Dream Fulfillment

At the Chicago "Bean" 2012
At the Chicago “Bean” 2012

With the uploading of the final assignment for the final course in my University Certificate Program (Professional Writing in Public Relations and Marketing) I have realized the life-long dream – a dream at times I didn’t even know I had – of attending University.  This is a moment worth savoring.  This is an accomplishment worth celebrating. My heart is full.  This dream fulfillment has been two years of hard work towards this moment, utilizing, enhancing, improving upon and fully embracing a passion (writing) I have had for years.  Not for nothing, I accomplished this while doing/dealing with:  chronic pain; migraines; sleep apnea; arthritis; anxiety; the death of my father and the death of our beloved pets in 2013 (and the byproduct of loss – grief); keeping our home running; writing articles for magazines; developing inventory for two photography shows, etc.

I will actually receive my formal Certificate in the fall due to missing the deadline this spring because of course timings.  The University also has certificate graduation ceremonies however I will not be eligible to participate in this year’s ceremony due to the application deadline. I’ve submitted my name for next year’s graduation ceremony. I was eligible, based on academic standing and the program I was taking, an endowment award of $500 and applied for the same. I will know at the end of May whether I was selected.

Obtaining this Certificate would not have been possible, on so many levels, without the love and support of my husband. Honey, you rock! Thank you so much. “I’m not a parasite, I’m a tax deduction!”

I was asked for my thoughts on what comes next.  I’m curious about our culture that creates this. This seemingly pushing along of life.   It occurs in various forms: once one is engaged, one is asked “when’s the wedding”, as if the engagement itself was not  a moment to cherish, celebrate, savor.  When one is married, the question changes to “when are you having kids?”  Same thing: Is the stage one is at not a stage to enjoy for it’s own sake? And, when one graduates, it is “what will you do now?”  Well, now I am savoring my accomplishment.  I am patting myself on the back, tooting my own horn, and making merry over what I have achieved. This is a big deal to me; huge!  I’m also going to catch up on my sleep. As to the future? In the words of Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll “worry about that tomorrow.”

Classmates videos {ADL310}

Herewith are links to some of my classmates blog posts (which contain links to their videos) with my reflections.

Julie’s video making skills using scribing software and plotagon made using the same to make look videos fun and easy.

http://julieadl310.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/plenty-of-pleasure-with-plotagon-adl310/

http://julieadl310.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/sparkol-videoscribe-oh-what-fun-it-is-to-scribe-adl310/

I appreciated how natural Tara (Drive by Quilter) and her friend January sounded in their video on selecting fabric.

http://drivebyquilter.com/2014/05/12/episode-4-selecting-fabric-for-a-project/

I enjoyed seeing Christine aka Nocturntable’s world music collection. I’m not familiar with a lot of that genre,  so I’m going to have to investigate some of the music she mentioned.

http://nocturntable.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/essential-podcast-video-podcasting-impressions-take-one-adl310/

Sherry’s (Family Adrift) video  was from the heart and very inspiring. Kudos to her for sticking it out–16 hours of production time spent!

http://familyadrift.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/treating-family-like-it-matters/

I enjoyed Sheri’s video (Mud Puddle Days) on how she and her son spent Earth Day picking up garbage at a local park. As well, I was introduced to inquiry based learning, something I’m not familiar with.  As an aside –my response your enthusiastic post for your accomplishment at making this video:  you go, girl!

http://intheirnature.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/video-podcasting-walt-whitman-me/

Edited to include the following:

Jill’s budget tips presentation was informative and will be useful for any bride on a budget.

http://eventmedia3.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/essential-post-my-first-video-2/

I enjoyed learning about the forest garden in Liliana’s presentation

http://faesrule.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/my-video-assignment-5/

(I just wanted it done; my classmates actually seemed to have fun.)

social media train
All Aboard the Social Media Train!

Most importantly for me, I have really enjoyed getting to know my classmates a little better through these videos.  I am happy to call you my classmates; I could not have asked for a better group of people to be on this journey into social media (or what I’m calling the “social media train” ) with.

 

Treating Family Like It Matters

childrenonbeach

Oh this blog post and accompanying video on podomatic resonate with me so much. To see and hear the desire in the post and video of how much Sherry wants the family to reconnect again is so awesome. It is palpable. My history — crappy childhood starting with the death of my mother at a young age, continuing on to being unwanted by my birth father, in the foster home system (where foster parents were told not to attach to their foster children)..I was the little girl nobody loved.. It’s taken it’s toll on me of course. I never had a relationship with my father and he died last year. Someday I’ll write my memoirs and the words of Anne Lamott will be on the first page of the book: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

Are We Having Fun Yet? {ADL310}

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
People do this for fun?????

