The Thing about Figureheads

The thing about figureheads is, they don’t really lead, per se, they just give you a large papier mache puppet you can easily see from a distance to see which way the parade is going. Leaders inspire us to demand more of ourselves. Leaders inspire loyalty because of how much of themselves they are willing to risk on behalf of those following them. Leaders make decisions decisively; they don’t triangulate. And if they mess up they own it and handle it. Leaders are never tyrants; they put themselves in the direct line of fire of their decisions. Leaders used to charge into battle at the head of their armies, not send them to fight while waiting for the outcome someplace safe. Leaders go hungry so that others may eat. Leaders tirelessly seek out people smarter than them to do things they themselves cannot. Leaders beget leaders; anyone who spends any amount of time following them end up eventually leading something. Those are some of the ways one tells the difference. And yes, I am putting all of this in a book. That is, if “books” still exist by the time I am done.

Apple TV era Finally Dawns

Can Apple do to the television market what it did to music and movies? As rumors about Apple's widely expected move into the murky TV market continue to swirl, it's a logical question to ask. It's also logical to ask why Apple is getting into the space in the first place. The answer is simple: Apple can't afford not to. As the evolution of online distribution and consumption continues to break down traditional barriers between conventional media, companies looking to plant a stake in the ground here can't afford to pick and choose which media they will or will not cover. The era of the pure-play music distributor, for example, is over thanks to seamless, Internet and mobile-driven convergence. The pop radio star of yesterday long since evolved into a video-recording, television-appearing, Internet-tweeting multi-platform entity. Consumers, in turn, now experience these properties via whatever medium makes the most sense at any given moment. The companies that control this process must adapt to this reality, and Apple, which aims to lead them all with a common platform that serves up a full palette of entertainment-related content, can hardly afford to not be a player in any given medium. If it doesn't make a move to control how we consume televised content, someone else will. Against that backdrop, Apple's efforts to-date have been less than spectacular. Its Apple TV product has been available since 2006 and redirects downloaded and streamed content to a conventional television set. 
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once called the product a "hobby", but before dying in October reportedly told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, he had finally figured out the secret to next-generation television. "I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. "It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud," Jobs told Isaacson. "It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. "I, finally, cracked it." He may have cracked it long ago, with the first iteration of the iTunes Music Store, as the basic ingredients for turning formerly complex consumption processes into seamless ones were all there. Before iTunes, the process of purchasing, downloading, managing and interacting with music was best left to the geek set. Combining feature-limited, cleanly-interfaced devices, iPods, with similarly seamless software and online retail capability made for an end-to-end process that anyone could take advantage of. The recipe made the iPod a mainstream success story, and iTunes the standard for simple, effective, online fulfillment. Subsequent extensions into movies and apps further validated the model. Sales of television episodes have opened the door for Apple into an even broader range of coverage, but it's a big leap from selling individual shows to controlling the end-to-end process. Lessons learned as it built its iTunes brand into a global powerhouse of content distribution could certainly be applied here. There are gotchas in the television business Apple couldn't have dreamed of when it was first entering music and movies, peculiarities to the TV industry that could make this next expansion the most delicate in the company's history.

Dungeon Delve Challenge Sketches

I've been wandering through the sketches for the Dungeon Delve challenge, 97 pages when I last checked. Amazing! I'd like to throw out a big "thank you" to those members of the community that have waded in and given constructive feedback. While I have tried to stay involved, the shear amount of entries and all the travel I've been up to have hampered my ability to get as involved as I would like. I'd like to toss out a few thoughts while everyone is gearing up for the final stage. Remember the brief. I've made a number of comments about the balance between character and environment. If you reread the brief, pay attention to the phrase "I'm looking for a piece that captures the concept of being lost in dangerous territory." For me, it's tough to capture the concept of being "lost" when I have a close-up of the character. So it you are stuggling with the concept of "lost" pull back and show some more of the environment. Push the perspective or pov. Take a cue from the thriller and horror genre, pushing yout perspective or pov can really create a sense of drama and tension. 
Like the overall narrative in your piece, but feel it is a little pedestrian, tilt your horizon line or get the image off eye-level. Think about your palette! Your underground, sure. But that doesn't mean that everything has to be complete blackness. There are all sorts of natural bio-luminescence in caves. Help add a little drama and color to you scene by taking some cues from nature. Remember that highlights are warm, and shadows are cool. Add some sophistication to you color scheme by modeling with warm and cool, not black and white. It's all about the composition. You can have a great environment, an amazing character, cool perspectives like on or pov, and if you composition sucks, the whole thing falls apart. Make sure you spend a little time looking over your composition. Cover elements and see if they are adding to the composition or detracting from it. Simplify your narrative and tell your story with just the right amount of elements. It's a whole lot easier to create a strong composition when you aren't trying to include the kitchen sink.

