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Monday, April 26, 2010

140+ Characters About: My #Twitter Experience

Hello, my name is @icpchad and I am addicted to #Twitter

I joined almost two years ago at the request of an #ATR listener @DzhaA which read: I'd like to follow you on #Twitter and I can remember thinking 'follow me where?

I knew my friend @michelemeiche, host of #Awakenings, was on #Twitter, and upon first looking at the site, I figured it must be just another place to post RSS feeds for our radio shows. So I signed up and began posting our daily #ATR shows to my profile. (originally named: AwareTalkRadio). My first thought about Twitter was: 'This is stupid.'

As I connected to and began interacting with others, I started to see that twitter was much more than just a place to post links to our radio shows. I began to see a global conversation taking place in real time on multidimensional levels between many minds.    

I was really impressed with the fact that #Twitter allowed everyone the ability to have their message heard. I began meeting and interacting with people like @Zaibatsu, @shannonseek, @Lotay @CHRISVOSS @eleesha and other now household social media names. (If you've been on #Twitter longer than 15 minutes, chances are you know these folks too.) I was equally impressed they were actually real people, and regardless of their 'Elite' status, they weren't assholes about the fact they had more reach than some TV stations, and combined, they speak daily to a personal audience that is larger than some Major Networks.

I remember thinking, 'So let me get this right, this '#Twitter' thing allows any ONE person the potential to speak their every thought to millions? - I'M IN'. And immediately introduced #ICP Authors to #Twitter as another way of sharing our work. You may have met @AnAmericanMonk, @dougieslap, @CwbyWsdm, @AntheaAppel and others in the stream.   

And I began watching how people tweeted, what they tweeted about, and how many different ways there are of using #Twitter. From the GET MORE FOLLOWERS NOW games, to professional spammers and #Bots like Brit.ney, to the ever "FAMOUS QUOTES" being auto posted faster than the speed of light by more people than stars in the sky ... I had to dig through a lot of dirt before I began to find the gold deep in the hills of #Twitter's digital landscape.

Lights of continual inspiration like @Mystical, @paulvharris@BlondeByDesign and @monaksart who daily provide waterfalls of original thought. Mental gymnasts like @crside, @LiLiacSin, and @UnseeingEyes who poetically pen their lines through the ether of tweets and out into the cosmic sea. Spiritual ninjas like @DeniseLescano, @TheEntertainer, and @Intuisdom who always make it an adventure. 

There are even a few famous people who listen to and talk with me. You know who you are and you are all stars to me, even if tomorrow Hollywood didn't exist. #justsaying 

And as I began to tweet more, and more, and then eventually a ridiculous amount more ... I began to realize a few things about #Twitter which I feel helped me get the most from it, and some of which I hope you will find useful in your daily #Twitter life:

- Never be afraid to be say it. (you're not the only one thinking it)
- The word 'Fuck' is acceptable to tweet when used in any proper context. 
- Block idiots quickly. The more mentions you give them equals more attention, which is what they want.
- RT that which you see as valuable. (this is how the cream gets to the top)
- It's not how many people follow you, it's how many respond to your tweets.
- If you want more followers, then be more interesting.
- When you are pissed off, drunk, or highly emotional ... these are great times to tweet.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say. 
- Find others with whom you resonate and [co]operate with them in mutually beneficial ways.
- Enjoy the view from each paradigm. 

Daily I continue to connect with new people who inspire me, challenge me, and help me see the world through their eyes, even if only for a brief moment in time ... and in less than 140 characters. #Gratitude for all you do and all of you are: #Stars     

Authors: How to KILL Your Book

If you think people don't judge a book based on its cover, you've probably never read one. Not only do people judge books based on the cover ... but they do it within the first eight seconds. So, the absolute best way to KILL your book's chance of ever being read is to give it a really, really shitty book cover design, so everyone who walks by it will instantly decide your writing is of the same quality and move on to any of the other ten thousands books to the left, or to the right of it.

One of the best ways to ensure your book cover design is as absolutely shitty as possible ... is to design it yourself. Unless, of course, you're already a designer with experience who happens to have written a book, and even then, you still may not be the best choice to create the cover for your book, as your perspective on the material is completely different from where (potential) readers are sitting. The author knows the material inside-out, a reader must be able to see enough on the outside to give them a strong enough reason to look within it.

Since 2000, I've designed and published over 80 titles. ( If you looked at the first one I created in 2002, and compared it with our latest release, you'd see of world of difference in both the quality of design and original graphics. It seems the more we do something, the more we learn about it. Which brings us to the next method by which an author can effectively KILL their book: To design and create the book cover themselves, having never designed one before.

Just because you write, does not make you a designer. Just because you have ideas, does not make them 'good' designs. Over 90% of our covers I've created using the following method: Find out what the author has in mind, then use my experience in design and graphic arts to create the best possible cover based on the author's vision and my collected experience. This results in a true compilation of the author's original ideas combined with the quality of a designer's experience.

So here's the absolute BEST WAY FOR AN AUTHOR TO KILL THEIR BOOK: Have really, really, really shitty ideas and absolutely no eye for design, whatsoever, combined with absolutely no experience at all ... THEN (and here's the key to really failing at this) ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to listen to, or accept, even a single idea from those who are actually book cover designers, you know, those people who do this for a living. 

