Category Archives: Social Networking

The Company Of One

So, I’m sitting in a local eatery waiting for my cappuccino and a “Crispizza” (see photo below). I’d read a book, but the one I’m on (“Men, Money and Chocolate” by Menna Van Praag, I’ve just finished). I decide to people watch instead.

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There’s a couple at the table next to me, who don’t seem to be agreeing on much. He’s decided to eat his lemon garnish. She’s scrunching up her face thinking about the taste of it.

Another couple are sitting in the corner. They’re not saying much to each other. In fact, they’re not speaking to each other at all. She looks fed up. He looks bored. A couple of times he stifles a yawn. I wonder what their story is. She seems a tad angry to me. Maybe they’ve had an argument.

An elderly couple are just finishing their lunch. There’s a trolley full of purchases parked next to them. As the couple get up to leave, I wonder who will push the trolley. He simply wanders off, leaving her to do it.

A lady on her own walks into the eatery and sits at a table near me. I wonder if she’ll nod or acknowledge a fellow solitary customer. She doesn’t even see me. She whips out her mobile phone and starts texting on it. It’s glued to her hand the whole time she’s there, even when her food arrives and she’s eating.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

There’s another lady at the table opposite me. She’s finished her meal, but seems to be lingering and pondering deep thoughts. Finally, she gets up and leaves. And I notice that there are 2 pots of tea on her table, 2 cups and saucers, but only 1 plate with a half-eaten sandwich still on it. I wonder what this lady’s story is, she of the Pink hoody and the Twilight shopping tote. Was she there with someone earlier? Or did she really have 2 pots of tea all to herself?

The book I just read, “Men, Money And Chocolate” tells the tale of Maya, who fantasises about finding the right man and having enough money to live a fulfilled life, but who instead drowns her sorrows and disappointments by eating cake. Lots of it. It’s not light, frothy chick lit like a lot you see these days. This book is published by Hay House Publishing (the UK’s leading mind, body and spirit New Age publisher, with branches across the globe, including Australia). There isn’t much action in it, but rather a lot of deep conversations between Maya and the people she meets, about Life, Love and Destiny. It reminds me of the fabled Ouroboros, the snake that devours itself, as in the story Maya decides to be Bold and Go For It, sells everything she has, leaves the United Kingdom and takes her self-published book to America, where, when she least expects it, the last piece of the puzzle falls into place and she finds love. The title of Maya’s book in the story? Men, Money And Chocolate. The theme of Maya’s book? About a woman finding herself after much trial and tribulation. Very clever indeed!

And so, back to where I am. No, I haven’t written a book. But I would like to, and I might. My point is, I love my own Company Of One. You never have to put up with someone’s traits and behaviour that you can’t stand. You don’t have arguments and silent sulks with yourself. You don’t need to wonder who’s going to carry the shopping, because you already know the answer. You don’t have to pretend to be having a conversation with someone else by texting or playing on your mobile phone, when you could be enjoying the food placed before you. And, if you came into the eatery by yourself, you don’t have to pretend to be waiting for someone else, or order 2 pots of tea, 1 for your imaginary friend.

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The Company Of One is the Best Company you’ll ever have. Learn to enjoy and appreciate it!

Louise L Hay Quotes

I’m currently reading Louise L Hay‘s seminal book “You Can Heal Your Life“. Well, at the same time I’m also reading “Men, Money And Chocolate” by Menna Van Praag, and “The Book Of Secrets” by Deepak Chopra.

How do I do it? How do I read more than one book at a time? Those of you who know me by now, know that I like to be doing everything all at the same time. It’s simple, really. I just leave books around the house – in the bedroom, on the living room sofa, on the kitchen table, yes, even in the toilet. That way, wherever I chance to be, whichever book that lies within reach is the one I’ll start to read or continue where I left off earlier. (Just so you know, I have a little library of books inside that toilet, yes really. Shelves of books. Just in case you get bored while sitting on the throne).

That is the method to my madness. Or perhaps it’s the madness to my method.

