2021 Collages :: 101 ->

New Year. New Work.

Want one? After your purchase, I make 3 collages. You choose your favorite and I send it to you. Easy peasy. Buy one for $35.

Want one? After your purchase, I make 3 collages. You choose your favorite and I send it to you. Easy peasy. Buy one for $35.

> See 2020 Collages

Handling & Sausage Making

Thank you for joining the millions of Americans collecting these collages. A few things to know when you get yours.

  1. Keep turning it around until you find just the composition you like.
  2. There is a velcro strip more or less centered on the back. Handy for experimenting with hanging or framing.
  3. They are a little fragile and have been coated with a matte finish. This insouciance is part of the charm, non?

Sausage Making

  1. I do them around 6 am, Monday through Friday in dim light.
  2. I give myself 15 minutes to complete it.
  3. All the source materials are from the Sunday New York Times and wallpaper scraps and samples from my friend, a master hanger.
  4. Some days I limit myself to 3 or 4 pieces of materials.
  5. Some days I draw on them.
  6. I do my best to ensure that no source image is recognizable for what it actually is.

 

 

 

 

2021 Collages :: 1-100

New Year. New Work.

Want one? After your purchase, I make 3 collages. You choose your favorite and I send it to you. Easy peasy. Buy one for $35.

Want one? After your purchase, I make 3 collages. You choose your favorite and I send it to you. Easy peasy. Buy one for $35.

> See 2020 Collages

Handling & Sausage Making

Thank you for joining the millions of Americans collecting these collages. A few things to know when you get yours.

  1. Keep turning it around until you find just the composition you like.
  2. There is a velcro strip more or less centered on the back. Handy for experimenting with hanging or framing.
  3. They are a little fragile and have been coated with a matte finish. This insouciance is part of the charm, non?

Sausage Making

  1. I do them around 6 am, Monday through Friday in dim light.
  2. I give myself 15 minutes to complete it.
  3. All the source materials are from the Sunday New York Times and wallpaper scraps and samples from my friend, a master hanger.
  4. Some days I limit myself to 3 or 4 pieces of materials.
  5. Some days I draw on them.
  6. I do my best to ensure that no source image is recognizable for what it actually is.

 

 

 

 

Late 2020 Collages

My friend Rick is a master wallpaper hanger and aficionado. He gives me scraps to use in my collages.

In this latest batch, I’m working fast to grease the composition and color wheels. I make one first thing in the morning before the day begins. Additional elements are cut from magazines. I’m experimenting with a few constraints. They are all roughly 6″ squares, in some I only allowed 3 additional pieces to be added. As I progressed I’d add some drawn elements before layering on the magazine pieces.

Inspired by these folks on Instagram Austin KleonMichael DeSutter, Elise Margolis, Robert Hardgrave, Andy Burgess, and Paul Inglis.

Want one? After your purchase, I make 3 collages. You choose your favorite and I send it to you. Easy peasy. Buy one for $35.

 

Want one? After your purchase, I make 3 collages. You choose your favorite and I send it to you. Easy peasy. Buy one for $35.

>> See 2021 Collages

 

Arizona

This was at nearby North Mountain and the Dreamy Draw hiking park.

We’re in Arizona this winter visiting with family and other friends through the southwest and of course hiking.

A tangled web on the west side of Phoenix.

DJ Dick – April 27, 2002

I was a DJ on KKCR on the island of Kauai from 2002-2004. More about that.

Django Reinhardt

This was early in my broadcast career. The station manager put me on early Saturday mornings at 6:00 am to see how I did, I suppose. I called the show Sleep Walking as I didn’t wanted my listeners to slowly start the day with my sets.

 

DJ Dick – February 2, 2002

I was a DJ on KKCR on the island of Kauai from 2002-2004. More about that.

Adopt Kevin!

Kevin is a shy boy from the local SPCA. He’s gentle as can be. We think he’s deaf. His primary objective is to hide in a corner. We’ve been working with him for a few days. Bringing him out of his little crate for human contact every couple of hours. He’s doing his best on being housebroken and at least lets us know.

We can’t keep him and are looking for someone with the patience to work with him and adopt him for the long haul. What do you say? Email me at elvispresley@gmail.com or call 415-265-3037.

p.s. He’s strong, so his nickname is Kevin the Tank.

DJ Dick – January 19, 2002

Swing Low Sweet Cadillac” is a variation of the traditional song “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” arranged by Dizzy Gillespie and the title of his 1967 album. He sang it with The Electric Mayhem at “The Casbah” for the closing number in episode 413 of The Muppet Show.

Here’s a selection from a radio show on KKCR as DJ Dick.

Photo from Muppet Wiki

Featured photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress via Flickr

DJ Dick – September 30, 2005 : 1-3

I was a DJ on KKCR on the island of Kauai from 2002-2004. More about that.

I returned to the turntables triumphantly for a weekend to celebrate the wedding of the Station Manager Gwen Palagi and her beloved Kris Palagi. I had a year and a half of pent-up selections to broadcast.

part 2:

Part 3:

DJ Dick – September 30, 2005 – 3

Señor Coconut

Here’s a selection from a radio show on KKCR as DJ Dick.

If you liked that here’s the first hour.

And the second hour.

DJ Dick September 30, 2005 – 2

Here’s a selection from a radio show on KKCR as DJ Dick.

Theme from Space Island: !!!

If you liked that here’s the first hour.

