To Tsu or Not to Tsu

January 31, 2015 — Leave a comment

I’ve been experimenting with this relatively new, free to join, but invite only social sharing, profit sharing platform for about a month now.

Like anything new I attempt, I’ve been obsessive.

The thing is, if I’m willing to accept something new into my life, whatever that may be, small or grand, I must be willing to put time and effort into it.

If not. Then why bother?

Of course after giving it a shot, doing what I can to see how it works in my life, if it turns out not being worthy of my time and effort, if I’m not loving it, I’ve no problem walking away, closing the door, and moving on.
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I’m not there yet with this new platform. I’m still getting a hang of it, trying to understand how it works. How to play the game.

I started three weeks ago. I’ve amassed nearly 600 “friends” and 220 “followers.” I’ve devoted I’m guessing 10 hours to posting and earned $1.

Before this, I’ve never analyzed or tracked my personal social sharing behavior, the amount of time I’ve spent posting my own content and engaging with others’.

I know for sure that since I started this new thing that I’ve posted so much more than I have before. Trying to catch up with the others who tease me with their 35K followers and post their analytics chart to show the enviable dollar amount.

So it’s hard to say, from the standpoint of monetization, whether it’s worth it or not for me to continue. If I already post anyhow, I may as well get paid for it, is my current stance.

But there’s a healthy load of skepticism in this venture.

I haven’t set a goal or timeframe yet. Sure, the ultimate goal would be to set myself up to a point where the system starts working for me. Where reward far exceeds effort and time.

I suppose this is the ideal ratio and scenario in every project, experience, situation.

It’s still early. I don’t know when and if that ratio will happen here–certainly not now and the way things are looking, anytime soon.

I’ll remind myself now of something I’ve read before that’s always stayed with me–from Seth Godin.

“‘Doing the best I can’ is actually not the same as ‘doing everything I can.’ When we tell people we’re doing the best we can, we’re actually saying, ‘I’m doing the best I’m comfortable doing.’ As you’ve probably discovered, great work makes us uncomfortable.”

I’ve not done everything I can… so onward!

If you’re curious about this profit sharing social networking platform, here’s your invite to join: http://tsu.co/marieeestrada

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Connect

January 29, 2015 — Leave a comment

You never know who’s calling even when the ID says it’s so and so.

Most of the time it’ll be that person. But it’s those exceptions that can get you.

A few minutes ago, my phone rang. The caller ID notified me it was one of my best friends.

She calls for good reason. Never just to chit chat. She knows I don’t really like to talk on the phone. So when she calls I always answer when I can.

This time, I answered her call using what was my closest impression of Yoda.

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The response was a pause.

Then: Hello.

It was my friend’s husband. He’s 35 years older than my friend and has had a very successful life in film, art, photography. To describe him as accomplished would be an understatement. He’s sweet and sociable but a shrewd businessman and serious in all of his professional pursuits, of which there are many.

I don’t think he made the Yoda connection though it wouldn’t surprise me if he was on a first name basis with George Lucas.

Fortunately, he has a wonderful sense of humor.

After his initial Hello, he simply laughed. Then he said, Obviously, Marie, the better half has stolen the other half’s phone to call you.

He was calling to thank me for some consultation on one of his projects and for connecting him with a company I work with. He said he hired the company and was over the moon about the results.

Earlier in the week I had a similar conversation with the co-founder of the company. He called me gushing about how excited he was to be working on the project with my friend’s husband and I could literally hear and see his smile through the phone. Like a five-year-old receiving a new toy.

I don’t share my resources with just anybody. And I do so only when I feel the connection is solid. When the personalities fit. When the connection will equally benefit everyone involved.

I knew the connection between my friend’s husband and the company needed to be made. It wasn’t just my gut telling me this. I have experience with what my friend’s husband needed after going through his project. And I’ve invested time in the company I was recommending to do the job. I hired them to work on a big project. I’ve worked closely with everyone on their team. From the copywriters and designers to the two founders. They know their stuff. And they genuinely seem to love what they’re doing. They offer their services at a fair price. They’re efficient, flexible, transparent, communicate their moves. Professional. They’ve built my trust in them.

