Sexy spreadsheets

On all my computers I have a program called X3Watch set up. It keeps watch on what I view on the internet and sends a list of questionable sites to my accountability partner once a week.

Imagine my surprise this week when my report showed I had looked at a spreadsheet of questionable nature. Pornographic spreadsheets? Does such a thing even exist?

Sadly, it probably does.

At any rate it wasn’t what I ever expected to see on my report and made me laugh.

Jump on The Love Boat

love-boat-blog-spot

Yesterday we launched a new site for Legacy at Jumpontheloveboat.com.

It’s for our two-week sermon series kicking off this Sunday. Starting this weekend, we’ll be posting practical tips you can use to love your spouse better. Some will be simple things you can do. Some will be grand gestures. All are designed to keep your marriage exciting and let your husband or wife know you love them.

We’d love to hear your ideas too. You can email any of them to theloveboat [at] me.com or follow us on Twitter and send them that way.

We want to use this site beyond the sermon series to enrich people’s marriages. If you are married, you know the stresses of life and how they can effect your relationship.

And please feel free to blog about the site as well. Let me know when you do.

Take the time to make it right

Despite being a small studio, I get emails every day from people looking to work with us, either in design or photography. One thing I’ve noticed is how people don’t take the time to make sure the email is spell checked. I know it’s a small thing, but if you send me an email full of misspelled words and links that don’t work, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

I know design and photography don’t always require great writing skills, but it does require attention to detail. If you can’t do it in a simple email, how can I trust you to do it on a big client project? So next time you’re soliciting potential work, please make sure it’s all spelled correctly. Check the links before you send them out. Make sure they go where you want.

I take the time to look into everyone that sends me an email about work. I check your links and do google searches for you and the things you talk about. Sometimes it leads me to some great people. So also take the time to make sure your “online life” is in good order.

In short, look at the email as a presentation. It’s a pitch for not only what you can do, but who you are as well. What kind of picture are you looking to paint about yourself? Does your grammar and online interactions reflect that picture?

Blogging habits

Over the weekend my mom commented I hadn’t been writing on my blog as much lately. I got to thinking about why and became interested in the blogging habits of others.

Often times when I go through challenging periods, I fall on one of two sides. On one side, blogging becomes an outlet for me to vent about happenings and get it off my chest. A form of internet therapy if you will. On the other side, it just becomes one more thing to do and when I’m busy and/or stressed, the last thing I need is one more thing to do.

And so I haven’t written as much lately. 2009 started as a year of hope. Three weeks in, it’s turned into a year of big challenges and I already feel tired and beat down by it. And so I haven’t written as much.

So what is your blog to you? How does everyday life effect your writing habits? I really am curious.

Mad Church Designer

Mad Church "Prescription"

I received an email yesterday from Chris at Zondervan, letting me know an ad we’d submitted has been chosen to market Anne Jackson’s new book Mad Church Disease.

I have to give all credit to my friend David. I’d originally seen the contest via Anne’s blog and didn’t do anything for it. After David sent me a few ideas he was working on I was inspired and we collaborated to come up with what you see above.

Part of the reason I was excited about it was because of the book itself. Having been through church-induced burnout myself, I think it will be a very important book. Even as I write this I know two very good friends going through burnout brought on by working at their churches. It’s a very real problem and I hope the book does some good to reverse the trend. The book is in stock and can be ordered here.

The ad should appear in the March/April issue of Neue Quarterly. Below you’ll also find another ad we submitted. Thanks Anne for writing the book and the fine folks at Zondervan.

Mad Church Disease "Recovery"

Self-control

Two big things I’m working on this year are losing weight and getting out of debt. As I ponder on these things I realize my focus should be self-control. If I just had more self-control I wouldn’t find myself facing these problems.

What would my day look like if I was 40 pounds lighter and had zero debt? Probably quite a bit different than it does now. Now that we have the problem, what’s the answer? How do I resist that purchase I don’t need? How do I resist that second helping of bacon?

Mmmmmm…..bacon. Sorry, I got distracted.

