Sometimes Resting Is Working.

Sometimes Resting Is Working.

Canton.jpg

Sometimes, resting is working. Even God rested in the 7th day. We all should do the same! Today, I went for a photoshoot in Canton, Mississippi. Great trip. The end. 🙂

Advertisements

American Culture Does Exist.

American Culture Does Exist.

group2

Yesterday, I heard a blogger say, “There is no such thing as American culture.”  Really dude? In which world are you living? Of course that there is an “American Culture” and you know exactly what it is composed of. I can’t resit — Now, I have to write a blog post about “American Culture” because clearly… there are too many folks out there in a state of denial about their own cultural values and beliefs. Let me help you. Are you ready to learn the obvious and celebrate your culture? The American Culture? Here we go.

Americans are de facto a people of quite unique characteristics who for the most part have come from somewhere. It isn’t uncommon to meet USA citizens who have family roots in Germany, Spain, Ghana, Japan, India… You name it. It is common, however, for many to believe that because the composition of the country is ethnically diverse, culture is then also diverse. No it isn’t. In this article I will share with you evidence to support this former position and perhaps once and for all — prove that America has a clearly defined American culture. So Let’s get started.

  1. Americans are individualistic. I don’t care which color you are, which state you were born in, if you are a member of the low or high class, you name it… American citizens are individualistic. There are exceptions to the rule I am sure. I have to admit that after living in this country for 18 years, I haven’t seen too much display of collectivism around here. The American people rarely if ever value the value of a group over the value of an individual. How do I know this? Look at how depressing federal income tax day is “celebrated” in this country. If we were a collectivist country, we would celebrate paying 30% of what we owe to others in the name of collectivism.  Do we celebrate giving away our returns for the benefit of others and smile?  You answer this one for me.
  2. Americans are very independent. Most Americans I know of don’t rely on help from others to get stuff done. People just do it even at an older age. It is no accident that the country has created basketball, baseball, American Football, and many other games. Perhaps, there is an American culture where individuals look at the act of being independent positively. I have seen 80+ year old employees working full-time at Wal-Mart which to me is an incredible accomplishment. There is no question in my mind that Americans are much more independent than most countries across the globe.
  3. Like to be different from each other. Let me ask you this. Would you like to buy a nice colorful sweater and witness another person using this same sweater in a meeting that you will need to attend? I don’t know about you but I would rather have my clothes be specially done for me. I like being different and it seems obvious to me that you like it, as well. We are different. You are small — I am big. You are short — I am tall. I am a meat person; you are a fish person. I play backgammon in the morning; You play solitaire at night. I do A — You do G. It is cultural.

Let’s not forget that asking “How are you?” is simply a greeting and is not a question about your health. Isn’t it true that when the service is good in a restaurant, tipping is expected sometimes to be 15–20% of the bill? Usually, when buddies meet at a public restaurant they each pay their part of the bill or split the bill in half. Isn’t the former notoriously American? Do you go to somebody else’s house uninvited? Do you give money to a deceased family member in a funeral? No, right?

Yesterday, I heard a blogger say, “There is no such thing as American culture.” Really dude? In which world are you living? Of course that there is an “American Culture.” Americans are individualistic, very independent, and like to be different from each other. Some like to play bridge where others play a great game of chess. I have never seen two people dress the same way with the same clothes since I arrived in this country in 1998. If Americans don’t have a culture, I am the queen of England.

Life Is Short: Do What You Want.

Life Is Short: Do What You Want.

11138661_10108489079453614_8777310557283342601_n

Life is Short — Do what you want. Do yourself a favor: Don’t complicate:  Instead, simplify. Act with boldness, live your life to the fullest, rock and roll in the process and sing a little along the way if you can. Be the owner of your own destiny. Never, under any circumstance, let others tell you how you should live your life. Remember: you make your decisions not anyone else. Always strive to move forward and don’t move or look back, like a kangaroo or an emu. In this life, you have to follow your dreams and live a life without regrets. Be the pilot of your own destiny.

