Thursday, March 23, 2006

Read This Before You Give Up

What defines success as an artist? Money? Groupies? Perhaps fancy cars, vacations, houses, etc.? Nope, not even close, none of the above.

From the start, I’ve always paid myself generously in the commodity that an artist values above all others: Time. Plain and simple, success as an artist is defined as ample time to make art.

Yes, we are assuming that you have a roof over your head, and food to eat. Whatever scrambling you have to do to make that happen, do it as efficiently as possible with no waste—no wasted time that is!

What does an artist do? Make art. An artist, I believe, should be less concerned with their end product, and more concerned with process. Engage in the process, and you improve technically, you get real darn good at your craft. Engage in the process, and your muse finds a way to sneak boatloads of good ideas in the back door in the dead of the night. And what does a body need in plentiful supply to engage in the process of making art? Time!

The art life is not about ending up with pretty pictures. Or sculptures, films, songs, drawings, comics, novels, whatever. It’s about the process of creating all that stuff; the journey itself, the illumination, the epiphanies encountered along the way are the true rewards.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Clean Energy/Clean Tech and the Future

Recently I have become obsessed with the Clean Energy and Clean Tech fields for the simple reason that I have kids; being a parent tends to make a guy want the earth to thrive and the human race to survive.

A Scottish scientist (what the hell was that dudes name?!) was in the news a couple months back, predicting that within 100 years, the only remaining habitable areas of space ship earth will be the artic region. With rising temperatures, melting polar ice, desertification of much of the planet, and rising sea levels, this guy thinks we will have billions of people dying off, with just a few breeding couples left, as we’ve made the earth sick with all the fossil fuels etc.

I’m sure there are varying opinions on how bad Global Warming is now, and how fast it will get worse, but only greedy jerks like Bush/Cheney and friends can still pretend it ain’t for real.
I hope the aforementioned Scottish scientist is just a wee bit off on his scheduling of the extinction of 99% of humanity!

In any case, there have always been lots of great arguments for Clean Energy and Clean Tech, in terms of what is good for all the creatures on the planet, not to mention Mother Earth herself! Up until recently, “it’s good for business” hasn’t been one of the arguments for Clean Energy and Clean Tech, quite the opposite.

Guess what? That has changed, big time! It appears that investors, venture capitalists and other money oriented types see big opportunities in all this Green & Clean stuff!

Here is a link to an article that posits, among other things, that Clean Tech/Clean Energy investment may offer 5-10 year compound annual revenue growth rates as high as 35%:

I’ve blogged plenty about self-employment, and naturally I stand by every word. But if self-employment ain’t your thang, especially if you are young, I strongly urge you to consider Clean Energy and Clean Tech as great fields to pursue. Solar, Wind power and Fuel Cell tech are especially promising, but really are only the tip of the iceberg; these and related industries are growing fast!
As for the die hard self-employment personalities, of which I am one, there has to be ways to be an independent contractor within these new industries.

In any case, I recommend Googling these terms:

Clean Energy

Clean Tech

Bounce around the web looking at stuff you find there. You may find not only your future, but the future (hopefully!) of all of us.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Senator Russ Feingold has Nuggets

Yes, there is a Democrat in the Senate with balls: Russ Feingold.

On March 13, Senator Feingold said that President Bush should be censured. Feingold wants Bush to be held accountable for breaking the law, arguing that Bush's unauthorized domestic wiretapping is illegal.

Here is a link to the text of the speech calling for censure.

I heard a broadcast of the speech on Democracy Now, and it made my day. It's about time the Bush/Cheney creep machine gets taken to task for their deceitful, reprehensible ways.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Goddamn Economic Outlook

So am I crazy, or has Bush pretty much completely messed up the economy? Let’s face it, the tax cuts were a give away to the rich, and the Bush/Cheney (failed, illegal & immoral) war is driving the deficit over the cliff. The dollar is taking a serious pounding, real serious. The Chinese lend us money to buy more stuff from them.

