Books, and Audio, and Video, Oh My! (Public Library)

Back when I was a just a wee one, we would spend a lot of time on Saturday afternoons and sometimes week nights, in a fairly small building, located near a mini-mall.

Over the years I watched that building swap out it’s wooden swinging doors for automatic ones, the introduction of scanners to prevent theft, switching from rolodexes, to Apple 2’s, then finally Dell computers. Even an eventual re-brand of bright colours everywhere and a functioning website that offered pickup became normal for this place.

I loved spending time there, and I think probably spent more time reading snippets of books, magazines, and movie summaries, then I did actually focusing on one topic.

Come to think of it, I’ve always had that “curiosity” attitude about books. I couldn’t just read any old book for 10’s of hours. I was very particular about what I committed to, but that was my personal journey through the experience of reading and eventual maturity of my adult tastes.

I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but my parents didn’t have a bunch of money laying around when we were growing up, so the library was an incredibly inexpensive way for me to be entertained and grow into knowledge.

But now that we have the internet, kids don’t have to use the library to pursue their interests do they?

Like everything in life, it depends.

Because of this fast development of digital communication, it seems to be quite common for social services like public libraries to face heavy scrutinization and threat of budget cuts in today’s world of lean politics and business. At least that’s the impression I often get from people whenever I bring it up. But as is often the case, public perception and personal assumption aren’t that close to reality.

It appears to be more realistic that the city is doing all sorts of things to keep it’s populous invested in learning and participating in self-improvement.

This is a very good thing, like this quote from blogger Kathy Dempsey states.

Libraries are portals to all of the world’s knowledge. And librarians make sure that knowledge continues to be recorded and saved for the future, even as information-storage devices and formats change.

– Kathy Dempsey, Libraries Are Essential

There was a time when larger retail services and public services could be very particular about what they participated in, but with this information shift, brick and mortar services need to be more diversified and inclusive than previously. That means more outreach programs AKA assistive services for those who don’t know where to start, are new to the community, are young or are elderly.

That also means providing online solutions too. In the case of the library, we can now temporarily download ebooks and audio books, and participate in seminars online. The website is online 24-7, so planning your next visit becomes even easier, you can place items on hold and then quickly drop-in to grab your books or whatever you want to borrow.

And because the library keeps archives of books, music, film, and other learning resources, the likelihood of them having something I want to see on my Watch List or Back Catalogue is quite high.

As I’ve mentioned previously in the current Wisdom Wednesday series on self-improvement – Attitude Is Everything. It is so important to participate in library culture, no matter where you are in life or what your personal goals are, the public library is an excellent way to entertain and engage your mind.

Even if you don’t like what you find your first time out, the brilliance of it all is that you haven’t spent money, and you have a wealth of titles available to look into as an alternative. And librarians are so knowledgeable of ways you can focus your efforts, they can look up material by subject, recommend authors, even tell you about local events the library is hosting which might benefit your journey.

I recently rewatched Night at the Museum, because it was in my list of blu-rays I had acquired but not opened, and there was this quote in it about the museum being a place “where history comes to life,” and while that is true the library is even greater, because it’s a place where ideas come to life. As cheesy as that sounds, dear readers.

And the theories are done for the week, my friends. Have a lovely weekend. Please comment! Please subscribe! Please contact me if you want to participate in the future!

Tim!

Work Smarter, Part 2 (Art Hacks)

Last week on timotheories, we gave you dear readers a top 10 list of skills to invest in.

That list was good for anyone looking to improve, but I originally wrote the topic because artists need help too and sometimes we don’t go looking in typical channels for it.

Which got me to thinking.

Because timotheories is all about that ace, better known as the arts, we’re bringing back the life hacks for a more in-depth solution for artists. This time let’s focus on technical hacks.

Below is a list of the top 15 art hacks I’ve come across in my travels as an artist. I’ve scoured the internet (links at the end of the list) and have included some hacks which I have used, some I’d like to, and some I personally believe would benefit anyone who is creative and has a lot of projects on the go.

What is great about a list like this, is that it allows you to contribute to the discussion, and who knows maybe one of you has a hack we’ve never even considered… Now let’s dig in.

