Notoriously Problematic (Income)

Money is money is money is money. Everything likes to think that if they had more money all of their problems would be solved. And maybe there is some truth in that statement. But have you ever heard the old adage by the poet The Notorious B.I.G.

Mo money, mo problems.

I’m not going to point out all the obvious analogies being made in the song, I instead want to focus on a specific one, which is that as you gain more money you indeed do solve the current problems you have, but you trade up for new ones, and the risk of those problems is sometimes greater than the reward.

Which means, is it really within your means to aim for more means?

Income The Problems

I may have already written about this once or twice before, but there are a myriad of factors to consider in the OECD Better Life Index. You know what I am referring to dear readers? Where you rank housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance. Those are all pieces of the puzzle, and as I’ve mentioned previously, they vary by importance from country to country in how we measure well-being.

Inspired by this concept and following the footsteps of a post I wrote up on the website Postconsumers and how they view health and wellness, I realized there is a great way to address these factors. Writing dedicated posts to each topic. And today I want you to consider the second of these points, your income. This is a difficult topic to write about because, generally speaking, we are very protective of sharing what we make with others, and for good reason.

When we reveal our incomes certain things can happen. You associate your identity with your income for starters, and depending if you make more or less than others it can swing you upwards into arrogance or downwards into submission or depression. People will target you as a source of wealth and liquidity, which means you might get gamed by strangers or expected by friends, not to top judgment on how you spend your money. And it also puts you into the spotlight with business and agencies.

And if you have to share you income be prepared. If you make within a certain median grade for your job description, it’s less likely for you to be targeted when the situation calls for a share and care session.


It is important to figure out what a health income is for you, you don’t want to make money just so you can now spend it on things that you don’t really need. That’s counter to the purpose of the wisdom being imparted. However, I do disagree with the notion that you should settle for a certain income just because you don’t know how to get to it.

But maybe that’s not the issue here, you could just not see the value of additional income. Consider this theory for a minute.

If you spend more than you earn, you have negative money, correct? Conversely, if you spend less than you earn, you have a positive flow of cash into your personal finances. Which means you can pay off debts if you have them OR if that is not the case you can begin to invest into retirement or other personal goals you have. As a for instance, you could buy a car outright and avoid the financing costs OR get a brand new iMac upfront with no credit card fees.

Being frugal allows you to move towards wealth, which can make you independent and allow you to focus on your positive contributions in the world. Say by travelling to areas of the world, making art, performing in theatre or going on a comedy tour.

I’m not going to dive deep into how exactly you increase your income, a lot of the time it’s a result of limiting spending and investing money, but here are some key examples that you can look into, and an article that details it better than I could do in this post space.


  1. Max out your salary – negotiation, raises, and planning are key, maybe a second job
  2. Get an education – stats prove those with better education earn more
  3. Monetize your hobbies – mystery shopping, photography, and baking for starters
  4. Start a side business – you choose the commitment level, and can earn much or little, blogging too
  5. Real estate – it’s complex but you can be an investor, landlord or combination thereof
  6. Selling old things – it’s not a one-to-one return, but old items get new use, and you get some money

Again, I’m not rolling in the dough by any means dear readers, but I’ll let you in on a secret, I have done or am currently doing all of the six things I’ve listed out for you. You can live the lifestyle you want, you just have to commit to it and like the author of this GetRichSlowly article I referenced says, if you are willing to make some sacrifices, you can make more money than you do now. But hey, that’s just a theory.


Origami That’s Fun And Easy (Kubo and the Two Strings review)

Sometimes a movie does something new, using something old, and reminds you why you love the format so damn much. That’s what this weeks’ movie review is all about, duality, memories and recognizing the importance of story.

It’s kind of baffling that I would get so excited about a good story, but it really is integral in any art form.




Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Cast: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, George Takei
Director: Travis Knight
released on blu-ray November 22, 2016
********** 10/10


IMDB: 8.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, Audience Score 87%
The Guardian: *****/*****


Travis Knight is an American animator, producer and known for his work as lead animator for Laika Entertainment. And now he is known for directing Kubo and the Two Strings, which is his directorial debut.