Anyway, moving along swiftly, I’ve always admired Louise L Hay. Her “Power Thought Cards” deck was one of the very first oracle/affirmations decks that I’d bought, back in 2008 when I first moved from Spain to Ireland. I still have those cards, and from time to time I like to shuffle the deck and draw a “Card of the day”. Those cards contain affirmations to motivate and reassure the person, rather than my personal preference, quotations.

I’d just like to share some of my favourite Louise L Hay sayings/affirmations/quotations with you today. Who knows, they may trigger off something inside you.

These are all curated from Google Images, and all credit and copyrights remain with the original artists/writers.

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FREEBIES! Gelli® Print images

I must admit I haven’t been practising my Gelli® printing lately, having been drawn in a different direction by my latest mixed media photography art projects. If only there were more hours in the day, if only I could split myself in 2 or even 3, one to do Gelli® printing, one to work on my photographic art, and one to run around town doing other things.

No, housework is NOT one of those other things.

Also, you may have noticed that every time I mention the word Gelli® I now use the ® sign after it. This is with the permission of Gelli Arts®, with whom I have no affiliation. It’s so folks don’t get confused and think I work for Gelli Arts®, or am endorsing their product.

What I Have been doing, these past month, is using photos of my Gelli® prints in conjunction with other photos and clipart on my mobile device, to create images for ongoing projects.

So right now, I have over 200 close up photos of my monoprints. Of which you’re welcome to do whatever you like with the following:

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Have a great weekend, folks!

Project: Inspiration Deck Booster Pack

In January of this year, I started a new project of cards with inspirational sayings. My intention was to create a deck of 25 different cards, which could be boosted by another 25 later on. In February, I finished the first 25 designs, just in time for the Chinese New Year celebrations. You can read about that first deck, and have a look at some of those cards in this post.

A few days ago, I was playing with some Apps and filters, and decided that, instead of trying to fit my prepared background images into some sort of frame, why not simply use a white shape template placed over the image, as a mask? I could then place my text on the mask itself. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about my text being hard to decipher over a colourful background.

So, here are just a few examples of the “Booster” pack of my Inspiration Deck.

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These are just the rough gems. I have yet to trim, resize and polish them, before they’ll be fit for printing.

With the first batch of the Inspiration Deck, I gave several away at my Uncle’s Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner. And a few days after that, I Abandoned several in my local area, by putting them into envelopes with the Art Abandonment tag stuck on, and leaving them in people’s postboxes. (I live in Australia, where putting mail in postboxes without it going through the Postal system is perfectly legal. Hence all that junk mail one gets).

I expect when I’ve ordered and received a deck of these new cards, another Art Abandonment exercise will be in my diary of things to do.

Bearing in mind though that this is still in the early stages…I’m still playing with a couple of other design ideas in my head, so it all may change at the drop of a hat. I know, I’m fickle :-).

The Tipping Point

What does it take
To change the World?
10 percent, that’s all
The first 9.99 percent
Are the hardest to get up to
Tantamount to climbing
A mountain without guides
Or ropes or oxygen tanks
Or crossing an ocean
In a liferaft without an oar
Or water or shade from the sun
– but remember
These HAVE been done
And so are possible
Despite the odds
Never being in your favour

Yes, if just 10 percent
Of the population of this World
Believe in something
And start to disseminate
Their knowledge and information
To all their friends and family
And to anyone who dares listen
And even if only 10 percent
Of those listening
Dare to take action
And do the same
To Their friends and family
…you will get an unquenchable fire
As the saying goes
“If you think you are
Too small to make a difference,
Try sleeping with a Mosquito”
So, lets all be Mosquitoes!

As more and more people
Realise the dream they are living in
Is actually a false one
And that it is actually a
Nightmare perpetuated by the
few Elite Families
Who control governments
And entire countries
Who raise Red Flags
And spread Official Fairy Tales
To keep you from finding out
The Truth
Who engineer wars
To control the population
And to exploit the earth’s resources
To line their own pockets
And the pockets of those
In their keep – their lapdogs…

As more of us Wake Up
And realise that no one is
Going to help us
– that the only ones who
Can help us
Are Ourselves
We then need to do something
We need to Take Action
To Speak Out, Speak Up,
To rally for action
To participate in this revolution
That will change human evolution
To free ourselves from this form of
Slavery and Servitude
That our Masters
Who hold the purse strings
Keep reassuring us
“That’s just how Life is”

We need to Wake Up
And be those little mosquitoes
That, on their own
Are small and seemingly
Insignificant
But, which, gathered in a swarm
And acting as a united body
Can no longer be ignored
Will you join the mosquitoes?
Will you form part of the collective
That will become the Tipping Point
That makes the 9.99 percent
The Perfect 10?
The 10 that will generate
11, 12, 13 and counting…
Like a Tsunami wave
That is slow in building up
But which, when it arrives
Is simply unstoppable?

