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Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

DayFour – Painting

In Planning on June 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Paint

*UPDATE – Results here*

The Reason:

Drawing, sculpture, and painting played a major role in the early stages of my life.  As nerdy as it sounds, I used to create and sketch my own comic book characters in class back in 4th grade.  After I grew out of that phase, I began painting Bob Ross-esque oil landscapes and sold them to my friends’ parents, my family, and my parent’s co-workers.  It quickly evolved into a legitimate revenue source (about $150 per painting) for a simple hobby that I enjoyed doing in my spare time.  Unfortunately after heading to college, creating art began to slowly fade out of my life.  So it’s time to bring it back.

The Plan:

A few years ago, I had an idea to re-engage with my artistic side on a small business venture where we would sell artwork of iconic figures in a vector, duo-tone style.  Here is an example of a Marvin Gaye piece that was created back then:

marvin

The business idea was that our products could be ordered with any two colors (swap out the red and yellow for colors that match your home decor)…but that’s as far as I’ll go without fully exposing the idea.  So the plan is to relaunch that dream with another 36×48 oil painting.

I have chosen Bob Marley as my initial inspirational icon accompanied by the Trenchtown Rock lyric: “One good thing about music, When it hits you feel no pain, So hit me with music”.   Below is the image it will be based on and the color palette I plan on using:

p15021di2c8 Dig_My_Olive_Branch

Let me know what you think of the image, colors, and/or quote…I’m open to suggestions.

The Outcome:
If the painting is successful, I will dedicate Saturday mornings to building out inventory of paintings to actually launch this project again.

DaySeventeen – Connect with Friends

In Planning on June 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Friendship

The Reason:

By this time, I would have spent 16 days doing things for myself.  Reporting on my own journey and experiences…and I should be tired of myself by now.  This will allow me to re-engage in the normal world and see what everyone else has been experiencing.

Above everything else that I am attempting to accomplish, my relationship with with family and friends is what really brings the most value to my life and has helped me achieve most of what I have already done.  Sometimes a small, unexpected call from a friend is all you need and goes a long way, so this day I will use all those rollover minutes I’ve accumulated.

The Plan:

Spend the entire day simply connecting with friends.

That equates to….Reconnecting on Facebook. Twitter followups. Instant Messaging. Phone Calls. GChats. Breakfast with anyone that is available.  Text messages. Lunch downtown in Soho (maybe with co-workers).  One of my favorite shows, Pilobolus, with friends. Dinner. Laughs. Good times.

The Outcome:

I’m sure the day will be filled with smiles, food, drinks, laughter, good stories, and funny voicemails.  A nice way to close my retreat by connecting with those that bring value to my life.

Let me know if you want to meet up.

DayEight – Philosophy Day

In Planning on June 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Philosophy pic

*Update: Results Here*

The Reason:
I’ve always considered myself a thinking man.  I also think it is important to think freely, seek truth, and challenge your own beliefs/perspective.  In my limited experiences with philosophy, it has always delivered me to a place of good mental exercise.   So why not steal some wisdom from scholars that dedicated their lives to this type of thought.  Every man needs a few quotes or philosophies to live by so this will start my treasure hunt.

The Plan:
I actually wanted this day to be simple but was unsure of where to begin.  There were tons of Philosophy groups on Meetup.com that would have thrown in the midst of philosophy lovers but I ultimately couldn’t find a meetup that was timed right and/or were discussing the type of philosophy I need.  I eventually got a great recommendation from Aardvark (vark.com) to read the Philosophy Gym which offers a great read that will exercise all those thinking muscles.  In addition, I will dust off my copy of The Story of Philosophy which covers all the classic philosophers from Plato to Nietzsche.

I’ve always found the subway to be a great place for me to read with distractions I can tune out or pay attention to when I need a periodic break. The plan is to hop on the D train to get a combo of underground/above ground views and take it to the end to Coney Island, grab a hot dog, read on the Boardwalk, then ride around on MTA all day until I’m done stretching my thoughts.

The Outcome:

A list of quotes that I enjoyed.  An open and free thinking mind.