2018 Music

New Albums:

1. Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer

2. St. Vincent – Mass Education

3. Anderson Paak – Oxnard

5. The Sleazeball Orchestra

5. This playlist for my Mom to stimulate singing and speech after her stroke.

Vintage:

  1. Prince – Piano and Microphone 1983

2. Lou Rawls – All Things in Time

Videos:

  1. St. Vincent – Austin City Limits Festival 2018
  • robots shredding guitars and voices

https://youtu.be/X2OqF53IP3A

2. Janelle Monáe – Emotion Picture

 

3. Stop Making Sense movie by Jonathan Demme

We saw it IN A THEATER and it was better than ever

60 on The John Muir Trail

U P D A T E

We did it! Here’s the photo album.

We had a party too. Here’s that album.


I’m turning 60 in July! I’m going on a 4 day backpacking hike on The John Muir Trail, from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley starting July 15th. THE HIKE IS FULL. Consider coming to the party.

For those who aren’t inclined to hike, we’ll have a party on the weekend of July 20-21 at Camp Dude. We can’t accommodate anybody in our house with a few special needs folks taking those spots. There are a few options 1. The new pricey autocamp.com features brand new Airstream trailers and glamping. They are literally right beside our property. Book early, they are going to be packed this summer. 2. The Bug Hostel, groovy scene about 10 minutes from us. They have a variety of options + Euros! 3. Airbnb has a few options for Midpines and nearby Mariposa. The town of Mariposa 7 miles from us has a few so-so hotels.

If you think you might come, please let me know HERE.

The schedule so far.

HIKING:

Sunday, July 14th: Jeff and Kris P (and any other hikers who wish) from Midpines -> 12:00 bus to Yosemite Valley to 4:00 pm bus to Tuolumne Meadows – camp overnight.

Monday, July 15th: Hikers bus or drive to Yosemite Valley. We can park one car at the Ansel Adams Gallery. Contact me to coordinate carpooling. -> 4:00 pm bus from Yosemite Village to Tuolumne Meadows – camp overnight.

Tuesday-Thursday/Friday, July 16th-18th/19th: Hiking from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley floor.

PARTY: 

Friday, July 19th pm:

  • Afternoon arrivals at campsites and Camp Dude.
  • Dinner 7:00 pm in the backyard. Mexican

Saturday, July 20th: 

  • 8-10 a.m Breakfast at the house
  • 1-3:00 pm: Lunch at the house – Gazpacho, grilled shrimp, salad,
  • 7-9:00 pm: Dinner in the backyard. Barbeque, Salads, vegetables, CAKE
  • 9:00 pm: Dance Party at the pool

Sunday, July 21st: 

  • 8 am -12 Noon – Au revoir brunch – Menu TBD

Things to know and plan for:

  • Camp Dude is located at 6357 Highway 140 in Midpines, CA. Our driveway is directly after the AutoCamp campground and across from the Midpines, County Park. There is a small green sign along the road and we’ll put balloons to mark the location.
  • Our driveway is 1/2 mile of gnarly, beaten turf. If you’re in a low car, drive very slowly. It’s always in various states of disrepair, so plan for that. It keeps the riff raff out.
  • No gifts please. Donate to Larkin Street Youth Services if you insist.
  • What to bring: a cooler with ice, your preferred beverage, a barbeque protein (for Saturday dinner), sexy bikinis, beach towel, camping chair,

 

I’ll update this page as the plan develops. Until then, here are some basics and a few links for more on this piece of the trail.

About the hike:

A strenuous 2-4 day backcountry trip full of meadows, mountains, and waterfalls.

Many hikers chose to hike from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley starting at Tenaya lake, but this hike offers a slight different perspective, and allows you to stop at the Merced Lake High Sierra Camp as well. The hike is 28 miles each way and can be completed in 2 days each way with an overnight stop at Merced Lake, or can be stretched to as many as 4 days with extra nights at Vogelsang High Sierra Camp and Little Yosemite Valley.

The first day you will gain about 2000 feet of elevation before losing 5000 more, and hiking almost 15 miles on granite can become quite hard on your feet, so wear good hiking boots. You will pass several rivers, lakes, mountains and 2 of the park’s best waterfalls on this backcountry trek, and it is a great way to escape the crowds to see all the Yosemite National Park has to offer.

Whoa!

All Trails – reviews and deets

 

 

The Annual Soul Train Dancers’ Picnic

The Annual Soul Train Dancers’ picnic was yesterday. A friend and I stumbled onto the event a couple of years ago. We heard amazing stories from the warmest people who were the visual foundation for early 70s soul. So, it was a great treat to see it happening again.

Goddess

This is me with Demita Jo Freeman. She was a superstar on the Soul Train stage.

Here she is tearing it up with James Brown in 1972.

I Have A Series On Forbes

I’m writing a series of articles on Forbes about the creation of my company Next For Me.

 

 

 

Showtime!

We brought a little Broadway pizzaz to a couple of days of deep maintenance at Camp Dude. Weed whacking, vegetable and flower planting in the greenhouse and shuffling our barn full of wonders.

My New Company: Next For Me

I started a new company this fall. It’s called Next For Me. We publish a weekly newsletter that’s a resource to post-50 life for new worka new purpose, or a new social contributionYou can subscribe right here.

It began to add up for me. There are 76 million baby boomers in total. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060.

