An Open Letter To Weis Markets

Full Moon over the Hartshill Wharf

I have discovered that there are many little things that make moving to a new home a rich experience. Simple changes such as finding a new place to get your groceries can be an amazing journey of discovery. This was the case for me when we moved just far enough away from my favorite grocer to require a back up store closer to my new home. Welcome to Weis Markets.

My welcome to Weis was an unforgettable experience. As I stepped out of my car for
that first visit and my foot touched the parking lot it landed in chewing gum. Gum in
a parking lot can really happen to any business, but this lot looked grimi. I guess
with 157 stores though, that is a "lot" of parking lots to keep up with, and I am sure
that Weis is too busy to care about one customer with gum on their shoes.

On my first and subsequent visits, I was amazed to find that all but one of the
cashiers were bagging or teaching customers how to use the self-service scanning
devices at every register coercing any customers not willing to wait for the one and
only human cashier to check out their groceries themselves. I even asked a manager
about this, but was told they could not find enough employees. I was really curious
about the ones that were already working there, but this did not seem to go
anywhere with the manager who seemed to have more important things to do than
talk to customers. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but having a human at a register is
one of the last few services left that I am ready to give up.

So, I wait in the long line with the one human who is paid to run the register. Opps,
Can you help me? I forgot my "Weis Store Card." What? You can not ring it on a
generic store card like my favorite old store use to do for me? I have to wait in line
at customer service so they can look it up? You can not even call them on your phone
for me? Oh, you do not have a phone at your register, do you? Gee that makes it a bit
hard to help customers does not it?

As I wait for ten minutes in the "Customer Service line" staffed by one frazzled
employee, who is providing a whole host of services, I realize that 9000 employees
is far too many to train and besides they will not work for Weis long enough to make
the investment in training worthwhile. What does it matter if you choose loose customers
like me who drop an average of $ 120 per weekly visit into the one register staffed
by a human. Who cares if I refuse, even in an emergency, to go to Weis and instead
drive 12-15 minutes to the Oregon Dairy, where there are always humans who will
ring me up on the "store card" and go out of their way to help me. Once they even
sent me home with several bags of groceries and an IOU when I forgot to make a
deposit and my bank card came up insufficient funds !! How does the Oregon Dairy
do it anyway? They are a single store operation but charge the same prices as Weis
and can actually afford to staff all those registrants with humans? And where do they
find all those employees just 15 minutes away? Something sure is fishy here. It must
be the shrimp sale at the Oregon Dairy. I think I will stop by seafood and pick up a
few pounds.

Strange But True: Pronunciation Similarities in Spanish and Japanese

What do you think of it so far?

If you know anything about the history of Spain and Japan, you know that there are few similarities between their cultures and languages. Culturally, and linguistically, Spain has a major influence from ancient Rome as well as the long Moorish rule of the country.

By contrast Japan had its most powerful influences from Asia, mostly Korea and China. The different forms of Japanese writing have their roots in Chinese writing, although Mandarin Chinese and Japanese are linguistically completely different.

The Mandarin Chinese language is a good example of a language that is in a separate category than both Japanese and Spanish. Chinese uses a complex set of tones to communicate meaning. A good example is the word, “ma.” That word can mean anything from “mom” to “horse” to even a kind of “pronounced question mark” at the end of a sentence to indicate that you’re asking a question. There are 5 different ways (tones) that you can use to pronounce “ma,” and each tone would change the meaning of the word completely.

In contrast, Japanese and Spanish do not use such complex tones to change the meaning of words. Japanese and Spanish are, in that way, in a separate category than Mandarin Chinese and other tonal languages like Vietnamese and Thai.

We can also separate Japanese and Spanish from languages like English. When a person learns English as a second language, they often struggle with English pronunciation rules. English is not one of the languages where one can easily understand the pronunciation of a word just as it is written, and there are complicated rules to when things are pronounced in different ways.