As a followup for a later date, I was also pointed to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as a resource for great articles on many topics: http://plato.stanford.edu/

Navigating My Recess

In Planning on June 20, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Based on feedback, this post will remain here.  Each day will eventually link to posts detailing my plans as well as updates after I accomplish each day:

The Archive is a sequential order of posts.

DayFifteen – NYC Tour

In Planning on June 20, 2009 at 9:57 pm

The Reason:

I live in NY, I love NY and I don’t know if I can ever leave.  The city consumes all my time but I don’t recognize the cultural, historical, and even communal significance of my surroundings.  I want to become familiar with the nooks and crannies that make up this concrete jungle.  If I strip away the distractions of wild singing bums on the subway, street vendors selling fake purses, midtown suits, office buildings, and yellow cabbies …I will be exposed to the riches that lay underneath the sea of people.

The Plan:

header_bus

Yup. That’s right.

It’s corny but I am gonna Hop On and Hop Off that bus filled with curious, sweaty Europeans venturing all around the city.  I’ve always wanted to do this but never felt it was appropriate or even acceptable as a native NYer.  But why not act as a tourist and explore the city… plus the deal is too good. Check out the site … the Uptown-Downtown tour is only $54 (if you want to join me, please do, its so damn cheap!):

  • Downtown
  • Uptown & Harlem
  • Brooklyn
  • Night Tour
  • CityLine Harbor Cruise
  • Museum of NYC

Outcome:

Gain knowledge of the city.  Scout out interesting locations in the city. Practice a little photography.  Meet a few tourists.

Why Am I Taking Time Off?…

In Personal Brand on June 15, 2009 at 1:30 am

When people find out I am taking a few weeks off from work, I’ve received a variety of reactions:

Mischievous Smirk – “Are you interviewing?  Are you leaving your job?”  This has been the typical response from co-workers.

Confused Nod of Agreement – “Oh ok, that’s cool. What’s going on?”  They know something is going on but unsure whether to ask me why due to the potential for personal issues that may be serious, religious, or health related.

Elated Smile – “That’s amazing…when exactly and what are you planning?”  People that know recognize this isn’t just a few days off from work, there is a method to the madness.

Notions of Travel – “Where are you going?”  A lot of people automatically think I am going on a major trip across the world to backpack for weeks…which would be cool too.

I never knew this notion of creating time for myself could seem so abstract.  So far my responses have been as simple as, “I just need time to take care of non-work related things in my life.”  If I see an opening, I extend the conversation to clarify why I need this time:

1. Too Many Ideas

My head is flooded with so many ideas but I never have the time to write them down, vet the possibilities, test my hypothesis, or even just pass it along to the right people.

2. Too Many Passions, No Focus

I have many passions… some related and others not, but I never have time to nurture or explore these passions.  This time would help me define how I prioritize each in my life.  Elevate some towards a career path? Push one to a hobby? or just peripherally stay interested in another?

3. Too Little Time

The common denominator. Between a job, girlfriend, family, and friends…when do you have time for yourself.  I struggle to find enough time to really invest in myself and the passions that drive my life.

Ironically I work in advertising/marketing where my primary focus is to develop/promote/elevate our agency’s brands, but spend a minuscule amount of time investing in my own brand. That is why I am taking time off.

If time is money, I’ll take this time to invest in my own personal brand.parking meter

DayEleven – Mac Workshops

In Planning on June 14, 2009 at 5:46 pm

macworkshop

The Reason:
I compare my computer to my brain, not only because the similar functionality between all the wiring, nodes, etc. but also because I use only about 10% of its true power.  If you could somehow capture the potential to utilize more of your brain power, why wouldn’t you?  So that is essentially what I am attempting with the two technologies that I spend the most time with…my iPhone and Macbook Pro.  Hopefully this will increase my productivity and learn new tricks that can enhance my creativity to ultimately spend less time my laptop.

The Plan:

Apple offers free workshops at their retail stores that cover a full spectrum of topics..key word is free.  Check it out here:

Mac Workshops

So my plan is to sit in the air conditioned Soho Mac store all day and take in all the free Mac knowledge.  I will also have access to the Genius Bar so I can ask questions and take diagnostics test all day.  It will also be perfect timing to get to know the iPhone’s upgraded software functionality.

