Thursday, September 26, 2013

Live Like Horses

by Bert Carson

Live Like Horses is the title of an old Elton John hit.  This morning I was listening to it as I worked, when the lyrics really slammed home, so I decided to share it with you.

To  do that, I went to YouTube to find a video and I discovered more than I expected.  At some point in time, the lyrics must have slammed home with Luciano Pavarotti also and he recorded the song with Elton.  Here's the video clip, with lyrics pasted below.  Enjoy.

I can't control this flesh and blood
That's wrapped around my bones
It moves beneath me like a river
  into the great unknown
I stepped onto the moving stairs
Before I could tie my shoes
Pried a harp out the fingers of a renegade
Who lived and died the blues

We're the victims of the heartbreak
That kept us short of breath
Trapped above these bloodless streets
Without a safety net

I stood in line to join the trial
One more customer of fate
Claimed a spoke in the wheel
  of the wagon train
On the road to t he golden gate

Someday We'll live like horses
Free reign from your old iron fences
There's more ways than one
to regain your senses
Break out the stalls and
we'll live like horses

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'll Do My Best

Bob Montgomery
by Bert Carson
Christina and I are writers, bloggers and runners.  In addition, we are two of the three employees of United Portrait Studios–a three person, child portrait photography company.

Though we each invest 60-80 hours per week in the small business, it needs more: time, expertise, and effort.  That's where Bob Montgomery comes in.  He's our account manager–our "go to man" at Advanced Photographic Solutions, a 90,000 square foot, volume photo processing facility located in Cleveland, Tennessee.

If it weren't for the super-human effort he expends on our behalf on a routine basis, we wouldn't have time to do anything else outside of United Portrait Studios.

Account Managers, once a mainstay in our economy, are a vanishing breed, and I know why.   When financial managers look for places to cut expenses, account managers scream from the P&L statement, "Here, I am.  Take me," and all too often, that's exactly what happens.  Then when the business begins to circle the drain, those who pulled the plug on their account managers, their only direct links to their customers, shrug and said, "I guess it's just the economy."

I know that we are fortunate to have Bob Montgomery assigned to our account, because I know when I explain to Bob what needs to be done and he says, "I'll do my best," that is more than good enough–it is a done deal.

"I'll do my best," isn't an empty phrase with Bob Montgomery.  "I'll do my best," is Bob's commitment to me, Christina, Adrienne, and all of our customers, that the job will be done.

Bob, thanks more than you'll ever know-and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my friend.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Audible Books - When You Don't Have An Upstairs Closet

by Bert Carson
I don't know if home recording studios are on the verge of becoming the next new thing for indie writers or if it just seems that way because of my new obsession with the subject.
It began when I noticed the growing availability of Whispersync for voice books in the store.  If you aren't familiar with that term, it refers to a Kindle book that in addition to digital format, is also available as an audible book that can be synced, between devices as the book is read.  In my case, that means I can listen to a book on a phone app as I'm driving, and as soon as I reach my destination, close the app, fire up my Kindle, and pick up where I left off.

If you are wondering what the title of this post has to do with that, let me explain.  Stephen Woodfin is a friend (in spite of his being a Texas A&M fan) and a fine author.  He is also owns a home recording studio where he recently finished recording his first Audible Audio Book, The Last One Chosen.  Today he published a blog, The Creation Of An Audio Book From Start To Finish, detailing his building the studio, assembling the gear, and navigating the learning curve.   Early in the post, Stephen mentions building his studio in an upstairs closet, and that's what the title of this post refers to.

A couple of months ago, Christina and I decided to follow Stephen down the path to Audible Books.  He has shared his adventure in our weekly conferences with Caleb Pirtle and him, his partner in Venture Galleries, but we were stymied when he selected a spare closet upstairs as the location for his studio.  We don't have an extra closet and further complicate matters, we don't have an upstairs.