Since 2005, Knight has been essential to the stop motion animation of the Laika team, wearing several hats and contributing to both CGI and stop-motion animation for its productions. Namely feature length films such as Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls. He also serves as a member of Laika’s board and was recently nominated for Best Animated Feature on his work for The Boxtrolls.

But what do I think, you ask? Well, this is an amazing film dear readers. Brilliantly animated, with excellent voice acting, and an original story.

Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a one-eyed boy who lives with his sick mother, Sariatu (Charlize Theron), in a cave atop a mountain. He tells stories to the local villagers by magically invigorating origami through his three string shamisen. His favourite story is about a warrior named Hanzo who goes on a quest to fight the Moon King. Kubo must head home before sunset each day or her Sisters (Rooney Mara) and his grandfather the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) will come for his remaining eye.

One day, Kubo attempts to communicate with his father, the deceased Hanzo… Nothing happens and he becomes angry, staying out past sunset. Sariatu’s Sisters arrive and attack Kubo, but his mother defends him, and impassions him to find Hanzo’s armour. When Kubo awakens the next day he learns that his little wooden monkey charm has been given life by his mother’s magic. Monkey tells him that his mother is dead and that he needs to move to survive. One of Kubo’s origami has come to life in the form of a little Hanzo, and during the quest they find an amnesiac named Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), a cursed samurai apprentice of Hanzo’s that has taken the form of a beetle. He offers his services to Hanzo’s son.

The first leg of the quest has the three battling a giant skeleton for the sword unbreakable. Next, Kubo uses magic to create a boat of leaves and the expedition sails across Long Lake for the breastplate impenetrable. Beetle and Kubo dive in to retrieve the breastplate. One of the Sisters attacks and Monkey manages to defeat her, but is badly wounded in the process. Kubo realizes Monkey is his mother reincarnated.

Monkey reveals that originally she and her sisters were meant to kill Hanzo, but she fell in love with him, which incensed her family. Kubo dreams and is greeted by Raiden, a blind old man who shows him the location of the helmet invulnerable, the final piece of armor. They head to his father’s damaged fortress, but are ambushed by the remaining Sister, she reveals Beetle is Hanzo, whom the cursed. Beetle is killed, and Monkey sacrifices herself. Two strings of the shamisen are broken in the process Kubo learns his village’s bell is the helmet, breaking the last string and flying back home.

He takes the helmet, but Raiden appears, now the Moon King. He wants Kubo to become blind and immortal like him. Kubo refuses and fights the Moon King, but loses badly. Shedding the armor and re-stringing his shamisen, Kubo uses its magic to recruit the spirits of the deceased villagers, proving memories are more powerful. The spirits shield him engulf Raiden in their magic. The Moon King is defeated, becomes human, and has no memories of his past. The remaining villagers and Kubo create a positive new identity for him. Kubo then communes with his parents spirits and sets their lanterns afloat.

Pros: The themes of spirit, memories, and death are strong, delivered with great emotional care. The animation slowly pulls you into this story, and once you are there it’s impossible not to appreciate the depth of characterization and inspiring message.

Cons: If you like your narrative delivered to you in direct terms, quickly establishing roles and character arcs, this film will not serve it up to you on a silver platter.

Runtime:  1 hour 41 minutes

Points of Interest: The boat sequence took 19 months to shoot, and the entire film consists of at least 145.000 photographs turned into a stop-motion film. The two strings of the film’s title is a theme of duality featured throughout: Mother and father. Night and day. Life and death. Creativity and destruction.

It’s refreshing to see an animated family film that features a prominent and mystical quality to it. A film that prefers to be driven by narrative first and then demand for visual quality, and as a consequence achieve something rare in cinema. An engaging story that pretty much any age group could enjoy thoroughly, but you have to be prepared to listen to it.