Hypothetical Situation

Okay. So, let’s say that, a lifetime ago, you ran a... hotdog stand. And you had, oh, I don’t know, 6 or 7 business partners. You break with them for the usual reasons, somebody was stealing the saurkraut, somebody was trying to pass off tofu dogs as all beef, someone stuck their wiener in the water, whatever... and then, like 20 or 30 years later, you find that one of the guys you started the hotdog stand with, who you always liked, is still in business with, uh, others operating the hotdog stand... who are not bad people mind you, but with whom you have found with absolute finality that you cannot interact on any level… but you want to tell the first guy about this new hotdog recipe you’re working on. But you definitely don’t want to get emails or commentary or anything from these other guys… and you sure as hell do not want them to get their stinking hands on your new hotdog recipe... So do you just write your old pal off as being dumber than a post for still hanging around with those wieners? Or do you trust him to honor a “mum’s the word”? Or is it all simply a sign that you are putting off doing more important things, like shaving?

Man Arrested for Falsely Telling Police He Had Committed Murder

A man who thought his story that he murdered someone would get him a faster response from police got his wish. However, police did not appreciate the lie and tossed him in jail. Tyler police said they received a 911 call about 7 p.m. Monday from 38 year-old Mark Anthony Johnson stating he had just committed a homicide and was armed with a weapon at 1007 NNW Loop 323. “Several officers with the department responded “Code 3” (running full speed with lights and sirens) to the scene,” a statement read. Officials said Johnson then told officers he had not killed anyone and explained he was as-saulted earlier and that he thought the police would get to the scene quicker if he reported he had killed someone. Officers arrested Johnson for the false report and booked into the Smith County Jail on the misdemeanor crime. Officers did take a report from Johnson concerning the assault and will investigate that case. Tyler Police Department Public Information Officer Don Martin said giving a false claim to police is not a common occurrence.
“This is not the norm and especially to this degree. We've had people report false crimes, but for someone to call saying they have committed a homicide just to get us there quicker is not the norm,” he said. Martin said Monday night's incident could have proved deadly because officers rushing to the scene could have had an accident or the suspect could have been injured by officers responding to what they believed was a scene with a shooter. “During a call like that they're all in the frame of mind they have an active shooter who has killed someone. They don't know what the person is thinking or what might happen,” he said. Martin said if a person is a victim of a simple assault which has occurred and the suspects are gone, then it is not an immediate response. However, if the assault is aggravated and someone is seriously injured or threatened with serious injury, then it is a priority call. Smith County records show Johnson has been arrested multiple times on charges, including felony drugs and theft.

New and Improved Burglar Alarms

New and improved burglar alarms purchased! Be afraid thieves! Be... very afraid! Last week, after seeing the neighbor’s house sacked, I went on and decided to purchase and install burglar alarms connected to my living perimeters and garage. What was supposed to be a very easy task, turned out to be... well... let’s definitely not call it a “walk in the park”, you can read into where I’m going with this! I would have never thought there are so many types of product referrals and, well, such a  vast offer , when it comes to security systems. Basically you need something easy to install, not to expensive but then again not to cheap either, because I have to say that great technology always comes at a pretty spicy price. You will want to choose a regular alarm system for your car for example but when it comes to your home and the safety of your loved  ones, you may want to go for something that’s pretty much “state of the art”.

Now, there is a multitude of these awesome security systems you can choose from, and the more money you can afford to spend on them , the better! Some alarm designs are keeping it really simple and serve the sole purpose of preventing intrusion with sounds or automatic calls to the nearest police station or to the guard unit that provide you security services, but others come with sound alarming systems and video surveillance, plus smoke detectors! I’ve decided to go for a sensor alarm that when going off (hence some entity has disrupted the sensor system) issues an automatic call to the security company! There a handful of sensor alarm types you can choose from: passive infrared detectors, ultrasonic detectors, microwave detectors, photo-electric beams, vibration or inertia sensors, e-fields, microphonic systems, h-fields etc. My suggestion is you go for a passive infrared movement sensor alarm, combined with a heat and smoke detector! That combo cannot go wrong against intruders who if caught in between such a messy situation, will often find themselves baffled by all the noise, frightened and confused. Enough time for the police to cuff’em! More informations about burgler alarms you can find here:

Stop What You're Doing and Read This!