Do you want to be a musician. Just do it! Are you in your late thirties working as an investment banker contemplating starting a subway franchise or a bed and breakfast business in the south pacific? Don’t think anymore. Make that phone call to corporate and start living your dream of being a sandwich artist entrepreneur. Are you contemplating finishing a college degree in your lifetime, enroll yourself today in a college or university, get your degree and tell the world… “I did it!” Start your dreams today because you never know if there will be a tomorrow.

I have known so many people who are constantly thinking about what others are going to think if they decide to become a ping pong champion. Who cares what others think? What really matters is what you think.  As I’ve said, “Life is Short — Do what you want.” I’ve decided to be a media professor who critiques media once in a while. Odd, isn’t it? Not to me. I kind of like it! Being a critic of technology has been a riot and is something that I don’t plan to stop doing anytime soon. Somebody needs to talk about both the positives and negatives of technology.

I know, I know… sometimes it is tough for people to simply turn on the “who cares” sign and really do what they want to do in this world. In this article, I will share with you three proven ways to be able to live life to the fullest and do what you want.

  1. Be open to losing friends at first. In order to do what you like, you are gonna have to re-define what you mean by friends or friendship and certainly lose many in exchange for doing what you want. When I decided to come to the United States to do what I wanted, I lost a lot of friends… too many. Childhood and club friends; school and gym friends; girlfriends and other friends. You name it! However, by losing them I gained more of them. Maybe a different kind of friend but still. A small tradeoff to be paid to really do what you want. If you are too attached to friends, especially close friends, chances are high that you will do what they want not what you want.
  2. Be open to gaining new friends. This one is a corollary to the former.  The more that you are willing to accept others in your world, the higher the chance you will find someone who will truly accept you for who you are. It is a statistical fact — The more you play, the higher the chance you will eventually win. I am a person who many would consider to be pretty weird. My favorite animal is a Koala. I drive a white VW Passat turbo with a pink kid’s seat in the back and drive golf balls with a Walter Hagen! I am a professor of Mass Communications with a PhD in Instructional Systems and have read more about leadership and marketing than most MBA’s you and I know. I speak Galician fluently and understand a lot of Romanian.  I make new friends easily and constantly because I am open to gaining new friends and replacing old ones when necessary. In order to do what you want, you need to be who you are. Don’t forget that.
  3. Be closed towards others when required.  Negativity must be avoided at all costs if you want to live your life under what I call a “do what you want” philosophy. If someone tries to diminish your accomplishments or tries to make you look small in any way, flee from them. Don’t be emotional about it. Just do it! Remember: Life is short. You know, let me ask you a question. Do you diminish others for personal gain? Do you purposely make others look small so you can appear grande? If you do, shame on you. You shouldn’t. I don’t and never will. I choose to elevate others, instead. If you elevate others, they often elevate you back and reduces the chances you will have to be closed towards others. We are de facto supposed to elevate people not to suppress anyone. Got it?

Life is Short — Do what you want. Do yourself a favor: Don’t complicate:  Instead, simplify. I do admit that living this type of lifestyle is rough and can be quite difficult because letting friends go often is a daunting activity. Who wants to invest in the unknown as a strategy to living a life you want to live. In another words, to do what you want. The irony of the former is by losing you often gain… friends, courage, boldness, action, respect, life. Life is short. Do what you want. Live with no regrets. Don’t complicate. Just do it.

You Have To Stay The Course: Building Anything Isn’t Easy.

You Have To Stay The Course: Building Anything Isn’t Easy.

Dr.A.png

In this life, you must stay the course if you plan to achieve any form of success. If you have owned a business of any sort, you know that running a start-up is never easy and somedays can be quite frustrating. You must, however, do what is required to keep fighting the good fight. What you are seeing above is Dr. Almeida Photography LLC’s society 6 product store, laptop and iPad skins section. We started our shop with society 6 back in late Fall 2016 with the hope we would provide high quality photo products to the masses in the central Mississippi area. I have to admit that selling art in this highly competitive technological world is rough. However, with persistence and much follow through, we have had our successes. Giving up isn’t an option for us and it shouldn’t be an option for you if your goal is to develop a profitable enterprise. Be aware though: Success, for the common man, doesn’t occur overnight. If you are eager to start your own side business, be ready to spend long hours working on a wide variety of tasks associated with the firm, ranging from producing, cataloging, budgeting and promoting the business. It won’t be easy, I guarantee you. Why?  Because friends don’t buy, strangers don’t know you and resist buying anything from you at first. If you are new to an area, good luck infiltrating local markets. In such environments, people tend to work with their long time buddies and friends rather than working with you. So, what do entrepreneurs need to do in order to gain access and start selling their products in a new market. There are a number of solutions to this problem. In this article, I will share with you three proven ways to increase your business.