 

My thoughts/rant/what-have-you on making a video for #ADL310.

First of, I try to determine whether I had the necessary equipment (I don’t have a web cam on my laptop and I don’t think my husband’s PC has one either).  Hmmm..do I beg, borrow, what’s necessary?   I ask my friend to borrow their digital video recorder. Discover it’s not available til Thursday (today) as it’s out of town. Hoping to get this over with before then, I check whether we’ve got something at home that will work. Okay, sigh of relief, looks like the tablet will work.

Get things ready to do the video on the tablet. Write a bit of a script. Perform. Five takes later this isn’t working because a) even I was bored with the subject I’d chosen, and b) the video’s too long at 8 minutes.  The textbook says if you can’t get the viewing public’s interest in two minutes, they’re gone.

So a change in subject matter for take #6 and voila, a star is born! Or, at least, a video is recorded on the tablet. Off the cuff and decidedly raw but it’s done.  I try not to care that I don’t look at the camera/tablet much, my chins are showing, my eyes look tired, and other self-criticisms.

Later that same evening…..

My husband had to be my “production assistant” and he was able to get the vid off the tablet and onto the jump drive so I could load on to my laptop.

Sometime the next morning….

Only thing is, the video somehow got corrupted along the way (it played fine on the tablet) and is now showing all sorts of distortion when I move my head etc. No worries I think, a copy of it is living on my husband’s PC..only I can’t open it to check if it’s okay or not as for some reason neither video playing software we have on there PC will read an .mp4 file, despite this not being a problem in the past.

I determine, with the help of phone calls to my production assistant, that it’s Windows Video Player that’s causing the distortion etc. (thank you, Microsoft) as, when I loaded it onto a different video player (the trial version of Camtasia was Cam-tastic for this!), the vid played just hunky-dory.

Tick-tock gotta get this done!
Tick-tock gotta get this done!

Meanwhile at this point I am running out of patience and out of time. I have a pounding headache and neck, arm, back, and hand pain.  This was supposed to be fun?  Ha ha ha…

Make it look all pretty via editing software? I. Don’t. Care.  Upload to Podomatic and hold my breath it doesn’t crash while Podomatic works its’ magic. At one point after my vid was loaded onto I thought I’d killed Podomatic.  Was my video that bad I chuckled to myself rather maniacally hysterically?  (Podomatic would not open in my browser afterwards, despite clearing my browser’s history in Firefox, trying to open Podomatic in Explorer. Finally, after re-starting the laptop twice and another browser “cleanse” Podomatic re-opened.)

Oh my word — people do this on a regular basis  for fun?

 

Video For Social Media {ADL310}

SONY DSC

How useful would social media be for me in my work context?

Some of the ways I could use video for social media purposes are:

  • As an author, I could post videos with excerpts from my writing, make book trailers, do Q & A sessions, other author interviews, book reviews of others’ work, giveaways, etc.
  • As a food blogger, I could definitely see the advantage of using videos to do cooking demonstrations of recipes, product reviews, giveaways, or to demonstrate tips and tricks to help people with chronic pain move more ergonomically in the kitchen, and elsewhere in their home.
  • My own work could be publicized and marketed as well via video.
  • On a personal note, writing can cause me to experience hand, arm and neck pain (hello, repetitive strain injury – in fact I’m feeling pain in my hands right now).   Using video instead on days like today when my pain is flaring from typing and other activities may help alleviate that.

 

My Three Video “Reviews” {ADL310}

holding a book
Image via gratisography.com – free images

All of the videos I selected were videos starring best-selling authors.

The first video I selected was an interview with author Stephen King:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1qItKJ8RiQ

It’s a short interview tie-in with the release of his book of short stories, Just After Sunset.  In this interview, King discusses the short story genre, the “lost art” of the short story, the difficulty of the medium, and how he got his start as author by selling a short story at the age of 19.  In his opinion, short stories can take on a life of their own and often become novellas or novels.  He seemed to imply the short story was a difficult medium to write in.

The second video is a Q & A session with one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrNHeHsrg4g

She appears to be sitting in a bookstore, and an off-camera interviewer is presenting her with questions from Facebook and Twitter.  Jodi, who has probably been asked similar questions a multitude of times, answers each question thoughtfully, in an engaging and warm style.   Two negatives: I found the background noise a bit distracting.  Also, while Jodi references a character in her  book The Storyteller, those who haven’t read that book (like myself) would not know exactly what she was talking about. Jodi does social media well – her website http://www.jodipicoult.com/ is filled with videos, podcasts, and pictures of both her life, and clips from her books.  Chapter 11 of Kobani’s book on page 179 recommends to keep videos real. In essence,  a video should be an authentic portrait of one’s life.  Jodi accomplishes this with her videos posted both on her website and elsewhere on line.