Over 40% aren’t financially prepared for a life without traditional income past 65. People are living significantly longer than when big programs like Social Security were put in place. Pensions have been cut from most careers outside of government. The Government Accountability Office said in an October report, “If no action is taken, a retirement crisis could be looming.”

The companies of today are not prepared to welcome and employ older employees with meaningful work. Hiring and support for the unique needs of the audience is lacking. Most HR departments are just beginning to acknowledge the need to address these workers in new ways. In fact, ageism is as prevalent as ever in the workplace.

And still, 60% say the most important thing they look for in a job is meaningful work.

Many are looking at next careers or how to evolve in their existing industries in ways that will account for the wisdom and experience they bring to their work. In some forward-thinking organizations mentoring programs have emerged. The roles can be exchangeable too. A unique perspective from a younger worker might keep the older worker up to date on industry trends. In return, the more senior worker can provide advice on decision making or some “been there, done that” common sense.

The staggering numbers and the volume of news on the topic is astounding. I want to track the evolution of this roaring tsunami, the outcomes of changing financial models, responses in the workplace and how communities adapt.

How I Got To This Point

Coincidentally or not, two friends were publishing about the subject and I spent time with them both in October when I was in San Francisco to speak at a conference on the topic.

Chip Conley, had just finished a book “Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder*” about his time as a mentor to the young founders of airbnb. He introduced the notion of a “Modern Elder” in this Harvard Business Review article “I Joined Airbnb at 52, and Here’s What I Learned About Age, Wisdom, and the Tech Industry“.

Additionally, Karen Wickre the former Editorial Director for Twitter, Senior Media Liaison for Google and Wired columnist had written “Surviving As An Old In The Tech World“.

Chip was very encouraging when I started with the kernel of an idea and he asked me to follow up with a high level plan. As I started working through the project at the url nextforme.com both Chip and Karen came on board to advise me. Other longtime colleagues came on as advisors too: Pam Kramer, Carole McManus, Clare Martorana, Alex Mostoufi, Drew Domkus and Firas Bushnaq, the Partner of the incubator Boxador where I reside as an Entrepreneur in Residence.

As a new year begins I can report that the subscriptions are doubling every week. I can not keep up with the amount of news on the subject as we find our editorial voice. Doors are opening from far flung and influential circles. It’s all very exciting. I hope you’ll come along.

Now please, Won’t you subscribe?

  • photo by Robyn Jay
  • Chip Conley’s book will be published in September, 2018 by Crown Books.

The Modern Elder Academy

I attended a two week beta program at The Modern Elder Academy.

The program was presented in three pieces:

  1. A look at what made you who you became and are now.
  2. A, no kidding, nine hour ‘vision quest’ alone in a teepee in the desert – which I saw as a reset.
  3. How you’d like to construct what’s next for you.

It didn’t hurt that it was on a beautiful beach on the western Baja coast in a spectacularly appointed compound.

I wrote about the experience in my Forbes series.

 

Letters To Elvis

I’ve had the email address elvispresley@gmail.com for a long time. I get some interesting mail from time to time. Some highlights are archived here.


June 24, 2019

Come on Elvis,,,you owe nothing to MJ or Prince it was your friend HRH that help you pull it off! It was not the President of the United States conniving with the media to help those two disappear! Please help the American people in their struggle with the fake news and come on out and tell them the truth!!!





Attend ka rin ba mamaya sa Live Webinar Workshop natin Elvis?

April 12, 2017


April 10, 2017


Première réunion de l’année 2017

January 9, 2017


(no subject)

October 20, 2016

Hi there Elvis,

its me
Tangela in Denver
how’re you? Txt-msg me direct **** seven zero 9 four two one four 2 seven
sometime


Use me as your vessel

August 20, 2016

Attention Elvis Presley Elvis A.k.a. Patrick M Reilly and Jessie my name is M and I live in Tampa Florida I’ve been here for the last 40 years! I have had the opportunity of meeting you face-to-face three times. You may not remember but maybe thinking back you may recall visiting my salon at Tampa Bay mall right next door to where your daughter Lisa Marie gave birth to your grandson at St. Joseph’s women’s hospital around the same time. You came in with your partner and I am guessing you were retiring from your undercover work and she needed a new hairdo! Back then you used on me your old trick “when you talk about things that people don’t understand they think you’re crazy” and I must admit it worked! Especially when you told me that you were Elvis Presley and you were not dead! I thought you were crazy! You retuned a few days later for me to cut and color your hair black. At the front desk when I charge you 75 for the services you gave me $150 a 100% tip that part confused me if you’re so crazy how come you have so much money? I told that story everywhere I went in the world I told people how great America is! Where else in the world crazy people have the money tip 100%? OK that was the circumstances of seeing you the first two times. The last encounter we had I saw you at the restaurant Danatello in Tampa on January 17, 2014 at that time I knew that you were alive and I approach you because I wanted to get your name and when I introduce myself as M and asked for your name you told me Goest I bit my tongue and asked you if it would be OK to have a photograph with you? You politely agreed and I have that picture enlarge! I am so proud of having a picture with Elvis Presley! OK enough with my credentials now if you really want to come out and use me as your vessel for coming out I will help you. What convinced me that you were not dead, in the middle of writing my book on HRH Uncle Sam personified I made the connection between you and Howard Hughes a.k.a. Bill Gay! The program that you entered was not design for Elvis Presley who wanted disappear, it’s a program that the CIA along with H R H had already implemented for some of the highrollers of the world that were friendly with Howard Hughes and his inner circle who needed to disappear! When Howard accommodated you with your request; he already was in that program himself who had died the year before you, and living under the name of Bill Gay! You must’ve promised with your heart that you would never ever come out. Just like the movie “Seconds”!!! However I have the feeling you want out and I recalled in one of your communications with Linda Sigmon in that letter you stated that of all the people you made the promise that you would never come out only one them is still alive and I’m guessing that someone is George HW Bush! And I’m being selfish in telling you that I’d like to help my reason is if you come out maybe you will help set the record straight for my hero Howard Hughes! You can tell the world it was not him who died in 1976 a drug addicted and neglected isolated poor soul but a double!!!

