Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012

Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012
Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas at Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, March 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

You Can't Do Magic, But You Can Do Something

                                 Overcast day on the Costa Blanca, Spain, near Denia

    Everyday, any day
                   There is so much to                                      
                   Enjoy
            
Even when the world seems to be falling out of orbit
                                        
                   All you need to do is believe
                     
In yourself
In ambition
In persistence
In dedication
                        
Pursue your deepest desire
Find your inspiration


                  Set your course for where you want to be
                                                       
                                     Live life                        
                                         
                             












Thursday, November 29, 2012

Now That I've Grown Up To Become A Man*


Now that I've grown up to become a man
I've found that not everything I liked as a kid
Still turns me on
I've learned there's no point regretting things I did
Those days are long gone    
I've learned to appreciate the whole wide world
(learned to appreciate the whole wide world)
Now that I've grown up to become a man    

I want so much more in a woman 
                Than I ever wanted in a girl                 
(fifteen, sixteen)
Turns out I could never settle down
Wanted to travel the world
(nineteen, twenty)
Now I'm old and still free and like what I see
(Old and free, like what I see)
Now that I've grown up to become a man

Yeeahh Yeeahh Yeeahh
No kids of my own to try to convince I was once in style
(twenty four, twenty five)
Or live through vicariously to try to feel worthwhile
(twenty nine, thirty)
I've been a husband twice, and I'm happy with my life
(been a husband twice, happy with my life)
Now that I've grown up to become a man

Now that I've grown up to become a man
(thirty three, thirty four)
Still feel there's a lot to discover
(thirty nine, forty)
And I'm glad
(forty two, forty three)
Still feel there's a lot to discover
(forty five, forty six)
And I'm glad
(forty eight, forty nine)
Still feel there's a lot to discover

*Massive apologies to Brian Wilson



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cliche Waiting To Happen

         Sketch of Rick Thibodeau and Bob the Shar-Pei, Anchorage 11/28/1991

Clean cut well dressed slightly introverted lesbians
Meet at noon to discuss latent heterosexual tendencies
Wondering if the soft looking clear eyed blonde boy
Could possibly feel as well
(and would he be as giving with his tongue)

Written in July of 1992, while I was sitting in the Fire House Cafe coffeehouse on Spenard in Anchorage. That's right, I was sitting in a coffee shop, with my sketchbook, writing bad free verse. Somethings are almost unforgivable.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Absolute Best Dieting/Fitness Advice Ever. Ever, Ever.

Like many humans my weight fluctuates a bit. Being that I am a large person, keeping my weight anywhere near what the indexes state it should be is nearly impossible.

For the past decade my Doctor has told me the same thing after every physical I've had. He says, "You're in great shape, but there's just too much of you - lose some weight." He says this to me no matter if I weigh 285 or if I weigh 225. My Doctor believes I should weigh around 180 pounds.

Seriously. The lightest I've weighed since my 18th birthday is 191 lbs, and that was the day I graduated from boot camp.

As I've mentioned, I'm a large person. I am descended from a long line of coal miners and laborers - my biological purpose? Lifting heavy things.

It does not help that I am in a very serious, long-term, committed relationship with food.




As I type this I'm tipping the scales at 279.4 I justify it by telling myself I am still fit for my size, can run a mile, stretch out and maintain flexibility, etc., etc.

But the truth is in the waistline, as we all know. I've slacked off again and have gained some weight - unhealthy weight. Time to get back into a routine and get into shape.

Which means I have to start living by the one immutable law of dieting/getting fit:



Do Not Sacrifice 
What You Want Most 
For What You Want 
 At The Moment.

For some, that is a no brainer. They are the lucky ones, the ones born with (were encouraged/taught/shown how to develop) self-discipline.

I am not one of those types. Self-discipline does not come easy to me. 

Temptation and I are not mere acquaintances. We know one another in the Biblical sense, if you get my drift.

