Do I Have Moron Written On My Chest?

I had a deep conversation today with my bff of more than 25 years, who I call CJ on the blog. She has had a good run of bad luck lately. Someone hit her new car and didn’t leave a note after having some serious guy drama the day before. I will only air her dirty laundry briefly before I get to my point. She had been dating someone for a few months only to find out he was still scouting out potential prospects. Yeah, people suck, but here is the kicker. He wrote her this ridiculously fabricated excuse via email “apologizing” and wanting to be friends. We got a good laugh.

Here’s the beef! Or cattle excrement to be more precise. She and I have both encountered a bit of B.S lately passed off as truth, excuse and explanation. YAY for stuff to bond over! We have come to the conclusion that some people think you have “MORON” plastered across your chest and you will buy into their mess. As it turns out they are the ones wearing that shirt for thinking that we believe it.

Why can’t people be honest? I know, the great philosopher Dr. Gregory House once said, “Everybody Lies.” I’m not talking about white lies and such, but when people treat you like a fool and spoon-feed you crap and expect you to accept it. I ask an honest, straightforward question and I expect a corresponding answer.

As hard as it is, I guess we should just keep chugging along and looking for that “Serenity” that I talked about in my last post. As for the B.S…AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!

 

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Expectations

When it comes to expectations I tend to be the little yodeling man on the “Price Is Right” mountain climber game. No matter if I am talking about what I expect from myself, what is expected of me by others or even what I expect of others, I tend to sing my way right off the edge of the mountain. I have very high expectations for myself and do my best to live up to them. I have a few people in my life that I try to live up to their expectations of me but they are a select group. I learned a long time ago that trying to be everything that everyone wants you to be is an exhausting, worthless effort.

My big issue is my expectations of others. I am not super demanding. I don’t have unrealistic expectations of perfection.

My expectations are simple:

  • Honesty
  • Reliability
  • Compassion
  • Respect

I keep them simple because having specific expectations, in my humble opinion, is a quick recipe for disappointment. I also want my friends and family to expect the same from me. I wish people disappointing me didn’t eat at me so much. I take it to heart and start to wonder why these simple things can’t be accomplished.

As much as I wish I could make people change, it is ultimately their choice to be the way that they are. I wish I could just move on, wash my hands of the nonsense, quit stressing and live my life. I just can’t without feeling like I failed.

Say Cheese! CLICK! CLICK! Print! (Repost from my Biz Blog)

6680738823_e2fc1675d8As many of you probably heard, a few days ago the company that owned & operated Sears & PictureMe portrait studios has decided to close its 2,700 studios in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.  All but about 80 studios were located in Sears and Walmart stores.

The Sears Portrait Studio website and PictureMe Portrait Studio, appeared to be no longer active this morning. A message on the Sears site said that clients could view photos and place orders until April 18, 2013.

I have heard a few people in the past talk about how can it be $19.99 at one of the chain studios for a sitting, (2) 8×10, (4) 5×7, (16) wallets and 2 keychains and at least $50 just for a sitting with an independent, professional photographer. The answer is simple, yet complicated. Clear as mud!

Places like Sears, JC Penney, PictureMe, etc. have a simple business concept; get as many people in, out and sales completed as possible each day. I grew up taking the yearly trek to Sears with the grandparents in my Sunday best. I am not just a bitter pro. But, I have to point out that these studios have changed since the 80’s/90’s when I was rocking the big bangs for my photos.

Sears Portrait Studios were in business for more than 60 years. They were initially run the same way as many independent pros were. You had your photo taken by a trained, photographer who knew about exposure, aperture, shutter speed and all that good stuff! There was no automatic camera mode and no auto-focus lenses.

Your negatives were sent to a central studio where they were edited (if needed) and printed on professional paper. Their pricing also used to be only slightly less than many seasoned pros. They had to pay qualified photographers, maintain and lab & technicians, transport prints to their studios etc.