  • M

We will never forget you

Dec 19, 2015

Dear Elvis,

I know you are dead and there isn’t the slightest possibility that you will be able to read this but just remember that you thought the world rock. You founded music just like Michael….remember Michael Jackson? He founded Pop, he’s regarded to many (including me) as the “king of pop.” Charlie Chaplin…you might not know him, but you’ll love his movies. He founded comedy. He’s hilarious!!! Just know that you like so many others taught the world, changed the world, shaped it in fact. We will never forget you, the whole world gathered when you greeted death with a guitar in your hand. King of Rock, we will never forget you, you’ll always be in our hearts….

Sincerely,

  • N

The extraordinary Chris

I’m mentoring Steve and he needs to write

Through a mentoring program with the nonprofit StartOut, I’m working with a firecracker named Steve.

StartOut is the national nonprofit that creates great leaders by empowering LGBTQ entrepreneurs.

I’m telling you this cat Steve is on fire. He’s pulling together the biggest deals for a big San Francisco tech company. We meet by phone every two weeks and have never met in person. He’s all business and I appreciate that in the exchange. But he is intense.

He’s also full of young me-ness, so I know where he’s coming from. Having been a young star myself, the world doesn’t always welcome you and your big sense of self.

So it was no surprise that he has a nemesis. This asshole takes credit for his work, tries to undermine him and makes it generally unpleasant to work there. Those kind of downer people can really take the wind out of your sails. And you can’t always turn those situations around. If you can, your heart may be out of it by then. So, we’re agreed that he’s moving on.

He’s interviewing at all the usual mega-unicorns and they quickly see a talent they could use. He’s got this covered. Steve is confident, has the numbers to prove his value and I imagine presents well. You should see his polished LinkedIn profile picture.

And still a Google search on him shows little about his expertise. What will his next advocate find out about him beyond a good interview? Why is he exceptional? He has to change that by writing about what he does.

He’s working on a case study on his big win at the company. My challenge for him was to write another story anonymized with more about the process. Why are you the best at this? Break it out into a series of stories, but publish something soon.

I’ll talk to him again in a week and a half and I’m hoping to see something online before then.

 

photo by: André Hoffmeister on Flickr

Meditation

Here’s the thing about meditating. With enough practice you can call it in times of anxiety, confusion or overwhelm. It’s that simple. You will immediately find yourself more at peace and give a more balanced amount of energy to that which has you in a knot.

You sit on a pillow, on folded knees or on a chair as upright as you can. I get within a couple of feet of a wall as I meditate with my eyes open and this helps for focus. Breath in through your nose to your abdomen. Breath out through your mouth. Count 10 breaths, start again, then again. That’s one set. Do that three times.

Your mind will wander and you’ll zoom in on a topic and you will obsess on it and lose your count. Start again. The only thing to concentrate on is breathing in and breathing out and your upright posture.

When you find yourself obsessing on a thought. Acknowledge it and let it go. A good metaphor is a that you spot a cloud, acknowledge it, then let it float away.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

For 40 years I’ve gone back to Shunryu Suzuki’s foundational book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind“. It’s short chapters progress to a deeper understanding of the concept of zen along with simple how-to’s about sitting in meditation. It will confuse at times and seem to be written in riddles. Not to worry, it will make sense over time.

It’s that easy. Do it every day if you can. Do it somewhere that is not very distracting if you can. Do what you can. I like the middle of a meeting. Go for some hard-core training and try it in a noisy house. As long as you keep doing it you’ll continue to reap the benefits of a calmer mind. An open mind. A “beginner’s mind”.

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60 and Gay in Tech

Below is the video and text of a presentation I gave at Tech Inclusion in San Francisco on October 19, 2017

Today is my epic story and some techniques for surviving as a graying, gay person in tech.

I’ve worked in tech for close to 35 years and alternative newspapers before that. 

I was always interested in changing the status quo through media and associated myself with organizations that I thought at least accepted who I was.

When there was discrimination it was often subtle, but thanks to some early activism I was always reactive first.

Sorry mean people.


I survived with a technique I’ve come to call

“The Humanist + Activist Approach”

Here’s how it works and why it’s more important than ever today.

  1. If you haven’t noticed… blatant harrassment and discrimination is filling the news cycles.
    1. We’re in a dangerous political environment.  Those in power today are turning back the clock on many gains in civil rights. Just yesterday our vile, so called president was joking about lynching gays. Seriously
    2. This thinking is becoming normalized and will bleed into the workplace and discrimination will become even more OK.
  2. This may be hard, but before you react, take time to understand the experiences and point of view of the people you interact with. That’s the Humanist part.
  3. You DO have a right to be at the table without discrimination though. so, Don’t ever back down.- That’s the Activist part.