To really KILL a book, an author needs to come up with an amateur design, something so stupid and ugly and unfitting to the rest of the book that no one will ever be drawn to read it, ever ... then STICK to that stupid design no matter how many good-intending, experienced professionals tell you otherwise. After all, they are trying to help the book become successful and if you listen to them, it could be. After all, it's not about what's best for the book, what's really important is making sure that design you drew on your 10th grade notebook gets used as the cover for your first book.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Puzzle Called Dharma

To ignite mentalities and jump-start heart chakras I ...
spark forest fires by rubbing two words together
until the friction brings flames called: revelation
and new thoughts arise from the ash of every
yesterday cast into the wastebasket of time ...

I ... rewrite what's been written
in a language forbidden
by those who speak doublespeak
on your TV and whisper into your ears
with every radio PROGRAM ... I'm a talk show host
without the show ... and I'm inviting you to call in ...
to voice your opinion on the open air waves of ether,
to broadcast your pictures across our mental screen,
to see your life as the movie in which you've been cast
as the star ... to play your Dharma on stage LIVE
before this audience of ONE.

I seek to incite riots in our understanding and
overthrow all governing bodies holding our hands
while holding our head ... underwater ...

I seek to increase the number of pieces to our puzzle ...
so bring yours to the table and let's take a step back to see
the picture complete ... to combine our seamless lines of energy
as thought patterns travelling at the speed of NOW ...

To be light ... and shine vision upon my own darkeness,
may I be as wise as the words I hear in the silence
and always able to repeat them to you.

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Something VS Nothing

It seems we've reached a point in our society where two dominate thought patterns are bidding for control of the world: Those who believe in Something and those who believe in Nothing. Those who believe in Something are convinced, more and more, that there are no coincidences, that everything has meaning, and we are being led on a spiritual journey toward something greater. While those who believe in Nothing are convinced, more and more, that life is merely a series of breaths we take, until we die, and then it ends.
The Nothing crowd is scientifically adept at proving themselves correct. They are convinced by quantum mechanics that life is just random chaos scattered among dying atoms, conversely, those who believe in Something are convinced by the same quantum mechanics that: What we think ... happens. How can two opposing paradigms arise from the same data?
This rift in thought has separated humanity into two very different kinds of people, perhaps even two separate species of human. Those who believe in Something, whether it be God, Religion, Art, or even the various fields of science, all believe in things they can not see. While those who believe in Nothing, believe there is nothing to see, save that which can be seen physically.
While observing the exact same situation, individuals from each of these groups will perceive completely opposite results, and offer completely opposite explanations. Perhaps this is the power of thought? If you believe there is nothing to believe in ... not only will you not believe in it, but you will not even allow your eyes to see it. On the other hand, those who believe in Something, these may create something to see where there is none.
Given the reality that each of us possess two sides to our brain, I'd like to consider it possible, even probable, that humans are capable of seeing reality as it truly is. Without adding to it by projecting what we desire, or subtracting from it by limiting our perceptions through our own non-belief.
More and more, I see these two sides (of the same brain) warring with each other for control over ULTIMATE REALITY. And the battle seems to be getting bloody now, as those on one side of the argument begin to degrade those on the other with slander, to the point of each calling the other "insane".
Perhaps both sides of our brain are useful, and I'd just like to suggest that we might, just for while, try using both sides of our brain in unison. Perhaps this is the formula for seeing reality as it is? As opposed to seeing only what we want it to be? ... or not seeing what we fear it might be?

Chad Lilly is the author of A Day in the Mind and uncommon sense.

