonderfully wacky political groups and anarchist sites offer more fuel for the fire. Find out which ones are the most effective and how to sign up for their e-newsletters and RSS feeds
3) Jobs that Work Gooder. Professions like law and health care are said to be several times more likely to be compassion fatigue friendly than others. Those who have enormous capacity expressing empathy tend to be better disposed for compassion fatigue. Explore these and other fantastic career choices
4) Luring Charities by Phone. Find out how donating and giving your personal information to one telemarketing charity will popularize you and how you'll be besieged by thousands of others with no effort on your own part
5) Beating Yourself with a Sick Granny. This special session includes listening to your host whine ceaselessly for hours about chronic illnesses and failing health issues she has met, and
6) Commercials Worth Watching. Get expert advice about the benefits of watching ads that contain crying babies, weeping celebrities or sorrowful looks from puppies. Free DVD given at the end of the workshop that contains two hours of never-ending pleas.

You too can discover the peace of a decrease in productivity, the inability to focus, and the development of new feelings of incompetency and self doubt.

Workshops take place on exciting street corners, deserted parking lots and abandoned warehouses. The latest in high tech media is provided by looking through shop windows. Comfy accommodations on park benches can be provided at an extra charge. Group rates are available.

Sign up for Inner Bag Lady's next workshop seminar and get your "Who Cares, Not Me" bumper sticker for free.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chill Out, It's All Cool

Let's talk about cool. Not the temperature kind, and not the keeping your bearings under stress kind: the quality of stuff kind.

According the Wikipedia this kind of "cool" is an admired aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style, influenced by and a product of the Zeitgeist (the spirit of the times). Because of the varied connotations of cool the word has no single meaning. They say Aristotle got the concept of cool way back. His notion of cool is to be found in his ethical writings, most particularly the Nicomachean Ethics. Contemporary cool began in 1940's hot jazz clubs where they'd open up the windows late at night to clear the hot, smokey air and gave birth to cool jazz and the beat generation.

Cool is a funny thing. You can't hold it or possess it. And you can't catch it like you can a cold. You can only observe it and appreciate it. What is cool to you may not be cool to anyone else and that's okay because you can appreciate that there are different flavors of cools.


The factors that make up cool have changed over time. And cool has been maligned, misused and overused by people who don't understand the concept but just wanted to appear cool. But at the end of the day certain things will always be totally cool to me. Being able to play while you work. That first kiss with someone who you never thought you'd be able to kiss – and finding them kissing you back. Reading a book that grabs you as soon as you crack open the cover and doesn't let you go until you reach the last page. It's seeing a piece of art or design that makes you stop and go "wow". It's hearing a little kid's uncontrollable laughter and listening to a musician perform for you what they've spent a lifetime practicing. It's knowing that someone is not just listening to you but is hearing you. Cool is seeing someone struggle for so long and finally succeeding.

And it's someone who doesn't think they're cool at all... but are. Like you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

There Just Ain't No Justice

For a few weeks each year nature sends notice that winter approaches. Temperatures begin to drop, squirrels rummage for food to fill their larders for the coming winter, and it's all heralded by a dramatic show of autumnal color.

In reality we are witnessing a heinous crime.

The Unfair, Cruel and Inhumane Manufacturing Employment Practices of the Common Deciduous Tree
It's a sad example of how a factory employs workers when times are good and discards them the moment things get a bit difficult.

The industry of turning water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar is called photosynthesis. Trees excel at this business. Roots are drilled to take water from the ground and leaves are employed to extract carbon dioxide from the air and use the sunlight they absorb to turn the water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. Leaves are hard workers. They toil tirelessly seven days a week from sun up to sundown without overtime pay, health care, sick days, lunch or dinner breaks, vacations at the beach or chance for promotion.

Both oxygen and glucose (sugar) are highly valuable products. The tree finds a ready market for the oxygen (people use it to live and breathe) and uses the sugar either for maple syrup, or to open up new branches. When everything is hunky dory and the raw materials are plentiful, the leaves of deciduous trees are kept rich with the promise of endless chlorophyll for all.

But this turns out to be just a ruse on the part of the tree's management team.

