Quick Links Wednesday

Morning all. It’s a light blog week. Need to think about getting me some guest bloggers over here, drum up some interest. Here are some links from around the interwebs:

NAPP Twitter Folks@mitzs put together a list of about 112 NAPP members who also use Twitter. Just another way for you Photoshop enthusiasts to connect.

50 Tips for Frugal Living – with all the doom & gloom in the economic forecasts, you might consider reigning in some of those frivolous expenses.

17 Gmail Tools – if you live in Gmail (and who doesn’t these days?) then you might already be familiar with some of these apps.

Pixelmator – if Pixlr wasn’t enough for you last week, or if you want an offline app, you might give this image editor a spin. Mac OSX only.

Periodic Table of Adobe Shortcuts – I had to use Firefox zoom to get a good look at these. Certainly wouldn’t mind a larger image size.

Viveza for Lightroom Review – Matt Kloskowski gives a quick review of Nik Software’s Viveza plugin now available for Lightroom.

Do Stupid People Require Big Government?

This morning’s post was inspired by a tweet thread between @kirkyuhnke and @Jesse about texting while driving.

I saw it coming, but thought I would be different… being a parent changes everything.

Recently, my inbox was hit with one of those mass forwards, you know, the kind that one person ALWAYS sends you even though you tell them repeatedly, “STOP! For the love of all that’s decent–STOP!” This particular message relayed a story from last October 2008 regarding a little boy who was injured in the car accident. The point of the email was banning text messaging while driving.

Long time readers know I have posted against cell phone bans since 2001. I revisited cell phone usage in 2003 and in 2004 I ranted many a time about cell phone etiquette and bathroom phone calls.

My opinion about stupid people hasn’t changed, but I’m starting to rethink my position about what we do about it. As a younger man, the idea that the government would regulate my ability to drive just went against my core because frankly I hate being told what to do. I am Joe Opposite when it comes to listening to authority. Loyal readers know I have a track record of dissenting opinion with “the Man.” In terms of cell phones, I used a headset while driving long before bluetooth was an option just because it was common sense. I’ve even been known to–God forbid–let my phone go to voicemail when I’m driving or at least pull over somewhere to take that important call. I believe I’m fully capable of driving while using my cell phone, but I firmly believe that YOU CAN’T.

Texting while driving is not the same thing as talking.

But then… it is. Talking, texting, eating, doing your makeup, changing CDs, these are just a few of the things that modern day drivers do during the course of their daily commute. Bottom line, when you’re doing something else in your car YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE ROAD.

I used to think that stupid people were the exception, but now I’m wondering if they’re the norm. A moment ago I made a statement about my capabilities versus yours, and truly I didn’t mean that. However, I think that’s the problem, I believe everyone tells themselves that same thing, “I’m capable, go harass the idiots.”

I still don’t agree that a ban on cell phones is good legislation, however, I believe stiffer penalties for those individuals that cause accidents would make people reconsider the need to do such things.

Last week I was drivin’ to dinner when I received a call from an important client. I could have picked it up, but then my daughter was in the back seat so I let the call go to voicemail.

Everybody Cheats

Try as you might the fact is inevitable–one day you will cheat. Perhaps it will be out of habit, maybe under the influence of some person or event, but a decision will need to be made, and you will cheat. Some of you will feel immediate guilt & anguish. Others will try to rationalize their decision as if they were owed something. A few will freely admit their mistake, take their penance knowing they will simply cheat again. Then there is you. You don’t want to cheat. You don’t even think of cheating. You despise those who do cheat. You are a hypocrite.

When you text back & forth with your buddies while at the movies, you’re cheating everyone else from a good show.

When you berate your kids in public, you’re cheating their trust in you.

When you give in to an addict repeatedly because they’re family, you’re cheating their chance for recovery.

When you lie about your involvement with steroids, you’re cheating your fans.

When you drive recklessly in residential areas, you’re cheating your son’s safety.

When you sit there moping thinking, “Why me?” you’re only cheating yourself.

I freely admit I have my moments where I’m paralyzed by the sensory overload of my immediate circumstances. The “easy” decision usually presents itself as the one with the least amount of difficulty or risk, coupled with a desire to avoid embarrassment.

“What if I fail?”

“What will people think of me (if I fail)?”

Sometimes we just allow situations to sort themselves out by not making any decisions. We didn’t actively participate, how could that possibly be cheating? There’s a time for navel-gazing, but it’s simple to sow the seeds of our own self-doubt.

Many years ago, a good friend of mine stated very clearly, “Why don’t you just suck it up, and stop whining?”

My sister Lesli takes a simpler approach. She lives by the concept that she can live her life exactly the way she wants. Self-centered you might say, but then she is a Virgo after all. (Alright, quit with the giggling, can I help it if I dated an astrologist many MANY years ago?) I envy her brash decision making because she’s bold, and has taken adventures I’ve only thought about.

And that’s when I realize cheating is a choice, and choosing gives you control.

You can make a choice to work late hours or spend time with your family. You can make a choice to submit your resume for that job. You can choose to ask out that pretty girl or handsome guy. You can choose a Mac or PC. You can make a choice to stand around and accept your circumstance, or do something about.

Just don’t cheat yourself by thinking you don’t have any choices.

Monday Madness

Good morning dear readers. Hope your weekend was swell, and Monday hasn’t caught you by surprise just yet.

Well, 2009 has started with the best of intentions, and like my workout schedule, I’m trying to be a bit more consistent here on the blog. I’ve managed to keep the daily Adobe tips going via Twitter & RSS. Be sure to sign up for either service, I post via Twitter at 9AM & again at 9PM, and the RSS feed is updated in the morning. I will be expanding those tips here, and hope to have some articles & videos up on the site very soon. I’ve been working a lot behind the scenes to get everything going, and the toughest part has been filling the blog pipe with content. I have been mulling over the idea of themed days, much like Scott Kelby, Firgs or Erik do, but I don’t know how long I could keep up the format. Regardless, I’ll continue to plug away, and do my best to keep you educated & entertained.

That’s the news for now. Alrighty, back to work you go.

Fit Photographer Update – Progress Month 2

I’ve realized that I miss the structure of my youth. (My Dad just rolled over in the grave hearing that) The benefit of childhood is the worst thing in your life was chores & homework. Oh how we wish we could grow up faster until we realize how easier things were before.

My independence has gotten the better of me because frankly, I’m lazy. You, my loyal readers may think, “How is this possible? A.J. is freakin’ busy ALL THE TIME!” but alas it’s true. The laziness I speak of is not so much a sloth-like behavior as much as it is a lack of action or execution of an organized plan. The laziness I speak of is a cunning imagination that uses my busy schedule as an excuse in for not getting things done–things that should be considered more important that whatever has my attention at the moment.

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