Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm back

I was away from this for a bit longer than I had originally intended, but the few days over the holidays were still quite productive. I was able to sort out many ideas for projects that I would like to do over the month of January. I still have to sort out more details on that.

I think that from now on this blog is going to take on a more "professional" voice. It'll still be quite informal, but I'm going to use it as a tool to keep the wheels turning at Grinder Productions, both my own and others. I hope this will mean a lot more people will be interested in reading this blog and adding comments to it.

Tomorrow I will make the first posting that will set a lot of things in motion. Until then, take care.

Grinder

Friday, December 21, 2007

Before the Holidays

This is my last posting for a few days, as we get swamped under with Christmast activities and closed internet cafes. I may sneak in a couple of posts here, but not likely.

Food on Thursday - lunch was the last of my leftover mashed potatoes, then supper was spaghetti and sauce, with two pieces of toast with peanut butter later on. Really need to get some protein in there somewhere.

On the monetary front, I think I've got things sorted out. At least my usual $40 Christmas Shopping Budget looks like it will still be intact. As for the rest of it, I'll have consolidated as much of the debt as I can by January 1st, and we can start chipping away at things from there. All that remains is for me to get some string of successes built up. What that first project is going to be is still uncertain - I highly doubt The Blue Room will be going up on schedule, but at least I now have the time to make ready for it. Something about the third week of January would be nice.

Not a good day to concentrate in the internet cafe today (personal conversation I really DON'T want to listen to is going on behind my back and it's really distracting), so perhaps I will take the next few days offline and compose and exquisite posting to start things off on the 27th. Till then, take care!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Beginnings

Well if yesterday was rock bottom than today must be my new beginning. I know things mayb be a little out of order here, but it's all random now, much like my life.

Anyways - yesterday's food.

No Breakfast.
Lunch - Two pieces of toast with peanut butter, apple pie for dessert.
Supper - Ham steak, corn and boiled potatoes, ice cream and apple pie for dessert.
Snack - some chips.

Now, as I said, yesterday was rock bottom. Today is better, if only because last night I got to the point where I could sit down and figure it all out. I think I have the money situation under control. I know what I need to know from whom, and I know when I will be able to do what. The long and the short of it is that I know that it is now possible, and that's something I couldn't say before. Now I will still need a couple of lucky breaks if I want to have heat in January, but at least there's a chance, a chance now, that I can make a go of things this winter.

Now the next step becomes crucial. I need a success. A huge success. Soon. Like by the middle of next month. I don't see any way we'll get The Blue Room there in time, so maybe we put it off until a little later, but not too much or the royalties Nazis will get after me. In the meantime, though, I think I need to test out my marketing theory, first in a "harmless" non-show situation, then in a "real-world" application on a project that can make money for me. More on that to follow soon...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the rocks

It’s Wednesday (this will show up on Thursday) and so far all that’s clicking is my furnace as it uses up the last of my propane supplies. I think I’ve hit rock bottom. It’s not a particularly exciting spot, not very dramatic, and not all that different from where I’ve been before, but today was the day the little money I had ran out. I would have to scrap together nickels and dimes now if I wanted so much as a cup of coffee.

So what is my next step? How do I do anything from here? I cannot think. I can barely write. This is life at rock bottom.

Certainly there are a lot of things that are going my way. The summer looks promising, and I believe I’ve discovered a new marketing truism that should attract customers. But how to put it all together and, more importantly, how am I going to live in the meantime?

There must be no compromise. Entrepreneurs don’t ever give up. That’s the mantra. Change tactics if you must, but don’t ever give up. I’ve got a brain, now why can’t I use it to come up with a solution to my conundrum?

Mid Week

Didn't get a chance to prepare this last night, so we'll have to work through the fogginess of morning before coffee kicks in.

On the food front, here was yesterday:
Breakfast - None.
Lunch - Chef Boyardee.
Supper - Roast beef, potatoes, a salad and gravy, with applie pie and chocolate tart for dessert.
Had a beer (can you tell I was at a Christmas party)
Snack - leftover applie pie

I guess today is all about recovery from that large amount of eating. I think I'll have a salad for lunch.