Here are my top 15 technical hacks, in no particular order.
  1. Organize your loose files, papers, and canvas by installing magazine racks or shoe organizers. Also consider an old suitcase for organizing collage and scraps.
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  2. Never struggle with tape again – use paper clips or bread clips on one end of roll to keep your place OR put tape in the microwave briefly (5-10 seconds) to soften it up and find the end.
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  3. Keep scissors sharp by folding aluminum foil over itself a few times, then cutting through it until satisfied.
    Pair_of_scissors_with_black_handle,_2015-06-07
  4. Remove oil paint from your hands with baby wipes. For when water and soap won’t work.
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  5. Maximize your paint can/jar/tube lifespan – put rubber bands around cans to wipe brushes, saran wrap over tubes before adding the cap, take extra paint from the jar and store it in a sta-wet palette OR a plastic container in the fridge. When your jars are stuck, open them with a strip of duct tape – half on the lid, half as a handle.
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  6. Paper towels can save your drawings life. Place a non-textured towel where your arm would rest to reduce and even prevent smearing.
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  7. Maintain your paintbrushes. After washing dip the brush in milk and wrap the edge with a rubber band to reform the point OR apply hair conditioner or hair gel after cleaning for the same results.
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  8. Brush maintenance part 2 – Consider storing brushes horizontally in aluminum foil lined with paper towels to speed up dry time OR putting them in a planter with sand/beans.
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  9. Want your computer space clean and in order? Use binder clips when the keyboard feet break, and if you need to clean, consider using post-it-notes between the keys. If your laptop overheats, place it on top an egg carton.
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  10. Speaking of electronics, you can also loop cables through binder clips to keep track of your cords and put unused cords in empty toilet rolls.
    Component-cables
  11. Storing your art supplies is important – As mentioned already, binder clips are amazing, especially for hanging paint tubes on nails. You can also use magnets to store paint upside down or add them to a cupcake stand. Pens/pencils can be stored in cups on wine racks.
    Bar_magnet
  12. When short on space – install a drop down table and then add glue a cutting mat to the top. If you are feeling particularly clever, add a magnetized quilt to the top which can be used to iron curled paper.
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  13. Chalkboard paint is important. Chalkboard paint can be applied to doors, jars, walls, and a myriad of other objects to help create idea lists, supply lists, to-do lists, and label your stuff. Don’t be stingy with it.
    Chalkboard_eraser,_Waldorf_School,_East_Lexington_MA
  14. Similar to magnets, you need to embrace velcro. Velcro can be used to fix mats to the floor and then quickly removed when painting. Alternatively, they can also be used to set up baskets that stay in place.
    Shoelaces_Velcro
  15. Converting larger furniture to serve as storage is also an option. Table tops can store paper. Ladders can store tape, ribbons, and fabric, while ceiling tiles could become a marker rack. And please consider a tool chest or card catalog cabinets for your assorted little things.
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And there you have it! A technical list of hacks for creative types. And as promised, I have included links to my sources – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

As I mentioned once already friends, sometimes it can be difficult to learn these tips. I have a theory that it’s because artists “seem” to represent a small percentage of the population. We don’t make an effort to share our findings, because we think there aren’t a lot of people who would benefit from them, but obviously that is not true.

What do you think? Are these art hacks awesome? Do you have some other ones? Please leave comments and subscribe if you haven’t already, I’ll have more wisdom next Wednesday, and something timely tomorrow.

Tim!

Sand Castles In The Sand (10 Lists To Success)

Do you ever just want to say f**k it, I’m out?

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I’ve talked about motivations before dear readers, and I’ve hinted at how I stay on top of goals, but I don’t believe I have really and truly detailed for you the significance of keeping a variety of functional lists available at your fingertips at all times and the incredible satisfaction you will get from this habit – whether you are highly motivated, stressed out, feeling aimless or a combination thereof.

In fact, 2 of my oldest and first posts specifically addressed the areas of my own motivations and some of the ways I intend to achieve them, one was The Watch List and other was titled Motivation and Movies.

Motivation and Movies is about more than just my love of movies and their incredible ability to connect an introverted type like myself with the world around me. The heart of that post demonstrates that we all love to tell stories, be involved with the storytelling process, and that ultimately our various types and niches of society break down and are usually broken because of communication issues.

Sure I may be simplifying it, but don’t tell me that you believe we all keep this information top of mind!

That’s why today’s Wisdom Wednesday post is all about list making and how it connects with motivation. That’s right my friends, I got to the point of the post through a direct correlation of thoughts, without me using a story, meme or analogy to build it up for 500+ words worth of exposition. WHOA.

It can be done.

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Granted, I threw in some fun memes, but they didn’t drive the plot forward, they were fun visual aids.

Having worked in marketing as my day job for almost a decade (and barely scratched the surface, might I add), I’ve read quite a few books and articles about the subject, and I’ve also learned some things along the way.

