Your life should be awesome…

Grace inspects a caterpillar

Tell your parents, tell your friends, tell your co-workers, tell your children: Your life should be awesome. It can be–it will be–and it’s all up to you. So says, Neil Pasricha, author of “The Book of Awesome” and the blog “1000 Awesome Things.” The key, he says, lies in three A’s: Attitude, Awareness, and Authenticity. (It’s like this guy climbed up inside my head and could see what I was thinking…)

This short video from his TED presentation provides the background on awesome, the three A’s, and leaves you with a parting thought for life. And it’s all right on the mark.

“Look,” says Pasricha, “we’re all gonna get lumps and we’re all going to get bumps. None of us can predict the future, but we do know one thing about it: and that’s that it ain’t going to go according to plan. There are times in your life when you will get tossed in the well, with twists in your stomach and holes in your heart. And when that bad news washes over you and that pain sponges and soaks in, I just really hope you feel like you’ve always got two choices.

“One, you can swirl and twirl and you can gloom and doom forever; or two, you can grieve and then face the future with newly sober eyes. Having a great attitude is about choosing option number two, and choosing, no matter how difficult it is, no matter what pain hits you, choosing to move forward and move on and take baby steps into the future.”

There are some great moments in this talk and it’s well worth the fifteen minutes you’ll spend watching. (His example of authenticity is simply too good to spoil; you’ll just have to watch for yourself.)

Share it with friends and co-workers, but more importantly, share it with your kids. Help fortify them and give them the skills and the tools they need to face their lives with optimism and deliberation. Help the create–and then live–an awesome life.

Bill Maher insults, well… everyone

Bill Maher’s appearance on the George Lopez show last night was interesting for two reasons:

  1. First, he called Republicans the “ignorant, hillbilly half of America” to the loud cheers of the audience
  2. Then, he basically insulted everyone in the audience by saying that American voters were “like dogs; too stupid to understand issues” and reacting only to “fear, dominance and inflection.”

And maybe he was right, because the audience cheered that, too, even though he was clearly including them in his opinion.

Here’s a brief transcript of this portion of the conversation:

Maher: “We have Democrats for one reason: to drag the ignorant, hillbilly half of this country into the next century. Which in their case is the nineteenth.”

Lopez: “Yes. Absolutely. I agree. How do you think that Barrack Obama is doing halfway through his term?”

Maher: “You know, I mean, look: Democrats are always a little disappointing, that’s why they’re democrats. Uh, but given the hand he was dealt, I give him an “A”.

“I’ll tell you this about Americans, about the American electorate, the voter: Um, they love a winner. You know as soon as he passed healthcare, it went up 15 points. They don’t understand the issues. They’re too stupid. They’re like a dog. They can understand inflection. They can understand fear. They can understand dominance. They don’t understand issues. But when he won on that issue, he went up.”

Lopez: “Right.”

Maher: “I’ll tell you something, if Tiger Woods had come back and won the Masters, he could have murdered all those girls he was f&#*ing. But he didn’t win, and therefore America turned on him. Because they were like, “We’re pissed off, it’s not right to try to f&#* every waitress in America… some of us are still waiting for bread.”

Obviously, that last bit was purely for comic benefit. But the overall message was one he clearly believes. Take a look and decide for yourself:

Creativity Still Matters

Video cameras have become totally ubiquitous (I think that’s redundant, but it does serve to make the point.) Not only are tiny video recorders like the Flip and Kodak zi8 the new norm, more and more smartphones have the ability to record video, most of them much better than you would imagine.

So with all of this ability to record events literally at our fingertips, it should come as no surprise that we’re drowning in lots and lots of really bad recordings. Spend any five free minutes on YouTube and you’ll agree.

In my opinion, all of this crap desensitizes us so much that it’s easy to become overwhelmed when you see something that is really, really good. And the difference, I think, is in the creative process. These two videos were sent to me recently by my sister. Both were great ideas. One is beautifully realized, the other is just so damn good that it doesn’t require any sophisticated production at all.

Take a look. I’ll be interested to know what you think.

Embrace Life:

Embrace Life from Jim Cota on Vimeo.


Swimming with Dolphins on Sanibel Island

Just back from Spring Break in south Ft. Myers, where we spent a day out on Sanibel Island. Around dusk, several pods of dolphin showed up for dinner, chasing fish around and generally making a spectacle of themselves.

They spent quite a bit of time around us, so we were able to get a few decent photos and some interesting video including the item below, where one of them chased a couple of fish directly into the shore about five feet from where Jack was standing. It was pretty cool!

Swimming with Dolphins from Jim Cota on Vimeo.

Panoramic video makes it real

I’m the first to admit that I can fall prey to the “gee-whiz” factor of some new technology, but I’m as likely as anyone to be a skeptic when someone starts talking about game-changing. And if they mention “paradigm shift,” my eyes get all glazed over and my head swims. Usually, it’s all hype.

I saw something this morning that has game-changing potential. CNN has released panoramic video they shot in Haiti. While you’re watching the video play, you can click the screen and move your mouse around to look at anything in the image, 360 degrees. It’s a little like controlling the camera, except the camera has simply recorded the entire scene and you’re selecting exactly what you want to see.

For news events like the situation in Haiti, or looting and riots, or even a Presidential rally, the implications are obvious and clear: this is a seriously cool technology. But imagine the impact this could have on film making. How cool would it be to be able to control what you’re watching on the screen, essentially making a movie a completely individual experience? In fact, it could be different each time you watch…

The quality of the film isn’t up to snuff yet, but like all technologies, it will get there, and probably sooner than you think. Once that happens, we could, indeed, see a paradigm shift. (Man, I *really* hate that phrase.)

[See the panoramic video from Haiti]