The first thing I have to do when I start dieting is establish a goal. Let's say that goal is to be able to wear the pants I was wearing three years ago. That means I would have to lose about 45 pounds. That means my goal would require me to weigh 230 (giving it a quantifiable number).

The second thing I have to do is establish a time frame. On diets past, I've used 84 days. Primarily because the Body-For-life program is based on that time frame. The BFL program is one that I have had quite a bit of success with - it's simple, easy to grasp, can be worked with minimal disruptions to my everyday routine, and doesn't cost a lot. In fact, since I prepare my own meals and eat less, it actually saves me money.

So, once I have established my goal and the time frame in which I plan to achieve that goal, then I have to map it out. Again, I defer to the BFL plan. Working back from the day I start the program, I write down on a calendar the numbers 84 to 1. Day 84 is the day I start, as I like to feel that everyday I'm getting closer to my goal. It's a silly psychological trick, but it works for me.

I then take a sheet of paper and divide it exactly in half with a bold black line. On one side of the sheet I write "Food Diary" at the top. On the other side of the sheet I write "Workout" on the top. 

The side of the sheet that is marked "Food Diary" is then lined into 6 segments, as daily food intake is regulated to three small meals and three snacks Monday through Saturday (Sunday is free day, eat whatever you want).

 On the side of the sheet that is marked "Workout" I write
"anaerobic/aerobic" below the word "Workout". I also line this side of the sheet into six segments, and then line each individual segment a further six times.

I then take another sheet of blank paper and write "Free Day" at the top.

Then I make 72 copies of the "Food Diary/Workout" sheet of paper, and 12 copies of the "Free Day" sheet, and then punch one side of all 84 sheets with a three-hole punch in order to put all the sheets of paper in a binder.

The sheets are put in the binder thus: six "Food Diary/Work out" sheets then a "Free Day sheet. When all the sheets are in the binder, then I number them countdown style, 84 to 1. Every seventh sheet is a free day, and if the program is started on a Monday, the last day will be a "Free Day".

Then I sit down and fill in every page (except the free days) with the food, snacks, and exercise I will do. The plan requires a minimum of 1500 calories a day with a 50/40/10 protein/carbs/fat distribution, and a routine of anaerobic and aerobic exercise alternating six days a week.

So, the first day, Monday, I go to the gym and I do six upper-body exercises for six sets each, spending roughly 45 minutes total doing them. After the workout I eat my first meal, which will be an egg beater omelet with turkey and salsa, one piece of toast, and a small apple. Two hours after that I'll have a snack, usually a protein shake. Two hours after that I have lunch which will consist of tuna with dill relish, a small serving of green beans, and five wheat crackers. Two hours later, an energy bar. Two hours after that, dinner, which will be a chicken breast (baked), some green beans, and a small serving of rice. The last snack of the day (you guessed it, about two hours after dinner) will be a small protein shake.

Tuesday, I go to the gym and do a minimum of 20 minutes of aerobics - usually the Precor cross-trainer, but sometimes the stationary bike, sometimes the treadmill. As I progress in the program, there will be days I forsake the gym for aerobic activity and just go for a 20 minute run around the neighborhood.

The food for Tuesday will mimic Monday for the most part. It'll vary a bit as I get tired of eating the same ol' thing day in and day out (There are a ton of excellent menu suggestions in the BFL book).

Sunday is free day, which means exactly that. But even though I eat whatever I want, I write down everything I eat, as it keeps me from going overboard. 

Then I take one more sheet of paper and write, as large as possible, the following:

Do Not Sacrifice What You Want Most For What You Want At The Moment.

I put that on the front of the binder.

From the very moment I start the program, that becomes my mantra.

When I want to deviate from my planned meals? When I want to skip a workout, telling myself I will make it up later?

Do Not Sacrifice What You Want Most For What You Want At The Moment.

When I come home from work and somebody wants to go out for drinks or to dinner or whatever?

