This week I ran 11.49 miles, burned 1613.2 calories and weigh 176.3 pounds.
Monday: 3 miles in 31:08
Thursday: 3 miles in 31:48
Saturday: 4 miles in 43:49
Things may go off routine in the next few weeks because of family matters.
Drivel that cannot fit in a single panel comic.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
This week I ran 11.49 miles, burned 1613.2 calories and weigh 176.3 pounds.
Drew has incredible vision. I thought I was a bit socially inept but Vera Shields' attempt at flirting makes me feel better about my social skills. She can't help it, she's badly written. I guess Drew could call this a success. He got digits, even if they were handed to him on a cold impersonal business card rather than hand written on a napkin. He got work digits but he can count on Mary Worth to give him a home phone number. Why should personal privacy get in the way of match making?
Friday, June 29, 2007
Anyone who takes information on Wikipedia at face value has no right to determine street cred. I wonder what other life forms would think of us if they read Wikipedia?
I love Ted's line in the last panel.
The balding man in the tan shirt in the background moves very fast. Wait the man is not moving, the entire background has shifted! I'm being assaulted by both the art and dialogue.
create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.
I edited this post. I forgot that I visited Kansas and Missouri. Technically, I could include California since I was born there but I left so soon after that I don't remember. This version I only included states that I remember visiting.
Ms. Theologian's map looks like the opposite of mine.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Vera looks awful in the second panel. I like how she is prepared to leave this party at any moment. I understand why Vera's father gave all the money to Von and orders to take care of his sister. She seems to have some kind of social handicap. Pleasure to meet you, now DIE!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
To compound the boredom I bet alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Boring parties are bad but being forced to stay sober during a boring party - really bad.
The party may become more exciting because that guy doing the cannonball in the background is not going to make it all the way into the pool. I think he will dislocate a shoulder, injure an elbow or have a nasty scrape. At least Drew might have the chance to help someone and taking an injured person to the hospital is one of the better ways to exit a boring party.
Don't take my silence as a sign of indifference but as a sign of caring enough about you to avoid inflicting further pain upon you with awkward words.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
- Right handed
- Hair parts to the left
- Over half my hair is gray
- My eye color is not a solid color - brown near the iris and green on the outer edges
- My ring finger and index finger on my left hand are the same length, on my right hand the ring finger is longer
- The length depicted in the cartoon is my current hair length
- I don't do any sort of shaping of my eyebrows
- I own two t-shirts that shade of blue
- I draw with a mechanical pencil
Monday, June 25, 2007
Drew's thought balloon in the second panel makes all the suffering reading this comic worthwhile. Drew, now you know why ol' Dad used the old "want to do something fun?" question.
I work at an University. I work with lots of people with the title, Professor. None of them would want to be addressed as 'Professor' on or off campus. Only a grade A tool or Sherwood Schwartz sitcom character would allow it.
Mary Worth time: 24 hours of Mary Worth time = 84 hours of non-comic strip time. Which means this pool party will last at least a week.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
I hate Mary Worth! I hate Mary Worth! I hate Mary Worth! I hate Mary Worth! I hate Mary Worth! I hate Mary Worth!
So why can't I stop reading it?
So Mary Worth time moves a lot more slowly than I thought. For those not keeping up - the pool party is tomorrow in Mary Worth time. At this rate the party won't actually happen until July - 2008.
There is a bit of dharma here. I became so attached to the expectation of a pool party that I ended up suffering when the plot did not move to my expectations.
I made this assumption about the pool party because in the past Moy and Giella took advantage of the extra Sunday panels with previous pool parties.
I love Mary's goofy expression in the second panel.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
I subscribe to an e-newsletter called Early to Rise. Usually contains interesting information and I can ignore the sales pitches, mostly material on how to get rich by investing in real estate or as a direct marketing copywriter (junk mail writer). I found the following article very useful but probably not in the way that the author intended. Further comments following the article.