Let’s consider something for a second. Have you ever seen origami used so effectively in an animation that is about stories within stories? Kubo is a storyteller that uses song, performance and paper to make stories. That he and his cast of characters are made of the same materials is a point not to be trivialized, these forms can be understand by any age group or culture for that matter. And it makes the use of magic seem that much more significant. I loved this movie, and I hope you take the time to go see it for yourself creative cuties. I’m out of theories for now, but rest assured, I’ll be back tomorrow with something about what’s coming.


Steel Your Heart Away (Miranda Lambert, The Weight Of These Wings review)

It’s always a challenge to make a good album. And to make a great album, even tougher. But what happens when you attempt to do the ol’ double deuce for your fans? Well it can go off really well or really poorly, just a matter of perspective.

And boy does this week’s album review have it in spades.

Miranda Lambert – The Weight Of These Wings
released November 18, 2016
******* 7/10


Miranda Lambert is an American country music singer/songwriter, and is also a member of the Pistol Annies (alongside Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley). Lambert has won seven consecutive Academy of Country Music awards for Female Vocalist of the Year, two Grammy Awards, and is the first woman to have won the County Music Association Awards Album of the Year twice.

Having recorded six studio albums to date, starting with Kerosene in 2005, Lambert is no stranger to success in the country music genre. In fact, from 2011 to 2015, Lambert was married to fellow country singer Blake Shelton.

Normally I wouldn’t really care about that last factor, but it’s important to consider within the scope of this album and it’s release date. You see, dear readers, Miranda Lambert started to write this album following the fallout of her divorce. It was July of 2016 that she released Vice, an emotional track that is something of a tearjerker for her, morally ambiguity aside. Because we don’t know what sparked the divorce, not really. After all, we all have our vices that we lean on from time to time, but she couldn’t really do anything to spread the truth out about it when she split from Shelton – that was already in the open air, the tension the anger, the emotional wreckage.

That’s the impression I get when I listen to this album over and over. And that’s something I felt necessary to do as practice, to make sure I wasn’t missing any emotions or stages of grief as she got over what had happened.

Another concept album for the year, Lambert decided to split this record up into two parts, each at twelve tracks. The first disc being labelled as The Nerve and the second, ever so clever, is The Heart.

Interestingly enough, it’s not just an album full of fears – substance abuse, cheating on a marriage an aging woman, the problems associated with touring, losing faith. No, that’s just the first half. It’s also about confronting those fears, and that’s where the second disc comes in. The ideation and definitions of this exploration by Lambert are good, but not necessarily as powerful as my favourite album of the year – Angel Olsen My Woman.

Yeah, that’s right… it could have been a tighter compilation of tracks, organized into two sections for sure, but without splitting it up over two discs and forcing me to remain aware of the run time eternally. There just seems to be a bit of fill in here. It’s hard to point out and crucify specific tracks, but the pacing feels really long and we sometimes forget the themes as a consequence.

I think you should pay attention to Vice, Tin Man, Ugly Lights, Smoking Jacket, Highway Vagabond, Pushin’ Time, Keeping The Flame and To Learn Her in particular. There are a number of great songs, that could easily make a solid singular disc, but it’s not terrible, I think you should give it a listen. Americana yes.




This is the greatest range of emotion and ability we’ve seen from Lambert yet, and in fact, I could argue it’s probably one of the best country albums I’ve heard in a long time. But the double album play somehow cheapens the weight of the work being done here. That could just be a theory though.


Extend Your Credit (Georg Rockall-Schmidt 2nd preview interview)

Sometimes you get the credit and sometimes the credit gets you.  Whether we’re talking about university or book keeping is kinda unclear, because this word has roughly ten or so definitions, but we’re gonna roll with the punches and hope that all of my generalizations will bolster a sense of respect and confidence in my writing ability.

Now that I have your attention, let’s consider the following: credit can turn you into a slave.