Do Not Sacrifice What You Want Most For What You Want At The Moment.

When someone offers me a couple of pieces of candy or some other snack ("C'mon, it's just a few M & M's! What harm can they do?!"), or when I see a half-off coupon for my favorite restaurant?

Do Not Sacrifice What You Want Most For What You Want At The Moment.

When I have to attend a family/friend/work/social function and there are all kinds of delicious appetizers and an open bar?

Do Not Sacrifice What You Want Most For What You Want At The Moment.

When the morning comes way too early and I want to sleep in, promising myself that I'll get my workout in after work?

Do Not Sacrifice What You Want Most For What You Want At The Moment.

When I am working through the 84 days of the program, I will have those 14 words written down on small 3X5 index cards and they will be everywhere I am - tucked into my sunvisor in the truck, at my desk (both work and home), on the fridge, in my wallet...especially in my wallet - when I see that card as I'm trying to get cash out to pay for a temptation...works like a charm.

To some, that may seem ludicrous, but it works for me. There are probably some people who think it makes me look foolish, but know what? Fcuk those people.

I'm in this to make me happy, not anyone else. Being healthy makes me happy. This little trick gets me healthy. Simple.

Let's see how it works out. I'll post follow-up pics on February 17th of 2013, day 84.







The Hindus Laid Down The Law For Painting

                              Small watercolor sketch of Donna, Anchorage 1995

The Sandanga

The six canons of excellence in pictorial art

1) Knowledge of appearances
2) Correct perception, measure and structure
3) Action of feelings on forms
4) Infusion of grace, or artistic representation
5) Similitude
6) Artisitic use of brush and colors

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sketch From 19 Years Ago, In Alaska

                               Sketches of Cathy Nordman, Anchorage 1993    

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Donna Jean Trapp, 10/31/1952 - 11/14/2012


She was born on Halloween in 1952
And from early childhood she knew 
No one was ever going to tell her how to live
Or what to do.

Left Wisconsin as soon as school was done
Headed out west chasing the setting sun
With a girl in Phoenix who shared the same desires
They had some fun

Years passed and she made her way to Durango
Started fighting fires all over Colorado
Got so good at it they named her Firefighter of the Year
Lived like a desperado

Some are born to be free spirits, wild and untamed
Living unapologetically, living unashamed
Can't be tied to a life they haven't chosen
Refuse to be restrained

On a sunny day in the second week of November
Took her pistol out and decided to surrender
She died on her terms in the mountains that she loved
Amid the scrub and timber

Fourteen people holding candles, bearing witness 
Remembering her smile, how she loved to fish
Tears well up in eyes under a waxing moon  
Donna Jean will be missed

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Is For Suckers



If the title of this little diatribe didn't clue you in, I'll make it crystal clear. I hate Black Friday.

Which, for someone who has been involved in retail sales for almost three decades, and who embraces Capitalism and the free-market economy, may strike some as a bit of a juxtaposition.

But I have to be honest with myself and the world. I absolutely loathe Black Friday.

Not due to the unnecessary traffic out on the roads, not because of the nauseating levels of raw, unbridled consumerism given free-reign, not on account of the incredibly vulgar displays of greed-motivated, callous, rude, behavior by sleep-deprived people, and certainly not because it portrays the free-market economy in the worst possible light. 

No, my loathing for Black Friday is simply because of how normally intelligent people have been manipulated into sacrificing a holiday I hold near and dear - Thanksgiving - in order to boost the year-end bottom line for the largest corporations on the planet...and how indurate the people who run the large retail stores are about it.

Vance Packard has to be doing the freakin' Watusi in his grave.

At one time, Black Friday was relatively sane. The stores almost all opened at 6:00 AM, and each store would feature a smattering of promotional items in advertisements to draw in shoppers.

In the last few years, however, Black Friday has started earlier and earlier. Wal-Mart opened at 8:00 PM on Thursday last year, which of course meant every other freakin' big box store had to do the same or risk losing sales, and concurrent with the earlier opening time, bigger and more extravagant promotions are being advertised to entice shoppers to buy more shit no one really needs.