  1. Partner with locals. One of the most successful strategies you can use is to parter with an influential local buddy. By abdicating part of your business in exchange for access and q-ratio, you can launch your business much quicker than your competitors and start competing for real dollars much sooner than having to build the business through traditional means of advertising. I can guarantee you that will take more capital to advertise a start-up than negotiating a 2-3% partnership with a local resident. As soon as you work with a local, he/she will (at least in theory) do some of this work for you. Even though friends don’t buy, friends refer business clients to their friends first. Sure, you need to be very careful not to partner with whatever person from your community. You need to interview him/her and make sure that they are well known and connected in their neighborhood.
  2. Create a publicity campaign. Don’t waste your money in advertising at least not at first. Ads are expensive and often don’t pay off the way that they should. The reason for the former is because ads don’t influence already established client perceptions about a similar product in any region. Let me explain: There is no advertising campaign, regardless of price, that will change people’s minds about sending their kids to another gymnastics facility. Madison County Gymnastics dominates the market, period. Sure, one way to break into their gig is to partner with them but what if they aren’t interested in partnering? I bet they won’t be interested in partnering with anyone because they don’t have to. So, what could you do then? The answer is publicity. You need to convince folks overtime that what you have to offer is worth them having. This, of course, takes a lot of time and effort. Who said that working for yourself is easy?
  3. Sell outstanding products. The market is flooded with great products. You have the duty to produce/create products that will challenge your customer’s perceptions of what outstanding means. There is zero room for mediocrity and a lot of room for improvement, every time we offer a new product. Back in 2016, we used to manipulate our photographs using my 5 point editing process to ensure the highest possible photo quality one can find in the market. In 2017, we have added two steps in the editing process. Is it more time consuming on my part? Yes. But hey… Are you in business to gain market share or to be seen as just one more guy out there trying to sell a few prints a year? Be ready. In 2018, we shall add one more editing step!

In this life, you must stay the course if you plan to achieve any form of success. If you have owned a business of any sort, you know that running a start-up is never easy and somedays can be quite frustrating. Your role as an entrepreneur is to strategize locally, create publicity campaigns and master your craft. In contemporary USA, competition is fierce and expected. You need to be a starter if you want to “make it” in today’s global economy. In order to be a successful small business owner today, you must know how to compete and know how to win and lose. Remember: Building anything isn’t easy.  Are you ready for the challenge?

The United States Is Divided: The Role of Technology In This Current Reality.

The United States Is Divided: The Role of Technology In This Current Reality.

1380413_10105235736189594_498269595_n

The United States of America is divided. What concerns me about our current state of affairs is that division often leads to dismantlement or conquest. The country is divided in so many dimensions that even a well skilled group of economists and sociologists would have a difficult time finding a solution to our core challenges and problems. Some might say that our problems are cultural — The culture of white American and black America are in constant struggle with each other which leads to the many problems we experience these days. Others claim that our problems are political — Liberals can’t see the world like conservatives do, despite any efforts to find political compromises. The north and the south are de facto very different in stature and culture. Most of the states in the north adopt to a certain way of living which in a lot of ways contrast life in the good old South. Many believe that we should destroy public education and invest in private educational enterprises; others are from the believe that we should invest in public universities and provide affordable education to a large portion of Americans as the former has been claimed to be a cornerstone of a healthy democracy. Let me ask you this… Why are we so divided as a nation? Some might say, “it is because of the head of the state,” others might say, “multiculturalism…” I say, “It is probably not possible to single out only one single variable that is causing all this mess. It is more likely to be a combination of variables. One of the main variables, to me at least, is how we see and use technology as a means to solve our problems. There are a number of ways I could explain to you this former statement. Let me focus on providing three examples of how technology itself might be the main problem behind the many issues we experience in American Society today.