As for the rest of it, still nothing. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop in my life, and it hasn't happened yet. I'll be completely out of money by Friday, and I'm not sure what I'll do after that. I have no concrete idea about anything right now, and that is both quite refreshing, quite annoying, and more than a little frightening at times. I have no shortage of ideas (I even think they're pretty good ideas) but somehow something's still missing, and I haven't been galvanized on one particular thing yet.

I know that it is essential that I come up with a plan, and soon. This is the only chance I'll get to get this right, and if I don't get it sorted out soon I'll be slogging coffee at Tim Hortons with the teeny-boppers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The rut deepens

Monday Food Diary:

Breakfast – None

Lunch – Chinese Food Special with Pepsi

Supper – Slow-Cooked Chicken with peas with Pepsi

Snack – Leftover Mashed potatoes

Well nothing much has happened since my last posting, except for me to confirm that yes, I am indeed in a rut. I suppose that’s nothing to get too concerned about, except as it affects the monetary situation. Been trolling around the craigslist postings for writing jobs, there’s a lot of stuff out there, I just don’t know whether or not I’m in any degree qualified for it. I’m sure I could come up with something, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to that low. I would really love to know if I’m going to be able to produce a show in January, The Blue Room, but I don’t know the director’s mind on that right now, and I won’t move forward unless she is willing. If she’s not on the go, then where do I go for January onstage? I really don’t know much of anything anymore. Here’s hoping that something clicks today.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Morning Quarterback

Week-end Food Diary

Friday

Breakfast – None

Lunch – Subway

Supper – ???

Saturday

Breakfast – None

Lunch – Kentucky Fried Chicken

Supper – 7 slices of Pizza

Sunday

Breakfast – two pieces of toast

Lunch – Chicken Noodle Soup

Supper – Mashed potatoes, fried onions and cream corn

Snack - two pieces of toast

Well it’s been a very snowy weekend, so I have been forced to stay inside and get a few things accomplished. Here are the highlights:

First off – the biggie: I think we may have a roadmap for the new direction the company is headed in. Check out this Power Point Presentation, outlining where I would like to take the company in 2008. There’s the shows I’d like to do, and how I plan to solve the major issues that are plaguing the organization at this time. With any luck this blueprint will serve as the jumping off point for a very successful 2008. My primary task this week will be to develop the “Whole Company Productivity Application Platform” that I have called for in the presentation, so that will take up a lot of my time this week.


With things going along fairly well on the company front it would be nice if I could actually pull together some money. As it stands I will be broke by the end of the week at the latest, probably Wednesday, if something doesn’t roll my way. The murmurs last week out of the USA were promising, and I will be earnestly selling my tech manual all the this week, but its unlikely that I’ll see any new money now until almost the New Year. Even then, January is going to be very slow for me unless something substantial takes place.

On the weight side, it’s been a rough weekend, as it usually is. Broke down and had fast food not once but twice, and one of those times was KFC, which is about as bad as you can get. Hopefully it will have satisfied that craving for the time being (I had been able to hold off after being bombarded for months with the stuff back in the summer – actually got sick of it for a while there). With any luck though I’ll be able to get the belt back to where I want it by the middle of the week, and by eating some good food maybe I’ll be in a very good position heading into the Christmas week. One bit of pseudo good news that I remarked to my self the other day: this New Year’s the resolution won’t be to start losing weight, it will be to keep losing weight.


There are two more things that I would like to become a priority for me this week. First off, I’d like to get the homestead cleaned up – really cleaned up. My “one thing at a time” method worked really well last week, but broke down over the weekend. I think I will try and do one thing a day every day this week for as long as I have the heat and water to do it. Certainly I would like to get the last of the old stuff cleaned up, as well as all the outside work. Now that winter is here I’m not likely to be doing much outside, so I’d best just get everything done that needs to be done so that I don’t have to think much about it until spring.


The other thing that I would like to get started on this week is writing again, specifically the screenplay I have been working on. It already exists as a play, so the task of converting it over is almost a technical one, but again it’s only something that you can do in bits and spurts, so it would be something that would be good to do every day once again.


