General

I have recently completed a new screenplay. Here is the synopsis:

Jim’s rewarding new life as a police officer unravels when his fiancée Sarah is killed by city violence. Finding life in “our city” now unbearable, Jim returns to his small town home only to find that his partner Billy is right – “Every town has its rats.”

The peaceful town Jim remembers now hides from the shadow of Carl, a high school bully turned thug and Jim’s former rival. Carl and his boys create chaos in a town poorly governed by Carl’s father, a beaten down sheriff.

PEACEKEEPER follows Jim as he tries to rebuild his life, reconnect with his town and learn to love again. Carl and Jim collide over Tori whose high school crush on Jim reignites, leading Carl to assault Jim’s newfound peace. For Tori and the town, Jim has to man up and root out the evil that has taken hold.

PEACEKEEPER is a feel-good story of courage, second chances and the triumph of character.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
This is one of my favorite quotes. If you mistake Shaw’s meaning, you might think that it gives one license to be a jerk… to trample people and insist on getting your own way. Not so. Rather, Shaw is pointing out that in order to make progress — for the good of everyone — you have to think differently than the crowd. You  must be discontent with the status quo, and you must take steps to change it.
Such a position requires reflection, planning, and a winsome approach to selling your ideas. It requires that you champion a new cause and that takes courage in the face of opposition from those who don’t want the boat rocked. As Seth Godin points out in his book Free Prize Inside, ideas are plentiful, but champions — those who can bring an idea to life — are few.
George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw

Here’s a product I’d like to see. Perhaps you’ll be the one to build it.

The ubiquitous “Coming Soon” web page is boring. It has no stickiness. It doesn’t say in a compelling voice, “Come back next week to see something exciting!” What is says is, “We didn’t have time to do anything interesting with this website yet.”

How about this as an alternative…
When you put up your site, you link your new (unfinished) home page to a service site like:
* CoolProgress.com
* ProgressDraw.com
* WaitingPretty.com
* CoolWait.com
(all are available at the moment)

Within that library, there are beautiful custom pages in a variety of categories that can show construction underway:
* House
* Office Building
* Ship, Boat
* Car, Truck, Motorcycle
* Engine, Plane
* Sweater, Russian stacking doll
(ideas are endless)

Here’s the angle. Instead of just a pretty picture, you link to this service with a certain series selected AND a percentage complete (0, 25, 50, 75, 99). When visitors come to your site, they see a gradually progressing version of your website as it gets “built” by the artist who drew the pictures. Not only is it a beautiful drawing, but the gradual revelation of the design says, “Come back soon and see what this will become!”.

The point is that something IS happening — your website is not just sitting there.

If I created this service, I would contact talent through eLance, Odesk and Craigslist to do the artwork. Then I would charge customers a small premium to rent the service for their website. Perhaps a free version that supports subtle ads would work too, but even a modest fee of $5 per month would mount up if you got a fraction of the tens of thousands of new websites launched each year.

Dumber ideas have made money. I think the secret sauce will be the beauty (real talent in the artwork) and a low price so that it can spread rapidly.

Traveling without your sound machine that helps you sleep? No problem if you’re online. Open Ambient Mixer and relax…

I have a solution to the difficulty young children have tying their shoes: Make the strings from the cords of in-ear headphones. All you have to do is pick them up and they produce knots!

Reading opens up the world. It expands the mind. It prevents wasted time by learning from others. Read often. Read widely. Read for learning but also for pleasure. These two can be the same thing. Don’t read work-related books on vacation. Get lost in a novel to the point that your family has to yell to get your attention.

Any minute now, the FDA will announce that air is bad for you. It could be fatal, in fact. What we know for sure is that the mortality rate among humans is 100%. Something is going to kill you.

Part of being a life-long learner is that we keep an open mind and process new information as best we can. Aspartame was the great answer to the pink carcinogens until the long-term studies came in. I don’t remember what they said [sic] but I think it was bad.

Then Splenda, the yellow wonder, took over as the new sweetness — except that 30% of it is unaccounted for in your body and it messes with the good bacteria in your GI tract.

Now there is Stevia, Truvia and others that claim to be the natural alternative.

Don’t follow fads. Do your homework and follow the facts you uncover. Eggs won’t stop your heart and having a doughnut now and then won’t make you a blimp.

Design your nutrition. Think about why you eat what you eat and where everybody gets their ideas of what is healthy. Avoid fat doctors and rich nutritionists.

Whatever you do… don’t worry yourself to death about it. Worry kills faster than poor nutrition.

P.S. Twizzlers should be their own food group.

I have some of these in my own family. I admire them from afar because I cannot begin to do what they do. If you are an engineer, embrace them and love them because while you can make things that are useful, an artist will make people WANT to use it!

Don’t you just love dogs? They’re so enthusiastic.

You leave the house for 20 mintes and come back…you’re a hero…

[bouncing up and down]

Hey! Hey, you’re back! I’m so glad to see you!
Did you miss me? I’ll bet I missed you more! Here’s a big sloppy kiss just to prove it.
Hey! Hey look what I can do – I can run around in a circle!
Yeah – check this out – round and round – and I’m not even dizzy!

[reverses direction]

Whoa – who’s tail is that?
Give us a pat on the head! C’mon – just a little pat.
Ooh…a scratch behind the ears…even better. A little to the left…oh…oh yeah…[wag foot]…right there.

Dogs are great. You can have the worst day your dog will cheer you right up.

Some dogs are more excitable than others, though.

We had a Cocker Spaniel for a while… till it licked my wife’s hand.
You surprise a Spaniel … you create work for yourself.

Oh! A visitor! How exciting! Why I’m so excited I could just… [looks behind]
Ooh…sorry…I’d clean that up but, uh..can’t hold a sponge…no thumbs.

Naturally, being such a dog lover…WEEEE…had a cat… for twenty years.

Cats are a whole nother story.
You don’t actually own a cat. You may be, instead, given permission to occupy the same space.

You come back home to your cat and you get this…

[yawn] Oh. It’s you. You interrupted my nap. I’ve only had three this morning.

You got anything interesting? Food? Catnip?
A mouse toy?! Have you lost your mind?

By the way, the top of the TV is cold. Leave it on next time.

Out? No, I don’t want to go out…not until you sit down.

We had the Alzheimer’s cat. Ten seconds after it passes through a door, it has completely forgotten why it wanted to be on THAT side of the glass.

So I come into the living room one day and the cat’s in my favorite chair.
Just standing there, I can feel the cat hair creeping into my shirt.

So I decide to teach this critter who is the boss of this house.
My house. My chair.
So I reach under the cat, lift it up… and gently put it on the floor.

[CLAMP!]

Wincing, I try again to set the cat on the floor.

[DIG!]

[whipping my arm overhead]

I REMOVE the cat from my arm… giving him a new position… at touchdown… 5 yards away.

During the next few minutes, I learn how inadequate most first aid kits are.

Oh, sure, there are band-aids, antiseptic, tape… there’s even some gauze!
But those little two-inch squares are simply no match… for the six nine-inch, parallel lacerations I need to cover up.

I have to hurry, though.
My wife, the cat lover, will be home soon.

Now all I have to figure out is… what kind of manly house repair causes marks like these…