In the autumn when the days get shorter and dryer, management gets the jitters and begins to think about curbing production until the supply of raw materials and cheap energy is back to where they like it (and to ensure their year-end bonuses are safe). While they have enough product stored in their trunks to sustain them until next year, they say they can't afford to feed unproductive workers. They need to cut costs. So what do they do? They shut down the shop floor. The supply of green chlorophyll is cold-bloodedly shut off from the leaves, leaving them a ghastly yellow and orange color. They're left out in the cold to whither and die silently and drift to the ground to be cursed at by people who have to rake.

This happens every year.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Zen Of Nothing

"There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do." ~ Bill Watterson 
Nothing has always gotten such a bad rap. It's a word people use to denote things lacking importance, value, relevance, or significance.

Western philosophers have bitched back and forth over the centuries about whether the concept of "nothing" even existed. Parmenides argued that "nothing" cannot exist because for something to exist it must be real. Aristotle provided a work-around by stating "nothing" is a container in which objects can be placed.

Common man philosophers nowadays say that when you have nothing you have nothing left to lose (geez, that would make a really great song). It's a zen thing I suppose.

You may have something there when you're happy with nothing and everyone else aspires to have everything (and can't possibly). Truth is, there are huge benefits with having, being, or representing nothing. If you have nothing in your pockets and nothing to declare you whisk through airline security like nobody's business. If you are privy to nothing and witness nothing no one will ever call you to testify in court. If you normally have nothing to say people will stop and listen when you finally do. And if you have nothing in mind, at least you have lots of room should something happen along. When you have nothing on your agenda you have plenty of time to knock about and look around at stuff you probably wouldn't have noticed otherwise... then there are the naps you suddenly have time for.

So maybe there's more to nothing than we think. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Birthday Present To You


Home video taken today from my home in Canada. Geez, I hope it looks okay... All my best to all. Love Rand

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

10 Ways To Get Your Very Own Creative Block

It's such a luxury: creative block. You get to take a break and do nothing but complain. And the angst associated with it proves one to be a true professional because who else could get creative block than those who are truly creative. It goes under a number of different names: writer's block is the most recognized – first described in 1947 by psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler. Artist's block and blogger's block are becoming just as well known.

There is much written material these days on how to get rid of one (like they're a bad thing or something), but really no literature at all about how to get one. So for those whose minds just won't turn off, who are working too hard and needing to take a break; I offer these tips:
1) Stop working. Rule number one. If you're a writer, stop writing. If you're an artist, stop. You can't expect a decent creative block to hang out for long if you're still working
2) Do not sleep. Giving the brain a break and putting it to sleep will just give it a chance to rejuvenate itself. Similarly, daytime naps are super bad
3) Do not read books or surf the web. There is a danger that the stimulation that comes from the work of other people will keep the gears turning in your mind. Too many books and sites contain highly creative thoughts which may give you ideas of your own. Instead, try the herding of cats in your mind thing
4) Change your socks only when holes appear. I don't know why this is effective but trust me, it works. If you find yourself on the way to the sock drawer, practice being distracted by bright, shiny objects
5) Stay away from art galleries, museums and coffee table books. Again, it's the stimulation thing. As an alternative you might try watching the daily debate on the political channel or zone out in front of the Shopper's Channel. Sure to frustrate
6) Stay out of the shower. Too many times great ideas and inspiration comes from menial tasks that let the mind flow. Same goes with doing dishes, washing the car and watching grass grow
7) Personal grooming should be avoided. Try to look the part at least. The more tortured you appear and the more you look at yourself both in the mirror and through the eyes of others, the more real your creative block will seem; until it is
8) Eat comfort food. Heavy foods will slow the mind and pave the way for your creative block. Things like pound cakes with super sweet icing, pizza, extra greasy foods and roast beef will keep you weighed down and unresponsive. You might want to stay away from greens and fruit
9) Do not go for long, calming walks. Breathing fresh air and performing any type of exercise may be good for the body but do nothing for brains longing for a block, and/or
10) Yell at inanimate objects. Practice blaming innocent things on your lack of fame and progress. And do not see the humor in yelling at one's microwave. It defeats the purpose.

Many people will find some things will work for them and some things won't. That's completely okay because your creative block should be personalized for maximum longevity. There are no rules. 

Good luck and hope this helps!