The funny thing is, I think this is exactly what is wrong with our country right now. No one showed self-control for too long. We bought things we couldn’t afford. We did things we shouldn’t have just to make a buck. We showed a shocking lack of self-control and continue to do so. We acted like the kid in the candy store, and now we are dealing with the stomach ache.

We are all looking to the new Obama administration to solve all these issues. But that’s not where the answers will come from. All they can do is try to put a bandage on the wound. It’s up to us to actually fix it. We have to show self-control, buckle down and get to work.

So, what are YOU doing to fix the country’s problems?

One of those days

Yesterday was just one of those days.

I had to be on the road by 6:45 for some client meetings. In the middle of my two-hour drive my nose decides it’s a good time to bleed. As I’m trying to get that all fixed up, my eye decides to get in on the action and grabs some piece of dust or something and holds on to it. So there I am, driving down the road with one hand holding a napkin to my nose, blinking my eye furiously as it waters like crazy.

Finally made it to my client’s business. We worked for 30 minutes with them recording a radio spot. Once it was finally edited and everyone was happy, I promptly saved over it and had to start from scratch.

Yeah. So how did your week end?

Cody 1, Me 0

Kids in the Leaves (Thanksgiving '08)

I walked in to the room in time to see Becca picking a chocolate cookie up off the floor. She turns on Cody who is standing near by.

“Did you try to hide this cookie?” she asked in her “mom voice.”

He grinned at her cutely but uttered no incriminating words. She stalked towards him.

“You know these are no-no.”

He smiled bigger and backed away two more steps. She closed the distance between them and bent down to spank him on the butt. His eyes widened as he saw the incoming spanking. He quickly fell to the ground. The hand passed over him with inches to spare. He quickly rolled between her legs as she tried to grab hold of him with one arm while still holding the cookie in the other hand.

Becca began to laugh as she tried to get him. She finally stood straight up, laughing in exasperation. “You take care of this,” she told me, “I’ve lost all credibility this time.”

I quickly suppressed my smile as I looked at the job before me. “Women,” I thought, “Now I’ll take care of this.”

Cody stood before me, feet spread apart, ready for his next move. As he tried to run around me I grabbed under his arm and lifted him off his feet. “Let’s see you run now,” I said.

I turned him around and spanked him three times in succession. I put him down, satisfied my job as a stern father was done. He looked up at me and his eyes sparkled. They didn’t sparkle with tears, or even with defiance. They sparkled with excitement. They were accompanied by that smile he gets when it’s time to wrestle with dad.

“Lets play!” he yelled, raising his small fists towards me.

“Ok,” I thought, “Clearly he’s old enough I need to spank harder.”

I shook my head and walked away laughing. “All right,” I said to Becca, “Obviously he wins this one.”

Random links – 1/12/09

Here are some random links I came across on Twitter today.

Hitler versus Windows Vista.

A man tries to pay his bill with a drawing of a spider.

Growing up Star Wars. And awesome Flickr pool of kids growing up with Star Wars.

Another nerdy link, Star Wars re-imagined for World War II.

A look at the features of the Obamamobile.

And finally, the disaster that is Olan Mills.

Bridal Show Thoughts – January ’09 Edition

Here’s a video of tour of our booth from this year. Sorry for the shaky video, I was in a hurry to shoot it before the brides arrived. Here are some other thoughts after the show.

I said this last show and it held true again, it seems like almost half the brides we talked to were getting married in October ’09. It’ll be a crazy month.

After I give the same sales pitch about a thousand times, my brain liquifies and runs out my ears.

We met a lot of really great people. I hope we get to work with the ones that will be the right fit for us.

There were two kinds of people. Those that just didn’t have the budget for our prices and those that saw the incredible amount of value we provide for our prices.

A lot of the people in the wedding business are awesome.

The rest of the people in the wedding business are butts.

If I ask if you’ve booked a photographer and you tell me you booked a photo booth so you don’t need a photographer I might hit you. I love photo booths, but they will not, you know, do actual photography.

The shows are great, but I’m looking in to alternative marketing venues. I continue to be annoyed at the royal screwing photographers take at the hands of the organizers.

Our next few weeks are going to be very busy meeting with potential brides again.