Hundreds of years ago, Socrates feared that changing from an oral society into a literate society would shallow the human brain’s ability to explore. He believed that printing  wisdom and asking students to read it would encourage them to simply decode the print without ever realizing the wisdom personally. They wouldn’t have to work out for themselves why a piece of wisdom was true; they would simply read it, take it as fact, and move on. The vital exercise required to process data and come to a conclusion would become archaic in the face of books, and society would weaken intellectually. Now, with the development of e-readers, the Internet, Google, etc, scientists and readers are beginning to wonder if society will decline still further. Now students needn’t even search for a word to understand its meaning; they can simply Google the definition. They needn’t analyze a piece of literature; they can Google an analysis. Stop What You’re Doing and Read This! is a compilation of ten essays by reading advocates who argue that literature must continue to be a backbone in our society, and that it can survive to enrich thinking in the 21st century.
Stop What You’re Doing and Read This! opens with a foreword that offers a few disheartening facts about the literary life in Britain today (a Britain that once housed Mr. Charles Dickens, and Ms. Jane Austen) These days in Britain (according to the book), one in three teenagers read two or fewer books a year; only one in six children reads books outside of class; many homes do not contain books; and reading to children at bedtime, according to this book, is becoming a novelty rather than a habit. Video games and the Internet are making mush of the minds of people whose great-great-grandparents rushed for the latest paper of a morning, not to get the latest score on a favorite team, but because they were mad to know what would happen next for Dickens’s unhappy orphan in Oliver Twist. Add is addressed with a handful of pills rather than the direction to "sit down and read a book", because who can focus on books these days? Why would anyone read this book? There is TV and web-surfing to be had, and that’s entertainment enough for our generation.

Weight Loss Through a Sensible Diet

For many people weight loss is the biggest challenge they will face, but what people don't realise is that it does not have to be that hard. Most people know what they have to do to lose weight. Eat less and exercise more. We all know that, but how much do you need to exercise and how much less do you need to eat. Weight loss all comes down to the calorie differential between the calories you eat compared to the calories you burn. When you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight. So then next question that needs to be asked is, how many calories does my body burn? Most of you will be pleasantly surprised at how many calories you burn each day for doing nothing. Let say for instance you were a female that weighs around 70kg, you will burn around 1900 calories per day. This is without any exercise! For weight loss, throw in some light exercise and restrict your calorie intake to around 1500 calories per day and you will lose around 0.5kg a week. The biggest key in weight loss then becomes a proper diet. Did you know that there is over 250 calories in a bottle of coke? Or that there is over 300 calories in a slice of chocolate mud cake?

You can certainly keep the foods you love in your diet, however for weight loss, moderation is the key. You need to be clever about food substitutions. Instead of having a slice of cake, have a healthy muffin. Have a can of tuna or some vegetables with dip. You need to come up with between 5 to 10 healthy snacks that you know you like and have the pre-prepared that way when the cravings come on you can go straight for your healthy snacks. It is the binge eating that really hinders weight loss progress so it is important to keep your body fuelled regularly with heavy food so you are not feeling hungry all the time. Make sure you write out your goals. Studies have shown that people that write out their goals are twice as likely to succeed with reaching their weight loss goals. Start off by making them reasonable and something you know you can achieved. Then, when weight loss actually happens, you can reset your goals and make them more challenging. The key for weight loss is keeping your energy balance in check. A great site that does all this for you is Weight Shapes that provides weight loss diet plans for men and women. They have a range of weight loss diets that allow you to keep track of all aspects of your health and fitness, and keep you motivated for sustained weight loss.

Short Love Poems

"I love you baby, and if it's quite all right, I need you baby to warm a lonely night, I love you baby... la la la la", here's what song I had in mind when the alarm went off this morning. It never happened to me, waking up like this, so I had two possible explanations: it was either this girl I started seeing lately, or I was really in a mood for a beer. Considering I haven't seen the beer commercial in a while, let's go with A, it was the girl. So, I took a shower, dressed up, and skipped breakfast. I did it all with Gloria Gaynor in mind. Ok, that went out wrong, but you know what I mean. As if the corny song wasn't enough, I spent my day at the office listening to love ballads on youtube and reading short love poems that you may find here.
"My name is Adam, I'm 28 years old and I'm addicted to corny song and short love poems", there's a line I could use to introduce myself at the annual freaks meeting. I mean, what is wrong with me? Ok, she's pretty, and smart, and sweet, and hot, and a great cook, and... oh my God, I am doing it again. She really got me hooked. I never thought of myself as the "puppy" type in a relationship but this is stronger than me. Could it be that I am discovering what being in love feels like, after making fun of all my early married friends? If so, is there a cure? Don't get me wrong, she is everything I want in a girl, but I'm not letting her change me in everything I hate in a guy. What if this is her evil plan? I heard rumors about women and their power to manipulate men but I thought I was immune. Now, instead of feeling the urge to run away, I can't wait to see her tonight. Maybe this is not that bad after all. Maybe I'm just freaking out. You know what would help me out? Getting all of the singing divas out of my head!