I told the co-founder that he owed me my finder’s fee cocktail.

I’ll buy you the bar,
was his response.

There’s nothing more uplifting than feeling like you’ve helped get something done. When the stars align. When you can confidently refute the adage, It’s not what you know but who you know.

No.

It’s who you know AND what you know.

Make-up

January 29, 2015 — Leave a comment

A glass of wine does a whole lot of good for me. Shame my apartment is dry. Except for this semi-sweet Merlot that was gifted to me. I’ve been mixing it with bubbly water and a twist of lime–turning it into a spritzer. Otherwise it would be undrinkable to me. But I’m not in the mood for that right now.

Oh, right. And a fancy Barolo, another gift. This one was from a famous icon who was subleasing the apartment across from mine for a few months. He made me promise to wait to open it until he returned. I didn’t promise. But still.

It’s not a drink now wine. It has the potential to age and develop beautifully if I simply wait.

I’m perfectly fine waiting for the right time to pull the cork, whether it’s for a particular occasion or simply because it feels right and I want to do it.

To quote Margaret Thatcher, “I’m extraordinarily patient, as long as I get my way in the end.”

In other words, when my desired outcome materializes. When there’s no pressure. When I’m perfectly content and happy with the unfolding events.

I suppose if you’re restless and unhappy, patience would be more accurately described as impatience–regardless of the desired outcome. And if left to grow, would result in discontentment.

On the subway today, on my way home, I found myself growing extremely annoyed and uncomfortable. Irrationally so.

I have a few pet peeves and while they affect me most when I’m commuting, regardless of the environment, I simply can’t ever get myself to ignore them. I’ve tried. Really.

I’m on the F line, downtown to Brooklyn, headed home, standing, leaning against the doors. At Broadway Lafayette, a woman, maybe 25, dirty blond stringy bob, thin, pale skin, black scuffed ankle boots, large black purse, walks into the train and sits down across from me.

She opens her purse, pulls out a lipstick. It’s new, she’s peeling the protective sticker which gives her some trouble. After a minute, she gets the sticker off and lets her hand fall to her side and drops the sticker to the floor. She does the same with the protective layer on what looks like blush or foundation. Then eyeliner. Then a face cream. Then a lipgloss.

It goes on like this until Essex, one stop from my exit. And with each cosmetic and sticker and plastic littering, my heart races. I feel my chest constricting.

She thankfully hasn’t bought all of Sephora (more likely Duane Reade) and eventually finishes leaving her trash everywhere.

But then.

She sticks her fingers in her mouth. Not just to take the sticker glue off. She starts aggressively chewing them. Bites them. Looks at them. Pulls at them with her teeth. Takes her fingers out. Chews on her nails for a few seconds. Swallows. Then continues the wretched process for the rest of my commute.

You know, there’s a comic book about a serial killer nailbiter. He bites his victims nails. Waits for the nails to grow back then chews his victim’s fingers off.
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Those car doors couldn’t open fast enough. I have little patience for bad hygiene and a blatant disregard for shared public space.

It’s not my way. I was not getting my way.
There was no patience. I wanted out.

Now though, I just wish I had the patience then to say something. Even do something subtle to take her out of her state, point out what’s been dropped or interrupt the finger chewing by asking for the time.

These things probably won’t change her behavior or habit. But at least it might remind her that she’s not alone; she’s in public. Sharing space with me. With others.

Maybe others have or will point it out to her. Or maybe she’ll come to it on her own. I hope all of the above.

Cloaked

January 25, 2015 — 2 Comments

The way my apartment is designed, there’s an entire wall of windows that faces east and overlooks Bushwick. I keep those windows curtainless since the light and view is what I love most about the space.

This open design also means that to a certain degree my apartment is visible to the buildings and high rises across the way. They’re far enough away though that the threat of Peeping Toms doesn’t register and change what I do and the way I navigate around the space.

This morning, as with every morning, the sunrise and chirping starlings were my wake-up call. The starlings like to sit on my sill and socialize.

They were particularly chatty this morning and so when I woke up, I wanted to see how many of them there were. I slowly and carefully walked toward the window, keeping my body hunched low to get a closer look. But as soon as I got within two feet of them, they flew off.