How the Difference Between Liverwurst and Pate Can Help You Make More Sales
By Michael Masterson
Nothing sells better than price. No matter how valuable your product is... or how clever your marketing is... nothing will increase your customer base faster than underpricing your competition.
This secret is often overlooked, but it's the most reliable way to grow a brand-new small business or revive a business that's on the verge of failing.
Once you've established a substantial customer base by using this tactic, you will want to gradually increase the quality of your product/service and gradually raise your prices. And while you're doing that, you may reach a point where you can no longer compete on price... but the quality of your product isn't yet good enough to attract luxury buyers.
What do you do then? You make your price seem cheap - even if it's not.
Back in the late 1960s, I worked at a company that sold aluminum siding. The typical "package" we sold retailed at $2,800. That was a lot of money back in 1967, especially in the working-class neighborhoods we sold in. Like all good selling pitches, ours focused on the benefits first. We did a very good job of helping our prospects imagine how much better, easier, and fuller their lives would be once the asbestos shingles that covered their homes were hidden beneath a fine, shiny facade of bright, white aluminum.
It's what happened after we made those big promises that I want to talk about today - what my boss, Harvey Fisher, used to do after the sale was made. By "after the sale was made," I mean after the prospect had emotionally committed to owning the aluminum siding but before he found out how expensive it was.
This is a critical part of any sales presentation, but it's especially sensitive when the potential
customer has little or no idea of the product's price. The challenge: Now that you've lodged a hook deep into his heart, how do you get his brain to interpret your price as a good deal?
An inexperienced salesperson might want to break the price to the prospect slowly - by, for example, first quoting the cost of the gutters and leaders (say, $400), then the cost of the underhangs and fascia (another $400), then the windows and doors ($800), and, finally, the siding itself ($1,000). But, though logical, I learned from Harvey that this method doesn't work very well. "If you want to make the price of a liverwurst look cheap," he used to tell me, "say it's pate."
If I didn't understand what he meant the first time I heard him say that, the principle became clear when I saw Harvey in action. After getting some young couple to "imagine" how much nicer their house would look clad in aluminum, how much the neighbors would admire them, and how generally happy they'd be, he'd ask them, "Now, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, tell me this... how much would you guess it would cost you to cover your house in solid oak?"
"Oak?" they would ask. "But we thought..."
"I'm serious," Harvey would insist. "How much would it cost?"
It was the husbands who always ventured the first guess. "I don't know. Maybe $5,000?"
"$5,000?" Harvey would look at the wife. "Do you think you could do it for $5,000?"
"Gee, I don't know. Probably not."
The number would go up. $6,000. $7,000. $8,000. At each new estimate, Harvey would shake his head sadly and say, "You should be so lucky."
Harvey would pause for a good while, giving the frazzled couple a chance to imagine how they were going to come up with the $10,000 this was bound to cost, and then "hit them with the zinger" (as he liked to call it): "Let me give you 10 good reasons why aluminum siding is better than solid oak!"
It wasn't logical, but it was effective. By the time Harvey finished enumerating the 10 reasons aluminum was better than oak, they were mentally prepared to spend $10,000. When Harvey told them they'd have to fork out only $2,800, they practically jumped with joy.
Harvey's trick has a long history in the business of selling. It's been a mainstay of many of the best salespeople I know. I've used it myself to make tens of millions of dollars worth of sales.
Yes, it's very powerful. It's also very effective and surprisingly adaptable. In fact, it should
probably be a key part of every sales presentation that is made by you or your business.