I hope so!
It’s easy, you don’t even have to
Climb that mountain
Or cross that ocean
– that 9.99 percent is already there
All you need to do is
Be that last grain of sand
That changes the whole equation
That starts the gathering momentum
Of that great swarming tsunami
Of angry mosquitoes

Open your eyes.

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I was inspired to write this poem after reading an article by Zen Gardner on the website Wake Up World. If you are in any way interested in finding out for yourself just how far our governments and leaders have fooled us into following their false prophets, into swallowing “Official Fairy Tales”, Wake Up World is the ideal place to begin.

It’s a real eye-opener, to say the least.

Amazing Places

I have a Pinterest Board called “Amazing Places”, where I pin up pictures of the most fantastical places, places that I would like to see for myself some day. My Bucket List of Destinations, so to speak.

Maybe it’s the luscious photography (not mine, I’m sad to say), or just the quality of the light, or just a Romanticisation of the country or place…no matter. There are some places on Earth that are just plain awesome.

If you want more information on these places, find me on Pinterest and look for my board there, under “Amazing Places”. When you click on a photo there, you’ll be transported to the originating link or website where the image was pinned from. Did you think I was going to say you’ll be transported to the place in the photo? Oh, how I wish that was possible!

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Glass Beach, MacKerricher State Park, CA, USA

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Wind Cathedral dunes, Namibia

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The Ocean Flower, Maldives

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Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

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Porto Katsiki, Lefkada, Greece

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Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand

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Perfume River, Hue, Vietnam

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Khao Luang Cave Temple, Phetchaburi, Thailand

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Osaka, Japan

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Sintra, Lisbon Province, Portugal

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Gardens By The Bay, Marina Bay, Singapore

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Guilin, China

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Paso Dello Stelvio, Italy

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Mount Fitz Roy and Laguna Torre, Los Glaciares National Park, Patagonia, Argentina

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Yosemite National Park, USA

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Mount Rorraima, Venezuela

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Pamukkale, Turkey

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Waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

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Red Forest, Cantabria, Spain

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Bora Bora, Tahiti

Oh, I could go on an on (and on), but I think there’s enough here to fire up your imagination and wanderlust…

OMG! It’s the OCD Grammar Police!

I recently purchased a deck of Oracle Cards, because the images were pretty and the colours sang to me. I won’t name this deck or the author of it, but if you ever get it, you’ll know what I mean when I say it brought out the OCD Grammar Police in me.

I never thought of myself as being OCD, until I started shuffling through those newly-acquired cards and laying out spreads and using the accompanying book to read the meanings. At first, it was just the author’s use of the symbol “&” for every instance of the word “and”. That started getting to me after a couple of pages. I mean, yes, using “&” informally or for texting is fine, but if you’re wanting your product to reach a global audience and be regarded seriously, please don’t! It just looks unprofessional.

Later, I noticed many more grammatical and spelling mistakes, too many to simply ignore. Don’t people learn simple English in schools anymore? Don’t they know when to use “You’re” and “Your”? “It’s” and “Its”? They’re not simply interchangeable, you know!

It got to the point that I found myself no longer reading the deck’s book for the meanings of the cards, but to find the next grammatical error, or spelling mistake, or wrong sentence construction.

The experience has really soured my enjoyment of using that deck of cards. I’m sorely tempted to rewrite the whole book myself, and throw the author’s one in the bin. Or even to cut out the cards’ images, stick them on plain cards and make up my own meanings and readings. Yes, I’m afraid the errors spill over onto the cards as well, in the short text on the top and bottom of each card.

