Of Geese and Boots and The Front Page

There is no grand message here – except maybe, similar to stop and smell the roses, stop and experience the geese of life.
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I’ve always taken my children with me to clients… if they wanted to go.
[see full-image below]

In 1996, I was consulting for Sebastian Haircare in Woodland Hills – the Pyramid building on De Soto.

They had been purchased by Wella – a move that some would say destroyed the brand but that’s another story.

Sebastian had this cool rain forest inside their facility. Lush greenery and some fish tanks. I couldn’t find a picture of it – though I didn’t spend much time looking.

On this day, Tuesday, December 17, 1996 (I only know because the date on the picture), I’d taken my 2nd child, Jessica with me. Jess often accompanied me to clients – setting up with a book or something to draw. I’m certain, on this visit, she spent much of her time at Sebastian in their rain forest, pretending she was one of the creatures that lived there.

On our way home, back to Chatsworth, we passed Pierce College (aka: Moo U). On one of the fields, I saw hundreds of Canadian Geese. Jess saw them as well.

Our friends who know Jess fully realize that there was NO WAY I was going to drive past a field of Canadian Geese without making a stop for her. Jess was/is animal crazy. In fact, she spent more time being an animal of one sort of another than she did being a little girl. I’ll write more about this later – some hilarious stories. This is NOT an exaggeration. We used to discuss it in terms of whether this was becoming a psychosis of some sort.

I let Jess out and she walked across the field, wading into the middle of the flock. I didn’t join her, knowing that my presence would be more likely to frighten them.

As I watched Jess enjoy her feathered friends, a man with a camera and large telephoto lens came up next to me. He asked if he could take some pictures of her. He said the colors and moment was perfect.  I agreed and gave him permission.

He went on to explain that he was a photographer for the Daily News.

After taking several photos he said, “It wouldn’t surprise me if these make the paper.”

As it turned out, we received the Daily News and the Times back in those days. The next morning, early  – because I’m always up early – I walked out to get the paper.

The Daily News was on the driveway. It was folded in half, with the lower-fold facing up. But there was no mistaking the boots. Jess was always wearing boots. I ran back inside and woke Jess and my wife up to show them the paper. I was very excited!

Over the course of the day several friends called us. The consensus was that, of course, Jess was on the front-page of the newspaper with a bunch of geese.

 

The Lie and The Truth About NOT Giving a F*CK!

Here is the lie:

“I don’t care what people think.” also expressed as, “I give zero fucks!”

Stop saying this! It’s a lie and you prove that in the saying. You are convincing no one – and those who know this truth can see through your lie. Okay.. you are convincing someone. You are convincing those who are aware that you do care what others think.

We all care about what people think. We all want to be liked and accepted. That is a good thing.

When you post that you do not give a fuck about what other people think, you are screaming, “I CARE SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK THAT IT IS KILLING ME!!”

Because the people who truly don’t care… or, more accurately, care appropriately; those who are aware of their insecurity – an insecurity that we all share – have learned to focus that normal and healthy caring. They focus it on the right people. And therefore, they don’t have to mention it. It is part of a healthy feedback loop.

Again, because the dead horse is in no pain, loud pronouncements of, “I DON’T CARE!” scream the opposite.

As content creators: [songwriter, poet, author, artist, dancer, etc.] if you say you just create for you, then why are you letting anyone know you are one of those things? Why are you posting it anywhere? You are lying and it is better for you, if you stop lying.

I’m not trying to be cruel of mean-spirited. I believe being honest with yourself about what you want and what you create will make you a better creator and better at accomplishing what you want.

Here is the truth:

Plus, a better question and a lesson:

You do give a fuck! You do care what other people think.

The question(s):

Who is the person whose opinion you care about? Is it the right person?

And that’s probably not your mother.. well, unless it is my mom who was pretty harsh at times.. honest.

I’ve seen the book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a “F*ck” – the title is funny on it’s face Someone apparently gave a F*ck about not writing the word fuck.

I haven’t read it.. I probably won’t. I certainly do not need to. The title is a turn-off. NOT because it says fuck… or doesn’t.

But because on it’s face – by the title – it is suggesting something that I believe is impossible. And not just impossible… foolish. It is foolish to not care what people think. Well, at least the right people.

A better title and book might be, “The Art and Wisdom of Correctly and Appropriately Giving a Fuck.” or “How to Give a Fuck About the Right Things and People.”

The lesson:

I’ve mentioned Stephen King’s book, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.” It was a game-changer for me. Got me moving and ultimately published. If you are a writer – or want to be – GET IT! If are a creator of some other type…. GET IT!

He suggest something similar to what I’ve told many writers and songwriters.

Avoid critique groups!!!

And I have friends who run critique groups. God bless ’em! I love those people! But I don’t agree with the format. Let me explain.

You don’t need a critique group. Too often, they contain the “wrong people” – and by that, I mean people who suck at what you are trying to get good at. Don’t get me wrong, there may be a couple decent people in the group but overall, talent in a given area is rarely found in critique groups.

Why? The people with the talent are associating with others of similar or better talent. People who stretch them. They are not typically attending critique groups.

So how do you get feedback?

Approach someone who is good at what you want to be good at. They don’t have to be the same as you in style or delivery. But you know “good” when you see (hear/read) it. Create a friendship. Add value to their life. And… see if they will provide you input from time to time. (don’t pester though)

And give a fuck about what they saybut only so much of a fuck.

I’m often asked to assess writing or songwriting. I’m happy to do so but it always makes me nervous.

First, I ask how honest they want me to be – how direct.

Then I offer this caveat:

I explain that if they were to put the same writing in front of three writers they admire and respect, they are likely to get three different pieces of feedback. Hell, they might get four or five pieces of feedback. And they should look at the feedback.