By contrast, Spanish and Japanese have consistent pronunciation rules that make it possible to see the written word and know how to pronounce it. In Spanish, once you know the sounds of the Spanish alphabet and some straightforward pronunciation rules, you’re pretty much set to see and be able to pronounce Spanish words.

In Japanese, the language’s sounds are represented by a small number of Japanese characters called, Kana (Hiragana and Katakana) each of which represent a syllable in the language. If you master the sounds related to those small number of syllables, you can piece together the pronunciation of any Japanese word.

So at a high level, Japanese and Spanish share the characteristic that their written forms can be used to easily convey the pronunciation of words clearly and consistently. But even as we dig deeper into the pronunciation, we see more similarities between the two languages emerge.

The vowels in Spanish and Japanese are pronounced roughly the same. The “a” is pronounced as the “a” in father. In Spanish an example is “gracias” (thank you) and in Japanese an example is “asa” (morning). The “i” is pronounced as the “ee” in the English word “meet”. In Spanish an example is the word, “mi” (my) and the Japanese “ichi” (one). In both languages, the “u” is pronounced as the “oo” in “loot.” Examples are “umi” (sea) and “gustar” (to like) in Japanese and Spanish respectively. The “e” is pronounced as the “e” in “bed”. In Japanese it’s the initial sound of “ebi” (shrimp) and the initial sound of “el” (the) in Spanish. Finally, “o” is pronounced as the “o” in “hope”. In Spanish an example is “ocho” (eight) and in Japanese “otoko” (man).

The consonants in Spanish and Japanese are also roughly the same with some well-known exceptions like the Spanish and Japanese pronunciations of the “r”.

A Spanish word consists of a string of consonants and vowels which we can break up into syllables. The Spanish alphabet is used to piece together a word like “gustar,” which breaks up into basically two syllables, “gu-star”.

As mentioned before, Japanese pronunciation will break things up into the sounds of the Kana character syllables. Each Kana character will represent one sound in the word and can be written as such. Using one of the examples above, we could break up the Japanese pronunciation into individual Kana character sounds like this, “o-to-ko”.

So in both Spanish and Japanese, we have most consonants and vowels having basically the same pronunciation, a set of consistent pronunciation rules, and the fact that both languages are not tonal in nature. With these shared elements, we have the ingredients we need to have pronunciation intersections between the two languages.

There is at least one example where a word is pronounced roughly the same in both Spanish and Japanese. In Japanese it is a form of the verb, “kaerimasu” (to return, go home). In Spanish it’s a form of the verb, “callar” (to stop talking or to be quiet). In both languages the initial sounds of “ca” and “ka” are the same. The verbs simply have to change forms in order for them to sound the same.

In Japanese, a verb of the type “kaerimasu” changes into one the Japanese forms called the “-te form” like this, “kaette” (ka-eh-te). This verb form is used in sentences like “Chan-san wa Chuugoku ni kaette imasu” (Mr. Chan has returned to China).

In Spanish, a verb of the type “callar,” in an imperative conjugation (giving a command), results in the word, “callate” (Shut up). This can be used in a sentence like, “Callate la boca ” (Shut your mouth.)

Both of the words “kaette” and “callate” are in fact pronounced in a very similar way, owing to the effect that the “ae” combination has on “kaette” and the way some Spanish dialects pronounce the “ll”.

With stricter analysis, the similarities do start to break down, but the aim is not to prove that Spanish and Japanese share the exact same pronunciation, but only that there is a surprising amount of similarity based on the linguistic distance between the two languages.

There may even be other, better examples of this. If the reader knows of other such examples where Japanese and Spanish words share the same or very similar pronunciations of words, feel free to contact me at my website list at the end of this article.

In conclusion, it is indeed strange but true that the languages of Japanese and Spanish can find similarities in spite of their linguistic roots on opposite sides of the planet.

It is strange but true that the languages of Japanese and Spanish can find pronunciation similarities in spite of a completely different linguistic history. Find out why this is the case and see an example.