Humanist Stance

  1. Some Signs
    1. Subtle uneasiness. Always can tell that something is off that you can’t put your finger on it. This is when understanding that person matters.
    2. Still, a lot goes unstated. You can almost hear it “He’s old and doesn’t get it” “Gay people are different” “I’d rather not know about that thing I don’t understand” “we don’t have anything in common.”  
    3. Same thing we see in polarized politics. Nobody is listening or understanding the others outside of their bubbles.
    4. And many times what is going on doesn’t even have anything to do with you. Can you tell the difference?
    5. Through protege/mentoring relationships, You can get to know each other and find common ground. Especially as it relates to ageism.

Activist Stance

If I look back 40 years, my influences were usually older artists, writers and activists that had been through the Vietnam War resistance. They were my teachers and the classroom was challenging.

An example:  I worked for a leftist newspaper collective – much good was done by keeping many bad guys honest and staying defiant. The internal workings to make that happen were as antagonistic as what was being published.

I was also present for some of the early meetings for ActUp. The radical organization that stood up to the AIDS epidemic. The meetings were held in the basement of the gay and lesbian center in Greenwich Village. They were wild and passionate shouting matches to get to the very best way to fight for the attention for an epidemic of gay men dying by the hundreds and was being ignored. As they say, We went through it to get to it.

These experiences illustrated to me how similar tactics could be brought to new challenges.


It established my response to discrimination

To address AIDS we broke all the furniture in the room to be heard.

We challenged the government, the drug companies, the Catholic church. We made everybody uncomfortable to be heard.

We had ZERO tolerance and questioned everything.

At the same time we were emotionally beaten and grieving from the relentless death around us.


And THEN we had to get on with things.

In the middle of all that resistance and mourning, those of us that survived were gathering ourselves and starting our careers with peers that had radically different experiences.

The activist bent stuck for me and was an uncomfortable stance to bring into the workplace. Certainly one that didn’t resonate with many in the room who may have been getting away with keeping people marginalized before.

So that’s a conflict by definition. Ready to fight for what was right but with a tendency toward empathy and tenderness.


And now a new form of discrimination for me, AGE.

My friend Karen Wickre wrote in Wired Magazine recently.

The very people who might be affected by age discrimination often don’t want to bring it up—especially in Silicon Valley.” She got that right.

With something fairly new to me like age discrimination, I can miss these signals and it seems nobody wants to hear it anyway.

I know that there are plenty of signs that our industry is not considering the value that age and experience bring to an organization and often it’s not an easy topic to broach.


So let’s talk ACTION. If you find yourself losing power due to discrimination. Stop it in it’s tracks.

Maya Angelou said “If you let a bird nip at your ear, before you know it your whole head will be gone.”

As discrimination incrementally goes unchecked what was questionable before becomes normalized. The toxicity is multiplied.

So Stop it! When you see it. Stop it. You can try first with compassion and grace, but don’t back down if that doesn’t work.

Understand your boundaries, let them be known. Or … the bird will eat your head.


Let’s wrap this up with the following.

Try, try, try to find some common ground with people you work with who come from different experiences and points of view. It provides context and some humanity when observing behaviors and interacting.

From an activist side, Do not kid yourself, the assault on our rights are more aggressive than we’ve seen in decades. This is becoming the new normal again and requires vigilance in calling it out.

Working in Tech means that we’re creating the platforms for the future and with that comes a responsibility. If there is humanity and an adherence to principles in the room it will translate into the products we create.

 

 

References:

Surviving As An Old in The Tech World by Karen Wickre – Wired Magazine

Everybody Needs Mentoring by Jeff Tidwell

 

 

 

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Everybody Needs Mentoring

You’ll get further in work and life with a savvy someone nearby

The Mell Brothers invited me to their wonderland of an art studio in Phoenix when I was 19. They were part of a community of open-minded artists that made the otherwise bland city tolerable to a young artist like me. I was eager to meet anybody who would confirm that the path I was taking was all right.
They had an airbrush-work area, which was of special interest to me at the time. They meticulously showed me the various techniques and flourishes possible with the propelled ink that I was trying to master on my own. I’ll never forget that time and while I haven’t picked up an airbrush in a while, I remember how the experience informed the next painting and then the next, and also my ideas of how my life could be molded as a professional doing what I loved.They were very generous with their time. They lent me books on hand-lettering and gave me and my friends supplies to do our thing.
I only hope now that I was considerate of their time; that I produced art that showed promise for their investment in me.They were one chapter in a long list of people who took an interest in me and have given me the threads of influence that I now can see have formed me and my work. They didn’t come knocking on my door. I was really out there — driven and curious to meet anybody who would teach me and help me find my way.

Get a mentor

We’re all around you

If you’re new to the scene, to your vocation or just clarifying your interests, seek out those people who likely could help you in your path and have a level of integrity you’re comfortable with. Be relentless in your research. Through the digging and requests for introductions, you will also be seeing how it’s all connected.

If you’re sincere about learning and growing, this process will continue throughout your life. So, no need to be in a hurry to have it all now. You don’t even know what it all is yet. That will become apparent with each new interaction and mentor. Just open a door, be open to what’s being offered and by all means be a considerate student.

Find the right mentor

The right sensibilities and values matter most

Maybe you’re looking for someone who has specifically achieved what you hope to achieve, but you don’t need to limit your search to your field. Anyone who has crafted a visibly satisfying arrangement in life has plenty to teach, too.