And then, they can take some or all of the input… or none of it. It is THEIR creation to do with as they please.

I don’t want them to weigh my input so heavily they lose sight of their creation… that is what makes me nervous!

Also, you may find that you reject all the input initially. That’s what I do much of the time. I’m pretty damned arrogant… er.. confident in my writing – songwriting or the written word. So, I often respond with, “What? I know that part was awesome!”

But I also know this about me… So I allow myself that reaction.

Then, a few hours, days, weeks, ??? later, I soften my response. I recognize something they saw and make adjustments… or I don’t! I’m just saying, I take their input seriously.

So… give a a fuck about what other people think. Just make sure it is the right people about the right things.

And I leave you with this idea from Brene Brown:

“If you are not also in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

You see… I don’t really need input from the non-doers… the critic or the unconvinceable. And you don’t either. They suck – at life and input! Don’t argue with them and don’t listen to them.

Facebook Live Streaming – S is for Song

Live streaming a few songs

As part of my annoyance with holding back on live video and a number of other goals, I am doing more live streams on Facebook. To date, they’ve been me in the hills with my dogs and playing music.

I’ve been launching them from my Facebook profile but realized that I could launch them from my professional Facebook page and share them on my regular profile. This seems like an exposure win – though, I’m unsure.

I’ve embedded my most recent stream below.

I called it, “S is for Song” – which I may just keep using or may not..

The Facebook live front-facing camera problem

AKA: I’m not left-handed and all my books and CD are NOT printed backwards.. I promise.

There seems to be a problem with live video streamed from front-facing cameras. To date, no solution for my Android Galaxy S7. But I can see how I am framed and I don’t want to give that up.

There are also competing views on who needs to fix this. I’d sort of like the option on Facebook to do it.. provide a mirror option. If there are some camera manufacturers who don’t have this problem, and some that do, the problem is solved in the app regardless of the phone.

VLOG #3 – tech tool edition. Google Keep for cloud-based, share-able/collaborative notes and list

We didn’t do a post for vlog #2 – about being annoyed, so watch that here.

Google Apps are Amazing

but…

“Google is abysmal at being amazing!”

So few gmail users know the myriad of apps they have access to. Google has done a horrible job of showing what’s available and how to best use them.

Google Keep: notes, list, and more.

My cousin asked me if I used Google Keep. My answer, absolutely. I found Evernote – for basic lists – to be too much. Plus, wherever possible, I want to keep my apps and utilities under a single account.

Why I LOVE Google Keep

  • Cross-platform: PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, tablets, etc.
  • Simple list and notes – easy to use immediately. No learning curve.
  • Location (geo) reminders – bring up a reminder when I reach a destination, city, etc.
  • Share-able – collaborate in real-time with other gmail users.
    This is the single-most powerful and under-utilized feature of most Google Apps.
  • And more…

Google Keep Video

For my vlog #3, I show why and how I use Google Keep

Workshop: Cloud-based Collaboration and Communication PMI-North LA County

A quick thank you

Yes.. that’s my dog Beaux on my monitor. 😉

The Slide-deck

To download, click the image for the Powerpoint file or get the PDF here.

Tools worth looking at:

I just re-discovered this. The last time I visited the North LA Chapter, I wrote, “The Project Management Blues”. Enjoy!

Send me a message, testimonial, or referral

Matthew Moran’s VLOG #1 – The dogs, Griffith Observatory, climbing and a fall

I’ve been challenges… and challenged again.. and re-challenged to create my vlog for.. oh.. I don’t know.. 7 years.

The focus of the vlog is: life, songwriting, tech, hiking, dogs, life, and everyday adventures.

VLOG #1: climbing plus

Griffith Park Observatory, the dogs, and climbing

too early for whiskey

Too Early for Whiskey (so I’m starting with wine)

I love honky tonk music. Sadness and drinking.. those are core ingredients. But I don’t really write it – perhaps because I may have over-imbibed three times in my entire life.

However, back in 2010, I wrote a line that I knew I could grow into a good honky tonk style tune.

“It’s too early for whiskey, so I’m starting with wine”

And voila! A few hours later, I had the following song. It took me until now, 2017, to record anything more than a cell phone video version.

You can listen, download, and/or watch the song below. I have the complete lyrics below that.Continue reading

Manifesto, Mantra, & Mandates for 2017

Dammit! Now I need to write something into my alliteration.

Reading time: 6:40-ish

there’s a road and I’m gonna take it

I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve beaten this subject to death, so. If interested, you can read my take here.

I do, however, believe in setting goals, establishing plans, and working for outcomes. And I think the New Year provides a good enough jumping off point for enacting some of those plans. In part, because we come through a period of time – the Holidays – that, at once, both allow a little decompression and exacerbate stress.Continue reading

Thoughts on wanting 2016 to end

I posted this on Facebook.

I find it curious/strange to watch people talk about wanting to have 2016 finish and 2017 to start.

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Side note: I never wish a day away – I don’t wish for Friday on Monday.. we get a limited quantity of days and I want EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!
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Not just because a year is just a token that marks a series of earth rotations and our planet’s movement around the sun. 1/1/2017 marks nothing more than a single rotation more than 12/31/2016.

And 2016 did not take anyone from us. 2016 isn’t in the business of taking or giving. Cursing 2016 is like cursing a spoon for soup that was too hot! I’ve done it… but it’s sort of idiotic.

But most important, the biggest challenge we faced in 2016 was ourselves. We, individually, are always our biggest challenge. Guess who is going to be waiting for you when you wake up in 2017? Yep! Now that’s frightening!

At least you hope they are there waiting.