Please see my new blog at http://www.kennedypens.com. All future postings will live there.
July 16, 2010
June 25, 2010
DEDEMED’S MEDITERRANEAN KITCHEN TAKES THE INTERNET AND YOUTUBE BY STORM WITH INTERACTIVE VIDEO RECIPES AND COOKING TIPS (via dubroWORKS Blog)
Hummus is my fav and love the video option!
via dubroWORKS Blog
February 11, 2010
We’ve plowed ahead on our book project. We have three quarters of the copy written and all the images are edited down now. The past few weeks we’ve begun the laborious task of reaching out to publishers. One has offered to have us on their label, but we must pay the entire cost for printing AND we will receive only 25% of the cover price, which means we would lose $2 on every book sold. Huh? I’m not a math major, but something just doesn’t make sense here.
Our book has both copy and color photos, which makes it considerably more expensive and complicated to design and print. That said, thousands of such books make it to retail one way or another every year, so we’ll find a way.
I’ve already learned a lot in this process and suspect somewhere there MUST be a book that outlines all these steps (hmm, or maybe that’s my next project). That said, everyone has a unique project, with various goals in mind: Some people want to just make money from the book; some want to get work from the publishing of the book; others hope to parlay the book into other properties. Ideally, we’d like to have all three, but decidedly, our goal is the second.
Both Elisa and I are professionals (she an architect, me a writer/photographer) that want new, creative projects to sprout from this effort. The exploration of these subjects – their journeys, complete with mistakes, lessons and achievements have been reminders that we too are in the midst of writing our history.
Each publisher wants materials submitted in a different way. Some only accept 300 kb messages, others want double spaced, detailed proposals. Some want completed manuscripts and others want to be able to edit and tear it apart and therefore suggest we only show a few chapters. They make you jump through hoops to get to the submission guidelines, and then they follow up your submission with a note saying it may take them several months to reply. This is not for faint hearted.
I had a consultation with a book publishing guru today. He basically told me that new authors make NO money. Even on second and sometimes third books — expect no real financial rewards. Then why are there so many books published every day? When I mentioned self publishing in China, he strongly suggested Print on Demand or POD, as insiders call it, instead. It commits you to fewer copies and costs less out of the gates, which seems more doable. It does, however, increase your per unit cost by several dollars.
We’re pushing ahead with finishing the copy. It’s becoming clear that nothing can really happen until it’s done. We’re brainstorming various ways to market the book, which they refer to as building our platform.The more ways we can devise to peddle our book, the better off we will be as even with a publisher on board, very little marketing will happen on our behalf.
I went for a walk today with a friend who has worked in the publishing industry for years, first as an editor and now as a writer. She said the retail book business is broken. It’s structured as a consignment, where things that don’t sell all get returned. The mark ups they charge and the inexact nature of how they market the books that don’t have huge names attached, makes it somewhat a crapshoot for new authors.
That said, I’m choosing to see this process as a journey. It’s become a maze, complete with a multitude of barriers to entry to overcome. Our book has a title: Success by Design: Revealing Profiles of California Architects. And slowly it’s taking shape.
February 8, 2010
I’m finding more and more that people change careers multiple times throughout their lives, whereas the previous generation tended to stay put. I’m curious to get a sampling from my readers. How many careers (not jobs) have you had so far?
And tell us in the comments what they are so we can see the progression (or digression) — whatever the case may be.
February 4, 2010
Last night I took a hula hoop class at the local rec center. That may be the most perfect example of a small town activity ever. I can’t explain exactly what compelled me to go. I mean I DO own a hula hoop. Someone gave it to me last summer for my birthday. I thought it was a random gift, but it seemed a hit at the party. I would say it was split right down the middle — the guests that could and could not work the hoop. It had never occurred to me that anyone couldn’t keep that little sphere afloat, but apparently there are many who struggle with this challenge. I was not one of them. That said, I hung the bedazzled hoop in the garage for the winter and didn’t revisit it until last night.
The class cost a whopping $14 for one hour. I figured at that rate, there must be some sort of mystery skills they would impart. I showed up on time with my bottle of water, in case it turned out to be somehow aerobic. The attendees consisted of one random man and four mature women, how my friend, who happens to also be “mature,” described them. I had a lightning flash when she said that: what if I showed up and they were all my age and therefore she meant I was simply immature? Well, as it turned out, they were all 50+, so that settled that.