Be keen in your search for someone who also values mentorship. Giving back is a trait that comes with having good mentors. As the teacher we get a lot out of this too including a fresh point of view, the rewards of nurturing talent, and the good feeling of sharing what you sweated to learn.

Be on time and be prepared

Respect and manners go a long way

You’ve been given the opportunity to have some valuable time with a professional who likely has a very busy schedule. Respect that as if you were paying a handsome sum for an hour of very specific expertise, because that’s what you’re getting.

Do your homework. Come prepared. Be early. Follow up.

For a couple of years I had a volunteer gig tutoring GED classes for homeless youth. Against all odds, they religiously showed up on time and were focused and respectful of what we could offer. Because of this, I could not let them down, and I worked harder to be useful.

On the flip side, just this week, two eager, would-be protégés canceled with less than 15 minutes notice. They got one free pass, but the offer is canceled if they ever hack into my day like that again.

So be prepared to state: why you contacted the mentor. How their expertise relates to your interests. Where you are in your path. What you hope to learn. And then be a good listener.

An hour is great. An invitation back is the best.

Wherever you leave off, follow up in a thoughtful way. Best of all, send a concise summary of what you got from the meeting, and what the insight means to how you’re proceeding.

What’s the ask?

Be open to outcomes beyond your expectations.

There is no quantifiable, “monetizable,” degree-granting results to being a protégé. Please don’t insult your mentor and try to close a deal or have an “outcome.” With time, and the demonstration of sincere energy, you’ll get more than introductions or your next job. You’ll have new tools in your chest that will serve you in many ways that won’t be apparent until much later.

If you find your mentor match and are a respectful beneficiary of their gift to you, it’s likely that they’ll be in your life for a long time. Checking in, showing your evolution, and continuing to seek their guidance will continue to align you to what’s important, and will serve as a reminder of what you’ve learned.

For me — and I’m not done — the fun thing now is to view the seemingly obvious timeline of influences that I couldn’t have drafted when I started out.

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An Annual Review of Ideal Scenarios

From the “Vision” Level

An overview of our property in the Sierra Foothills.

I’m a longtime (over 20 years) user of a set of principles and processes commonly known as GTD or “Getting Things Done.” It keeps me focused and aware of all of the worlds I fly through and the commitments I make. It’s simple and straightforward, just enough to leave my mind free for more creative activities. It works for me.

I had the good fortune of working with the author David Allen when he was refining all of these ideas in the early 90’s. This guy practices what he preaches and is now on a bold new adventure in Amsterdam with his wife and soul sister Kathryn Allen.

The book outlines how to engage with the various levels of life and work. I was inspired by my recent annual review at the “Vision” level.

40,000 level — Vision

3–5 year goals. What it will look, sound and feel like with successful implementation. Long-term outcomes and ideal scenarios.

As is the practice, I keep this list as a quick reference that I check in with regularly to stay on track throughout the year. It manages my urges to be seduced by the new shiny preoccupation of the moment. These visualized goals point UP to the higher levels of my values and purpose. It’s an easy check to see that my planning keeps with what’s ultimately most important.

When I start the exercise, I review where I was at a year ago and think about what has changed. Then I draw my roles and areas of responsibilities which usually triggers some big projects that may not be in my system but are absolutely in motion. It looks like this.

Map It and Track It!

I grab what is revealed from this exercise and plug it into my system and remove projects that have cycled out of relevance. I have to go through this a few times as more is revealed with each refinement.

This time around I spent a day alone in my office — just me, the drawings, a white board and my lists. Zooming in and out, pruning and planting.

I always walk away from the exercise with my busy mind much more at peace, which rewards me with a lot of flexibility to take chances and evolve.

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David Allen Interviews Jeff Tidwell

 

“Entrepreneur Jeff Tidwell has been connecting and empowering individuals via the Internet for nearly 30 years. Listen as he and David Allen explore the future of social networking. Discover how emerging technology will affect the way information is presented, processed, and shared, and how this will impact your relationships.”

Bestselling author “Getting Things Done” and productivity expert David Allen gets on the phone with Jeff.  Here’s the interview.

 

Digital advertisers should take a page from Snapchat’s playbook

Ads can be a natural extension of the experience.

This article was originally published on Recode on July 14, 2016

Hyper-Reality — an extreme version of what Snapchat offers now — presents a vision of the future where physical and virtual realities have merged, and the city is saturated in media. — Kelichi Matsuda/Vimeo

Aren’t TV and YouTube ads the worst? Jarring, loud interruptions that ignore the media around them. They’re never in the same aesthetic tone and lack relevance to the programming they accompany. Sure, they can be muted, skipped over, theoretically ignored, but at the end of the day, they remain an annoyance.

Is this how the brands will be remembered? The loud, drunk uncle at Christmas dinner?

Web or in-app ads are even worse. The screens are often an unreadable, inconsistent, layered tangle of ads. Somebody locked human nature out of the room when these standards were designed. This shoddy execution has been allowed to take over in the name of efficiency.

“Consumers have been at the mercy of others when it comes to television. The shows and movies they want to watch are subject to business models they do not understand and do not care about. All they know is frustration.” — Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, Netflix

Ad tech has been about a precise machine, never about a natural extension of the “supported” stories. Most online ads are unrelated, out of place, minimally targeted and disruptive to the point of pure avoidance. Marketers are crazy to buy in.