But it got me thinking about invisibility and whether the birds would know and sense I was there even if I were invisible to their particularly keen eyes.

They’re back again now that I’m sitting on the couch a safe distance away, sipping my coffee, mapping out my day and the coming week, ignoring them.

The thought of being invisible seeps back into my thoughts and I wonder, What would I do if I were invisible today? Completely invisible to all external senses. No living creature can see, hear, smell, taste, or feel me. And it only lasts for 24 hours. These are the parameters and conditions my mind set.
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I suppose I’d do multiple checks to confirm that I hadn’t gone bat crazy and was actually invisible. First thing would be to knock on my neighbor’s door, say Hi and confirm with their response.

My clothes, would they be invisible, too? Let’s agree they would be. Though it would really be something else to wander the city naked without feeling the temperature. Especially now during the cold winter.

Would I call someone? No. I’d keep it a secret.

Now what?

Hollywood. What would Hollywood do?

Rob a bank? A jewelry store? No. Too complicated. Sneak in to a Citibank, steal passwords into the system, get into my account and add zeros. Maybe. But someone would be fired because of it and I think the guilt would get to me. Or the bank would figure out that there was a computer error anyhow.

I’d probably not be hungry since I’d be too wound up at first. But I’d probably walk into a restaurant and steal bites from entrees just as they were being served. Because I could. I’m sure I’d do little things like that at first since I’d likely still not believe I was invisible.

Now what?

I’ve only got a day.

Goodness I’m bad at this.

I’m not particularly interested in knowing my loved ones’ or acquaintances’ secrets. They’re secrets. Personal.

But I would go to see them and interact with them as evidence. I’d bring my phone and charger and snap pictures of them going about their business, not a clue I was present.

I might visit unrestricted places. Take more pictures. Jot down what people say and what they’re doing so I could publish an article or write a book about what happened when I was invisible for a day.

I might go to the airport and sneak on a personal jet. But everywhere I want to go would waste my precious minutes. And how would I get back?

I could fly to the White House and see what Obama does. Washington, DC isn’t too far from NYC. But he’s abroad right now I think. I could still take pictures of things the public doesn’t have access to. More for the book.

The question was posed by YAHOO recently and most responses fell into the categories of heroism, theft, revenge and retribution against personal and political injustice, pranks. Here are some examples:

Weasel McSweasel:
Take upskirt shots of all the sexy ladies I find.

Ara:
I would probably sneak in the headmaster’s office and see the question papers of every subject (we have to cram for our papers). Then I’ll break in a bank heist and well steal..ahem ‘borrow’ some million dollars and then go on planning my trips to my most favorite places of the freaking world! Oh goodie what fun will it be!:)

Audrey:
Wear a bed sheet and go into public to scare people, when they think it’s a prank and try to pull the sheet off, they’ll sh*t their pants xD

Analyst:
Spook the NSA. HA HA let’s see them get a taste of their own medicine!

Anonymous:
Just once I would like to go shopping and be barefoot. That’s what I would do. Let my hair, make up and dressing up to shop I would wear my old worn out jeans and just have fun.

Hannah:
Well…I already am invisible.. no one notices me… nothing would change *sigh*

Marigold:
If I ever became invisible for a day, I would be kinda like a guardian angel; saving people who end up in accidents like: car accidents, fires, floods, kidnappings, robberies, suicide attempts… etc. I would just go about doing good for that day and protecting people… and animals. That would be one day of miracles and less people and animals getting hurt.

GeoGhoul:
I would clean out every Swarovski store I could get to in a day……and add countless pieces to my collection!!! Mwauh-Hahahahahahahahaha

Millymollymandy
I would rob a bank! No joke. I’d use my power of invisibility to it’s very best potential, and to me, that would be to rob a bank and take as much money as I could carry. Then I’d get a gun and shoot David Cameron 🙂

Answer49
Go to walgreens target and walmart and just get tons of stuff. then run naked for the rest of the day 😛

The answers went similarly and endlessly on like that.

Needless to say but I will anyhow, my fellow humankind was no help. Good for a quick chuckle, sure. But overall uninspiring. And with the exception of Millymollymandy who unabashedly and stupidly announced she would shoot a world leader, the answers were expected and benign. Granted the forum is yahoo. But still.

