Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

I finished listening to Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!by Robert Kiyosaki.

About 4 years ago I listened to 2 of the 3 CDs but hit stop, because of my issues with money. Hearing that working hard isn't the way to make money made me so furious. I pride myself in working hard and not having the government take care of me. I was stuck in a conundrum, because at my jobs I was losing a huge chunk of my paycheck to taxes. It felt unfair and not motivating to work in that fashion. After 4 years of growth in marketing, sales, money matters, budgeting, grants and loans (aka life experiences), I was able to hear what Kiyosaki had to say.

Lots of things Kiyosaki talked about I realized I follow the same thought patterns without being aware of his. More about this later.

I made myself listen to, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" the first time and not take notes. Too easily I get sidetracked on research (aka bunny trails). I have tons to reflect on, in particular, what step to take next. For sure, I am going to listen to the book another time, before going to the library for another of his titles.

The single most thought stunning quote Kiyosaki said, was that he's "a best selling author, not the best writer." This is why it is key for me to learn marketing, sales and how to lead people. I don't need to be a perfect sculptor (as much as I want to be), but instead make well-crafted art that I am proud of while focusing on ways to improve my selling.

The runner up tidbit is to invest my time in monthly money creating assets, such as selling books online that I don't need to print myself or take care of shipping. I've wanted to write books, but I have been intimidated by how much time it takes. People seem so shocked and in awe when someone they know is published. I am disciplined and determined so why can't I do it? There is no reason why not. I started this week writing and designing two books that are under a 100 pages each. If I have a plethora of books that generate sales without my maintenance, then I can travel. It is a one time investment of time, doing something that I enjoy. I can add the selection of books by me for the fun, challenge and prospect of bringing in more income.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

bicycle sharing

I am trying to motivate myself to do homework, but I keep getting distracted. Wouldn't you be too? Check out what has kept me from writing a paper for class.

Bike sharing programs all over Europe. Yet another great reason to live there.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christy Symington

17 things I am grateful for

1. Freedom to move. I'll be moving back to Sacramento for a while. Here I come Rancho!
2. Friends with cars to drive me to Home Depot to buy drill bits
3. Space to make a mess (and leave it out) for creating Christmas presents
4. Fresh, steamed beets for snack time
5. For my mom to be home so we can challenge each other to see how much we can get done in an hour. Then we call each other and encourage on another.
6. Only 4 more weeks of school
7. Books! Right now I finished reading The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder and Taking the Leap. Ongoing I'm reading, Entrepreneurial Small Business, Rich Dad, poor Dad (on CD) and Financial Adviser (a magazine), Letters to a Young Artist and The Bluest Eye.
8. For the east bay's warm weather
9. My internet is regularly up and working. Without it, I am lost.
10. Blogs to keep in touch with family and friends
11. Braille, because it is interesting to decode and touch
12. Photo ops-I've been on a photo taking kick since my Liberating Trip from BART
13. Walborn- so much cheaper than airborn and just as yummy
14. Ian treated me to the newest Bond movie. ;-)
15. My dog is healthy, happy and hanging in there
16. Furniture nails and all of their untapped uses
17. Being less stressed today, but still feeling unfocused


Thank you mom for sending this to me. I got the hint. ;-) I'm working on getting more wisdom.

This is a beautifully shot short documentary about older, famous peoples opinions on wisdom. You definitely want to watch it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Letters to a Young Artist- Yvonne Rainer

It was my goal in September to figure out an art related business that I wanted to run, write a professional quality business plan, create inventory, set up a website, establish a clientele, and create enough income to support myself by February first of 2009. Now I see that this plan is not achievable to do in that period of time. Even if I didn't have other obligations, statistically it takes 3-5 years for a business to make money. I don't like to include myself in generalizations (because they sound like excuses to me), but turning a profit by February is probably not a realistic goal.

Taking on complicated tasks and breaking it into lots of achievable goals hasn't been a problem for me. Instead creating realistic goals is something I struggle with. And making too many goals is another problem. I was talking to a friend today and he said that having some unrealistic goals can be a good thing. To paraphrase using a forwarded email I recently received, "To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did." (I don't know who said this.)

Today I read another nugget of wisdom from "Letters to a young artist." This artist's advise shakes me to pay attention at the speed and direction I am running. Perhaps now isn't the time to establish an art business, with full gusto.

"I only wish to emphasize, with the utmost fervor, how important it is for a young artist to delay "professionalism" as long as possible. Find some way to give yourself a chance - and time - to experiment, take risks, play, fool around, even fail, before trying to launch a career."

Best of luck,
Yvonne Rainer
New York

Maybe now is the time for play, experiment, fail, and play some more. The question now is how to support myself while focusing most of my efforts on playing with different forms of art.

Another thing Rainer said that struck me was, "Challenge yourself with what "doesn't work." I often get stuck in the planning stage, like trying to come up with the most creative or original idea. All this thinking takes away from being in the studio. Instead of thinking of the problem areas as failures, I could use them as starting points to brainstorm, play and improve.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Letters to a Young Artist- Yvonne Rainer

Another nugget of wisdom that shakes my mindset of establishing in extreme urgency an art business.

"I only wish to emphasize, with the utmost fervor, how important it is for a young artist to delay "professionalism" as long as possible. Find some way to give yourself a chance - and time - to experiment, take risks, play, fool around, even fail, before trying to launch a career."

Best of luck,

Yvonne Rainer
New York

So now is the time for play, experiment, fail, and play some more. The question now is how to support myself while focusing most of my efforts on playing with different forms of art?