Which is stupid, especially since, well, since it's 2012. Freakin' 2012! Most of us have computers, must of us have the ability to define what is and what is necessary in our lives, and what is and what is of value.

But Black Friday seems to throw the ability to make those distinctions out the window for a large number of people, and it's just frustrating to witness.

Participating in a Black Friday promotion is no longer a matter of getting a jump start on gift buying for the holidays, it's being an accomplice to a gross distortion of everything the holidays are supposed to be about.

The Black Friday promotions these days also reek of laziness on the part of the major retailers. How difficult is it to create a false sense of urgency for a sale by limiting availability for a low-priced item to few ungodly hours on what is meant to be a national day of reflection and Thanksgiving? 

Want to save the economy? Want to save your job? Do not shop on Black Friday, and if you work for a company that has ridiculous hours for Black Friday shopping, walk off the job.

Seriously, take back your life. Stop allowing the world's largest retailers to enslave you.

If the promotional brain trusts of the world's largest companies can't find a way to earn a profit that doesn't involve working their employees like 18th-century indentured servants on the one day of the year that is set aside to express gratitude for whatever blessings one has, then screw 'em.

Protest with your feet, as the Brit's say.

If you feel the need to purchase gifts for friends and loved ones for the Christmas holiday, do your gift shopping at small, local businesses during good ol' regular shopping hours.

Hell, stop buying useless gadgets for your friends and family and give of yourself - take someone out to a nice dinner at a local restaurant, help somebody paint a room or complete some other home improvement project, treat a friend who lives on a tight budget to a few oil changes.

The above in no way constitutes gift suggestions for my friends...seriously.

Give yourself your freedom, and not just of choice, but of the mind. Stop being a crap-buying puppet.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Absolutely Guaranteed To Discombobulate


     Some people are like sailboats
                     About to tumble over the falls
           
          
     A discriminating thinker would have put it to the test 
     Or at least asked for a demonstration of the supposed
                    Capabilities;
     But Gerald he believed the man when told it would
                    Surprise
     Even the most jaded with it's wonders and amazing
                   Possibilities.

     Everyone agreed
     That it was an amazing wonder
     That anyone believed
     The claims of a silver-tongue persuader

     Gerald tried new batteries, he even thumped the screen
     But nothing he attempted
     Would get the universal guaranteed hair replacement machine
     To keep his head foliated
     
                    

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Curious People Who Sat Around Thinking About Everything...


Some curious Babylonians started staring at the sky
Looking at the sun, moon & planets, wondering why
Wrote some observations on clay tablets and discovered 
The lunar month and solar year
Astronomy got going with what they saw with the naked eye

Egyptians liked to build things and employed geometry
Had to get those corners square using primitive technology
They decorated the walls with a record of their lives
Showed us they practiced medicine and surveyed the fields
A lot of what they knew was written down by Ptolemy

The Greeks tried to explain the order of the Cosmos
Knew the earth was round thanks to Pythagoras of Samos
Plato and Aristotle liked to get down to debate
Noting explanations could be found through observations
Archimedes calculated Pi and invented a few gizmos

Aryabatha of India loved his trigonomic functions
Madhava used math to eliminate assumptions
The ancients of India learned the secrets of metal
They even practiced dentistry and dabbled in plastic surgery
All the while putting numbers to planetary junctions

The modern scientific method was a gift of Ibn Al Haytham
Who is regarded by many as the Ptolemy of Islam
Diseases were contagious declared Ibn Sina
Jabir ibn Hayyan took alchemy and gave us chemistry
Decimal points also gifts from the people known as Muslim

The Chinese elevated mathematics to an art
Su Song used cylindrical projection to make a star chart
The earth shook and Zhang Heng could tell the King where
His seismometer predated Richter by a few thousand years
Paper, printing, the compass, gunpowder...they were smart! 