We circled up and class began with the basic twirling around the waist. The teacher was suffering from a bad back and decided to sit in the center most the class, which I found ironic somehow. About half the circle was humming along, but the other half repeatedly dropped their hoop, which gave me some sort of strange satisfaction. She had to instruct them how to throw it parallel to the ground and how to then grind their hips to keep it in motion. I realized that no one had ever taught me, but it was something I learned early and just intuitively knew how to do. I have to say there was some degree of relief that I was arguably the best in class.
Next came the walking across the room while hooping, then running. The instructor demonstrated this by casually walking in a straight line. I have no idea how she managed it, as I had to zig and zag and grind in a frenzied rush to keep mine going. I imagined how insane we’d look doing this down at the beachfront. Next we did squats while gyrating our hips to keep that little hoop moving. This was even harder, and I was dying of heat. Off came my sweater, and I did a time check: 30 minutes down. Jesus, I thought. We are only half way done and I’m overheating and wanting to sit down.
Our following task was to turn out from the circle, so as not to see one another, although admittedly I did peek more than once to get my bearings and see how everyone was holding up. We were then told to hoop with our eyes shut for five whole minutes. It was a strange sensation when you closed off the sense of sight. It felt like someones hands were on my hips over and over and my arms got so heavy. Suddenly I felt very disoriented and my hips started doing jagged back-forth motions instead of the rhythmic circles of before. I dropped my hoop at least four times with a loud slam. I could feel they were gaining on me.
Our final task gave our hips a much needed break. We were shown how to swirl the hoop above our head with first one, then alternating hands. We could squat or take side steps if we wanted to look more styled. Mastering this and all the other moves seemed really important in the confines of that room. Now, with some time and space to reflect, I realize that those skill give me no cred in the real world. In fact, it’s not something I could really even do in public, at my age. However, at the time, I approached it with the seriousness of the SAT. I compared myself to all other participants and decided if I was 1st, 2nd or 3rd, moment by moment.
I take this same approach to most things. It doesn’t matter if it’s the sewing class at the community college or weight lifting at the gym. I know it’s not in my best interest, but I can’t help it. I count, I organize and I compare nearly everything. At least I’m aware of it though. That’s the first step, right?
October 20, 2009
I’ve been an athlete my whole life. Run, hike, gymnastics, dance, surf – you name it and I’ve loved doing it. The one grand omission was swimming. I did it as a kid, so I’m not sure why I suddenly developed an avoidance at 20. In college we all had to take a running/aerobics/swimming class. I was the best runner and taught aerobics, but could not swim (or so I decided). I actually talked our teacher into giving me flippers to make it across the pool during lap swimming.
As the years went on, I actually joined a gym because they had a pool. I returned to try laps in spotty patches, but never stuck to it. The water always seemed so cold and uninviting, yet something made me keep dipping my toe.
Eventually, in my mid 20s, I relaxed into swimming as part of my exercise regimen. It was a solitary sport, but I liked how once I got over the initial discomfort, my body hit an automatic mode and my head released. It was meditative and I always felt amazing afterward. During this whole on-again, off-again relationship with the pool, I was attempting flip turns. They are the most efficient way to turn around when you hit the end, plus they look cool and let you keep your momentum.
Consistently, I would fill my goggles with water or miss the wall all together, as I would turn too early for fear of smashing into the wall. I would try here and there, when no one was watching and never could I do it consistently or correctly. As a prideful, relatively athletic person, this always bothered me. Why is it so hard? And so I continued to try every once in a while in my early 30s, but felt fairly resigned to be one of those that lamely pushes off the wall with my hand.
Recently I moved to Santa Barbara and found that my local gym had a pool. Because it’s in the basement and not on the sunny rooftop, almost no one goes there. It’s perfect, because I always get a lane and I’ve been left to practice my cursed flip turn ad nauseam.
Within 10 weeks, I’m markedly better and gaining confidence. And I’ve built in a few safe guards. For example, I reach my arm out so I know I have enough distance to flip safely. Another problem was getting my breathing timed right so as to have enough air to exhale when turning. I gave myself permission today, to take a last minute gasp (vs. having it be in my natural stroke pattern), which made all the difference. I’ve also realized that my goggles fill with water because I scrunch my face (from fear) when I turn. Once I consciously relaxed, it stopped happening.