In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini puts a label to this technique. He calls it "the principle of contrast" and illustrates it with a story from Leo Rosten about the Drubeck brothers, Sid and Harry, who owned a menswear shop in Rosten's neighborhood while he was growing up in the 1930s:
"Whenever the salesman, Sid, had a new customer trying on suits in front of the shop's three-sided mirror, he would admit to a hearing problem, and, as they talked, he would repeatedly request that the man speak more loudly to him. Once the customer had found a suit he liked and asked for the price, Sid would call to his brother, the head tailor, at the back of the room: 'Harry, how much for this suit?' Looking up from his work - and greatly exaggerating the suit's true price - Harry would call back: 'For that beautiful all-wool suit, $42.' Pretending not to have heard and cupping his hand to his ear, Sid would ask again. Once more, Harry would reply '$42.' At this point, Sid would turn to the customer and report: 'He says $22.' Many a man would hurry to buy the suit and scramble out of the shop with his 'bargain' before poor Sid discovered the 'mistake.'"
It's not always true, but most people... most of the time... like a bargain. We not only want what we want and what we hope it will give us, we also want to pay the "right" price for it. The best way to make the price of your product or service seem "right" is to compare it to something similar that costs more. If you happen to sell inexpensive CZ diamonds, this isn't difficult. The stones you can sell for $5 or $10 apiece look every bit as good as the authentic ones going for 1,000 times that price.
But if the price you are asking isn't such an obvious bargain, you need to be more creative. Instead of comparing your product to a similar one that costs the same, find (or create) something special about your product that makes it unique. I did that early in my career when I compared subscribing to the $100 newsletter I was selling to joining an expensive investment club (which sounded as if it should cost $1,000). I've done it hundreds of times since in all sorts of ways. You can too.
Cialdini's principle of contrast is also used to create additional sales. It's done in direct marketing all the time by selling the main item at one price, and then additional similar items at a discount.
When I shop at Saks, Al, my regular salesman, uses the principle of contrast to get me to spend a ton of money on "accessories." Here's how he does it:
First, he sells me on the suit - for $1,000 or more. I'm ready to pull out my wallet, but Al's not
finished with me. He takes me over to the shirt counter to show me some shirts that "will go
sensationally" with the suit I just bought. These shirts are expensive... usually more than $100 each. I don't normally pay that much for a shirt, but after laying out so much on the suit, they seem cheap. When Al is done selling me two or three overpriced (but, by contrast, seemingly cheap) shirts, he hits me with the $70 ties. I'm lucky to get out of Al's grasp at twice the price of the suit.
CP, a real-estate broker I deal with, uses the principle of contrast to get his clients to buy more real estate. If I tell him I'm in the market for a two-bedroom house off Atlantic Avenue for about $350,000, he'll be sure to first show me at least one or two so-so two-bedroom houses that are overpriced at $400,000 and $425,000. After those disappointments, I'll be thrilled when he shows me one for a mere $375,000 - $25,000 more than I was prepared to pay, but a bargain in contrast to what I had just seen.
This technique works. Are you using it effectively in your business?
This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com
In order to republish this article I must include the above paragraph.
After reading this article I thought, "Salespeople wonder why they are considered slimy by non-salespeople?" I felt a bit slimy after reading this and I don't work in sales. What I found even more bizarre is that the author recognizes and falls for the technique himself.
I wonder what it really cost to cover a house with solid oak?
I found the article useful in helping me recognize a somewhat slimy sales technique and I hope I can keep my wits about me enough not to fall for it next time I want to buy something.
My emotional reaction to this article has brought free advertising for the newsletter, so I guess it would count as a success.
Posted by Linda Causey at 6/22/2007 01:58:00 PM
Jeez, Dr. Jeff! Why are you still speaking to your adult son like that? Every child knows that the speech in panel one translates as, "I'm going to tell you to do something totally unpleasant." Mary curtails the sense of dread by revealing that the task is attending a pool party. Drew is visibly relieved that he is not being asked to clean the gutters or something. Drew has never attended a Charterstone pool party, he might prefer cleaning the gutters after attending this party.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
The appearance of this comic has helped answer the real time vs. comic time question. Mary will attempt to set up Drew with Vera at the Charterstone pool party (whenever that happens). I will actually read Mary Worth this weekend. I normally confine my Mary Worth habit to 5 days a week but I will make an exception in anticipation of the big pool party. I run the risk of finding Mary Worth time much slower than I previously thought. I've have some deep breathing exercises and a punching bag ready in case the pool party does not happen this weekend.