Another thing Rainer said that struck me was, "Challenge yourself with what "doesn't work." I often get stuck in the planning stage looking for ways to figure out the problem areas, like trying to come up with the most creative or original idea. All this thinking takes away from being in the studio. Instead of thinking of the problem areas as failures, use them as starting points to brainstorm, play and improve.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Field Trip with Mom Part 2

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline with mi Madre

For beautifully written and insightful stories about our trip, check out my mom's blog.
She has the same photos except went a step further and wrote about the trip.

Field Trip with Mom Part 1

Eastshore State Park with Mom

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Word of the Day

The song I'm listening to right now on Pandora is by Natalie Imbruglia, called Left of the Middle. Every time I hear it I love the sound of the word "dignified".

I knew the gist of the word, but wanted to know for sure. It took 20 seconds to know for sure.

calm, impressive, and worthy of respect

What is one of your favorite words?

Never thought I'd be quoting Letterman

David Letterman on Bush and Americans

'As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark.'

'The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some Poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President.. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?'

A. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?

B. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

C. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

D. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

E. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state.

F. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

G. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.

H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

I. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.

J. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.

K. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

L. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

M. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an 'other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?

Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!

Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.' 'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

-David Letterman

Obama and his "seance" comment

Today I am creating a new New Year's Resolution. It was one that I considered back in January, but it felt too lofty, time consuming and overwhelming to take on. That is to follow via articles and videos on news of the nation, particularly the decisions and actions of the presidential election. Now that the election has passed, I want to continue to be involved in the goings on in my nation.

I started this morning by making time to watch videos on of Obama's speech about the transition into office. He addressed serious issues like how to stimulate the economy, seances and the type of dog his family is looking to own. It surprised me that a reporter asked which school the girls are going to attend. I found that odd, because that is private and doesn't effect how the President Elect will run the country. It reminded me of American mindset and interest in following things that are none of their business. The deep fascination and obsession over the events in Hollywood is a great example. I am repeatedly shocked at people's rudeness at wanting to know details that are private, like the reason for a divorce. There is a huge loss of respect for privacy. Being president, there isn't much privacy. But it still shocked me that someone asked about the girl's school.

I appreciated that Obama said repeatedly that there is one president at a time. Many times he said that he's not president until Jan. 20th. It gives me a little more confidence in him as a leader, that he respects who's turn it is to be in charge.

I was very surprised at how easy it was to find a video of Obama's speech. I was reluctant to have to read through a lengthy editorial, when really I wanted the words straight from his mouth.

This resolution of being involved and informed on my countries well being and actions will require a commitment on my part. Other wise I will fall way behind on all of the major events. I really enjoyed tracking the election in France two years ago, so taking that same fascination of numbers and relationships, I'm going to stay current on America's events.

I feel silly, ignorant and very young when I talk about my political views. This is changing today. When talking politics, I become increasingly aware that I am not even 1/4 of a century old. I haven't been around all that long. This is the second presidential election that I have been old enough to vote, (which I voted both times.) Most events that are brought up in the news or in conversations, I was not born yet or too young to care. I have extra foot work to read the history books (or archives online) to become informed on the complex situation that America is in. All I can do to catch up (along with all of the other youngsters out there) is to read, talk and watch videos. It's important to know and it's better late than never to get informed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Letters to a Young Artist- Xu Bing

With graduation two months away and the state of the economy, I am doubting if it's possible to live as a freelance artist. I don't want to settle by working full-time for someone, but this week I am particularly worn out. In the mail today a friend sent me a book of letters, called "Letters to a Young Artist". The letters are by famous visual artists who talk about the struggles of starting out as an artist. The timing couldn't of been better.

Today on BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit, I read the first letter. It is by Chinese artist Xu Bing. The sentence that touched me was this:

"Consequently, a good artist is a thinking person, and is a person adept at translating thoughts into the language of art."

I worry that I think too much and that I spend too much time recording events in my journal, web site or blog and then analyze them for deeper meaning, then derive sculptures from them. My inner critic is very harsh and tells me to get into the studio and create something that can be sold and to do it NOW! Xu organized my muddled thoughts, that's ok to be a thinker, but also to be a creator. For me, I only want to create thoughtful art. That way, myself and others would have a reason to come back and repeatedly look at the artwork. I want to spend my time doing something worth while so it is imperative to create thoughtful art.

Before reading Xu's letter, I'd never heard of him. I figured that in order to be taken seriously as a visual artist, I need to be knowledgeable on the big name artists. So I looked up Xu Bing's website. On it, I discovered that we have more in common than I thought.

First of all, he created art using Braille. The book is called Brailliterate, which is a blend of the words "braille" and "illiterate". It is a book in Braille expect for the cover. The catch is that the print and Braille title of the book don't read the same thing. Only a sighted person who could read Braille would catch the inaccuracy. Brailliterate talks about cultural bias, misinterpretation and concealment.

The second thing that caught my interest is that Xu Bing was a recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Award in 1999. It was given to him for "originality, creativity, self-direction, and capacity to contribute importantly to society, particularly in printmaking and calligraphy."

On the Mac Arthur site, I found a list of visual artists who have won the award. I recognize only a few, so I plan to look into them and their art.

I plan to use this book of letters for encouragement and remind myself that they did, so why can't I?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

If Women Ruled the World...

(I miss you Molly! Thank you for sending this to me, all the way from Sweden.)