Thursday, April 30, 2009

How to stay positive

Some days it seems as though the whole world is stressed out.  Between myself and immediate friends there are crazy ex's, issues with aging parents, struggles with finances, and dealing with the harshest of all realities - death.
None of these issues are new or unique.  So, how do we cope?
Here are the things I'm holding onto.  I'd be happy to have you share your list.
1)  When negative thoughts or general dismay sneak in, I start thinking, writing and saying what I am thankful for in my life.  I do it when I wake in the night, when I first wake and as often as I can all day long.  It's making a difference.
2)  Slow down.  I'm not good at saying no and am often a people pleaser to my own detriment.  I'm trying to say what I really want to say - nicely, gently giving myself needed space.  This one is hard if people are used to you always doing what they want.  
3) Smile and joke with strangers.  One of the most healing things that can happen when we are stressed is for someone to make us laugh.  Sometimes it's easier to joke with a stranger because they aren't expecting it, and our friends are often caught up in our drama or we are caught up in theirs.  You won't likely ever know, but you just might turn someone else's day more positive.
4)  Call someone you haven't talked with in a while and make a point NOT to talk about troubles.  
5)  Go see some art or hear some live music and be openly appreciative.  It feels good.
6)  Create something yourself - in reality or just in your own imagination.  Some people tell me they love housework because they can do it while escaping in their minds.  (I haven't mastered this yet - perhaps because housework doesn't come easy to me.  Perhaps an add issue because I have to really concentrate to stay on task.  But it works when I'm mowing.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Be engaged!

I had a wonderful conversation today with a co-worker whom I have known more than a decade.  I know we fall on slightly different ends of the spectrum on issues.  He is working with an organization I'm sure I will write about in the future but not today.  What I admire in him and the work he is doing, though we may disagree, is that he is advocating that we all be engaged and EDUCATED.  He advocates involvement and setting aside political party affiliation to cut through to solutions of serious issues at hand.  Having known him a long time, I know he is educated, deeply driven and works toward responsible solutions.  He is strong and holds strong views but always he works toward understanding.
These are the people we need to know.  These are the people we need to talk with along the path toward solutions.  We need to share and acknowledge our deep respect despite any differences that emerge.  A new day has dawned.   I need to hear his voice.  He will hear mine.
I urge you to find these people in your life.  We will all be richer for the experience as we seek to be engaged.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tell Your Story

No one knows what it's like to be you.  Tell your story.  If you have suffered some form of pain and injustice, the only way it can change is through positive and effective communication.  Let it be known.  You can tell your story so many ways - through song, through art, through humor, through words.  Talk to anyone who will listen.  And be willing to listen.
Silence is a prison.  Those who abuse nearly always wish to silence their victims.  They do it through fear.  The fear is created by half truths, absolute lies and intimidation.
Consider our understanding of abusive relationships.  Abused children are afraid to speak up because of threats of retaliation.  Abusers lead their abused to believe that "they made them do it".   And often the abuser, once uncovered, tries to convey that they are the victims.   
Today, children are told to speak up if they feel they are abused.  To tell a responsible adult and keep telling until they find help.
The KKK cried victim if Blacks were to be considered equal.  They expressed huge fears of terrible things and made outrageous claims as reasons for bigotry.  Fears based on lies.  And much of it surrounding God and what God supposed wanted.  The KKK lost power when silence ended.  
Our society has been abusing and victimizing GLBT people for years through fear.  Much of it surrounding God and what God supposed wants.  The rest based on outrageous claims of terrible outcomes if GLBT people are accepted citizens in society.  This will stop when silence ends.  Tell your story.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thought Police

It is so ironic - even humorous, if it wasn't so perverse - that the right wing has now labeled equality efforts for the GLBT as a form of "thought policing".

The terms "thought police" and "thought crime" come from George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty Four".  The crime was based on attempts to limit free thinking.  Only thoughts in line with a totalitarian state were allowed.

Hmmm?  Who is promoting a totalitarian state?  Is it the GLBT community or is it right wing Christians?

Who is actually promoting "thought police" and "thought crime"?

The extreme right wing Christian viewpoint is totalitarian.  I must say, they are so right, they are wrong.  Any religious movement, any political movement, any movement at all that's basis is "because I say so" or "because I say God says so" is inherently flawed.  