This particular deck is self-published. The author most probably ordered a minimum of 1000 or even possibly 10000 copies, printed in China or Indonesia. She then approached a New Age store with branches across the state, to stock and sell them. The fact that she is one of their psychic readers may have given her some business clout.

Good for her. But she really should have asked a professional to proofread her manuscript first, before it went to print. Or, if not a professional, then someone with some level of proficiency in the English language. At the very least, she could have run a Spellcheck on her manuscript. As it is, although the artwork on the cards is truly beautiful and mesmerising, the horrendous grammatical and spelling errors on the cards and within the book really detract from it and may put people off from buying it.

Caveat emptor.

I’ve found some images on Google that might make things clearer to anyone struggling to figure out the English language, or who might know of folks who could do with a re-education. Feel free to share with your friends, and let’s hope it’s not too late to save the English language ;-)!

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This one really gets to me. And I keep seeing it, time and again, on Facebook.
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Just covering all bases LOL
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Maybe this is what they’re being taught in “Shcool” these days. That about sums it up.
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From Joan Beiriger’s blog : Tips On Getting Art Licensing Deals

I subscribe to Joan Beiriger’s blog on Art Licensing, where every so often, little gems of advice turn up to help aspiring art licensees get that licensing deal.

Joan’s post just the other day is just one of these valuable nuggets, and, just in case the link doesn’t work for those who aren’t subscribed, I’ve copied and pasted her wise words here for you all:

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On social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs) artists periodically post that they are frustrated because they have not been successful in licensing their work while other artists continue to post comments and pictures about their licensing success. Why is it that some artists are successful and others not?

There are many reasons. But basically the reason why some artists are successful is that their work is very well done and can compete with other artists in the industry, have themes that consumers want on products, and has a lot of art that is licensable.

The following discusses the importance in knowing if your art is good enough, knowing what art styles and themes that manufacturers license for their products, and building a relationship with manufacturer art directors.

• Is your art good enough?
How do you know if your art is good enough (executed well, have the right themes, colors, composition, etc.) to be able to compete against other artists in the licensing industry? Below are tips on what you can do to figure out why you are having trouble getting deals and how to improve the chance in licensing your art.

– Hire a consultant
It is difficult for an artist to recognize why her/his art is not being licensed. Getting kudos from family, friends, and fellow artists will not help to get deals if the art is not licensable. And, one way to find out is to hire an art-licensing consultant. A consultant can tell you if you need to have more art, what themes you need, and suggest what manufacturers to approach. But, most importantly you need a consultant that will be very forthcoming and tell you the truth IF your art is not good enough to compete with other artists.

Unfortunately not all consultants are capable in telling an artist the truth about their art since it is difficult for many people including consultants to hurt an artist’s feelings. Thus, when choosing an art licensing consultant make sure you stress that you want to know if your art is good enough to be licensed. If the consultant says your art is not, ask why and ask for suggestions on how to improve your art. Read “On Art Licensing Coaches (consultants)” for links to some art-licensing consultants.

– Compare art
Another way to determine if your art can compete in the art licensing industry is to compare your art with art that has already been licensed. Licensed art on products can be seen in gift stores like Hallmark, at trade gift shows like the Atlanta Gift Market, on manufacturer websites, and on e-store websites.

When comparing your art to art that is already licensed the purpose is not to copy the licensed art but to look at the art and determine what it has that makes a manufacturer license it and what your art lacks. This is not very easy to do since it is hard to accept that your art may not be good enough. Thus, you need to be open-minded and willing to admit to yourself that your art could stand improvement.

Below are some questions to ask yourself when comparing your art to licensed art.
1. Is your art style licensable? Not all art styles are licensable for products in all product industries. For instance, some forms of fine art appear like the paint was slapped on haphazardly and has not well defined motifs. Is that your art style? You probably will not find many products other than home décor prints with this art style because it does not appeal to the mass market. Read the article “Editorial: Not all art is licensable” for information on why not all art is licensable even if it is well executed.

2. Is the composition of your art pleasing and the motifs well arranged? For information about art composition read “Creating Licensable Art: Composition Tips”.