All of their works became known and appreciated in Europe
The greatest minds of which had started to develop
Theories of their own regarding the nature of the Universe
Printed and shared in the language of the common man
Intellectual inquiry and reason hit ignorance with a wallop

The earth no longer thought of as the center of it all
Empirical facts and experiments hit at the superstitious wall
That had kept men in the dark for much too long
The illumination was so great it named the age
And Newton, Kepler, Descartes all heeded the call

Still there are those who reject science's rapid climb
Who look at the work of scientists as unpardonable crime
These people prefer the comfort of classic fairy tales
They would much rather believe in medieval myths
Than accept the reality of this modern time

Monday, November 19, 2012

Coffee And Confessions In The Afternoon


Hayes wasn't one to really do much thinkin'
Spent a lot of time with his head in a cloud
Or indulging in some good ol' original sin
Hanging around with a belligerent crowd

He thought he was on top of it all
But now he does a lot of listening to lost souls
No longer feels the need to bang his head on the wall 

He once thought he was too big to feel pain
Didn't realize everybody can hurt 
Found himself in a roomful of losers one afternoon
Hearing what he needed to hear
Hearing what he needed to hear
And finding freedom

Hayes doesn't feel like he's alone anymore
Spends a lot of time with junkies and thieves
Who, like him, are no longer fighting the war
Against themselves and the comfort that deceives

Larry & Ken & Charlene couldn't stop heeding the call
Of whatever it was they used to try to fill up the holes
Now they can fill their needs without having to fall

All of them once thought they were the only ones to feel pain
Didn't understand everybody can hurt
Sharing coffee and confessions on a sunny afternoon
Hearing just what they need to hear
Hearing just what they need to hear
And finding freedom

Finding freedom 
Finding freedom 
Being free
Truly free

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How To Succeed In Business By Working As If Your Life Depended On It


Let's say you have an idea for a business. This idea, this germ of a thought, is something you are sure you would enjoy doing, and it is something you believe would earn you a decent living.

You may then find yourself pondering the thought: "What do I do next? What steps do I take to go from the idea to the actuality?"

Well, I have a simple answer for you.

Do whatever it takes. 

That answer may seem a bit pat, as it does not address the actual "How do I go from my idea for being in business for myself to completing an actual transaction with an actual customer in my own actual business?" question that you really want the answer to, so I will elaborate a bit more.

In 12 simple steps, this is what you need to do to go from idea to opening the door to your own business.

1) Get a binder full of ruled paper, or a notebook of some sort. Something that will allow you to write down notes and refer back to them as needs dictate.

2) At the top of the first page of the binder/notebook, write down what it is you want to do. Let's say you want to open up a hot dog stand. Write: I want to open up a hot dog stand.

3) Directly below that write why you want to do what it is you want to do. Example: "I make the most delicious bacon-wrapped pepper-jack cheese-infused jumbo polish dogs any human has ever tasted. All of my family and friends tell me I could make a fortune if I opened up a hot dog stand and sold them." Or maybe you could write, "I hate working for other people and the happiest time of my life was when I was hawking 'dogs at the County Fair as a teenager." Or "I want to spend more time with my family and the only way I will ever have time to do that is if I build a business we can all participate in. We all love hot dogs and we will all be able to work together serving them up." Or maybe even "Anything is better than the crap-ass job I have to drag my ass to every morning, and hot dogs are easy-breezy to make."

Write whatever, as simply or elaborately as you choose, but make sure it's the truth. This will be your motivation, and your motivation is what you will need to refer back to when you feel you can't accomplish what it is you want to do. No one else will ever see it, so there's no point in lying to your own eyes.

4) Turn to the second page in your binder/notebook, and be ready to write. This next step is the single most important step, and it is the one that will require the most from you. It cannot be skipped, which is why it's one of the first steps. If you can't do this step, you can just stop reading this little blurb and go back to your frustrating shit job.