At some point this weekend I’ll be going for my appointment to get new glasses, so that will be exciting, I suppose. Never having had glasses before and thinking that I may have needed glasses for a long time I’m very interested to see what sort of difference, if any, I notice in things like my cognitive abilities, alertness, etc.


On the emotional side of things, I’m still not quite sure where that’s going yet. Trapped all weekend by the snow I’ve actually had to sit alone with my feelings quite a bit, and I’m not sure where they are taking me, but I’ll have to figure it out sooner or later, so the more time I spend trying the better, I guess. I know you can never know it all, but I do need to know something, anything, that will get me back on track. I am now most decidedly off-track, and off-track in a way that I have never been before. I always said I was never trying to get “back” to anything, I was trying to get to something that I had never known before, but now even that has floundered for the last few weeks. Not necessarily a bad thing, though – it’s been one of the most relaxing times I’ve known in a long time. Just have to figure out how to reconcile this level on satisfaction with the realities of everyday living.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The next steps to take:

I’ve found myself at a bit of impasse. Having figured out what it is I need to do to turn the company around all that really remains are working out the mechanics of the tasks to be done. Not that this is any small feat – nay, it may be a lifetime’s work-a-day chores, but now that the “what” has been answered the “how” becomes less intrinsic to the revolution that I am undertaking. It is the product of the revolution, and has its place in productivity, it is not exactly a part of the revolution itself. So, much sooner than I expected, I am asking myself to confront some other situations that will become battlegrounds for the future of myself.

First off, to re-cap all that has happened in this very short period of time. Thanks to an interruption in the day-to-day stressors that had hitherto consumed my thoughts and feelings I have, for the first time in a long time, been able to engage in some serious thought and reflection, not so much a “taking-stock” (as this was always important) as a reshaping of my current view of reality. Reality is a funny thing – sometimes what looks real is actually just a figment of your imagination, and real things look incredulous. However much we construct our own realities (and no, I cannot, after substantial thought, believe it is total) we do construct our perceptions, or priorities, our desires. At times this butts up with the perceptions, priorities and desires of others, and war is the result. Oftentimes that war is waged for no better reason that to assuage the fears in the aggressor’s mind that his or her reality is somehow incorrect. Thus the world is rife with cliques, pompous blowhards and holy war.

But I digress, and I’m trying to avoid that as much as possible. I am thinking now, thinking again, and thinking in a way that I haven’t been able to think while I was constantly worrying about the needs of the next show. Being able to clearly see the issues that have stood in the way of my being successful has been a goal for some time – now I know that I have actually seen my problems many times, where I have erred was in the solution to them. Now we have solutions, and that those solutions can only be brought about by more thinking, so the process that has begun here will be self-replicating and should be able to withstand the daily stressors – you can’t solve a problem with brute force anymore, you have to think your way free of it, and thinking is what has done me so much good in the past, so it is a good choice for me to take once again.

So Grinder Productions is back on track, or at least back on the road to back on track. I’m not about to rush into anything this time around, I want to be able to see how my ideas will withstand the test of time, and if they don’t, to revise them or come up with new ideas, because now we’re in the business of ideas.

On the physical health and welfare front things are also moving along well. I think I’ve been able to effectively fend off the attack from the Mc-World people that I went through last week-end. I’m not saying that junk food is all bad or that I will never eat it again – it’s just that I will never eat it again for the wrong reasons, like being angry, stressed out or otherwise in need of some “Mc-Comfort.” I shouldn’t be so miserable as to need that sort of comfort in my life very often, and when I do I should be able to get it from a healthier source. I don’t mind going out once in a while and eating fast food – I just don’t ever want to go out because I need fast food ever again.

Okay, so I’ve only been back on the bandwagon for a few days now, not even a week – there’s a long way to go, I know that much. But I’m determined not to follow any fad diets or make changes that are basically lies to myself – all this will come from within, because that’s the only place were it will be successful.