Their goal is clear:   "Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a concept used to describe political systems whereby a state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life."  (Wikipedia)

Is that what our United State Constitution is about?  Do you want a particular religious sect to have totalitarian rule?  What if it is not your religious sect?  And if it is your religious sect today, whose religious sect will it be tomorrow?  Are you willing to turn that over to the government or "majority rule" to decide?

Hopefully, as the religious right sees that their "majority" is quickly shrinking, they begin to see the light.  I, as a lesbian American, will defend their right to exist and practice their religion as long as they do not impede my right to exist and practice mine.  

The only policing I want to see is the kind that leads to actual Thinking.  The only religion I want to see in regulation is one that reflects a very universal truth of "love one another" and "do unto others as you would have done unto you".  There is one Law and one common Truth.  And when we find that, it does not divide based on religion or sex or age or sexual identity.  It divides based on truth and love.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NAB Conference notes

It's been an amazing four days at NAB.  
I always focus on the Post Production World Conference which is jam packed full of great training with some of the best speakers in the industry.  Normally I try to attend far too many workshops on far too many topics to remember.  This time I set some specific objectives.  
First, obtain Final Cut Level 1 certification.  I took both level 1 and advanced courses here last years as a new user.  Missed level one certification by 2 points.  Taking the level 1 class again this year was a bit of surprise since I've been using Final Cut all year now.  How very much I had forgotten!  
I'm very fortunate to work for a boss and a company that believes in the value of training.  And I can quickly say they will get their money's worth.  I return with a handful of new editing shortcuts that will add great value.  This is what we are all seeking.  Look better and be more productive.
Another objective built on the desire to improve workflow processes.  Sessions addressed that along with a scan of the floor.  For those of you who cannot attend NAB, check out Future Media Concepts.  Scan the NAB website.  You can find links to online assistance.
Social networking was a secondary objective.  Our company is considering how this might be valuable.  It's all about networking - building contacts and connections.
And while I was here, that need grew more dramatic as I was asked to seek connections with videographers/photographers and related services in China.  My company is doing a lot of business in China (and around the world) and we need video/photos showing what is happening.  I believe I found those connections here.  But wouldn't it have been nice if they were already part of my social network on line?  Our world is big.  But it is growing smaller through networking.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Over a Mountain - Final Cut Pro

At NAB today and it's a milestone day.  Last year I was new to Final Cut Pro - took two certification classes and missed the test cut off by two points.  I got a 78 and needed at least an 80.  I used the software all year and came back to try again.  I took the class over and am very glad I did.  Final Cut is so robust and even using it a year, I haven't touched it's full power.  In addition to another handful of tricks and shortcuts to employ, I passed the certification test with a 90.7.  There are seven certification tests in total.  So, I've just begun.  I'll pick another to work on this year - perhaps level 2 or color correction.
Meanwhile, shorter workshops tomorrow.  There are so many choices.  One huge area is social networking.  
If National Association of Broadcasting (NAB) is new to you, this is the premiere worldwide show for radio, TV and general producers.  It's huge.  I'm hearing numbers are down 20% or so but it still appears to be near the 100,000 number.  It's always been one of the bigger conventions in town each year.  There are multiple tracks of training going on.  I stick close to the post production world conference but general conference sessions are open to all.  This is the first year I've noticed social networking as a topic and I see it popping up in every track - twitter, blogs, pod casts...
One serendipitous part of my trip at this time is the need to solve lighting issues for our underground (mining) videotaping and making contacts with photographers/videographers in China.  I noticed a big international trade table and meeting area today so I stopped.  "You're in the right place", the woman said as I explained my mission.  She will connect me with the head of the China delegation tomorrow.  She also expressed surprise that I videotape underground saying she had never met anyone who went into mines before.
I'm guessing the head of the China delegation will be surprised as well.  I hope he can help get me connected with the right people.
You know, I love my job.  And these kinds of missions are most interesting.  It's challenging but I can count my lucky stars to be working for a company and particularly a boss who understands how to maximize resources without frustrating them.  It's up to me to use the tool between my ears while they put me where I need to be to get the job done as well as providing the physical tools required to do it.  I've been around long enough to know this is a very special combination.
Today, I'm over the top about it all.


Is underground unusual?