3. Do you have enough or too many motifs in your image? For instance, if you have a painting of one flower with a bird and the manufacturer is licensing art with a multiple number of flowers and several birds in the image then you probably will not be able to license that image because your image is too simple. But on the other hand, if your art is very busy with a lot of motifs and the manufacturer is licensing art that is simple with only a few motifs then you would have difficulty in licensing the art to that manufacturer. Closely look at licensed art in the different industries (fabric, decorative flags, greeting cards, jig-saw puzzles) and the different manufacturers in each industry to determine what they want.

4. Does the licensed art for a particular manufacture have a bright and pleasing color combination while your art is dark and drab looking (unsaturated colors)? You probably need to pump up the color saturation if you want to license the art to that manufacturer. Or, is the manufacturer licensing pastel colored art and you don’t use pastel colors. Then, probably that is not the manufacturer for your art.

• Learn what art manufacturers want
It is REALLY important for artists to create art specifically to be licensed for products in the industry(s) they target. And because the art themes must be popular in the mass or niche markets, it is REALLY important to know what art styles and themes the licensees need to be able to sell their products. Thus, it is REALLY important to research what art styles and themes the manufacturers license.

As pointed out in “Changes in Art Styles Used on Products” each industry (decorative flags, greeting cards, fabrics, calendars, jigsaw puzzles, table top, etc.) and even different manufacturers in the same industry have different criteria when selecting art to license. The criteria depend upon the manufacturer’s customer base and how they wish to differentiate themselves from their competition. Learning what kind of art they have licensed is a MUST before submitting art to them.

For example, since I am interested in licensing my art for decorative flags, I have spent many hours on my computer researching flag images on the e-store flagsrus.org to determine what are popular themes, what makes some art on flags standout more than others, are the designs simple or detailed, what art style(s) are used, do they use borders, do they use words, etc.

I now know what art themes are used by individual flag manufacturers. And I have discovered that some flag manufacturers tend to license pretty and more pastel looking art while other manufacturers license images with contrasting and bold colors. The most used word on flags is “welcome”. Some manufacturers use words on the majority of their flags, and others only have words on a few of their flags. Applying that information when creating my art has helped me get deals with six decorative flag manufacturers. Thus, researching manufacturers in the industry you decide to target like the example above and applying that information to your art can increase the likelihood in licensing your work.

• Build relationships with art directors
The art licensing industry is all about building relationships. Building relationships with manufacturer art directors is important because if your art sells their products and you are easy to work with then they will continue to license your work.

In order to build a good relationship you need to remember that it is not what an art director can do for you but what you can do for the art director. So being willing to edit your art to their specifications, willing to compromise, being flexible, being prolific in creating art, being reliable, and showing your appreciation helps to build a strong relationship.

• Summary
Licensing art is very commercial and competitive. And to be successful, artists need to create for a commercial purpose and not just whatever they desire. The art needs to be well executed in an art style that is popular for the different mass and niche markets. And, artists need to learn what manufacturers license art, the products they sell, and what art styles and themes they need for their products. Read “Finding Manufacturers that License Art” for more information about the manufacturers.

Good Luck on Your creative journey! :-)

The Emperor’s New Clothes

…is the title of British Russell Brand’s independent movie, which premiered in Australia today, June 11th 2015. It’s filmed by Michael Winterbottom, and is a documentary featuring live action in the streets of Britain with Russell Brand, along with video clips of long-archived UK and worldwide news footage.

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No, despite its name, the film has nothing to do with the fashion industry. Or the fairytale. Rather, it is Russell Brand’s own way of inciting a British People’s Revolution against the giant, crushing cogwheels of the world’s Banks; it addresses the issue of how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, by comparing the wages of top bankers and company CEOs against that of the man in the street.

For part of the film, Russell, armed with a megaphone, is in the front passenger seat of an advertising van, with a giant billboard on both sides exhorting the British public to “Shop The Bankers”, with large photos of high-level bankers beneath. It’s Russell’s way of naming and shaming these people, for drawing huge salaries in the millions of £££, while workers struggle to survive skyrocketing costs of living on hourly salaries that don’t even cover the cost of a cup of coffee these days.

These bankers pay themselves 7-figure salaries PLUS bonuses each year. The figures vary from a paltry £4 MILLION to more than £7 MILLION. Meanwhile, the average British worker’s wage is around £7 an hour, with an average yearly salary of just over £22000.

