Monday, March 16, 2009

Black Mermaid™ Round-Up 1

Jozef and I've been blogging erratically over the last couple of weeks and we haven't been altogether present on FaceBook or Twitter either. Jozef's been coughing and spluttering with some sort of bacterial infection that he's just attacked with an almighty big dose of antibiotics so he's running a bit behind on the Elf~Fin Hyfus with dolphins and sharks cover. We've previously discussed getting a webcam onto his drawing desk for some live streaming but our schedules are so heavy and we're so tired that the thought of actually going out to source the equipment and figuring out how it all works is just too overwhelming for us at the moment. We've come up with another option instead – Jozef will be taking digital pics of his painting in progress and we'll be uploading those pics to the blog, to our Elf~Fin FaceBook page and to our website. Hope that's an acceptable alternative for you all. 

Jozef's also recently finished a commission for the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras – you can check out his sexy Nations United Ball on his Deviant Art page. He's also painting a promotional avant-garde postcard pic featuring a turtle, a typewriter and flying mermaids for the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). 

Speaking of the ASA, we're now confirmed admin officers on the ASA FaceBook page, and have started the Comics/Graphic Novels Portfolio discussion/thread. There'll be lots of new stuff going up there next week like information on the "Legal Self Defence for Comics Creators: Understanding Comics Contracts" seminar sessions the ASA will be running at the Brisbane, Sydney and Perth Supanova. We're sorry that Melbourne misses out this year but the Supanova dates coincide with the ASA's AGM so all its speakers will be tied up in Sydney. We're also going to be releasing a survey soon to get a profile of Aussie comics creators, which will also help us set the Freelance Rates Sheet. You can join the FB group even if you're not a member of the ASA or indeed come from overseas. What is relevant is your dedication to comics and the preservation of creator rights.

I'm flying off to the Gold Coast this weekend to do some training about an Internet passive income marketing scheme that will go unnamed because I've decided not to implement it simply because it is too time-consuming for me. It's supposed to be something you can do part-time but not if you're like me who is juggling a heavy load – looking after farms and feral cats and tax returns for both BMP and myself and a TO DO List that's several pages (or at least multiple long Mac stickies) long. However, there are some gold nuggets of information about Internet marketing that I'm keen to learn, and the seminar (as well as the flight) is free for me. I'll be in Brisbane two weeks later for Supanova as well – courtesy of the ASA.

I've recently been working on culling activities that don't support us further along the path of completing our comics work. I've been chatting about the advantages and disadvantages of multi-tasking to Colleen Doran – we both seem to be experiencing the same phenomenon – we're losing momentum because we're splitting our focus. She sent me a great quote from a book she's reading by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who writes that "Interruptions, multi-tasking and the anxiety that comes from trying to juggle multiple commitments – these are in danger of eroding the focused concentration that is vital for your creativity." I couldn't agree more. I'm going to have to ask her what the title of the book is.

We're thinking of dumping Twitter for these reasons alone but then I read a funny or mushy piece and I get this warm gooey feeling inside and I just melt and then I think what's the harm ... but I'll be stoic and attempt to implement the 50 minute work hour schedule with 10 minutes on the end to email, FB and Tweet. If this plan works then I'll keep Twitter intact; if it doesn't then I'll cancel. Jozef hasn't even started twittering yet despite having set up his account several weeks ago – I wonder what he'll make of it? I have my own and I also look after the Black Mermaid one. 

I caught up with my friend Sherif the other day after following him to his place on the beautiful but treacherous Galston Road through the outskirts of Sydney  – its about 15km long and it takes you through a gorge surrounded by rain forest but is defined by its horrible hair-pin curves for a greater part of the way. I drove 5 to 10km/ph in some spots. I must say I'm proud of the admirable driving job I did and quite grateful and happy that my 17 year old Ford Laser responded so well to my driving commands. The reason I'm telling you this is because Sherif and I had the same discussion on multi-tasking – he's a real estate entrepreneur and particularly street smart. When he focused on what was important to him, things happened! 

He took me to dinner on Friday at Manly and we had a close encounter with celebrity – while eating excellent hamburgers (with beetroot and pineapple which is the Aussie variation on the classic American burger!) and a pile of deliciously crunchy chips, who should walk nearby but the two trainers –Shannon and Michelle – from the Australian Biggest Loser. I've spoken to many women about this show and they've all invariably said the same thing – they love watching it but they'll do so with chocolate or an ice cream in their hand. 

Well that was my little ramble ... back to serious stuff in the next couple of day. Got to love you and leave you now.

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