My third video “review” is a video produced by another one of my beloved (and likely the most prolific on the planet) authors, James Patterson:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqhuy9wV27o

In this “funny” video, Patterson is joined by Zachary Gordon, a young comedian.  This video is a promo for Patterson’s book, I Funny, a middle school story about Jamie Grimm who wants to be the world’s funniest stand up comedian. The video promo, which is actually fairly cleverly done, includes a real-life contest for the funniest kid, with the prize being a trip to Disney World. Patterson too does social media well. His website has a community section which includes videos, links to his Twitter and Facebook feeds, even Pinterest.  On a personal note, Patterson’s  Women’s Murder Club series is one I have devoured. This series showcases how tight, sparsely written chapters, which still manage to convey necessary details, can move the story along at lightening speed.

 

These videos demonstrate how this form of social media can be used to not only to interact with fans of your work but also to “attract, convert and transform” video watchers into customers.

 

Thoughts on My Podcast Experience

stephenavenuemall

Personally, I had a steep learning curve. Not only had I rarely listened to podcasts, but also I have never recorded one. I enjoyed listening to the podcasts; recording them, not so much. There was a lot to learn and absorb in a relatively short period of time. I don’t really like how my voice sounds, I felt I sounded quite stilted recording my podcast. Yes, I did use a script. I experienced some technical difficulties with podcast number one in terms of exporting the file to the correct format to be uploaded to podomatic. I also experienced, with both podcasts, a sort of feedback wherein my voice was echoing into my headphones. This was rather disconcerting and I did not know how to fix it to keep it from happening. This “reverb” may have contributed to the awkward tone which was evident, at least to me, in the podcasts.

It was a bit time consuming to source music clips that were available for legal use,  for no cost, and suitable to the podcasts.

Of course, if I were to continue with podcasting, I’d become more comfortable with the process and, in truth, the second ‘cast went smoother than the first. Still, I don’t see podcasting as something I will do just for myself for “fun.” My life is not that interesting and my voice not that melodious.

From a business perspective there is definitely a demand for podcasting as a marketing tool. Traditional marketing tools are not as effective as they once were. Consider this quote from http://blog.bell.ca/is-podcasting-for-you/

Podcasts can be any size, any length and any structure that makes sense for the given audience. Because they can be easily accessed and consumed at the customer’s leisure, they allow companies to connect with customers and prospects without needing to resort to the harder sell of more traditional methods of outreach. Podcasts have emerged in recent years as an efficient, low-friction way to create a regularly refreshed stream of content that gives customers an ongoing opportunity to learn more about who you are and what makes you tick.

As more companies embrace podcasting for marketing and other applications, podcasters will be in demand. And, hey, if someone wants me to speak for a living, extrovert that I am, I have but one response: let’s talk!

Second Podcast: Oregon

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

Here is the link to podcast number two:

http://kathyadl310.podomatic.com/entry/2014-05-06T13_14_31-07_00

Transcript:

Hi this is Kathy from ADL310 Social Media & More back again with another podcast focused on our travels. We love the Oregon coast and have been twice. This podcast will talk about some of the sights we saw in 2004 when we travelled to Washington and Oregon. We went as far south on the famous Highway 101 as the Dunes area which is near Florence, Oregon.

Part of our vacation included a visit to some of Oregon’s covered bridges and lighthouses.  There are 50 covered bridges in Oregon and 12 lighthouses.  Near Cottage Grove, Oregon, we saw the Mosby Creek Bridge, which is Lane County’s oldest bridge.  Built in 1920 for $4,125.00, it was named for pioneer David Mosby, who arrived in the area in 1853 and claimed 1,600 acres there.

The Currin Bridge was similarly named for an early pioneer family in the area. Also known as the Row River Bridge, because it crosses the Row River, it was built in 1883 by Nels Roney for a total cost of $1,935. The bridge was able to be re-built in 1925 by county employees for $2,495.00.

We toured lighthouses in both Washington and Oregon.  One of the lighthouses we toured was located near Newport, Oregon. It is located in an area called Yaquina Bay. Yaquina Bay was once a busy port and was the most settled one along the West Coast between San Francisco and Puget Sound. In 1871, the Lighthouse Board decided a lighthouse was needed. The Board purchased 36 acres from homesteaders for $500 in gold.