And then there’s the third – there’s always the third, as I said in a play one time. That being the good old psycho-socio-sexual self-actualization. Certainly there is where we need to do the most work. For instance, I’m still not sure where I settle on the great moral questions of our time. What is love? What is lust? What is good and bad about either one of those things? Is it absolute, and, perhaps most importantly, can I come to a consensus between my own views and those of the accepted majority (or at least the governing power of the day). Much of these questions are too visceral for me to indulge in on a public forum (that much I have already learned), but nonetheless, I can tell you that I find myself searching. Searching for truth. For meaning. For something that answers the question “Who am I, really?” Am I am loser, a loner, a mental case, a charity case, a noble, a saint, a slacker, an obsessive, an idiot or a monster? Am I part of some, part of all or am I something completely different? Certainly there have been days where I’ve wondered about all of those things – some of them I’ve even been referred to as. Perhaps the upshot is this – whatever I may have been, it has little of import to contribute to who I am striving to become. This is a new reality, a new me.

Okay, here’s a test for myself. I’m actually writing this for posting the day before I do it, so with any luck I’ll have forgotten the gist of these lines by 11am tomorrow morning. I am now going to my parent’s for supper. Not necessarily looking forward to it, but here’s what I’m going to try and do. No matter what happens I’m not going to get angry or snap, not even once. I will even make an effort to do one nice thing for them at some point in the evening. Sounds small, I know, and perhaps you now have some insight into why I might have earned some of the less desirable monikers listed above. But if I can do this, it will be something. One night does not a pattern make, I know, but you have to start somewhere, and realizing that success is going to take a full-on commitment from every facet of myself has pushed me to the point where, if I truly work at it, this just might be the start of a new and better day.

My Result?

Well, not too bad. I didn't snap, and was only mildly annoyed at a couple of points. Downloaded some software for my mother, so that's my good thing. Baby steps, I know, but we have to start somewhere.


Meals for Thursday:

Breakfast - nothing.

Lunch - 3-egg onion and and cheese omlette

Snacks - chocolates (about 5 all day)

Supper - Fried rice and three slices of bread, apple pie and ice cream for dessert.

Got the belt one notch further in today! That is huge progress!


More to follow on Monday...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Production Pathos and Viral Vectors

Today's posting is all about Production and Marketing, the two key challenges that are paralysing the operations at Grinder Productions. I know that I was initially going to cover these in two separate articles, but the two areas are intertwined, as I am learning more and more every day.

Let's start there - the medium is no longer the message - according to Punk Marketing - the message is the message. If my message is back to being the message (insert celestial praise here) then that means the message matters once again. The days of putting a cheese sandwich on the stage and having people come and watch it are over, people. Okay, maybe not completely over - they'll come the first time but they won't come back once they've learned their lesson. However it goes further than that. Not only is the message the message again, it's not the marketers that are writing that message - it's the market. They not only dictate what's good and what's not - they create what's good and what's not, whereas we, the ones on the production end, can only produce what's not - hence the failure of traditional marketing. From now on I am abandoning my quest for a marketing person - the whole world is my marketing department, a department that is screaming out to be heard, and when it is given the chance produces results that are actually worth the effort that has gone into them!

My role is changing. I think that my new role in marketing and in production will actually be quite similar, hence the intertwinement. It doesn't matter how much I know about either one of those areas - the traditional marketing is being thrown out the window, so traditional methods of production might as well go with it - they weren't working much better anyways - it's time to shape-shift.

In the new reality I don't sell shows - I create ways for the world to sell the shows. I am viral. I am punk. I am not a part of the equation, at least not that anyone can notice or care about. Selling a show is as much about putting people in the audience as it is putting a product onstage, so I will also create ways for the world to produce the shows they are coming to. In a world where you can do almost anything from your computer it is increasingly important to find ways to capitalize on that ability, rather than staying a specialist in a given field that is rapidly being replaced by the wonders of Wikipedia.