Ads are just part of the show

But on Snapchat, ads are a natural extension of the experience, not insulting or intrusive, so far. The ads follow the aesthetics of the medium. It’s a natural “next” to what you’re already watching on Snapchat. They’re actively visual and just long enough. Then, a smooth transition to the next Snap-storm from a publisher, a Kardashian or your best friend.

Ads that fit naturally with the medium will have a more positive brand impact and a higher rate of engagement. The Snapchat style and interface have opened the door for these native ads and an evolution to real world interactions.

The app’s “lenses” — those silly layers of dog ears and so on to your selfie — can add a lot of personality to the imagery that is shared. Now advertisers are sponsoring lenses that can lend a viral ton of brand awareness that just can’t be achieved on other platforms. Nobody seems to mind that the video of their lunch is layered with a cute frame for the latest Pixar movie — it’s fun, after all. With easy geofencing and low-fi creation, brands or anybody can throw up their own lens for Snappers to share location and context for graduation parties or a secluded beach for a marriage proposal, or to make fun of your neighbors — a fun complement to the ongoing stories.

People don’t just tolerate Snapchat ads — they play with them.” — Mary Meeker, Internet Trends 2016

Ads aren’t currently in Snapchat friend feeds. But they will be soon, and I doubt there will be a big outcry.

Touchy-feely interface

To make all of this work on Snapchat, the fire starts with the user interface. The swooshing, grabbing, flinging and tapping are the best leap toward natural gestures in the relationship with our networks.

I can imagine an even more physical and tactile experience that surrounds the user. Let’s say you’re in a big white room (or anywhere) where your gang can be summoned into an image-rich dialogue. They are within reach, entering and exiting, getting your attention andgrabbing you over to show you something or talk about something great. Fade in. Fade out. Overlay. Adjust the focus and opacity.

Maybe something like this — but a little more friendly and less dire. Like this.

As an evolving medium, Snapchat moves to solve what Brian Eno diagnosed as the problem with computers: “There is not enough Africa in them.”

What’s pissing me off is that it uses so little of my body. You’re just sitting there, and it’s quite boring. You’ve got this stupid little mouse that requires one hand, and your eyes. That’s it. What about the rest of you? No African would stand for a computer like that. It’s imprisoning.” — Brian Eno

Here on Snapchat, we can see the computer come to life as a rolling story with physicality, humanity and soul, removing the rigid confines of screens, aspect ratios and platforms.

I’m not talking about wearing ridiculous goggles or gloves wired to some machine. These experiences have to “live” around us, react to our gestures and be visible at our whims. Not Pokémon Go viewed through a little phone (though it’s nice to see people moving around a bit). Something much closer to the holographic experiments we see with the HoloLens, and with even less gear, Magic Leap.

Foundational pieces to work with

Designers and developers will now have a new tool kit of communication styles, user flows and interactions to bring into next-generation experiences. These are all promising components to work with. The dynamic is changing to something that will insult us less and be healthier to interact with.

As an expression of our relationship with next-generation users’ networks and media now, we can contribute our unfiltered personal bits to the whole — the atomized experiences laid out temporarily in always-moving chapters. Tip in. Tip out. Fly into another relationship, story, ad. It’s all in the mix.

Maybe we didn’t hate talking — just the way older phone technologies forced us to talk.” — Jenna Wortham, the New York Times

Done! Who’s really got the time, otherwise?

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2016 Collages and Silkscreens

Exhibit: :: September 15 — October 15, 2016 :: Boxaplex — West Hollywood, CA

9/15/16:: This show represents work from the past year that I created in a small apartment in Los Angeles. I was commissioned for a collage for an article written by cultural anthropologist Charles Pearson in December. When published, I realized that the size of the collage dominated the page before the article even began, so I was thinking about wider and shorter pieces that would fit a page better for editorial uses. Then I stumbled onto a few movies filmed in 70mm. The format provided so much more horizontal space to play with it pushed the idea a little further. So, I was off on that path.

After starting small, and when satisfied with the composition, I would riff on it larger or again with entirely different printed materials changing the whole thing. Finally I took some of the smaller pieces, made crude copy machine prints onto acetate to create the silkscreen prints.

The work is surprisingly dark when shown all together. Not sure why. The palette kept moving to soft yellows, with weathered or solid black and white counterpunches.

They are just little stories that I created temporarily while moving imagery around on the surface.

I owe some debts to a few artists that inspired me (and I downright stole from) including Adam Maida, Angus Fairhurst and photographers Hart + Lëshkina. Finally, many thanks to to Margot and Firas Bushnaq for letting me show in their beautiful space.

  • Jeff Tidwell, Los Angeles
12″ x 4″ Edie. Silkscreen on wallpaper, gesso, acrylic, silkscreen ink.

14″ x 5″ Negative Campaign. Silkscreen on wallpaper, gesso, acrylic, silkscreen ink.

12″ x 4″ Frank Sinatra’s Pants. Silkscreen on wallpaper, gesso, acrylic, silkscreen ink.

14″x5″ Minor White’s Begonia 4, Wallpaper, pastel, silkscreen ink, tracing velum.

4′ x 18″ Minor White’s Begonia 2, blowup. Wallpaper, movie posters.

5″ x 14″ Minor White’s Begonia 3. Wallpaper, magazine photos, tracing velum, pencil.

5″ x 14″ Minor White’s Begonia 2. Wallpaper, magazine photos, tracing velum, penci

5″ x 14″ Minor White’s Begonia. Wallpaper, magazine photos, tracing velum, ink, pencil.