I do have a real life. I will attend a real party in appreciation of the church's ministerial search committee this Sunday.
Also on the church front, we have neighbors that like to use the alley and our grounds to run their dune buggy. Three members and two police officers have spoken to them and they have not modified their behavior. I missed the service but I read that they ran their dune buggy up and down the alley during service. What happened to respecting other people's property and obeying the police?
Edgar has become more comfortable with his surroundings. He has joined Salvador in the morning chirp, shriek and whistle fest and he climbs in and out of the cage. He does not bite as hard. He perched on my thumb after I guided him from the floor back to the cage. His wing feathers have not grown out long enough for him to fly properly. Edgar has even intimidated Salvador enough to make him move from a perch. Funny that Sal lets a bird half his size intimidate him.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Sign that I need to reevaluate my career - participation in this project intrigues me.
ESA looks 'Mars mission' volunteers
The European Space Agency has announced a search for volunteers to participate in a 520-day simulated Mars mission. The experiment is part of the preparation for future space exploration in which astronauts will have to take care of themselves for nearly two years, experiencing extreme isolation and confinement. The experiment, in cooperation with the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems, will send a crew of six on a 520-day simulated mission to Mars. The simulation will follow the profile of a real Mars mission, with nutrition identical to that provided on the International Space Station. The simulations will take place inside a special facility in Moscow. A precursor 105-day study is to start by mid-2008, possibly followed by another 105-day study, before the full 520-day study begins in late 2008 or early 2009. The ESA is looking for 12 volunteers -- four for each of the three simulations. The selection procedure is similar to that used for ESA astronauts, although there will be more emphasis on psychological factors and stress resistance than on physical fitness. Details concerning the experiment are available at
Things at work have slowed down a bit. I've been filming and editing candidate videos. I will do more of that in the beginning of next week. I've enjoyed doing this over the infinite project. I did receive some helpful suggestions for the project, for example "need photo" in a space holder that I placed on the poster for the photos that I'm trying to get. I wonder if one of the wildlife researchers will let me use the tranquilizer dart gun? That will make some of these people stop so I can get a photo. I did receive some actual helpful suggestions on this project, very few of them providing the information I need but I'll take what I can get.
Themes for today's comics: other characters appearing in single panel comics and dog drinking out of the toilet bowl gags (Buckles and Mother Goose and Grimm, which I did not post here).
B.C. explores the hilarity of domestic violence.
Sometimes, I suspend a bit of scientific knowledge for the sake of a gag. It looks like Glasbergen does the same thing. But I felt this panel pushed the suspension a bit far. I immediately thought of the baleen whales rather than the toothed whales when reading this gag. A panel caption does not provide enough space to make distinctions. I suppose "..why do sperm whales (or killer whales) weigh two tons?" could have worked. Maintain the integrity of the gag with some scientific accuracy.
More information about whale diets and weights can be found here and here.
Now, I have that song stuck in my head. Shining star for you to see... What your life can truly be... Damn it, now I have to go find that song so that I can hear the whole thing so I can make the parts that I know stop playing in a loop in my head.
Idea for a game show for cartoonists: Set up that bad punchline. Contestants receive a bad punchline and then proclaim how many panels it would take them to set it up. Then they would have to draw the comic. I can set up that crappy punchline in two panels. Ha, I can set it up in a single panel.
Face it Mary, no one wants to attend the Charterstone pool party. Sadly, I'm kind of looking forward to it. This could answer questions about Mary Worth time. Will the pool party strip appear tomorrow or will it wait until Sunday? If it appears tomorrow then Mary Worth time corresponds to our 24 hour day but if it does not appear until Sunday then 60 hours of our time equals 24 hours of Mary Worth time. We have the potential for a breakthrough in comic strip physics research.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Walter and I are collaborating on a graphic novel. He's writing and doing layouts and I'm drawing, scanning and lettering. This is my first project with serious content. We collaborated on some funny projects during the first years of our marriage. This will be a challenge for me because the story requires a drawing style that I don't use very often. I have to sharpen some very rusty skills. I'm a bit worried about my ability to bring Walter's vision to life.