For example, I have come up with an idea for our February show, Dating Disasters. It looks something like this:

Contest: tell us your worst dating story in 3 minutes or less – doesn’t have to be true, just has to be entertaining! The best entries will be invited to read their stories live at the ECA on February 15th, where the audience will vote for the best “worst” story, the funniest story, and the most outrageous story. Winners will receive prize money and a prize pack filled with gifts from sponsors. Out of town? You can still submit a story and if it’s chosen and you can’t be there in person we’ll get one of the talented folks at Grinder Productions to read it for you.
Point Person: JK

Notice that the entire show is generated by the user: none of the content has to come from Grinder Productions, almost all we need to do is set up a microphone and have a couple of people (could be as simple as one man and one woman) to read any out-of-town selections. By adding a monetary reward (and we will need to fix the amount at something substantial) the invitations have the potential to become viral on the web. And the money again becomes a tool for the people who are chosen - if you want to win then you have to get your friends out to vote for you. Our job is to assemble a prize pack for the winners - again this generates interest - and perhaps secure a sponsor or two for the event to help cover the rental costs and prize money (though we'd still charge admission). And I shouldn't even be directly involved with it - I should just set it up and let it fly with the help of my point person. Her job will be to make everything work, but the incentive is getting to judge all the submissions to determine the finalists.

Welcome to the new reality at Grinder Productions. In the coming days I'll talk more about my ideas for other projects. I already have a few ideas for The Blue Room, our January show, but I'm not quite sure I've got it quite where it needs to be. Again the days of throwing out every idea under the sun and hoping one of them will sell tickets are over. Now it's all about finding the right idea to sell that particular show. There will still be some room for trial and error, and certainly every idea won't work equally well (or disastrously, with any luck!), but it's all about thinking creatively and remembering that we're not the ones doing the selling any more.

Meals on Wednesday:
Breakfast - nothing.
Lunch - Hash browns and chicken
Snack - buttered bagel
Snack - chocolate bar and Pepsi
Snack - two pieces of toast with peanut butter
Snack - three chocolates

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

24 Crazy Ideas

Yesterday I outlined the key areas of my life that I need to get turned around. Today I'm going to lay out the basis of how I plan to do one of those things - getting Grinder Productions back on track. What follows below is a chart of all the Grinder Productions events that I would like to produce in 2008. I've outlined when I would like to do them, what they will be, the venue they will ideally take place in, how much I should be spending on them, and, most importantly, how many tickets I will have to sell in order to make $1000 of profit on each of them (at a nominal average of $12 a ticket).

Since I would like to generate $2000 a month of income I have 24 projects, but ideally I would like to be able to do more. I know this probably sounds crazy. After all, half the whole reason we're in this mess is because things got too busy for me to handle. The other half of the mess, in case you're wondering, is the fact that nobody was coming to the shows when they were on. However, both of these things can be solved, both of them need to be solved, in order for the turn-around to be completely effective. In my next posting I will lay-out the production-related "how-to's" in order to effectively get these shows off the ground. The posting after that will deal with the other major challenge, getting people to come out and see it.

I'm also adding in another component today. I've been keeping a food journal off and on for the last few months on weightlossforum.com, but I'd like to transfer it here, as I would like to keep all life-changing events in the same blog. I have found some success with the weightloss over the past few months, in spite of everything that's been going on, but it's still in a position where it could easily get out of hand, and I'm no where near where I would like to be.

So yesterday, I had the following to eat:
Breakfast: nothing.
Lunch: Burger and fries, Pepsi.
Supper: 2 grilled cheese sandwiches.
Snacks: Chocolates.

Not much to be proud of, I know. But I aslo know that if I don't write it down, in a public forum, then I will rationalize it out of importance in my mind, and it must remain important, if I am going to have the health to carry off the rest of my life turnaround.

I will have more to add to both of these areas tommorrow, and I will also try and add in another component if possible as well.

Til then,

Grinder

Grinder Productions 2008 Line-up:

Date

Show

Venue

Budget

# of tickets @ $12 for $1000 profit

January

The Blue Room

ECA

$1000

Rent: $424.00

Script: $105.63

Rights: $238.50

Prod: $231.87

167

February

Un-Valentine’s Day Festival

ECA

$100

92

March

Hangin’ in the Balance

ECA

$500

Rent: $424

Prod: $76

125

April

A Bench in the Sun

Senior’s Centre?

