00007 Learning to Code

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Ugh – dropshadow and outline!

I just wanted to add my logo to this (without a dropshadow or outline). Hey, bear with me. It’s little things like this that drive visual people insane. Tough day with this HTML crap – but ended by kicking out three nice labels.

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This is it for tonight. Got rid of the shadow, but not the outline. Ugh.

00006 Financial and Creative

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A new assignment landed on my desk (or monitor) this week – corporate identity for a financial services business. This should be interesting, to visit a world that I find bewildering and occasionally intimidating.

I’ve always been interested in the relationship between finance and creativity. Beethoven said “No one should drive a hard bargain with an artist”, but he wrote works on commission for various members of the royal and political families. Without financial backing, Beethoven would have been playing piano for tips at some biergarten in Vienna.

I doubt the IRS appreciates creativity, which is why it took two weeks to eliminate the creativity from my tax returns. Personally, I find it hard to jump back and forth between creative work and crunching numbers. When I’m forced to confront bookkeeping, I stay at it for the entire day.

Why are finance and creative so different? Often at odds – but totally dependent upon each other. Are there good examples in business where the two come together? Are there people who excel in both? I get tired of the left brain/right brain thing, but there must be people who use their whole brain?

 

0004 The Empty IN Box

Its been months, took three hours to sort, delete and file – and this morning I visited an empty IN BOX! It had reached nearly 800 emails and was driving me crazy.

TODAY, I’ll unsubscribe to a dozen retail marketers. I don’t know why some of them think that daily, even multiple daily emails won’t eventually drive customers away. If I find a way to automate this email blitz, I’ll post it here.

0002 Ugly No Name Beer Store

This voyage of discovery is tougher than I’d imagined. If you’ve just joined me – I’m trying to visit one new place a day. Yesterday I went to Huron Meadows Metropark.

I should explain. Last week, Bree and I had a delicious Italian meal at Ciao Amici’s, a charming little Italian Restaurant in Brighton. We chose to be seated outside, along the sidewalk. It was delightful and it occurred to me – I had never eaten at an authentic Italian Restaurant until this year! (Both times in Brighton).

It’s embarrassing that the only NEW destination I could think of was the ugly ass beer store on Dixie Highway over by Waterford Hill. Waterford is FLAT! Ironically, Waterford Hill is in Clarkston. We don’t even have OUR OWN hill! But, we have a hell of a lot of beer and liquor stores!

LIQUOR FINE WINE

This particular store, painted rhodamine red, has a sandwich-board sign boasting “Largest CRAFT BEER Selection”, which sounds interesting, I like beer. They have lots of beer, okay prices, lots of booze. I chose a six pack of Singapore IPA by Saugatuck Brewing Company, bought an instant lottery ticket. The guy at the counter was relatively friendly. I didn’t count the beers and can’t confirm or deny the Largest Selection thing. There’s a fitness center next door and you might sit in your car, drink your beer and watch the endomorphic women jog up and down the sidewalk, high-fiving each other.

I thought I’d do some research and find nice things to say about my town, which led me to city-data.com. The opening image. Asphalt.

Dixie Highway

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll break into a neighbor’s house (considering I’ve never been to the Waterford Jail). It took some hunting, but the ugly beer store does have a name: Reserve Spirits Fine Wine and Cigars.

I will try harder. There are bright spots nearby. Sorry for the lame post – just fyi, the lottery ticket was a $10 winner.

0001 Huron Meadows Metropark

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We wanted to take a short hike and Huron Meadows Metropark turned out to be a real surprise. This 1500 acre park is just a couple miles south of Brighton. Interesting that you could throw a kayak or canoe in the Huron River and in a week or so paddle onto Lake Erie. News to me – the Huron River begins at Indian Springs Metropark (a few miles from my house) and 130 miles later, you’d be at the Lake Erie Metropark in Brownstown.

It was a nearly perfect, cool, sunny day and Bree and I hiked along wide cross country ski trails, then along a narrow foot trail through oak, hickory and beech woods, then made out on the edge of the Huron River. It’s good to be middle aged and in love. We saw only six or seven people the whole time and I wonder why people aren’t flocking to such a lovely park?

Now… I’m thinking – I could put in at Indian Springs, pick up Bree in Brighton and paddle to Lake Erie. In a month we’d go over Niagara Falls and make Manhattan by December.

I was inspired by the discovery and now wonder – would it be possible to visit a new place every day? I’ll ponder that question further in the future. Being an optimist, I’ve titled this entry 0001. My first consecutive day of discovery!

Map Image: “Huron River Michigan map” by Tim Kiser

Navigating by cell phone…

I’d like to know – does anyone else out there ENJOY getting lost on a road trip? Does anyone else get a kick out of driving without a navigation system, seeing towns and cities without a planned route?

I turned off my phone while driving from Sandusky back to Waterford and took in the sights. It added a few hours but I saw people, houses, farms and industry.

Try it. Get off the interstate. Get lost and you might find yourself.
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Oh! Hello again… Ready for an epic, public failure. Again.

There’s a reason that this journal is called at least 27 things, its actually an understatement. I often feel I’ve got a hundred irons in the fire.

A year has passed since I left my steady job at the printing company and so much has changed. You’ll find me a much happier, relaxed and optimistic person. Having control of your day to day life is generally invigorating. There is no one to stop you from working in the garden all day – except yourself. I manage to stay focused about 90% of the time – mostly because I’m determined to do this for 10 – 15 years. I’ve had my hands on nearly 600 packaging projects and the gardens look better.

I’d like to make writing a habit, a daily activity that I enjoy – so here goes – I’ll have a one day streak when this is posted! My problem, which is common, is that I’d like to do everything PERFECTLY- or not at all. That’s a terrible character flaw. Anything worth doing is worth failing miserably, repeatedly, publicly. 

My aspirations for year two of Bennett & Bennett involve handling more of the production aspects of product packaging and expanding my photographic capabilities, i.e. buying a high end digital camera and lens. I’m starting tomorrow by visiting a digital label printing facility in Sandusky, OH and paying for the cool, carbon graphite, camera tripod I found on sale.

That’s three RISKS in one day.  A lot has changed in a year and taking these risks assures that much will change in the year ahead. So… Welcome back! Stayed tuned. I’ll  ignore my fears and be back tomorrow.