You see, I have this theory that the future of what’s cool and engaging is not going to be furthering technology and scientific achievement, though those things will continue to permeate our globalized village. Instead, because of the advent of the internet and the information age, those two achievements are going to lead us to the next logical step, refining our communication and storytelling ability.

This branding article kind of takes the roundabout to explain what I’m stating rather plainly, but to be fair the author IS referring to the future of business, which is full of plot holes.

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So let’s get down to brass tacks, talk turkey, and strike while the iron is hot.

If you want to be successful in life, you have to be persistent, work hard, sacrifice, be prepared to deal with lots of failures, and keep up good habits. Ask anyone who YOU think is successful, and they will without question give you some variation of that short list.

That’s why I am going to let you in on something pretty straightforward. If you build these lists laid out in this article for yourself and maintain them, ie work at them and add to them, then you are on the track to success.

  1. list of goals
    A reason to get up in the morning, reasons to respect yourself
  2. list of tasks
    Milestones to goal completion, daily – personal and professional
  3. list of contacts
    Reliable, skillful people, who you maintain a healthy and natural relationship with
  4. list of expenses
    Monthly obligations, to create a clear overview and stick to your financial guns
  5. list of useful tools
    Apps for restaurants, maps, task management, learning, etc. AND physical resources too
  6. list of self improvements
    Things you would like to improve or change about yourself, one thing a year may be more viable
  7. list of creative ideas
    To hone your focus and keep your mind occupied. Needs to be new, make sense, and have a use
  8. list of future plans
    Events, changes in law, trends, software – keep you well-informed and prepared for life
  9. list of contingency plans
    Be prepared for the backlash of major projects
  10. bucket list
    Keep your regrets to a minimum – put the impossible down, then find the next best thing, use to restore will power and keep going

If you can maintain these lists, you will never lose sight of yourself and what you need to be doing in your life to achieve your purpose.

I’ve said it before, but creative types are just as prone to dreaming rather than doing as those deem themselves more pragmatic and functional.

Be vigilant and you’ll achieve your goals. And those are all of the theories I have for today dear readers.

Tim!

 

 

Real Talk (Bridging The Talent VS Vision Gap)

What if you only had a few more months left to live? How would YOU spend YOUR time? Would you stay at the shitty job you took to get your career started or because you didn’t know what to do with yourself, or would you restructure pretty much everything so that you could finally do the things you’ve been saying you’ll do for years? And that probably means travelling, time with family, and projects that might not work out.

Seriously think about that for a minute.

Think about the dreams you have in the back of your mind and which ones (yes plural) you are not pursuing right now. I’m sure you’re scared about them too, right?

But that’s not gonna cut the mustard anymore!

I’m going to share a list of ten things you likely haven’t considered simultaneously but seriously need to if you want to get out of your funk and start contributing to society proper. That means you need to take a good hard look at your life and what it is made up of and start dissecting many things and nurturing other less obvious things.

This is real talk! And not the creepy kind from R Kelly.

Shitjustgotreal

10 Sentences That Can Change Your Perspective On Life

  1. People aren’t against you; they are for themselves.
  2. Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.
  3. You learn more from failure than from success. Don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character.
  4. The most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.
  5. Go where you’re celebrated not where you’re tolerated.
  6. The person that you will spend the most time with in your life is yourself, so better try to make yourself as interesting as possible.
  7. If you accept your limitations you go beyond them.
  8. People often say that motivation doesn’t last, Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.
  9. Everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.
  10. Comfort is the enemy of achievement.

I originally found this list from imgur a few years back, so I can’t properly source it, other than the link itself, but here is the link if you want to do some investigating.

Today’s post dear readers is about this theory I have that most people are only willing to do the bare minimum to get through life.

You, yes you, as a creative person have a choice though – decide if you are willing to accept this as reality, or if you are going to fight with everything you have to stay passionate, to burn to produce something real, and to keep doing it until the day you die.

You see my friends, nobody is going to tell you the most obvious thing, they expect you to figure it out yourself.

We all have a reach that it is much longer than our grasp, in terms of asethetics/ability and our vision of what we will accomplish. We will always have this vision, from youth to our old age; but you have to work through potentially years of work in order for your talent to reach your vision.

Admittedly that last point is not my own idea, it comes from Ira Glass, host and producer of This American Life. I paraphrased it, but here is the quote I took the idea from.

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me.

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste.

But there is this gap.

For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.

A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have.

We all go through this.

And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap. And your work will be as good as your ambitions.