I need to draw some model sheets; something I haven't done in years.
We've decided on Edgar as the name for our new parakeet. He chirps and makes his own set of noises now. I think he has become comfortable with Salvador. Still trying to teach him to perch on one of our fingers.
Royboy didn't look at his neighbor's paper, he stole in between panel 2 and 3. It's little mistakes like that, in which I don't want to make on this graphic novel. The advantage of drawing single panel comics is that one does not have to worry about continuity errors.
Ah, poor Mary, she didn't really expect Dr. Jeff to actually fund raise. The fundraising bit was to ease Dr. Jeff's guilt about leaving those sick children without a doctor. Mary does not care about children, she just wants Dr. Jeff. But he's raising the funds and not paying attention to Mary. How will Mary put a stop to this?
Wow, Dr. Jeff has recovered nicely, even looks several years younger.
Monday, June 18, 2007
I want the flotation device in the third panel.
Family Circus parody day this past Sunday
Two comics that demonstrate how my mind works:
I wouldn't write a dissertation but I've had existential questions about fictional characters. Often, I find the fictional more interesting than the real.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
This week I ran 7.14 miles, burned 914.4 calories and weigh 176.2 calories.
Monday: 2 miles in 22:32
Wednesday: 2 miles in 21:01
Saturday: 2 miles in 26:31
Saturday, I stepped on the back roller of the treadmill and injured my knee. I ended up walking most of the final .60 miles.
I'm doing the rest, ice, compression, elevation thing. Ibuprofen helps too.
The garage sales pretty much sucked. Clothes, clothes and more clothes. Just take it to the Salvation Army. One sale was good but the rest were a waste of time.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Three comics that I would hang on my fridge if I read them in a newspaper. The first two I understand the sentiments expressed in the last panel and the third one I just found sick, twisted and very funny.
Looks like readers of Mary Worth will suffer through weeks of Mary's attempt to get a man for Vera. Mary did not pay attention to Vera when she stated that she did not want to depend on a man. Oops, my heterosexism is showing. Karen Moy could take Mary Worth into controversial territory and set up Vera with a woman. Or even have Mary explore her - oh god, I just made myself ill. Yeah, right. That would be too interesting. Stick with the pedestrian so that I have something to write about.
I don't observe the movement of long hair in real life but, in the second panel, the position of Vera's ponytail versus the position of her head does not look right.
This cartoon was inspired by my 6th grade band director at Memorial Middle School in Garland, Texas. The school is now some special type of school instead of a regular middle school. The band director whose name I've forgotten was a grade-A asshole to me and incompetent. One advantage to changing schools a lot is that I had a large sample for comparison.
I played the clarinet and I'm slightly tone deaf. Maybe band is not the best place for a slightly tone deaf person. But I stayed all the way through my senior year in high school. All this despite the best efforts of Mr. Asshole. I only suffered through Mr. Asshole's "teaching" for 5 months. Mr. Asshole's technique for helping me tune my instrument involved screaming at me - "YOU'RE FLAT!!!" Adjust your embouchure! YOU'RE STILL FLAT!!! Adjust your EMBOUCHURE! CAN'T YOU HEAR THAT!! YOU'RE STILL FLAT!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!!!! ADJUST YOUR EMBOUCHURE!
Not a nice thing to do in front of a whole class of 6th graders, who did not like me very much anyway. Luckily for him I did not have access to a firearm or a particularly aggressive personality. The most that I ever did to him was give him a dirty look and point out that I am adjusting the best that I can.
Later, from a different band director at a different school, I learned about adjusting the barrel on the clarinet and purchasing better reeds.
The cartoon is about incompetent people simply screaming useless advice hoping that repeated screaming will improve things.