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The War On Sugar

A grave danger threatens every man, women, and child in our country today. And from this menace, no one is safe. This silent killer sleeps in every home and slowly makes its way into the hands of children, parents, and even our elderly population. It permeates every facet of our life in many different forms. On the street, they call this toxic substance: Sugar.
Extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets, it was first used as a pharmaceutical ingredient to mask the bitter taste of medicines, but as our addiction to this poison grew, we began adding it to other foods as well. Now one in three foods contain at least some portion of sugar as their primary ingredient.
Now is the time to take a stand against this bittersweet enemy. And toward this noble and rightful cause I am here today to present a motion to create and establish a new office within our federal government: the Bureau of Uniform License and Logistics for the Sugar Help Interment Team (BULLSHIT).
BULLSHIT will now govern all consumption and distribution of this deadly substance, and henceforth, BULLSHIT shall be the source of several anti-task forces to help implement new legislation to protect our children from this dangerous spice.
For too long, freewill has allowed the American public to indulge in such acts of sweet suicide as apple pie, twinkies, carbonated sodas, pixie stix, and even such lethal doses of sugar contained in the infamous sweet tarts. BULLSHIT shall be used as both a way and means to correct this unalienable error.
Under our new BULLSHIT laws, agencies will be created, not only to remove the current sugar threat from every home in America, but to eradicate the evil at its source. Our own NASIs (North American Sugar Investigators) will seek out this threat wherever it exists, fighting the enemy where it grows to decrease the battles we must fight here at home.
To combat this threat to national security, we shall implement the RAPE act (Ready Against Potential Emergencies). This act will probe all cracks in the body of public security. In accordance with the RAPE act, all citizens must allow the federal government unrestricted entry into their dwelling for the purpose of investigating any and all contents. Through the RAPE act, we will be able to remove the last grain of sugar from the streets of America.
Our primary concern in the war on sugar is the protection of our most vulnerable and precious resource - our children. For too long, this evil spice has made our children hyperactive, uncontrollable, and at times, down right unbearable. Now we must come together and implement programs to thwart this nemesis before it destroys future generations. To insure that no child is left behind, CHIPs (Child Help Implementation Programs) will be required for all children. These CHIPs will monitor and enable the federal government to ensure a sugar-free society, twenty-four hours a day.
Eliminating sugar, or as radical insurgents call it, "sweet freedom," from the streets of America is the sole objective of the NASIs. And through BULLSHIT and RAPE, we will succeed in eliminating this threat from the face of our planet. For while even one "sugar junkie" is allowed to roam free, we are all at risk of hedonistic pleasures spreading into the minds of generations to come. Now is the time for those who refuse to allow "sweet freedom" to devour the minds of their children to act swiftly and without regard for consequence. For what is at stake here is a big idea, a New World Order without the threat of "sweet freedom" contaminating the minds of addicts pleading for more of the same.
No longer can we afford to allow the general public access to any form of "sweet freedom." Now we must take active steps to generate a Project for a New American Campaign (PNAC) that will integrate our efforts to eliminate all "sweet freedom" where it begins - at home. And by working with our neighbors to the north and south, BULLSHIT will allow the NASIs to stop the last drop of "sweet freedom" from crossing our borders and infiltrating American lives.
Our greatest ally in the war against sugar is also our greatest enemy: the American public. For while even one American still hungers for "sweet freedom," we shall be engaged in a battle against the tyranny of personal taste. But when the last American is unwilling to allow even a single drop of "sweet freedom" to touch their tongue, then, through laws enacted by BULLSHIT, CHIPs, RAPE, and with the help of our own NASIs ... the federal government will have won the war against sugar.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Discovering Dharma by Chad Lilly

Why are we here? What is our purpose in life? This age-old question still hangs in our modern minds, unanswered as the day it was ask. And while there are a multitude of 12-step programs, self-help groups, daily affirmations, and personal growth programs committed to helping individuals find their true selves, the problem is ... none of them work.
Because only the soul can answer this question.
The Buddhists call it Dharma, or a souls path in life. A psychologists would classify it as 'Becoming Self Actualized'. Others call it Identity. In the diagram above, I call it Happiness.
Every human in the world today wants to be happy. We want to feel a sense of 'accomplishment' in our lives. As if something deep inside was driving us to 'be something' or 'do something' ... only we have never been told what it is we're here to do. And we've never been told how to discover it for ourselves.
I believe I have discovered a 'formula' for discovering dharma. An equation that shines light on our life purpose. A way for each of us to converse with our soul and have it answer that all-important question: Why am I here?
Note the diagram above. The three circles representing: Talent, Love, and Contribution. In the overlapping area in the middle you will find Happiness. Once you become aware of your talents, what you love, and a way to contribute to the world around you using them both ... you will know your purpose in life.
What are your Talents? What unique abilities have you been given in this life? Discover what you're good at and then work to refine your skills. There are reasons you've been given the talents you have. Whether you are mechanically inclined, athletic oriented, mathematically adept, scientific minded, or naturally artistic ... these gifts were given to you because they aid in acquiring your life's purpose. Your unique talents are the tools you've been given to build your destiny.
What do you Love? To dance? To create? Sports? Being a parent? What gets you out of bed in the morning? If you could spend your days doing one thing, what would that one thing be? What is your passion? Find out what you truly love to do, because 'when a man does what he loves, he never works a day in his life'. The thing you love doing the most is its own best reward. But you also need to learn what it is you really love to do ... because after the 'success' and the feelings of accomplishment and validation are acquired, love is all that's left.
How can you be of service to others by combining your 'God-given' Talents with what you Love? Some people don't know what they love and some people don't know their talents, but many who are aware of both have still not found a way to combine them into something that will contribute to the world around them. This results in frustration, apathy, and finally despair. And it's why Henry David Thorough wrote, "most men lead lives of quiet desperation."
The greater your service to those around you, the greater your 'success' will be, however, there are many among us who use their talents to make a contribution for the sake of money alone. They do not Love what they do, they do what needs to be done to pay their bills. These are trading their hours for a handful of dimes and no matter how much money they acquire ... Happiness still eludes them.
Aligning any two of the three elements in the equation may produce results in your life, but Happiness will still elude you. Two out of three might make you some money, get you a job, or bring you a new hobby to enjoy, but all three elements must be in alignment with your soul's answer before you will experience Happiness.
Each of us must ask our soul these questions and listen closely to the responses. For when we align ourselves with the answers and apply them in our lives, then each and every one of us will truly know who we are, why we are here, and exactly what we are here to do.