And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Ira is right though. And I am gonna expand on his idea –  when we have nothing to lose AND we are physically able, we finally hunker down and start making beautiful things. And that’s when we start to close the gap.

Take for instance this song Clouds about a young man who was an incredibly talented musician.

As delicately as I can say it, the point I am making with Zach Sobiech is not that he FINALLY started to make art and follow his passion because of his cancer (though that is true), my point is that many of us finish school or enter the workforce and give up on our dreams. That was not Zach’s story, but look how much he accomplished in 4 years because he had a purpose and committed to it.

As I mentioned, most of us wait.

But if we wait until we get sick or when we retire and show signs of age, then decide to take up “hobbies” and finally start to share our unique visions with the world, we might not close that gap.

And that’s my theory for the day. Leave some comments or reach out to me with your thoughts! I’ll see you tomorrow with a Melodic Monday review.

Tim!

Piecing It Together (The Watch List redux)

For serious, it’s Sunday evening already? Man, time flies when you are having fun cleaning up the administrative mess left over from the previous year.

I’ve spent the better part of the weekend filing away emails, pictures, receipts and all manner of boring stuff that I only need occasionally, but regret it when it isn’t handy.

But that’s not what we’re here for today. Nope!

On the previous Timely Thursday entry I wrote about one of my major goals for 2016 – tackling The Watch List with more veracity. The reason for this venture is so that I can begin to share some thoughts and research on human behaviour and how we can learn a lot about what motivates us. My theory is that this is perfectly possible to do by participating in pop culture and it’s often more formal sister, the arts. And if we marry the sciences and arts together, we are better for it.

When I last left off, I had just outlined the guts of my movie diet for the year. But now I need to spell out my regimen for you. How I plan on doing this is threefold.

  1. Watch new movies as they come out in the theatre or are given a home release.
  2. Watch movies I have added to my collection during my bulk shopping routines (black friday, boxing day, store closeouts, discount bins, flea markets, etc.)
  3. Watch movies that are on the top rated lists of IMDB, ensuring I hit at least the top 10% or 25 movies of each genre

Point number one is pretty straight forward – I buy 1 new movie each week on a Monday, and review it before posting about it the following week. I also give you guys a heads up on my instagram if you want to know what’s coming. (@timotheories)

Point number two is also fairly straightforward. I currently have 88 movies to watch. Most of them were from Black Friday and Boxing Day of 2015, but roughly 10 of the movies were runoff from the previous shopping efforts of 2014. That means if I want to stay ahead of myself, I need to get those movies opened and enjoyed before November 25th 2016. Or to put it another way, in 44 weeks.

Point number three is where it gets interesting. I currenty have 951 movies on my list which I have not watched. It used to be at 1109, but my efforts between 2014 (142 watched movies) and 2014 (15 watched movies, sadly) bridged the gap somewhat.

This is why I said The Watch List would take a few years to complete – I knew when I first shared this project with you at the end of 2014 that I had been powering through movies, without any real schedule or rhythm. It would be impossible to keep up that rate without discipline, because while most of these movies are critically acclaimed, some of them are boring as shit, and even I get bored watching movies over and over without anything else going on.

Without going into too much detail, my 2014 was pretty subdued and movie watching was the highlight of that year.

So let’s talk numbers now!

If I keep up with my expectations of watching one movie a week for a review, and want to get through all of my bulk purchases before 2015 Black Friday, I need to watch two of those a week as well at the minimum.

If I am being completely unrealistic, I would need to tackle 18 Watch List movies a week to get through them all this year. I know that is unrealistic because if each movie is roughly 2 hours that 18 movie watch time is equivalent to a 40 hour work week. And let’s be honest, I have to work my day job, sleep, write blog posts, watch 3 other movies, and do other things like video editing, game night, reading, and attend local events to stay on top of my other timotheories goals.

So I’ve decided that I am going to commit to watching at least 1 movie from The Watch List a week, and I’ll try to squeeze in extra movies when I can. The challenge of course is whether Netflix and the public library have the catalogue I need, so I may be buying some of these films in my bulk purchases later in the year, which will allow for some cross-functional categories.

You see, dear readers, I have this theory, that if I stick to this schedule, I can get through this list and provide you with the content you need, curating it as I go, of course.

What do you think, is my list too crazy? If I only cross off 52 movies this year, I still have 900 to go. At this rate, I’ll complete it in 18 years. Welll, my hope is that I will start binge watching them on the weekends, and that I will bulk buy new movies less often as time goes on.

Please leave me some comments, encouragement, criticism, whatever! See you tomorrow for a music review!

Tim!