Workshops I’m interested in:
iPhone
Mac OS Leopard
iPhoto
Keynote
Photoshop
Presentation Workshops
iMovie and iDVD

The Outcome:
Become one with my Mac as well as streamline all my computer technology to save time.

DayThree – Music Creation

In Planning on June 14, 2009 at 1:34 am

music

The Reason:
Music is a part of everyone’s live.  You can’t avoid it and I used spend a major portion of my time when I was younger experimenting with sound.  I am not a trained musician, I don’t know how to play any instruments (I can bang on some drums though), I can’t read music, but I have always felt that I could apply my natural creativity to the playground of sound.  On summer I was introduced to a program called Impulse Tracker(outdated now) that became an obsessive hobby that relieved stress.  Here are a few tracks that I created about 8 years ago (kinda primitive and video game sounding):

Track titled “Untold Stories”

Track titled “Dre’s Symphony”

Track titled “Dark Tales”

I want to re-engage with this passion and at least experiment to see what can materialize.  In addition, if I ever try to create video/film that requires a soundtrack/music, I need the confidence to provide a solution.

The Plan:
Take over my sound engineer friend’s in-house studio to attempt to develop a few tracks using his MPC.  Tracks that I am considering to sample:

Fleetwood Mac – Albatross
Oren Lavie – Her Morning Elegance
Sebatien Tellier – Anything he has done

By the way, if you don’t know these tracks already, check them out… I love them all.

The Outcome:
Sample a few tracks that have intrigued me over the years and have some fun.

DayTwo – Photography

In Planning on June 14, 2009 at 1:04 am

photography

*UPDATE – Results Here*

The Reason:

I love beautiful artwork and capturing under appreciated or even overlooked imagery.  I also am passionate about film which is tightly connected through capturing the best angles, lighting, color treatment, etc.  In college I had an extremely fulfilling photography course plus I have access to SLR and DLSR cameras, so why not polish up my skills.

The Plan:

After getting some suggestions, I landed on a themed photo project that I will submit to jpgmag.com.  If you are unfamiliar, the site presents themes for photographers to submit their work and the community votes for their favorites.  The winning selections get a monetary prize and published in their quarterly magazine.  Pretty cool.  Here are the themes that I will aim for:

Color Theory – Photos that are mainly one color

The World of Tomorrow – Photos from the future

Gender Roles – Gender in society

A successful shot will be a combination of being in the right place at the right time as well as having a creative approach.  If you have any ideas, please let me know and wish me good luck!

The Outcome:

I will have a day’s worth of focused photography and some practice under my belt.  Plus the constructive criticism will help me next time I am out shooting again.

The Web Is Your Friend(s)

In Lessons Learned, Planning on June 11, 2009 at 2:44 am

How do you choose what to do during your recess and prepare for it?  You can talk to your friends and acquaintances about it, but you may not have the time and access to make this possible.   There are several web options to make an informed decision utilizing all the social elements of the web.  Skip the search engines and find an informed stranger.

Picture1

For example, when I was planning on having a photography day… I had a plethora of options from taking a free class, talking to a photographer, reading some books, watching instructional videos but was quickly paralyzed by the options.  After using the social web for advice, I landed on executing a JPGmag.com project to explore my creativity and practice my photography skills.   Here are some tactics I used to leverage the collective knowledge across the web:

Twitter – Search and Ask.  Do a search to see who are the influencers in your specific subject then reach out and ask them for advice.

Facebook – Your friends and family are a major resource.  Let them know you are looking for some info/advice and someone will guide you in the right direction.

Make it Public – Put it out there for the world to know. Status updates, profiles, tweets, email signature, whatever is at your fingertips to distribute your request.  The man sitting next to you on the train may end up being a wealth of wisdom and expertise.

Aardvark – Great new service that connects you to people that are experts on specific topics.  Check it out at vark.com…this was really helpful when I had specific questions.

Forums – This space is a bit strange but is a true community of indiviuals with a wealth of knowlegdge that want to share. Take advantage.

If you have additional suggestions, let me know.  Thanks.