Monday, May 30, 2011

The Best Things in Life Are Free

I was lucky to be able to participate in 2 learning sessions last week, both for free! It's great that there are individuals and corporations who offer free information sharing sessions, even if only to introduce their programs and seminars or products. We could do well to take advantage of these free offers, because we always learn something new from new people that we meet.

Filipino VA Webinar

Last Thursday, May 26 was the monthly webinar of Jomar Hilario for Filipino Virtual Assistants (VA). Jomar Hilario is an internet marketer and VA trainer. Every month, he invites one or two practicing VAs and lets them share their work experiences. The VAs share their previous work background before becoming a VA, how they started as a VA, what kind of VA work they do, the kind of clients they work with and what their typical working day is like. The VAs generously give tips on what to do and what not to do, based on their own experience.

I have listened in on a number of the VA webinars by Jomar before and they're generally the same stories of people who got tired of the daily hassle of being employed and who now work at home on their own time. What keeps me always tuned in is the message of hope imparted by the featured VAs and Jomar himself. That it is possible to break into and succeed in the VA world through perseverance, continuous learning and consistent good work. Their words inspire me to continue exploring the scary freelance world.

If you want to be a part of the VA world too, start learning about it here.

CIIT's Free Adobe Photoshop Workshop

The following day, Friday, I got into a free 3-hour Adobe Photoshop workshop. I stumbled into this free workshop 2 days before the scheduled date through the blog of Boy Kuripot. The free workshop was conducted by Cosmopoint International Institute of Technology, an ICT (information communications technology) education provider located in Tomas Morato, Quezon City, with headquarters in Malaysia. It was a short teaser of their Photoshop course as part of either the Web Design Specialist package or Multimedia Specialist package. I had expected only a short Powerpoint-powered presentation where the facilitator would feature photos before and after being altered by Photoshop and a few hands-on opportunities. What the participants got instead was a full, although short, hands-on tutorial of some of the different tools used in Photoshop.

I've always wanted to learn Photoshop so I could correct and enhance photos, as well as manipulate existing photos to create a new photo for a particular need. Like making it appear that I've been to Egypt by transposing my photo into a photo with the Egyptian pyramids at the background. This would be a big help in my web content creation tasks, as some clients want pictures accompanying the articles or blog posts that are submitted to them. The workshop gave me an insight of how I could use Photoshop in that manner.

It was also a chance to check out Cosmopoint's facilities, instructors and programs. At the workshop, we used CIIT's top of the line computer equipment and facilities. The instructors are industry practitioners, so you're sure that what the facilitator teaches you comes from actual experience and not just from books or manuals. After the workshop, a Marketing Officer named Cecille briefly explained to me their current programs that include, among others, Multimedia Specialist, Web Design Specialist, 3D Animation Specialist and Game Development Specialist packages. Currently, those career options are in high demand and offer high paying career opportunities.

I was impressed with the staff, facilities and programs. I am seriously looking into the opportunity of studying at CIIT.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Top 12 Quotations from the Book "Do the Work" by Stephen Pressfield

Here are my favorite quotes from Stephen Pressfield's book, "Do The Work."

1. In other words, fear doesn't go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.

2. A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It's only you and I, with our big brains and tiny hearts who doubt and overthink and hesitate.

3. Don't think. Act.

4. We can always revise and revisit once we've acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.

5. Fear saps passion. When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion.

6. Good things happen when we start before we're ready.

7. Courage begets more courage.

8. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

9. Your work-in-progress produces its own gravitational field, created by your will and your attention. This field attracts like-spirited entities into its orbit.

10. Resistance is the response of the frightened, petty, small-time ego to the brave, generous, magnificent impulse of the creative self.

11. Our greatest fear is fear of success.

12. Blessed is he who has found his work.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Have a Break, Watch A Movie
(Movie Review: Rio)

Off I go to the movies, and I choose "Rio."

Linda, the owner of a small bookshop in a small town in Minnesota, gets an unexpected visit from an ornithologist (a scientist who studies birds, or a bird freak, for short) named Tulio who is from Rio de Janeiro. Tulio convinces Linda to fly to Rio so that her pet companion Blu, an endangered male Macaw so domesticated he doesn't know how to fly, would get to be with the only other remaining blue macaw in the world, Jewel, a freedom loving female bird who resents being kept inside the aviary.

A short time after arriving in Rio, Blu and Jewel are kidnapped by men involved in illegal animal trade. Although they bicker a lot, they somehow manage to break free from their locked cage. With the help of some other birds and one mean-looking non-feathered friend, Blu and Jewel must rely on each other and travel around Rio to escape their hunters while Linda and Tulio try to find them.

The plot is old and simple. Just a light action caper and a romance subplot with a lot of chasing going on. "Rio" does try to be relevant by presenting a real environmental concern which is animal smuggling. What gives life to an otherwise tired, formulaic movie is the visual and acoustic delight that is the Rio de Janeiro backdrop.

The trailer promises a colorful movie at least, and on that note, the movie doesn't disappoint. The movie opens with a picturesque forest scene where birds of varying types, sizes and colors are singing while doing synchronized flying and dancing. The main story is conveniently set during Rio's Carnival time, so fantastic floats and costumes add on to the kaleidoscope of colors and vibrant streetscape as pulsating samba music plays in the background.

I liked Jesse Eisenberg's and Tracy Morgan's voice work. Jesse as Blu wonderfully captures the perceived vulnerability of a domesticated bird who knows he is out of his element when he's out of his comfortable Minnesota cage. Tracy as the mean-looking, disgusting bulldog Luiz is hilarious as always, providing the few laughs I had in the whole movie. Anne Hathaway as Jewel is fine, but she is typecast even in voice roles as the energetic, bright-eyed, singing female lead.

This is a light summer movie worth watching only if you want to just relax and have some mindless fun. Go see it with the kids. They always enjoy movies where there's a lot of flying going on.