14″ x 5″ Frank Sinatra’s Pants 2. Wallpaper, magazine photos, tracing velum, ink.

12″ x 4″ Palm. Wallpaper, magazine photos, newsprint photos, tracing velum.

4′ x 18″ Negative Campaign. Wallpaper, magazine photos, newsprint photos, tracing velum, ink.

14″ x 5″ Negative Campaign. Wallpaper, magazine photos, tracing velum.

14″ X 5″ Edie. Wallpaper, magazine photos, tracing velum, pencil.

4′ x 18″ Frank Sinatra’s Pants 2. Wallpaper, magazine photos, tracing velum.

12″ x 4″ Frank Sinatra’s Pants. Wallpaper, magazine photos, tracing velum, pencil.

5″ x 14″ Oranges. Wallpaper, magazine photos, painted paper, tracing velum, ink, pencil

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Is That All There Is?

Nothing like trying something you are completely uncomfortable doing. Like singing.

My friend David McCreath started It Might Get Personal as a venue for ordinary folks — folks who might never sing in public — to share their favorite music. It’s a chance for people to step outside their comfort zone and try something they’ve maybe thought about but never had a chance to do. It’s about fandom, and love of music, and sharing that love with everyone. Maybe the guests will even go home and sing for their spouse, parents, or kids.

Jeff Tidwell, graciously accompanied by the talented Paul Robinson, steps up and asks the burning question first posed by Peggy Lee: “Is That All There Is?” Then we talk about the dark side and the light side and trust and hey, let’s have a party.

KKCR Radio Shows

Michele Rundgren and me at the radio station KKCR.

In 2000-2004 we lived on the beach on the island of Kauai. We operated The Aloha Dude Rentals and had a retail spot called The Aloha Dude Internet Hut.

During that time the kind folks at KKCR Radio gave me the dream of a lifetime, a radio show all my own. My first foray was a very early morning show I called “Sleep Walking”, then my pal Michele Rundgren offered me a chance to fill in for her Friday drive-time show “Chick Rock”. As I had taken on my DJ name of DJ DICK it made sense that I would rename the show to “Dick Rock” for those opportunities.

I have an appreciation for obscure audio finds, and remember this was in the era of Napster so I was finding some interesting bits.

Here’s a set from August 1, 2003 Part 1:

and Part 2:

My Oakland Garden

In the late 80’s it was a good idea to settle my ass down after a debaucherous run in San Francisco’s fast-paced art and nightlife scene.

I ended up in a little cottage in North Oakland behind four apartments. Without the distractions of city lights and easy vice I put my hyperactive energy into a bland plot of lawn.

From the street it was hidden, but by taking a few steps up, a few down a pathway and then through a gate, I would enter my retreat. A narrow sidewalk around the cottage and along the property line formed a long L. And there was a stoop which served as my surveyor’s perch for the next couple of years as I dug in.

The yard was approximately fifty feet by two hundred feet of mostly old grass and a few struggling bushes around the edges. There was a perimeter bed that was dense and deep with ivy and it’s notorious complex root structure. Over six months I dug up that web of relentless vine. In some spots I probably went three feet deep to stem the invasion. I did save some as I went along. I had time to consider it and it became a living foundation for what would come.

There were also some hydrangea bushes. One blue-purple and the others pink. They ended up being quite showy and good producers. When I first found them they had stopped flowering much and were in need of some pruning to have a new start. I took it a step at a time.

I began the process with small experiments of pansies and such I knew there was a lot I didn’t know. Undeterred, I kept going further and further with my trials. With little money to invest in the hobby I was careful to tend to the new starts that I did plant.

Each Saturday morning (after The Pee Wee Herman show), I’d take the bus down San Pablo Avenue to the East Bay Nursery. This mecca has been in operation since 1942. The staff guided me to my few purchases and were very generous with their advice. I’d catch the bus back home loaded down with soil, bulbs and 6-packs of annuals and my new obsession, tuberose begonias.

The begonias became the first endeavor with a tuber (a bulb of sorts). You place the pod with part in the soil and the rest just above the soil line. A strange sight and a leap of faith that this was how it all begins. Sure enough the shiny spiral of leaves began and filled up the pot top with the promise of what would come. When begonias do flower they are a showy colorful surprise.

Back to the greater task at hand, I dug out a spiral (more spirals) in the center of the yard and dug in some gladiolas. I knew glads promised a big display and they didn’t fail to deliver. At times they got so tall they’d fall over completely, but I was so attentive to every plant that I’d soon stake them up to get the most and tallest possible stems.

The spiral was a good laboratory for anything new I was trying out. I added bricks to outline the spiral and soon it was indeed the centerpiece of the garden.

The seasons, though mild in the bay area, started guiding my planting. By the second year, I started a vegetable patch for the summer in the sunniest corner of the lot. Oakland doesn’t have the fog of San Francisco and is a full ten degrees warmer. So, with the sun and prime location I had good luck with tomatoes and even some corn.

As for the lawn, I didn’t give it much attention besides some regular water and it did come back to life. I was always happy to mow it to keep things in order. An order that was never within my grasp, but I could at least make the rough edges a little cleaner. And the groomed lawn served as a nice background to the blooms.

Near the end of my time there, I celebrated my 30th birthday in the garden with friends and my new beau. The friends were all surprised and happy to find me more grounded and focused with my hands in the dirt. To the new beau the scene was a hint to a future surrounded by never ending gardens in a few wonderful places.