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Bringing Weaksauce to the Table

Feb. 25th, 2013 | 12:24 pm

In 2012 I wrote over 100 articles for collectorsquest.com. Most of the articles I wrote were solid pieces of research work. I loved getting press access to automotive events and feeling like I was contributing to the world of cars.

One of the big perks for me was being recognized as press for the Canadian International Auto Show. This let me gain access to all of the new cars a day before the public and additional swag not available to people not lucky enough to be journalists.

It was when I sat down for lunch with a group of assorted journalists that I realized how much I was out of my league. These guys had been writing for years and could summon forth dates and statistics related to cars and drivers faster than I could even think of search terms to use in Google. I reflected on what I had written over the past year and realized that I could barely remember the details of my own articles, let alone provide the depths of information each one of the fellow writers at the table could produce.

While sitting there, soaking in the details of car history being presented by each of my fellow diners, I realized that I've done a disservice to professional writers over the past year. I struggled for hours to write articles that could match the quality these guys could crank out in minutes. This struggle wasn't the disservice though. Every article I wrote helped to improve my writing skills and resulted in something worth reading.

My disservice to the other writers was accepting pennies an hour to be a part of their community. I was so eager to be recognized as a professional writer that I spent hours doing research and crafting each article without thinking about the value I was presenting to my publisher. Over the course of the year, my writing earned me an average of 3 cents per word.

According to the Professional Writers Association of Canada, the lowest rate for writing would work out to 10 cents per word for a community newspaper. I got paid less than a third of that.

Now there is at least one publisher who believes they should be able to purchase well written articles with a distinctive voice for almost nothing. I have friends that have made a living wage writing about music, books and movies over the past twenty years that are now finding themselves without work. People, like myself, are so eager to earn ANYTHING for writing that we've lowered the value of the written word.

I see the same thing happening in the photography world. The low entry price for a digital SLR and decent lighting equipment has flooded the market with "professional" photographers. These people are willing to accept just about any job that can help to pay for their cameras at rates that are less than a third of what existing professionals would charge.

I hope that writers trying to make a living by putting words together will accept my apology for devaluing their currency. I know there are other people out there who will jump at the chance to be associated with an internationally recognized company without considering the impact accepting ridiculously low rates will have. I just hope that editors and publishers recognize the importance of paying a living wage so we can keep high standards of writing quality rather than just churning out word counts to satisfy advertisers.

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Rambling update

May. 31st, 2010 | 02:40 pm
mood: contentcontent

Even though people can easily see that I haven't posted in a long time I feel obligated to mention that it has been a long time since I posted here. Most of my updates these days are quick status updates over in Facebook land but seem to lack content. Today is the first time I have had time to write out an actual update.

To start with, I'm sorry for blowing off all the email that I haven't responded to. Outside of work, the only time I spend on the computer any more is a few minutes of unwinding by doing my daily clicks in Mafia Wars (which really isn't that satisfying) or uploading photos. That apology reminds me that I should probably be working on email rather than updating my journal but I will press on here with time slated for email once I'm done.

Work is still pretty much the same in that it is changing all the time. I get to do a fair number of special projects and I have been offered a few oportunities to travel (I turned down the trip to India because it would mean 3 months away from home). I'm lucky to have finally found a job that makes me happy and where my efforts are noticed by management. There are still a few rough spots to the job but management is aware of them and we are working on resolving things one at a time.

This coming weekend, I'll be driving to Michigan to see my son graduate from high school. I am very proud of him for this accomplishment and his continued hard work. We had a great road trip together around Lake Michigan where we got to know each other better and strengthened our relationship more than ever.

The following weekend, I'll be celebrating my 40th birthday in Hamilton with anyone that wants to show up to drive 40 laps at the go kart track. While I'm not paying for the track time, I will be providing drinks and munchies and having a great time.

Vicky and I are also looking at what we'll need to do to be land owners again. We both agree that paying a mortgage is much better than paying rent. Unfortunately, housing in the areas we are looking appears to start at $250k for a fixer upper and quickly blows past the $300k mark for something desireable. We are looking at finances and seeing what options are available to us that will keep us from having to commute too far and still allow the kids to grow up in a safe neighbourhood with good schools.

Somehow, buying the house feels like a bigger deal than our plans to get married next fall. It will be nice to have the house with the white picket fence, 2.6 children and corporate jobs.