As technology evolved, so did their business model. Once computer chips were no longer the size of a toaster and could fit into cameras it became easier to take a good photo without tons of knowledge about photography. Cameras grew brains! Chain studios could now employ photographers who were willing to undergo a short corporate training program on how to work the camera and how to set up portraits.

With the ability to hire high school and college students to take their photos, view the proofs on a screen, have the client pick their prints and send them home with photos printed in house, things got less costly.

So, that seems like they should be rolling in the Benjamins, right? WRONG! A successful photography business, as with any other business it built on clients, not customers. What is the difference between a customer and a client?

A customer buys your product or service and may or may not return. Gas station convenient stores have customers!

A client not only purchases your product or service but they build a relationship with you and not only return to your business when they have a need for you but usually work ONLY with you.

The overall decrease in client-based business and the increase in customer-based businesses makes me sad. I’m sad not just for my business but for all of the people who miss out because they want to save a little money but often end up paying for it (financially, mentally, emotionally) in the end. There is an awesome little hardware store down the street from me that I go to for all of my needs. Yes, Home Depot may save me $0.50 but the service is just not the same. Their hours are not 7am-9pm like the chains but I really don’t care! They know me at the store and what I buy. I don’t even have to tell the “16x20x1” when I go for furnace filters. Everyone seems to be in such a big hurry these days to get things done right NOW! I’m all for fast and convenient, as long as it doesn’t put “quick” before “quality.”

So, to answer the initial question posed, “How can it be $19.99 at one of the chain studios for a sitting, (2) 8×10, (4) 5×7, (16) wallets and 2 keychains and at least $50 just for a sitting with an independent, professional photographer?” Not only are you paying for the photographer to have extensive knowledge about the principles of photography, not just the camera they are using. The independent photographer always has available at least 2 camera bodies and various lenses, flashes, reflectors, props and candy for bribing children (and adults). You are also paying for someone to personally review every single imaged that was captured, make minor adjustments, remove small imperfections such as a stray hair, blemish, drool on a baby’s face, a fleck of dirt on the face. Excellent editing software to do these edits, like Adobe Photoshop, is worth its weight in gold and costs almost that much. First and foremost you are paying for a photographer that you trust with your treasured memories.

Tweh, Bowdeya. “Sears, PictureMe Portrait Studios Closing.” Cincinnati.com. Gannett, 04 Apr. 2013. Web. 04 Apr. 2013. <http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130404/BIZ/304040108/Sears-PictureMe-portrait-studios-closing>.

Say Cheese! 11/366. N.d. Photograph. Flickr. Yahoo Inc., 11 Jan. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/florida_girl_photos/6680738823/>.

Oh, Free Speech!

And I thought all the nonsense would end after the election! I held out until after the Inauguration and still no relief.

The latest “hot topic” on the FB seems to be gun control. I have a few Facebook friends who seem to post the most ridiculous nonsense all day everyday. I have had to block their updates and posts from my newsfeed.

I take no issue with people owning guns. No matter what the laws are the people who really want them will still get them. Bank robbers, serial killers, anti-government folks, etc will find a way. They tend to disregard laws.

My issue is with the people who want to pass on this crazy, false information. One girl keeps posting about how Obama is going to take people’s guns. Yes, the POTUS is going to knock on your door and take your “piece.”

I have no issue with extensive background checks, waiting periods and training requirements. I don’t want some fool who thinks they need a gun to be required to take classes on how to properly use it or at least pass a test just like a driver’s license.

Ok, my point wasn’t really even about guns specifically 🙂 I just hate people who see these pictures & post and decide they must repost this outrageous sounding information without first taking the 2 minutes to verify it is actually true.

Don’t you think a post by a group called “Americans for Guns” will be just as biased as a group called “Protect Our Kids From Guns?” Common Sense people! Check your information before you perpetuate lies and hilarity!

Winter Sminter

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I guess I have become one of those old people obsessed with the weather and snow.