I was hoping for more and instead got bored. So I searched more about invisibility.

Did you know that for 24.99 a month you can hire this company to act as your invisible boyfriend or girlfriend? They send text messages and call you. Here’s the article. Hire Invisible Boyfriend.

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Well that kept me amused for all of five minutes.

So I searched some more.

CHA ching! Jackpot. I discovered that there’s an actual 3-D cloaking device in existence, The Rochester Cloak, and along the way learned some cool facts about invisibility and how it works. Watch the video:
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I’ve spent an enjoyable morning on invisibility. Now it’s time to show myself to the world.

But before I sign off…how would you use this or any cloaking device? What would YOU do if you were invisible for a day?

Eat Dutch Waffles

January 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

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Okay! I can do that. Easy enough.

But what about the other stuff. Things I don’t want to do?

I sometimes play this game with myself when I have to do something that I don’t particularly feel like doing. But it’s got to be done and I can’t put it off.

I pretend that someone else is going to do it and does it poorly. And I can’t stand to see sloppy work.

I’m not sure if this is necessarily the healthiest approach. It caters to the control freak judgmental side of me that I’ve been working on. It’s pretty negative.

Why must an imaginary incompetent someone else have to be the influencer? Why can’t I simply do it for myself?

Why?

Because myself doesn’t like it. Doesn’t want to do it!

It’s a twisted game that, were I to play it regularly, would eventually leave me sitting on my high horse bitter and likely alone.

High-Horse-09-18-13-400x400

From time to time I fantasize about winning the lottery. The lottery to me would free up my time, allowing me more freedom to choose how to spend my time.

But what always follows this train of thought is that even if I were to become a megamillionaire, there would still always be things I’d have to do that I don’t want to. Probably more.

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There will never be an escape from this. What’s the phrase? With more [fill in the blank] comes more responsibility.

So I suck it up and do it. And if someone offers to help. Fantastic. It gets done. Then I feel good. Accomplished. Then I’m able to do what I want to do, which right now is to have another cookie!

Hit Pay Dirt

January 22, 2015 — Leave a comment

Right wing. Let’s hang out. Kick the bucket. Nutty.

Hit pay dirt

Fist
Recover-money
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Someone I know is learning a new language, Spanish. He was born speaking Russian but moved to the US before puberty. So he’s not a native English speaker but in New York City where borough accents sometimes mask a person’s origins, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell where he was born if you had to guess based solely on the sound of his voice.

His texts are interesting. Half the time I’m not sure if he’s simply a sloppy texter, a bad speller, or just doesn’t know the difference and never learned the proper word to use.

Then and than is a common one. …and the specs worked out even better then I hoped!

It was supper awesome! is one that makes me chuckle.

I send lots of foodporn photos to which he responds: dilicious!!!

It’s charming of course. And who am I to correct him? So I don’t and I won’t.

I’m certainly not immune to the misuse of phrases. At least a few times a week I’m asking my marketing coordinator…of course I can’t think of an example now when I need one…but trust me, I have plenty of immigrant moments.

Reminds me of when I was a freshman in college. It was about a week into my Western Civilization course. The lecture ended and I was walking out with one of my classmates when he said, I don’t have the syllabus.

You didn’t get one? Just ask the TA, I said. I’m sure he has extras.

So we buy it from him?

Uh. No, I said. It’s free. He handed it out on the first day.

We went back and forth that way for several minutes, and it turned out that he missed the first day of class and when our professor would refer to the syllabus, he felt lost. He didn’t know what a syllabus was. He thought it was a book we had to get for the course.

Higher education.

Of course the Internet is ripe with blogs and posts devoted to humorous fails and mistranslations. Menus. Food descriptions. Notices of daily specials that announce that you can HEAR EAT!

Can you? How do you hear eat?

And the famous LOL Cats I can has cheezeburger? which continues its global spread of its language…there’s even a translation of the bible.

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I’m proficient in Spanish. But I rarely use it so I’ve lost the ability to think in the language. Whenever I see my friend I ask him how the Spanish is going. He’s confident, says he’s learning so much more from the app he uses than he did with Rosetta Stone.