It took a while, but we found an answer that works for us.  At the heart of the solution is the Porta Booth Pro, created by voice over artist Harlan Hogan.  Click the link to see a demonstration video. Though we're behind our Texas friends, and we're on a single-story, no closet, path, we share their objective, and, like Stephen, we will keep you posted on the path to Audible Books.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What Amazes You/

by Bert Carson
Research Notes:
This post was inspired by two things (that I'm conscious of).
1. Seth's book, Tribes
2. Bojangles "Trophy Wife" commercial

I was listening to the audio version of the book, Tribes, while driving yesterday, and I was more than a little surprised when, to illustrate a point, Seth mentioned the Tesla Roadster, a model I'd never heard of, built by a car company I'd also never heard of.  There was a day when I knew every car company. On my 71st birthday, it was a rude reminder to discover there was one I didn't know–and a little voice immediately pointed out there are probably other car companies you don't know about, and that's nothing, imagine how many other things you've let get by you.

That less-than-flattering thought brought to mind the Bojangles commercial, and the classic line, delivered by a great young actor:  "It holds tea!" 

We are so swamped in information, we often miss things we would really like to know, and I don't mean things like a box of chicken that also holds tea. I mean things like, there is a car company in California which builds an electric car that is light years ahead of the competition.

I mean things like, there is a man names Harlan Hogan, who specializes in TV and Radio voice-over acting, who has written books and created products that make it easy to build a home recording studio.  I mention that one because I stumbled on Harlan when I began my building-a-home-recording-studio learning curve (if that interests you, check out Stephen Woodfin's blog at Venture Galleries).

And, my point is: There is no reason to drown in the information swamp when there is specific information readily available on anything you'd like to know. Bottom Line:

Know what amazes you and put your focus there.

Monday, September 9, 2013

How Young Are You?

by Bert Carson
Last night, at about 9:30, I left the house to run.  I had half a plan.  Sunday and Monday are very quiet nights in downtown Huntsville, so I planned to run around Big Springs Park.

Big Spring was once the reservoir for what was soon to become a thriving cotton and timber-based industry  city.  Big Spring is now a well used, beautifully maintained park, that occupies more than four square blocks of downtown Huntsville.

By day it belongs to a multitude of visitors that range from young couples with children who are there to feed the ducks and geese, to older couples who are killing time after visiting the Huntsville Art Museum, or middle-agers waiting for show time at the Von Braun Convention Center.

By night, Big Spring Park belongs to a few homeless people, smitten lovers, and me.  As I approached the back entrance near the main source of the spring, I saw a tall man walking casually toward his car. I was over a block away, so I couldn't be sure, but he moved like a young man, maybe a dancer, or someone whose activities required grace and coordination.

He slid into his car, parked next to the entrance of the park, and I realized only the second half of my appraisal was correct.  He was tall and graceful, but beyond the way he moved and the sparkle in his eyes, he wasn't young.  He had almost as much gray in his hair as I have in mine, and only my psyche remains young.

Our eyes met, we grinned, and nodded, then he said something I couldn't hear.  I stopped, popped the ear-bud out of my right ear and said, "Sorry, with my music cranked up I couldn't hear you."

"I'm just curious," he said.  "How young are you."

"Seventy," I said.  Before he could respond, I added, "I should note that in a couple of hours I'll be seventy-one."

"Well, you're looking good he said." And I knew he meant it.

"Thanks, you too."

He waved, cranked his car, and I jump-stepped back into my jog.  A few minutes later, as I crossed the raised bridge and looked down at the large group of koi lazily holding their usual position on the north side of the bridge, I repeated his question - How young are you - and considered it as I ran.

Physically, there is a definite difference between twenty-one and seventy-one.  The funny part of that is, at twenty-one, I could not have run the six and half mile loop I knocked out last night. However, to be perfectly honest, had I been a runner then, I would have been much faster than I am now, fifty years later.

As I turned toward home, I got the answer to the stranger's question– I'm as young today as I've ever been, and its way too late for that to change.

So, how young are you?