$500

125

April

The Constant Lover & Moliere 1-act

EL

$250

Rent: $200

Prod: $50

105

May

School Shooting

ECA

$500

Rent: $424

Prod: $76

125

May

Charity Show

TBA

$500

125

June

The Belle of Amherst

EL

$1500

Rent: $550

Royalties: $730

Prod: $220

209

June

Grinder’s Gala

TBA

$500

125

July

Same Time, Next Year

EL

$1500

Rent: $550

Royalties: $730

Prod: $220

209

July

Relatively Speaking

BH

$1500

Rent: $707

Royalties: $400

Prod: $393

209

August

First Kisses

EL

$1500

Rent: $550

Royalties: $730

Prod: $220

209

August

The Middle Ages

BH

$1500

Rent: $707

Royalties: $400

Prod: $393

209

August

Sally and Marsha

EL

$1500

Rent: $550

Royalties: $730

Prod: $220

209

August

Brighton Beach Memoirs

BH

$1500

Rent: $707

Royalties: $400

Prod: $393

209

September

Proof

FGT

$2000

Rent: $1300

Royalties: $400

Prod: $300

250

September

Who’s Line is it, Centre Wellington?

FGT

$500

Rent: $300

Prod: $200

125

October

Art

ECA

$750

Rent: $450

Royalties: $200

Prod: $50

146

October

Girl Talk

ECA

$750

Rent: $450

Royalties: $200

Prod: $50

146

October

Jekyll and Hyde

FGT

$2000

Rent: $1300

Royalties: $400

Prod: $300

November

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Grindlings)

FGT

$2000

Rent: $1300

Royalties: $400

Prod: $300

250

December

Hooters (not the restaurant!)

ECA

$750

Rent: $450

Royalties: $200

Prod: $50

146

December

Hans Brinker

FGT

$2000

Rent: $1300

Royalties: $400

Prod: $300

250

December

Grindlings Scene Study Presentations

FGT

$500

Rent: $300

Prod: $200

125

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The life of Grinder

Well I promised you that today I'd unveil who I'd like to be. Given that this is only a first draft, here it is, a compendium of where I'd like to be by May 16th, 2008, my self-imposed cut-off date for turning things around. As to how I'll get there, well, that's going to take some figuring out...

  • Income
    • Minimum of $100 Daily
    • Stable
    • Multiple Streams
  • Finances
    • No short-term debts
    • No student debts
    • “Safety Cushion” Mutual Fund of at least $10,000
  • Professional Life
    • Re-establish Grinder Productions as a success
    • Write as much as I want to
    • Publish all works
    • Build things
    • Buy a new vehicle or meaningfully repair current vehicle
    • Totally integrate the money-making possibilities of technology
  • Personal Life
    • Weight problem conclusively under control
    • Use the gym
    • Physical prep for move into house under way
    • Get a new wardrobe
    • Plan for and take a vacation
  • Skills and Activities
    • Musical Appreciation
    • Computer Skills
    • Learn to Sing better
    • Learn to Dance
    • Learn to play an instrument
    • Take a community college or Continuing Ed Course
    • Make the movie of “Living”
    • Start Video blogging and add to blog
  • Mental State
    • Continually cultivate better friendships
    • Find and secure a lasting positive relationship
    • Conclusively defeat periodic depression

Monday, December 10, 2007

Picking up the pieces

Well, this is now my little piece of code in the great big blogosphere. I'm not here to make a political point, break important news or even post aimless thoughts on this that and the other thing, though I may do all three of those and more if I have the inclination.

No, this blog is here to help me get my life turned around. I am 27 years old and I run my own business full-time. Not bad, right? Well, it's not all it's cracked up to be. My biggest problem is that I'm broke. Flat broke. I've had to put my company on hiatus for six months because there were just too many insurmountable difficulties in getting things done. So now I'm unemployed and broke. On top of being broke I'm overweight, out of shape, and have periods where my emotional well-being could be described as manic, at best, an extreme rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. Now I don't believe there's anything strictly medically the matter with me - nothing that couldn't be cured by turning my life around and becoming the person I firmly believe I can be.

What does that person look like?

Well you'll just have to tune in tommorrow and find out.

Grinder