We had a mini scuffle recently when I refused to tell him how to say something in Spanish.

There’s more than one way to communicate a sentiment, I said. If you don’t know the word, find another way to say it.

I urged him to work it out. He said that he didn’t learn that way. That if I told him the answer, he’d remember it.

Eventually I capitulated and told him.

He said that it wasn’t what he remembered having learned.

“Everywhere” and “nowhere” were the two words my friend couldn’t remember in Spanish. At the time, in my mind, I thought he likely knew the Spanish for “all” and “parts” which is how my head connects the two, Everywhere = todas partes, all parts. And if he would just focus on communicating rather than getting stuck on the word, that maybe he’d come up with the Spanish phrase.

I realize now that it’s easier to work backwards, reduce, deduce, break down when you know the answer, have the whole. Building from scratch is harder. And he’s still building.

I’m not learning a new language right now but I can certainly empathize with him and others who are struggling to express themselves in a foreign language.

I’ll end with a mistranslation my mind did today while I was listening to a podcast about racial discrimination in the military.

I heard the phrase “ethnic makeup of the military” and this is something along the lines of what my mind visualized.

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¡Buenas noches!

Anticipation

January 21, 2015 — Leave a comment

There’s nothing like the experience of trying to upload a 244MG video onto your youtube channel. Especially when it’s your first time uploading a larger, longer file and you’re using your smart phone since it’s the only thing you have right now that can do it. RIP dearest laptop.

The first few minutes of monitoring the status bar, watching as it fills and moves from 2% to 5% to 12% feels not necessarily good good but good.

It’s working. Okay.

You’re watching it. Can’t take your eyes off of it because even though it’s been working so far, something might happen. You might have to jump in and do something.

You see 17% now. Steady.

Seven minutes have passed. You’re rewarded or cursed by having been right in keeping an eye on the bar.

Because the screen goes black. Sleep mode.

You tap the screen. Nothing. You curse a little, remembering you have to swipe to unlock the phone. Anxiety creeps in.

You swipe.

Relief.

20%. It’s still uploading.

You have experience now. You know the black screen and sleep mode is coming again soon. You still don’t trust that if you let it stay black in sleep mode that it will continue to upload. Because the first time it happened, you caught it in time. You stopped the unknown from happening. Or so you’ve made yourself believe.

So you’re stuck. You have to stick to the plan. Stick to the phone.

38%.

The screen goes black again. Only this time you swipe too aggressively and the Hunter Mountain skiing video is playing and the upload bar has disappeared.

You hit the back button praying the upload is still happening.

It is.

42%. You’re still on track.

And now you know to watch for the black screen AND swipe with feeling.

56%.

You’re a little more confident, have a little more trust.

But now 20 minutes have passed with you having sat glued to the phone.

You’re more than half way there.

You’re invested in getting this uploaded. And more anxiety creeps in as the time passes.

Now your’re anxious and excited.

So you begin talking to the phone. Urging it on. You can do it, You say. Just a little bit more.

76%.

You’ve got it. Keep going. Almost there!

And you continue with your cheers, words of motivation.

88%. 92%. 96%. It’s on the last stretch. A minute or two more and you’ll be there.

And you made it.

100%.

Hooray!

But then it stays at 100%. Full red.

A minute passes.

Still 100%. Still full red. And you don’t want to move. You watch it. Looking for signs of change. Signs of life.

And then.

PROCESSING.

Now it’s processing the video.

So you do it again. But it’s much harder this round.

There’s no visual indicator–no % or the movement of the red line.

Nothing.

You’re anxious. Frustrated.

And so you change tactics.

Rationalize.

Gamble.

You walk away. Let go of the phone. Ignore the black sleep. You stop yourself from looking at it.

I’ve done what I can, you say to the phone.
It’s out of my hands. It’ll upload or it won’t.

Still. You better upload you grunt with your fist in the air.

And it does.

This time, it does. It worked.

And since you’ve suffered through this post… here’s the video: Eating Live Razor Clams. It was my first time.
Eating Live Razor Clams: http://youtu.be/dvCr-h_g0no
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Cheers!