Like so many things, once I slowed to see the problem, I was able to disassemble it. I still have numerous tweaks to make in my style, but it’s getting better by the day. For example, today I experimented with what my hands were doing during the turn. If they did nothing, they acted as a drag. If I whipped them with the flip, they propelled me infinitely faster. The water provides a slow motion, exaggerated replay of what happens, which helps my mind.
That said, I suspect that most of what I’m doing is intuitive in my body and not about mentally figuring it out. And part of this shift was me quieting my prideful voice that wants everything to come easily. I realize some struggle isn’t so bad after all.
October 3, 2009
I recently met a guy here in SB named Richard Magee. He’s a Rolfer. I still can say the word without feeling goofy. Named for the woman who created the procedure, Ida Rolf, Rolfing may be one of the best kept secrets to pain relief.
Also called Structural Integration, Rolfing is a deep form of bodywork. It releases the body’s segments, such as legs torso, arms, shoulders from life-long patterns of tension and bracing permitting gravity to re-align them.
I had my first session yesterday and I feel GREAT! The aching in my hips and knees is gone and chronic shooting pain in my armpit (pec muscle) is also gone.
I’m going to blog as I go through the whole series of 10 appointments. In the mean time, if you want to learn more or book an apt with Richard, head to Rolfme.com.
September 30, 2009
Yesterday I finally caught up. So far we’ve interviewed 26 architects. With each of these interviews goes a portrait, a model and property release, an audio file to transcribe and renderings (with captions). I have been receiving things a host of ways — email, yousendit, ftp. Needless to say, this Virgo lost her organizational grip for just a moment. Yesterday was about getting everything in one place and on one grid and backed up for extra safety. Phew!
I also finished writing the story of Ray Kappe. He’s been a pioneering architect and educator (founded SCI Arc). Today I’m going through the hundreds of photos to narrow them down to our selects for possible layout. As both an architect and interior designer, Elisa is exceptional with spacial relations and graphics. So she’s going to take a stab at our layout. As the marketer, I’m going to start reaching out to publishers for consideration.
For all the feedback we’ve head in casual conversation, it seems like there is certainly an audience for our book. I’m shocked at how many people say they have secretly always wanted to be an architect. We’ll be giving a glimpse into the lives and lessons of these folks. Stay tuned…
September 18, 2009
A few months back, I had brainstorming lunch with my girlfriend. We both had a desire for a project. Something we could return to and hold up an example of what we are about.
As a writer/photographer, I wanted something that would incorporate both these skills. People are really where my interests lie, so I was looking to profile a sector of the population. Elisa is an architect suggested we turn our focus there.
Our idea was born! Elisa put together the list and I began reaching out to dozens of architects around southern California. So far, we have interviewed people in LA, Orange County, San Diego, Santa Barbara and San Francisco.
Each subject has told a unique and interesting story. In addition to the interview, I’m shooting a portrait of each architect for the book. I plan to document the journey of this project – from the interviews, to the editing and layout, to approaching publishers, etc.
I will also post samples from the book as we get closer to print. I welcome your feedback, input and questions.
August 3, 2009
More than anything, I want to build my writing and shooting work. I want to extend beyond web to the land of print, where the pay makes it seem like a real job, instead of just a hobby. In this perfect world, I want to interview interesting, complex people from all walks of life. I want to document their stories, their journeys. That is my most favorite activity.
I along with a partner, have been working on book about the lives and times of architects. With each subject, we interview and make an original photograph. It’s the perfect assignment, the combination of all my skills. I currently have a backlog of 25 stories to transcribe and tell.
And instead of tackling them head on, I Facebook or check the fridge or do just about anything else. I have bedside books about writing. They all basically say JUST DO IT. Simply tie myself down and focus. I’m just curious why such hesitation exists for something I enjoy, I know will lead me to better things still?
I guess the first step is acknowledging the procrastination tendency and doing it anyway. I love reading something when it’s finished and seeing it published even more. I just resist the actual process of creation. I know I’m not alone.
Time to get to work. Hoping this was a warm up…