Here it is. You need to learn everything there is to know about what it will take to do, regulation & licensing -wise, what it is you want to do. Everything. Using the hot dog stand as an example, you would need to know first and foremost what rules and regulations the area you want to operate the hot dog stand in requires of you. Will you need a special hot dog vendors license? Are there restrictions on the size of the stand? What will the health department require of you and any employees you might hire? Are there state and federal regulations you need to follow? What about tax laws? (Trust me, you'll want to know those). Learn it all - Do. Not. Skip. Anything. And write it all down.

There are a great many resources available to you with which to learn all that, btw - the internet for starters, and your local library. The Small Business Administration has a boatload of helpful pamphlets and seminars available FREE.

Your city or town hall probably has a licensing bureau/department, maybe you should pay them a visit. Might want to get a part time job at a existing hot dog stand for awhile, too - wouldn't hurt.

Okay, so now you've taken the time, made the effort, etc., to learn everything you need to know about what the governing authorities have to say about your proposed venture, and you have it all written down - now it's time for step 5, getting down to brass tacks - the logistics.

5) On whatever page you're on in your binder/notebook after you wrote down all the licensing/regulation stuff you have to abide by, you need to draw up a list of all the equipment and supplies you're going to need in order to open up for business. 

Back to the hot dog stand example. Hot dog stands are usually self contained operations that can be purchased new and used (I just checked on Ebay - there are some nice propane powered stand alone hot dog stands available for $1,000 to $3,000, depending on condition, features, etc.), but you'll need to find sources and prices for everything, from napkins to spare tires to condiment bottles. 

Make up a list of everything needed along with what it cost, total it all up and stare at that number. Does it look like an amount you'd be comfortable risking? If so, proceed to step 6.

6) If you've got the ready cash for your endeavor  you're golden. If not, you'll have to find funding. Do you have a generous rich relative that would be willing to lend you the money? Do you own a house with a enough equity in it to qualify for a loan for that amount? Do you have a collection of rare baseball cards you can readily sell?

If none of those apply, it may be a bit difficult for you to get your dream off the ground. Unless you have excellent credit (and I'm talking Bill Gates level credit scores here), financial institutions are not much for gambling on people's unsecured dream.

Of course, you can always try to get a bunch of credit cards (again, excellent credit would be necessary for this) and charge everything on those. That is not something I would advise, as credit cards are the Devil's tools.

Let's continue on the premise that you do have the financing in place, and then some (the "then some" is the extra cash you have for your regular ol' bills - you know, mortgage, utilities, etc.), and move on to step 7.

7)  Research the location you wish to set up shop. A good location is a plus for just about any retail operation (not so important if you're wholeselling or manufacturing something, though access to major transportation hubs would factor in with those).

In the case of the hot dog stand example, you would probably want to have a lot of walking traffic, especially the type of walking traffic that may be hungry - maybe office types on lunch breaks, or people going to a ball game.

There is the chance the ideal locations for your business will already have similar businesses already in place (which is not necessarily a bad thing - the reason fast food restaurants and gas stations seem to all cluster together is to take advantage of each other's advertising efforts and customer spill). If three of four corners of an intersection near a baseball park have hot dog stands, you may want that fourth corner.

Then again, you may not. Over-saturation can kill a business venture.

This is why step 7 requires you to know more than whether an actual physical site is available that draws customers. You have to be sure that you will be able to get your fair share of the customers who can and possibly will buy your product. You need to get some specific numbers, what the people with college degrees call "demographics."

What I'm getting at here is, you want to leave as little to chance as possible. It would be foolish to open up your hot dog stand away from a population center in the belief that people will come to you. Not when there are other hot dog stands much closer to home they won't.

Okay, all the location research is done. Your binder/notebook should be full of notes by now. That takes us to step 8.