I wonder how I found all the time for SCA that I used to invest. Outside of work, spending time with Vicky and the kids only leaves a little spare time. I use that spare time for semi-regular gaming, photography, road trips, bike riding, reading and working on model kits. My venture into racing proved to be far to expensive for our budget and has been put on hold till the kids have all grown and moved out of the house.

Now that I've done a broad update, I'm going to tackle some of those email I need to reply to. My intent is to update here more often. Let's see how far intent will take me.

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Katina's Christmas Pageant

Dec. 18th, 2009 | 07:25 am

Here's a short video from the Bridgeport Christmas Pageant. She's on the far right.

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Published image

Oct. 10th, 2009 | 09:37 pm

I shot one or two photos while I was in Albuquerque a few months ago and geotagged almost all of my images. All of my images are licensed with a creative commons tag so people can use an image if they notify me of the publication and properly credit me in the publication. It wasn't a big surprise when I was contacted by a travel guide asking to use one of my images for a travel guide. What did surprise me is that the image they selected is one that I shot with my BlackBerry while waiting at a red light. With a mountain of high resolution images that I spent time composing and working on in post processing, they chose the quick snapshot from my collection.

The guid is online at http://www.schmap.com/albuquerque/activities_allalbuquerque/#r=none&mapview=Map&tab=Places&p=373412&topleft=35.08694,-106.65254&bottomright=35.08051,-106.64953&i=373412.jpg and my image is the one for Downtown Albuquerque.

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I want to see this

Sep. 30th, 2009 | 05:35 pm

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Some things never change

Sep. 16th, 2009 | 01:56 pm

This is funny stuff.
Only two hours left of work today then it's off to TO to see U2.

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Great start to the week

Sep. 1st, 2009 | 09:44 pm
mood: chipperchipper

Life has been pretty good to me lately but this week stands out as one of the better ones so far.
Sunday saw me gaming with my old gaming group and being reminded why I enjoyed gaming with those guys so much.
Monday filled me with pride watching Katina ride her bicycle with no training wheels and anticipation at plans made to spend time with a friend I don't get to see nearly often enough. I also had a face to face meeting with a manager that told me I'm doing very well and that people in the office actually look up to me as an example (if I had any more pride it just might lead to hubris).
Today started with me watching the morning sun illuminate the countryside from my new window seat at work and all of the callers challenged me with issues that I had to think about and was able to provide solutions to. I also scheduled an interview for a position that I would love to do that would give me more flexible hours if I should get it (I'm happy just to get the interview... lots of qualified candidates I know applied for the position). After work, Vicky and I took the kids for a bike ride through the park.

About my only complaint is learning that people are sending messages to me in Facebook and I'm not getting them. That's a fairly small complaint.

Life is good.

Oh yeah... this was last week but deserves to be included. ZuZu is continuing to get better and has started terrorizing the house again like a good kitten.

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Scary stuff

Aug. 27th, 2009 | 09:25 pm

This week we took little ZuZu in to have her baby maker removed. Vicky wasn't expecting a call from the vet before lunch. The news was that ZuZu wasn't well enough for the operation and it looked like our little girl might be suffering from renal kidney failure.

This news was about as bad as it could get. Renal kidney failure usually only affects older cats and is typically fatal. To say this sucked the wind from our sails would be an understatement. The vet wasn't 100% certain of the diagnosis so we would have to wait to find out the results of the tests.

The past two days have been filled with anticipation and high hopes as we waited for a specialist to come in from Mississauga to check out our little girl. The good news is that ZuZu only has a kidney infection and a few weeks of modern medicine should make her all better.

To think of the troubles that some kittens will go through just to avoid an operation. It's nice to be able to snuggle with our kitten and not be burdened with thoughts that we might be enjoying some of our last snuggles. I'm looking forward to watching her grow into a cat.

After that scare I think it's a good thing to share something that makes me happy. Here's a music video that can't be embedded in LJ but makes me happy. It's the song F*ck You by Lily Allen. It's definitely not for kids but certainly worth a listen if you haven't heard it already.

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U2 ticket

Aug. 26th, 2009 | 06:04 pm

One of the cool things about working at RIM is the occasional rock concert I get to go to. On September 16 I have a pair of tickets to go see U2 at the Rogers Center after work. Vicky and I have talked things over and she's not really into the idea of hunting for a sitter just to see a band that she doesn't like very much. This leaves me with a spare ticket.

Is there anyone who will be available the evening of the 16th next month that wants to come see U2 with me?

No charge for the ticket.

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Aug. 16th, 2009 | 06:36 pm

Fresh, locally grown peaches make a hot and sweaty day much more bearable.

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