I realize that the credit analogies are gonna run thin pretty quick here dear readers, so instead of making a bunch of references about credit history, how arcade games work hard to turn your hard earned fast food job money against you or why all movies in the future seem to favour that word over currency, I’m just gonna make a clean break and say that credit is one of those things that you should understand but not rely on. It’ll fuck up your mojo if you let it.


I mean Georg gets it. That’s why he and I spent so much time discussing credibility and what it means to him as a full-time creator of YouTube Videos. You know Georg right? Same guy that I’m preparing to release a feature length interview with in the near future.

Now the see the thing about Georg is that he is a researcher, a writer and quite bright. We ended up talking back and forth for over two hours. Which is a lot of time to edit down an interview into a reasonable length. In fact, it’s almost double what a typical interview runs for me.

Georg Rockall-Schmidt has been an excellent first foray into the world of international interviewing, and I wanted to give him as much attention as I could, so I decided (at the last minute) to release another preview of us chatting about credibility. This time the focus question is – do you communicate all of the information you need to in order to be considered authentic?

And I bet you won’t be able to guess what his answer is.

Lucky for you, I have the interview question locked and loaded. So you don’t have many more sentences to wait until the reward is at your fingertips. Now sit down if you’re standing or stand up if you’ve been sitting all day and watch this short clip featuring my friend and fellow internet darling.

Now I’ve run the theories train into the station for the evening, friends. You’re gonna have to get off here cause it’s the end of the line. But I can promise you some sweet dreams, heck, even some countrified ones that’ll make a whole lot of sense when you come back tomorrow for my Miranda Lambert music review. With that cleared up, browse the som more, leave some comments, subscribe, and share this post with your creative friends.


I See A Friday, And I Want To Paint It Black (Black Friday pt. 2)

It’s here once again… The most wonderful time of the year.  Another year almost over and a new one about to begin – A new sales year that is.

I see the end of November dear readers, and I get excited. Excited about the prospect of making good buying decisions that will positively impact your personal business as a creative professional, and at this stage of the game, I really don’t think you can afford not to consider Black Friday as part of your business strategy. Whether you are just getting started making and selling your form of art or well into the thick of it, there are peak sales periods where retailers are offering massive savings in order to make enough business for the fiscal year and stay afloat.


I would say its a rather symbiotic relationship in fact. You get items that you’ve been putting off buying because of the expense, and businesses make enough money so that they can continue to keep the lights on for another year or two.

I wrote another post about this day last year, a more in-depth overview of what Black Friday represents historically and from a cultural standpoint, but this year I wanted to spend a little time on the significance for you, and to give a timely update from my own perspective.

Black Is The New Black

I’ve always been tight fisted with my money. But there have been occasions here and there, where I decided against my impulse to spend money on myself. It’s the paradox of thrift, a theory of economics.

The idea states that an increase in autonomous saving leads to a decrease in aggregate demand and thus a decrease in gross output which will in turn lower total saving. The paradox is, narrowly speaking, that total saving may fall because of individuals’ attempts to increase their saving, and, broadly speaking, that increase in saving may be harmful to an economy.

To put it simply and rather gravely – saving for a rainy day is prudent, but penny pinching breeds a lifetime of poverty. Learning the difference between always living within your means versus always spending more than you have is a difficult lesson, but I will give you this advice, he who never takes risks is guaranteed to stay within his comfort zone.

It’s your responsibility as a creative professional to at least try for your dreams. You’ll never regret trying. To quote one of my favourite movies of all time, Richard Linklater’s Waking Life, “things have been tough lately for dreamers. They say dreaming is dead, no one does it anymore. It’s not dead it’s just that it’s been forgotten, removed from our language. Nobody teaches it so nobody knows it exists. The dreamer is banished to obscurity. Well, I’m trying to change all that, and I hope you are too. By dreaming, every day.”


So dream big and dream often, you creative cuties. I might not be doing much tonight because I’ll be up at the crack of dawn for this sale, but I’m truly living my dreams, so I don’t sleep as much as I used to. But that could just be a theory.