This, my friends, has bankruptcy written all over it. Looks like the United States of America has been driven to the brink of bankruptcy by the moronic moves of the Bush / Cheney junta. The only thing I can see propping up the U.S. economy for awhile longer is the possibility that the Chinese will keep buying U.S. treasury bonds, and lending us money to buy more stuff from them, because they never had such a good customer!

Meanwhile, author Barbara Ehrenreich has published Bait and Switch, the (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. Ehrenreich illuminates the current corporate thinking about it’s white collar employees, as expendable liabilities. Time was, a company was only considered as good as it’s staff, but no more. Here I quote from promo copy for the book from Ehrenreich’s web site:

“Today’s ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their “surplus” employees -- plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for these newly disposable workers -- and little security even for those who have jobs.”

All the preceding is a preamble to today’s screed on the Goddamn Economic Outlook. I hope for your sake you are not in the market for a white-collar job! If you are, perhaps you should avoid Ehrenreich’s book! No, go ahead and read it, at least you will know to trust your own counsel in a job search, rather than hire some phony high priced asshole “career coach” to make you feel shitty about yourself for doing things like engaging in critical thinking (they prefer you embrace herd mentality, so it’s easier to take the stick up your ass a corporate job gives you when you are hired).

As usual, my advice would be to carve out a niche working for yourself, doing work that is close to your heart. I’ve written a lot about self employment in this blog, I’ll just send you digging through the archives for my nuts & bolts advice on working for yourself, and how to get started.
But what if you prefer to work a regular job? The core of my advice is the same, take a hard, honest look inside your head and heart, and identify what you love to do. Track down work related to the best impulses of your soul (If you like to smoke crack, on the other hand, you may want to detox first, you probably won’t be getting paid for that. On the other hand, if jacking off is your thing, you may indeed be able to find work there).

It is necessary at this point for all of us to think, where are we going to be in three, five, ten, twenty years? Where will the earth be? Where will the human race be? It’s time to take Thoreau’s advice to advance in the direction of our dreams, trusting that more open and liberal laws governing events will emerge as we embrace our faith in our own best selves. Okay, so I didn’t quote verbatim, but trust me, there is indeed a fine passage echoing those very sentiments in Walden.

I advocate pursuing careers in Alternative Energy, perhaps the most promising field. Wind, Solar, Hydrogen, Efficiency, there will be a growing mega-industry there. Hell, I frankly believe the hope for the human race will be in clean energy technology that is so spectacular, so unprecedented that we don’t even know what it is yet; some genius kid out there is already brainstorming on it.

There will be lots of careers in Clean Energy much sooner than we now imagine. Remember, even that knuckle-head Bush talked about Alternative Energy in his State of the Union Address.

Whatever else happens, the price of oil will continue to rise as the demand increases. Meanwhile the supply will be shrinking. I am confident that Clean Energy will be cheaper than oil in a relative blink of the eye. Don’t buy this crap that we need to return to building nuclear power plants either—that’s just another old school, big money crock of shit that leads down a dead end alley. Frankly, people like Bush and his gang of big money/big oil goons will cease to matter at the point when, due to it’s poor cost/benefit ratio, no one wants to consume oil anymore! Clean Energy will have evolved technically and marketwise to the point where the oil greed creeps will be out of business.

We will need engineers and overtly smart techies for sure, but we’ll also need business innovators, sales people, mechanics, and the whole range of support staff. Of course, visioning the future isn’t just based on one industry; farming and food production will no longer be based on petrochemical fertilizers, you can bet your behind on that. The demand for organic food is already huge and growing fast. As with Clean Energy, there will be technology and market models we can’t know, because they have not been envisioned yet. Trust you heart, your head, and your intuition. Move confidently forward in the direction of your dreams, towards your best self. Isn’t life too damn short to do anything else?

Media is changing too. Hey, that’s what I’m doing here and now, standing up shouting like a maniac from a new kind of soap-box! Now, if I could only get free burritos for mouthing off like this…