The Dunes area is quite something to see. Miles and miles of white sand dunes, this area is popular with people who like to ride ATV’s. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s forest service website, there are also many other activities available such as going for hikes, camping, picnicking, and beach time.

No trip to Oregon would be complete for us without a stop at both Cannon Beach, with its’ iconic Haystack Rock, and the Tillamook cheese factory in the town of Tillamook. The cheese is fantastic but the yogurt is unbelievable, so rich, creamy and flavorful you’d never know it was low-fat.

Hope you enjoyed this quick Oregon tour. Thanks for listening.

Sources/Show Notes:

Music from Quiroga, via freemusicarchive.org, creative commons license

Information regarding activities at the Dunes from: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/siuslaw/recreation/recarea/?recid=42465

Lighthouse statistics from: http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=132

Bridge statistics from  http://www.all-oregon.com/covered_bridges.htm.

First Podcast Ever

DSC_0080

Here is the link  for my first podcast, which is about the vacation we took in February 2014 to Maui.

http://kathyadl310.podomatic.com/entry/2014-05-05T15_05_07-07_00

 

Transcript and Show Notes:

Hi this is Kathy and this is a podcast about our awesome Maui vacation. We were there for 10 days in February, 2014.

We got up early one morning (2:30 a.m.) to drive approximately 2 hours to the Haleakala to view the sunrise. What a crazy thing to do, right, getting up at that unholy hour on our vacation to look at a sunrise? Well, it was worth it.

The Haleakala Crater is almost 11,000 feet above sea level. According to gohawaii.com, Haleakala means “house of the sun” and, legend has it that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last even longer.

We arrived at our destination about 4:30 a.m. and had about an hour wait before first light. We were above the clouds The sunrise was absolutely spectacular. What a treat to see it at almost 11,000 feet! To see it rise above the clouds was stunning. Rarely, even in Calgary with our proximity to the mountains, would we have an opportunity to view a sunrise at that height, unless one was traveling by airplane.  My husband and I both took plenty of pictures and got some great shots. My favorite shot was of a bank of clouds, pillowy softness.

Boy though was it cold. We’d been warned of the cold in advance by friends of ours who’d gone the previous year. Packing winter clothes for a tropical vacation struck me as somewhat ironic, but pack them we did, and were grateful to have them. Despite wearing three layers on top and two on the bottom as well as gloves and a hat, I was freezing.  Heck, I thought, I’m from Calgary, I know cold. I shivered uncontrollably as the wind and humidity sliced through all my layers.

After the sunrise, we meandered down the volcano to have our second breakfast. Then, on to the Lavender farm where there are several species of lavender growing there. The lavender was just starting to bloom and the air was slightly fragrant. We wondered around for about an hour. There were other local species of flowers growing and I took many pictures.

We eventually made our way back to our condo after lunch and took a nap.

We took a snorkel trip on a catamaran with a group of folks to the Island of Molokini. There were not many fish in the area; however, we were very privileged to see several humpback whales, including a baby humpback whale with its mom. The captain spotted these whales well enough in advance to cut the engine on the boat and we coasted close to them. He cautioned us to be very quiet, saying this is a rare opportunity. We watched in silence (except for the clicking of the cameras) as mom and baby loped along just ahead of our boat.

We actually saw quite a few whales as our condo was located right on the ocean. One day, my husband even spotted sea turtles hanging out.

My husband and I love coffee. We enjoyed samples at a tasting at Maui Grown Coffee in Lahaina. As the name implies, this is locally grown coffee. Another highlight was our self directed coffee farm tour at kanaapali coffee farms. Coffee bushes were in bloom and the air was fragrant. We parked the car and walked over to a treehouse-style lookout where we could survey the entire region, right down to the ocean. According to kanaapali coffee farms website, this land used to be a sugar cane plantation. Now it is comprised of smaller coffee farms. When Ka‘anapali Coffee Farms was started, four varieties of coffee were identified that grew well on Maui and produced a high quality bean.

You can own a piece of this coffee farm paradise. 4 – 7 acre parcels are available. Coffee is grown on your land but you won’t have to lift a finger – local farmers grow, harvest and market the coffee grown. With the cheapest lot listed for $560,000, as awesome as this sounds, it’s not going to be part of our paradise anytime soon unfortunately.

Our vacation also included beach time, great local food, wonderful jazz at a piano bar in Wailea, and several trips to buy shaved ice – a lovely refreshing concoction of ice and flavored syrup.

Hope you enjoyed some of the highlights of our vacation. Thanks for listening.

 

Sources and credits:

 

http://www.Gohawaii.com

http://www.kaanapalicoffeefarms.com/index.html

Music track from: http://freemusicarchive.org