“Does that look or sound fair to you?” Russell asks a group of 100 primary schoolchildren, as part of an experiment in the film. He gets a resounding “NO!” from them.

Yes, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Top Shop get (dis)honourable mentions too, for TAX EVASION. Apple was very recently dragged to court in Australia for not paying enough taxes. Also read this article.

How does Apple justify its claim that it makes very little profit? Why, by making sure its money sits pretty in tax havens, or is shuffled between countries with lower tax rates. Its CEOs and top honchos pay themselves handsomely, jet about on holidays everywhere…while its slaves in China get paid something ridiculous like $2 a day (or was it 20 CENTS??!) and work for up to 18 hours a day.

DOES THAT LOOK OR SOUND FAIR TO YOU?

I had to go into the City to watch this film, as it wasn’t ever going to make it to the big screens of my local cinemas. One, owing to the contentious and hotly debated subject, two, because it doesn’t star a bunch of A-list celebrity actors and three, because it’s not an Action movie that caters to the lowest denomination. You have to have your brain switched on to watch this film.

The only cinema showing The Emperor’s New Clothes in Perth CBD was Cinema Paradiso in Chinatown. I’m sad to say that, in a cinema with a capacity of 300, I was THE ONLY ONE watching the film. Boo, Australian humanity, with your ignorance and insistence on staying asleep! Yeah, sure, when it’s The Fast & Furious 7, the cinema is booked out, but when a film (and an excellent one too) requires thinking or reflection, and a call to real action, action that will impact your lives and the lives of future generations, suddenly you have no time or inclination.

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ARE YOU READY?

The Kid was given an assignment by his teacher in his swanky private high school, the topic being Sustainability. After a false start, when he told me his idea was to re-use bomb sites for residential housing and commerce, and I told him the radiation count would be too high to sustain lifeforms and crops, and also that people would think more than twice about moving into an area similar to Chernobyl, he decided to write about Hemp as a sustainable crop instead.

So we did some research online, and printed out some articles on the wonderful properties of Hemp. I told The Kid to brace himself for negative feedback from his teacher, due to the stigma attached to the subject of Hemp/Cannabis/Marijuana. I myself was prepared to defend The Kid’s honour should his teacher give him grief about choosing such a touchy subject. It’s happened before, in a different school in a different country…and that made the News.

As it turned out, it didn’t even get that far. The Kid came home from school saying he was having to re-do his entire assignment. Apparently, the teacher had told him that his speech in class about Hemp would Not be acceptable, as, and I quote, “Everyone will laugh at you, because it’s silly”.

Hello, ARE YOU READY??? Apparently this is one teacher who isn’t. Either she’s ignorant of the facts, or she’s afraid the subject is too topical and contentious, or she’s terrified of the repercussions that might happen in her class and the school if it did get out. Or she does not wish her students to think for themselves, but rather to just become rote-learning drones.

Or, all of the above. It’s not like The Kid was going to enthuse about taking hard drugs. He’s not even going to talk about why Cannabis should be decriminalised. He wasn’t even intending to talk about medical marijuana. All he wanted to talk about was how Hemp, grown as a crop, could save the world. The topic was Sustainability, remember? Maybe the teacher did not realise the Janus or double-faced nature of the Marijuana plant, and assumed the worst. Ignorance can be bliss, but not so in this case.

Rather than bore you with hard, dry facts about the wonderful properties of Hemp, here are some images I’ve culled from Google, as visual aids.

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As for The Kid, he was worried that he might get a Red Mark for his assignment, as he now had no time left to research a new topic. He had been getting lots of Green Marks and commendations in the last month, getting to be a Student Councillor has raised his self-esteem somewhat, and he was getting very diligent about doing his homework and assignments properly now. A Red Mark would be a disappointment for him, after a long run of all Green Marks.

I reassured The Kid that even if he did get marked down for this Assignment, we would discount it, as we both knew he had a valid point to make regarding Hemp as a sustainable crop. And we accepted the fact that his teacher, his classmates, possibly his school and perhaps even this country, Australia, might not be ready to WAKE UP yet.

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