  1. Technology empowers but sometimes it backfires. Just because we have access to any technology doesn’t necessarily means that we should use that technology in whatever way we wish. Indeed, using technology in the form of MRI and cat scan formats help us to maybe discover internal medical problems we experience which leads to us living a healthier life. Innovations in the auto industry can in fact make us safer in the roads reducing the number of auto death fatalities per year. Nano technologies assist us with manufacturing products that are lighter and more powerful often results in people having the capacity to capture the very best video footage out there for a cheap price. However, for every single positive attributes these technologies possess, there is a negative aspect to them. We have seen a number of patients being burned and experiencing hearing loss after using MRI technology. According to Motorburn.com, we have seen the semi autonomous Audi A7 breaks down with Florida governor on board, Volvo pedestrian detection tech failing to detect pedestrians, and Mazda experience rear-end collision failure. The latest failure of nanotechnology was seen throughout mainstream media when the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught on fire in dozens of American households last year. Just because technologies exists and are available don’t mean they are free of side effects or unintended consequences.
  2. Technology gives voices to dangerous groups out there. The latest revolution in Egypt was powered by technology. The same can be said about the revolution in Tunisia, Bahraini, Libya, Syria, London Riots, San Francisco Bart Riots, Occupy wall street and many more. The latest technology has divided peoples in many countries in quite dangerous ways since the inception of available mobile technologies. The resurgence of the KKK in the alternative media and other extreme groups are clear examples of how complete access to technology can indeed be detrimental to society and divide us. The problem of technology is that sometimes technology gives voice to groups who perhaps shouldn’t have one. The consequences are predictable — division among groups involved.
  3.  Technology is seen as an “idol worthy of worshipping.” Have you ever try to tell others that technology isn’t always beneficial to them? I actually have done this difficult task in a number of occasions including in academic conferences, open debates, public speeches, and sometimes at church. The vast majority of people receiving these messages aren’t always receptive to the idea of hearing that technology often times have substantial side effects worth discussing. Technology, nowadays, is seen by many as an “idol” that deserves worshipping. Every time someone tells them that technology isn’t anything more than a tool, folks get upset, and many times creates division. In the academic world, where we often discuss phenomenons like the positive and negative effects of technology in society, more understanding is seen. In the “real” world, the reality is much different, unfortunately. Some folks are ready to go to war anytime somebody claims that computer technology is like any other form of media out there with many benefits and side effects. The outcome? Division.

The United States of America is divided. The country is divided in so many dimensions that even a well skilled group of economists and sociologists would have a difficult time finding a solution to our core challenges and problems.In my view, it is impossible to single out the main reason why we have so much division in this country. However, technology is at the core of this discussion — overuse of technology and access. Every time hate groups possessing extreme ideologies get access to democratic media outlets, a disposition for division is likely to occur. These days, a wide variety of groups can aggregate within themselves on-line and boycott their counterparts by association. We have seen this reality in race relations and lately with the political spectrum. Don’t you like blue? Join us… the Green group. It is that simple. Media is polarizing our viewpoints and beliefs more than ever.  We need to be careful and discern what is make believe and what is reality. We have no choice but to do that. What will be our biggest challenge in the future? More technology. How ironic. Mignon Clyburn, head of FCC once told me in a private chat… Sooner or later, we will need to regulate the internet. It would be best for everybody. She may be right about it. Thoughts?

Interior Design Photography Can Be Quite Tricky.

Interior Design Photography Can Be Quite Tricky.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-9-10-39-am

Capturing interior design images that take your breath away isn’t very easy. Even though we have seen an explosion of what I call “photodemocracy,” where the regular person now can take a fair amount of photographs at very low costs with okay quality, the more intricate types of photographical work is still very tough to do. Being able to frame and shoot an interior design photograph without much space and light to work with is a quite challenging endeavor. It is pretty tricky actually — Taking interior design professional photos in tiny rooms is like trying to fit seven fishes in a 10 gallon aquarium without a filter and a proper light. A much as we would love to have available technologies to help us to photograph interior design real estate,  I just don’t see how modern machinery will make our jobs any easier in this domain. There are a number of ways in which you can make your job a bit easier when taking interior photographs. In this blog posting, I will share with you three tips you could use to take your own interior design photographs.