An evil part of me hopes that Mr. Asshole died a very painful death while an incompetent doctor screamed at him, YOU'RE SICK - STOP BEING SICK!! BE HEALTHY! WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU!!! WHY CAN'T YOU SEE THAT YOU ARE SICK!!!!
I would find that very funny and laugh out loud despite the disapproval of polite society. I settle for drawing a cartoon about it 23 years later.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I spent the afternoon tracking down a nice little PowerPoint 2007 problem.
A presentation was created in PowerPoint 2003. This presentation included embedded Flash and Shockwave files. The files play fine in 2003 and 2007 (as long as they are not saved in 2007). Changes were made to the presentation using 2007, now the Shockwave and Flash files do not work. Upon opening the presentation (saved in 2007) receive this message:
Some controls on this presentation can't be activated. They might no be registered on this computer.
This message appears whether opening in 2007 or 2003.
I spent several hours at the Microsoft site and other sites. A more qualified IT person spent several hours at the Microsoft site and other sites. Installing SwiffPlayer did not help. Anyway, all I can figure out is that 2007 causes some screw up with Active-X controls. From reading the forums on Microsoft's site, others are having the same problem. No solutions so far.
The person who made the presentation just informed me that the message does not appear if saved in the default 2007 format. Now the question is if it will play on a machine with 2003. According to Microsoft, it should.
Saving as a 2003 in 2007 causes a hiccup with the ActiveX controls. One would do that if trying to remain compatible with older versions.
The 2007 version is coming my way and I'm about to try it with my 2003.
Damn, received this message:
This file was created in a newer version of Microsoft Office PowerPoint. The file has been converted to a format you can work with, but ActiveX controls have been converted to static objects.
I'm downloading a file format compatibility converter from Microsoft to see if that solves the problem. Nope, the converter does not extend to ActiveX controls. Crap.
So, Karen Moy goes for the least interesting objection to attending the pool party.
In the first panel Mary is using the Jedi Mind Trick. You will go to the Charterstone party next week! I will go to the Charterstone party next week. These are not the droids you're looking for. These are not the droids I'm looking for. Move along. Move along.
Next, the readers suffer through weeks of Mary trying to convince Vera to lead a more balanced life. All work and no play.
Tonight, I attend my first board meeting as Past-President.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Little bird has survived more than 48 hours, so he deserves a name. So far, Walter and I have come up with Edgar and Ficus. Edgar, after Edgar Allen Poe to stick with the arty theme for naming birds and Ficus because of his personality, so far.
One has to interact a lot with a parakeet to get them to display some personality. I'm trying to get Edgar/ Ficus used to my hand in the cage. Hopefully, he will associate my hand with food and realize that it is a good thing. Maybe he will also see how much fun Salvador has outside of the cage interacting with people and he will join in the fun. I will try not to rush things, let Edgar/ Ficus do things at his pace.
I need to take some pictures.
A little Mary Worth avatar fun featuring Vera Shields:
So many ways to add to Vera's line in the second panel.
Party? Are you serious? I can't rest on my laurels, I have to get that next promotion!
Party? Are you serious? You expect me to stoop to attending a party with you Santa Royale hoi polloi?! I may not live in Pacific Hills any longer but that does not mean I have to socialize with the likes of you!
Party? Are you serious? Geriatrics in bathing suits, ewwww!
Party? Are you serious? Is that creepy Professor Cameron going to be there?
Party? Are you serious? Look, Mary I'm grateful for your help but I really find parties quite draining. I prefer one on one or very small group socializing. Large parties make me really uncomfortable.
Party? Are you serious? A large typhoon is expected to reach landfall this weekend. Shouldn't we evacuate?
Party? Are you serious? You want me to come to the party even though I acted a bit brusque at the last pool party?
Party? Are you serious? No, Vera, I'm being silly. I'm going to kill you and make a casserole out of your still beating heart.
Now the interactive portion. Add your own line in the comments.
Party? Are you serious? _________________