We talked to a few people about destination weddings (can you say New York and Cabo?). I would love to shoot a few of these.

We had a few people show up to see “the Apple booth” because of all the Apple products we use. That made me laugh.

If you have any questions about how we did it or shows in general, let me know.

Praying the angles

Over the last two days we had our big bridal show of the year. This is the one that we’ll probably book most of the year for weddings. I thought it might be interesting to do a quick post about how I pray for something like this. So here are the various angles I prayed over in the weeks leading up to the show.

I prayed and believed for God’s blessing on us.

I prayed for all the other exhibitors there, as their business and families are supported by this show as well.

I prayed for each bride coming, that they wouldn’t get caught up in the wedding hype and go into debt for one big day.

I prayed God would put is in front of exactly the right people. The people that would be perfect for us to work with.

I prayed for divine appointments and that God would let us meet people that needed him.

I prayed that everyone there would see Christ in the way we presented ourselves and acted.

I prayed that wether it was a massive success or a huge failure, we would continue to rely on him.

I prayed above all else that God’s will would be done.

I’m sure there are a million ways to pray for something. I’ve discovered, though, if I’m not careful I get into the habit of just praying for God’s blessing on my business and what I’m doing. It helps me to break it down like this and pray for every angle. That helps me acknowledge that it’s not all about me and I have a purpose higher than just making money.

Virtually real friends

Jim Drake was nice enough to link to me today when he listed his friends he’s made through Twitter in the last year. The point of the post was to show that you can use technologies like Twitter and blogging to make real friends…even if you never meet them.

Now, Jim and I have met so I guess that makes us “real” friends, but I would argue to my last breath that friends made online are no less real than someone you know in person. Throughout 2008 I’ve met both in person and virtually a lot of great people from Twitter. I’m made friends, helped people and even won some new business. Take David for example. We’ve never met. But over the course of the year he’s become one of my best friends and is my accountability partner. And trust me, if I am close enough to someone to open up about my problems in life, they are a friend.

Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter here.

Note: This doesn’t include video game characters. If your best friend is your character in World of Warcraft, well that’s just disturbing.

So what do you think? Online friends, real or not?

Collaborative creativity

Being a freelancer means I do most creative work on my own. Occasionally when I get to work on a project that involves other creative people, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

There’s just something amazing about sitting around a table, or in my case a Campfire chat room, and discussing creative work.

There is no shortage of great things that can come out of collaboration. I can do a lot on my own, but it’s usually input from one or two people that can make my work even better.

There needs to be an in-between. Something where you can collaborate with creative people on projects without having to work full-time for someone else at a design firm.

So do you work better on your own or collaborating with someone else?

Great ideas rule, and spec work still sucks

Early this week I came across a design contest for Anne Jackson’s new book Mad Church Disease.

What they are looking for is a design of a full-page ad to run in Neue Quarterly magazine. I took one look at the contest, reminded myself I why I don’t like spec work and moved on with my day. I know, technically, it’s probably not spec work, because the winner will receive some compensation. But still, you are designing something that may or may not be chosen and if it isn’t, you get nothing. Spec work.

I don’t like spec work because it almost never produces the best work. You are usually given a few small guide lines and set lose. Usually those jumping on this bandwagon are people who know how to use things like InDesign and Photoshop but don’t really have any idea about concepting or what even makes a good marketing strategy. Great design comes out of conversations and thinking. The last step is sitting down at the computer to design. Maybe it’s just me but to make something truly great that meets a need, I need time with the client to figure out goals and target markets. You know, minor things like that.

But then my friend David emailed me some ads he’d done for the contest and asked for some feedback. Seeing the great ideas he had sparked a few more great ideas in my mind. And with that little spark, I was off, doing spec work. Why? Because of the ideas. Most designers are always looking for interesting things to work on. This was that idea. It was, to me, worth working for what will probably be nothing. It was creating an ad I’d be proud of whether I was ever paid or not.

I think the ads we came up with are good. However, with a few conversations with the client, again about small things like goals and target markets, they could be truly great and become an actual ad campaign.

I still don’t like spec work. But I do love great ideas.

I’ll post the ads to see once the contest is over on the 19th.