  1. Use a tripod.  In order to take great interior design photographs, you will need a great tripod. Tripods allow photographers to frame shots at slow shutter speeds without running the risk of producing blurry photographs. A great tripod will cost you at least $200 but hey… who said that photography is cheap? It is the price of quality, my friends. I don’t recommend the alternative — Taking interior design photos without a tripod. Well crafted tripods significantly help professional photographers with keeping photo movement to a minimum. There is no reversal to this one. You will need a great tripod in order to capture great interior design photographs.
  2. Great glass. Without the appropriate lenses, interior design photography can become a daunting activity which could turn into a very stressful experience. I personally recommend the Nikon 14-24 f/2.8G ED AF lens. This is a very sharp Nikon lens possessing a quite good focal length and f stop. I know, I know… this lens will cost you almost two thousand dollars! Its price is steep but the images you will be able to capture with this lens will justify its cost. It is a no brainer. As we have said in this article before — Who said that photography is cheap? It is the price of quality, my friends. I don’t recommend the alternative.
  3. Master photoshop. Chances are not very high that your rough interior design captures will be your last. You will need to fix your photos in order to make them presentable to a client. Fixing exposure, camera lens distortion, manipulating shadows and highlights, and reducing camera noise and aberration are some of the many attributes that you will need to control and manipulate in order to produce outstanding interior design photographs. In order to do the former, you will need to master Photoshop or its alternative.  Failing to fix your shots will cost your reputation. You just have to be able to make your photographs better after taking them in raw format.

Capturing interior design photos that takes your breath away isn’t very easy. In fact, they can be quite tricky at times. You will need photo equipment and software expertise in order to produce great photo products. Owning a tripod and great glass is paramount. Mastering photoshop is also a necessity if you are planning to capture outstanding interior design photographs. Are you ready to embark in such challenging journey? The rewards can be quite gratifying.

The Importance of Being Nice

The Importance of Being Nice

hart

Life is too short for anybody to be mean to others. We must celebrate the gift of life with joy, a smile on our faces, and an eye towards the great Lord of the universe. In Ephesians 4:29 we learn to “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Proverbs 11:17 also teaches us the importance of being kind, “Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.” In Colossians 3:12 we read, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Why be mean to others especially when they have done nothing against you? Let’s not forget that human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires, James 1:20. God takes care of its people, though. Our God is a just God who is merciful. There are a number of ways in which you can be kind to others in this world. In the paragraphs written below, I will share three ways anybody can use to be more kind to others.

  1. Make God the center of your life.  Live for God by faith all the days of your lives. Remember: Your life doesn’t belong to you but to God.  We are to do God’s will and live by faith in this life. We need to be thankful not vengeful or angry. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we learn that we are to give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Why should we reject God’s teachings? We shall not, that’s for sure. Whenever you make Christ the center of your life, you find true happiness and tremendous freedom.
  2. Seek love and avoid contention.  In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  we read, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Love is without question one of the most incredible qualities of a Christian. If we choose peace we shall find the kingdom of God. The bible is quite clear about contention, “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out” (Proverbs 17:14). Love one another and abandon the need to fight. Choose love over evil.
  3. Pray for those who prosecute you without a cause. In Matthew 5:44, we learn, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Pray and pray hard for those who act without honor against you. The good God is a Lord of forgiveness and understanding. Be the salt of the world by adopting a lie philosophy that is based on prayer and forgiveness. Be the light of hope in someone’s angry unjustified demeanor. In the end, their prosecution of you is an act of insecurity. Make them more secure if you have an opportunity. Be a witness of understanding and always take the high ground. Most folks are egoistic. be generous especially with prayer. God wants you to pray and serve others.  Do your part — be obedient.

Life is too short for anybody to be mean to others. We must celebrate the gift of life with joy, a smile on our faces, and an eye towards the great Lord of the universe. In the end, we are all in this world together seeking our biggest gift of all — salvation. Turn your eyes to God and pray. Be the hope you want to see in others.