I've been saying for a time that my cameraman, Pete, is one of the most experienced underground videographers in the world.  Tonight I am at the National Association of Broadcaster's conference and went to an event with some of the most well known videographer's in the industry.  I was hoping for leads - a videographer/photographer in China willing to go underground - advice on lighting to use in such conditions.
I think I can safely say that I was the most experienced underground videographer in the entire mix of hot dog videographer's this evening.  I got some very disbelieving looks as I explained my networking needs.  I found no one who has even shot in a cave.  I found a sky diving videographer.    And I discovered that "underground videographer" has a rather unseemly definition.   I need to make a note of that one.
The next few days will be interesting and fun.  I need to follow up on a few leads of possible avenues to finding global assistance with our video needs.  And I will have fun telling people what it is we do and why.  I will be a bit more careful about asking if someone does "underground video" and careful about saying I do.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Welcome Home

Today I was thinking about what it is like to come home to a community that you perceive does not welcome you.  I remember the 70's with Vietnam Vets coming home from a very unpopular war.  Most of them had been drafted and would not have chosen to go to war at all - especially not that war.  Many of them tried not to bring attention to their service feeling that the majority of the nation somehow blamed them - shunned them - even denounced them.  No matter how you feel about war, most of us would agree that these men and women did not deserve that.  30 years after the last Vietnam Vets came home, there was a National Welcome home day.
GLBT people who grew up in that era and left small towns in search of careers, etc. can relate to the experience of returning under those conditions - not expecting to be welcomed home.  Blamed as threats to family values.  Shunned by our past church communities.  Even denounced as unworthy of equal rights as citizens.  We see glimmers of hope in Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts and with companies who include GLBT people in anti-discrimination policies.  There are signs of a new day.  
Wouldn't it be amazing if small towns and even churches across the country had "Welcome Home Day" for GLBT people?  A day of celebration where GLBT people who left go back home to join their brothers and sisters who stayed and are received by a new welcoming community.
That would be a powerful message of real change.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Getting out and about

I started this blog with a story about a trip for work and what it's like to be in underground mines.  There's a whole different world underground.  A different communication system - both technical and as simple as nodding your head so your caplight catches the attention of moving equipment.  And you don't look people in the eye when talking with them because it shines the light right in their eyes.  You need to know the different signage - emergency systems - escapeways - rope systems.   A mine may have hundreds of people working in entries that spread for miles.  A salt mine near Cleveland goes under lake Erie.  I haven't been in that mine and would try not to think about that aspect if I did.
I don't mind working underground but I couldn't do it every day.  I wonder if miners have the same feeling I do at the end of the day.  A sweet sense of being more alive when I see the daylight. 
I thought of that feeling today after visiting the Artist Studios at the Transit building in Oil City.  Art gives me that feeling.  Music gives me that feeling.  Time listening to a respected friend gives me that feeling.  Being part of a larger community gives me that feeling.  A sweet sense of being more alive.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Underground Movement

I called this blog "Into the mountain and under the mountain".  May I add "Over the mountain"?  I watched a documentary last night - "The Secret".  Several people had recommended it in the last year.  If you are philosophical or spiritual at all, you should watch it.  You can find information about it at  
It seems to me that it brings together threads of all the spiritual teachings, the motivational speakers, the abundance preachers....  It is about the power of thought and intent - the laws of attraction.  It reminded me to walk in the power I have known to be true but all too often drift away from.
Some years ago, I read a book "Small Miracles".  It is a series of stories about miracles in people's lives and how they brought them into their lives.  I recall the author saying she had tested it by repeatedly thinking she would find pennies.  And she did.  After reading that, I decided to take it up a step.  I would see dimes.  And I did!  I was finding them everywhere - on the ground, under my bed, in my pocket.  I wasn't finding pennies or nickels or quarters.  It went on for weeks and was quite fun.  Now, the question is - why did I stop there?  Soon, I quit thinking about dimes and went right back to my normal way of thinking.  
I believe there is a power much greater than any of us truly realizes.  Call it God, the Great Spirit, the law of nature, whatever.   We call that power to us when we use the gift between our ears.  And our ability to call upon that power depends upon our ability to align ourselves with the source of that power.  Some understand it as good versus evil.  But I believe it is order and harmony versus disorder and kaos - feeling good - gaining energy - or draining energy.
Every successful underground movement has built upon good energy - gained energy - gained momentum - built something.  That is the secret.  Fighting against something does nothing more than drain our energy and often energize the thing we are fighting against.