8) Review your notes, then review them again. Everything make sense to you? Can you readily see the idea going from what you want to do and why, what it requires legally to do it, what you need in terms of physical supplies to be able to do it (and how much it's going to cost), where the money to do it is going to come from, and where specifically you are going to do it?

If not, clean up your notes a bit so that you can see it readily. Then we'll go to step 9.

9) Attracting customers. This, it goes without saying but is going to be said anyway, is crucial. How do you attract customers to your product? One word: Advertise.

Advertising can be done simply - using the hot dog stand example again, hand made flyers printed at home or FedEx Kinko's offering a two-for-one lunch deal or a free drink with the deal-of-the-day placed under the windshield wiper of every car within a six-block radius of the stand might do it, or giving a stack of hot dog club cards to every office building within six blocks, or offering some kind of show us your game ticket and get a free bag of chips with a dog purchase dealio.

Whatever it takes to get people to come to your cart to purchase your hot dogs.

The world is full of advertising ideas. Look around at how other similar businesses are doing it, and maybe adapt a few of their ideas.

But make no mistake, you must advertise. Every single successful business advertises. The single most recognized product name on the earth, Coca-Cola, spends just about 3 billion dollars a year advertising. Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, spends about 2.5 billion on advertising a year. Professional sports, ventures that have an entire section of the daily newspaper devoted to their product for free, spend billions advertising.

Again, as there is no way around it, you must advertise. You may have the best bacon-wrapped pepper-jack cheese infused jumbo polish dog in existence, but if nobody knows about 'em, you ain't selling jack.

BTW, your customers can be your best and worst advertisement. Never forget that. Make them happy, they come back and probably tell their friends. Piss them off, they probably will never comeback, and will most certainly tell their friends.

10) Keep records. Diligently keep records. Every penny you spend and every penny you bring in will need to be recorded. If you are not friends with Quicken, you need to introduce yourself. Poor record keeping ruins more businesses than any other factor.

You are going to have to find an accounting service to handle your books if you can't do 'em, because they must be done, and efficiently.

11) Hire yourself - that is, treat yourself like an employee. Assign yourself a specific salary, whether it's an hourly wage or a commission based on net profits (net profits, not gross profits Mr. Enron), you must actually write yourself a paycheck that is structured, and pay all the necessary taxes that are required to be taken out of it.

Trust me, doing that is a whole helluva lot easier than watching tax officials shut down your business and auction off the assets to pay your tax obligations.

12) Everything's up and running now and looking dandy at this point. But stay alert. Look for opportunities to improve or grow (growth is optional, of course, but resting on your laurels is not - in business, there is always competition. Remember Montgomery Wards? H. E. double toothpicks, I can rattle off the names of 38 furniture stores that have shut down in Denver since 2005. None of those stores wanted to shut down, but they could no longer operate at a profit, so...).

There you go, the basics of going from an idea to be in business for yourself to actually being in business for yourself in 12 easy steps.

You're welcome.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Two Men That Left Their Mark On The World


Know who Otto Rohwedder is? Not many people do, not even people who owe their livelihoods to him.

It's doubtful he was ever really well known, even when his invention, a device he sold his three successful jewelry stores to fund the development of, became, first, a machine that had a such a pronounced effect on an entire industry that companies re-named the new, improved products they were able to produce with it "Wonder" and "Miracle", and second, the thing that everybody has since compared all the latest and greatest inventions to.

Mr. Otto Rohwedder invented sliced bread. Well, the commercial bread-slicing machine, that is.

Somehow, as he was working on watches and jewelry in one of his stores before the outbreak of WWI, he got the idea that he could build a machine that could not only automatically slice a loaf of bread, it would wrap it up ready for the shelf, too.

It took him almost 15 years of trial and error, but in 1928 he saw his first machine at work in the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri. 

By 1932, the popularity of bread sliced to a consistent standard made a machine Mr. Charles Strite patented in 1921 very popular. Mr Strite, for reasons all his own, had designed and built a pop-up toaster in the early 1920's that necessitated careful slicing of a loaf of bread, least a thick slice lead to a house fire.