I bought the Ramlet a snowsuit last year, as if a 3 month old needed one. I didn’t get one this year, which turned out to be smart. We have have gotten one puddily snowfall. What the deuce!?!
As you can see the Ramlet, who hates wearing pants, loves to look out the window.

He was so excited when it snowed. He looked out his window from his bed and let me sleep in 45 extra minutes. The sleep was nice but it was awesome to see him so amazed by snow.

Stealers Stink!

As a Bengals fan, yes, I do think the Pittsburgh Steelers stink but I am talking about stealers…photo stealers!

Thankfully, I have never had my photos stolen, to my knowledge. I have seen lots of posts lately by other photogs on message boards and Facebook about having their work stolen.

I am a firm believer that it is NOT stealing to use other people’s work for inspiration, recreate poses, setups, etc. After all, there are very few “original ideas” left no matter if you believe the world has been around for thousands of years or billions of years.

I am talking about people who use other people’s photos and either remove the watermark or find photos without a watermark and pass them off as their own.

If you give the illusion that you can take photos like the ones you stole, you better be able to! Oh wait! If you could, why wouldn’t you just use your own photos? SNAP!

I spent this past weekend taking down all my Facebook albums on my business page and making sure every photo was watermarked, reorganizing the albums and updating. Thankfully I only found a few photos without my watermark that had slipped through the cracks. My website puts my watermark on automatically 🙂 Lazy people rejoice!

As a nosey person, I am DYING to see some of the pictures and who stole them. Well, darn the people who had their photos stolen for not publicly calling out the stealers so I could see.

Quit Blaming and Start Helping!

*Stepping onto my pink, glittery soapbox*

It has been a week since 20 innocent children and 6 brave teachers were taken from their friends and families. Why is everyone still trying to blames this on Obama, gun control, the NRA and such? People who are bound and determined to commit acts of evil don’t pay attention to laws and policies.

The fact of the matter is no one wants to deal with mental illness. A teacher reports a student showing signs of potential mental illness and instead of going to a school psychologist (if the district can afford to have one) the issue is often brushed aside for fear of lawsuit or backlash from parents. As with many serious illnesses, the problem can start small and grow if left unaddressed.

Many people who are mentally ill do not realize it. Without the intervention of close friends, family members and medical professionals treatment can be impossible. It is nearly impossible to commit someone against their will for treatment without imminent danger to you or themselves.

Until 50 years ago mental illness was treated seriously, and aggressively, sometimes to a fault. I by no means wish to institutionalize all types of mental illness again but right now our only options seem to be waiting until there has been a jail worthy offense committed or trying to procure our own resources. Dealing with a child, young adult or even adult can be a difficult task for even the most highly trained professionals.

Many parents try their best to get the children the help they need but hit the walls of financial constraint and not knowing where to locate resources. I can not imagine being in the predicament of needing both parents to work to afford the best care but still needing the time to make sure the care is accessible. Many private insurance companies do not cover mental health services or cover them with high co-pays and deductibles.

I read a statistic that since Columbine the United States has had more school violence than the rest of the world combined! Why? Mental health care. In the last 3 years the US has lost 10% of its psychiatric inpatient beds to hospital closures and budgets cuts. The average stay for a mental health issue is 3-7 days. Considering medications can take up to 6 weeks for side effects and results to occur that is pretty scary.

Most mental health institutions were funded by states and with the help of government funding for healthcare.

Everyone is so eager to save on taxes that they overlook where the money is being cut from. In a perfect world we could vote for lower taxes and stipulate where we think the money should be cut from. I wish it worked that way but it doesn’t. We need to put the pressure on our law makers, insurance companies and spread the facts about mental illness to help solve the problem of violence in our society.

When Did Christmas Become An Idiot-fest?

I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. Tis the season to be busy!

I was just picking up a few things while passing time until a dinner date with my good friend, C.

Do people not realize that the people who work retail have zero say when it comes to you demanding a discount, making a return, being denied for a credit card, etc. The best they can do is call a manager and it will probably be a bit of a wait!