Mr. Strite, I hope, sent Mr. Rohwedder a thank you card.

For those of us who love toast, the toaster is, oddly enough, the best invention before sliced bread.

All hail Mr. Rohwedder and Mr. Strite, providers of two of the most essential elements to a delicious breakfast...and late night snacks (especially with peanut butter).



Friday, November 16, 2012

The Greeks Refuse To Cross The Burning Bridge


Aeschylus!

That tragic Greek
He was the first soap opera addict

What would he think 
Of the Greek economic crises and deficit

Would he write a poem decrying the weak
Leaders of Greece and the conflict?

Or no?

Would he embrace the Eurozone 
    And their 110 billion Euros
 The austerity then demanded
        Giving rise to anger
 Among those who have enjoyed
 Life wrapped in a golden fleece
     Of imaginary prosperity   

Time to wake up.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Guitar Boogie King From Kershaw South Carolina


                It was said of Arthur he could play just about anything
                          With a string
               Didn't matter to him if it was a guitar, banjo, or a fiddle
                          He could make it sing
               Strummin' rhythm or fingerpickin' a lead
               Ol' Smith could play anything you please
               He could do it slow or he could do it with speed
                          Man, he knew how to play that thing

              After the second big war he recorded a little boogie hop
                          Like no one had ever heard before
              It charted as a Country hit then crossed over to the Pop
                          Some people say it was the first roar
              Les Paul, Chuck Berry, and Jeff Beck all gave it a go
              But by then it was being called Rock 'n' Roll
              He also wrote a banjo duet with friend Don Reno
                         You heard it in Deliverance, they stole it for the score
             
             

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lavish Things Sometimes Misery Brings


                                             
                   Extravagant purchases 
                                           Trying to drown a sorrow
                                            That always resurfaces

So much and so many
Shiny, flashy things
A glutton in the land of plenty
Doesn't see the envy it brings
When friends are shown excesses
Upon stopping by for a visit
And those few it impresses
Gaze with thoughts illicit

                           Everyone admires
                           A man who builds himself a life
                           Provides all his family requires
                           Takes care of his children and his wife
                           
He is one who understands
What he owns does not own him
He's earned his leisure with his own two hands

                                                 But that man
                                                 Who measures his worth
                                                 In material goods
                                                 Will never know the joy
                                                 Of having
                                                 Genuine friends
                                                 He will always feel less than
                                                                                      The lowest lowly on Earth
                                                 Confused about methods
                                                 That don't require a ploy
                                                 Or conniving
                                                 That never ends

                                                 He will only know abscence
                                                

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Narrowing Down The Choices


Faith 
Hope 
Charity
Fortitude
Prudence
Justice
Temperance

Pride 
Envy 
Wrath
Sloth
Avarice
Gluttony
Lust

Choose Wisely

Monday, November 12, 2012

Misinformed, Permed & Manicured, Jackasses Of Doom

     Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Preserve, San Luis Valley of Colorado

Influenced by celebrity iconoclasts crying
About starving African babies dying
And wholesale agony installment buying
Over the airwaves and on the screen
Automatic deviation from the mean
Won't keep you from the latest
When it comes to feigned interest
It's no contest
Your reality is playing 24/7
They're broadcasting it from Heaven
And don't you just want to be one of them?
You have no rebellion but you have mayhem
Someone's sure to provide you with an anthem
Just punch it up on your phone
No need to think of one on your own
Like a parrot or a mynah you repeat
Everything your favorite Junkie tweets
Whether it''s truth or deceit
Is unimportant as long as it brings a laugh
Send away for an 8X10 with an autograph
                                      Never consider
                                      Whether it's truth or lies
                                      As long as you can twitter
                                      Without having to improvise
Imitative skills beyond the pale 
Get you attention off the scale
Never original, but you never fail