I worked retail for many years and dealt with this constantly at Christmas. It is as if people were beaten with a stupid stick and kicked with the steel-toed boot of rudeness.

I do understand that stores can be in the wrong, but it is only the employee’s fault a small percentage of the time.

I particularly loved the dirtballs who cussed me out for denying them a Macy’s Card because I didn’t do it right. Yes, sir, I purposely took the time to enter all of your info into the computer and then pressed the secret, “Deny this jerk” button under the register. LOL.

The woman in front of me was peeved that her card was denied. The cashier did the correct thing and asked her if she would like to swipe a different card or apply for the store card. That is what you are taught to do.

This bi….lovely woman went on a rant about how she wanted the 20 year old college girl to call Visa and call in the authorization because it couldn’t be denied. Oh Lord!

Don’t be a Scrooge because you were embarrassed by your own lack of personal responsibility!

I’m Mad At Facebook!

I just tried to post a message on my friend’s page. It was not an advertisement, just a “Nice Work” post on her wall for getting a bunch of new fans.

Up popped this message that Facebook considers me to be posting SPAM and that I am banned from posting on any walls for 15 days! I was like WTD (what the duck) and emailed them. I told them the situation and said it must be an error. I post on only friends’ page walls + my regular friends from time to time and I post normal, non-ad stuff, usually having zero to do with a business, let alone my own.

I expected a reasonable explanation. The first response plopped right out of a tin can and had nothing to do with what I wrote. It was something along the lines of here is our Policy on SPAM, etc. I responded and said that my “Good Job” post was not threatening, sharing personal info, contained no nakedness, was far from obscene…etc.

This time I got a “person” but an equally dumb answer. They said I was spamming MY OWN business page. I almost wrote back and asked if they were located in Colorado and had bought some bad weed! I asked for a specific example. They said I posted the photo/list for my photo challenge everyday for 7 days. TRUE! I deleted quite a few of them shortly after posting because I posted a status that mentioned it, a blog post that mentioned it was added to the wall by my RSS app and so forth.

There were never 7 post up at one time. Even if I did post the same pic everyday for a week and left it up isn’t it my page? People can choose to unfollow if they have an issue, message me and say, “Simmer down” or post something to my wall.

And with the way FB is trying to sell ads by making their algorithm so that the only way people see all of your posts as a follower is to add you to an “Interests List” I would be shocked if people got more than one, MAYBE two of the posts.

Needless to say, I’m perturbed!

*Shakes Head*

*Shakes Head*

Welcome to the Insomnia Show!

Well, here it is 2am and I am still awake. Today was one of those lazy days where it spit rain, was dark and the atmosphere was just heavy with sleepy vibes. I was completely unmotivated to do anything except brush my teeth and provide my child with nourishment.

I took a nap this afternoon for probably about an hour while little man napped. I fell asleep on the couch so my nap length is a guesstimate. I woke up feeling even more tired, grouchy and achy thanks to my odd sleeping position on the couch.

Mr. Ram-a-razzi took my mood as a cue to say, “Go nap in bed for a little longer” once the baby woke up. I never really got to sleep until it was almost time for him to leave to meet his brother at the gym.

I decide that Baby Ram-a-razzi and I would carpool with them and go grocery shopping while they worked on their guts & butts. Honestly, I was just feeling too lazy to drive and wanted the help carrying in groceries when we got home. Ulterior motive at its finest.

I got a gold star on my Mom Chart for getting groceries despite wanting to put it off. I looked semi-cute, baby was adorable in jammies and a hoodie so another gold star.

I had been lagging and dragging all day and evening but when it came time for bed all of the caffeine I ingested throughout the day to maintain consciousness kicked in. Hello Insomnia!

I had a small snack, I watched some TV, I have read on my iPad, I did breathing exercises, I said a nice prayer and now I have blogged. I am seriously debating a shot of Ny-quil. I should really get a bottle of their Zzzz-Quil to try out but I have to settle for what is available.