Most Common Office Stationery Items and Their Importance

Belem Tower

Office stationery items are the must have accessories for significant office operations. Even the workplaces with computers depend upon various stationery items with very important roles to perform. These items help in carrying out some important workspace functions in an efficient and effective manner.

As a business owner, you must survey and learn about the most commonly used stationery items in workspaces. Obviously, you would like to purchase more quantity of those items from office stationery suppliers that are in great demand. So, here is a list of items that a working environment requires the most.

Office Papers

Papers are required in the offices for printing purposes, for taking notes, to prepare documents and many other important functions. Papers are required to send proposals as well as invoices. So, you must offer office stationery items like A4 sized papers, paper notebooks and notepads, photo paper and so on.

Items to Write

Pens are among the most required items in a workplace. Apart from ball pens and fountain pens, the office owners require markers and highlighters as the useful writing items. Pencils and erasers are other items of great interest for the office owners. Going ahead, items like whiteboards are of importance for many workplaces. You must consider these items among the most purchased stationery items for the offices.

Diaries and Calendars

Other useful office stationery items include the things that help the office owners to prepare their schedules and remember the important dates. Desk calendars are the items that can be easily found on the working tables of the office owners. For this purpose, you must supply office diaries and calendars to the office owners.

Files and Folders

Every office owner likes the office to look organized. So, an important category of office stationery is that of files and folders. Paper folders and card holders are the common items purchased in this category. Report covers and document binders are other items of interest for the office owners. All these items should be included in the product base of your office stationery business.

Various Office Equipments

A modern office setup requires variety of equipments to work smoothly. Here are some important items that you must sell as office stationery:

Calculators and scientific calculators are required at offices for easy calculations.

Imaging equipments like computer printers, fax machines and photocopiers are among the most desired office items.

Presentation equipments like screens and projectors are other frequently used items in an office.

Paper weights and paper clips are other things that are required in offices to keep everything in place. Paper cutters and sticky notes are other useful items that maintain the interest in working efficiently. Staplers and envelopes are other such items that you must supply as office stationery. Finally, adhesives and shredders are items that add usefulness to the working environment at offices.

You can find office stationery suppliers at business directories on the web. Make sure that you obtain the above-mentioned items to make your business a one-stop destination for the office owners.

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Culture

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In the present-day world there are few people who reject the phenomenon of globalization. The world is becoming more and more global in the sense that people of various cultures start to communicate more freely. Furthermore there are means to communicate thoughts and ideas across cultures such as television, the internet and so on. Even though it is so common to believe that knowledge, experience, science are capable of transcending all cultural differences, many people lessen the importance of those barriers and oftentimes disregarding their existence.

All cultures have a set of beliefs that institute the code of values ​​and moral laws for that particular culture. In Asia for example people were exposed to certain social phenomena and inevitably adopted certain beliefs that now determine their behavior as a separate culture. In other countries people share different beliefs and values ​​due to a variety of factors. Religion is one of the most important factors that shape the society in terms of its cultural beliefs and traditions. Another important component is history that can tell us about the events of the past that might have had some influence on the further development of people in that particular country.

Cultural differences present a very interesting social phenomenon to study and understand. There are cultures that share very similar values ​​and traditions and there are cultures that have very different beliefs. In the confines of this paper, I will focus my attention on the differences between Chinese and American cultures that in my opinion present very good examples for this study. There are myriad differences in all aspects of social activity and there are probably more differences than similarities in these two cultures.

To study a particular culture is to actually study the people and their behavior from a sociological perspective. It is very important to construct a working definition of a culture. Culture is a set of social norms, traditions, beliefs and values ​​shared by a large group of people. Individuals who belong to that group can be considered a culture. By the same token, they can be called a society because at this point there is not much difference between the two notions. A society is literally a group of people that share that particular set of beliefs, values ​​and so on, whereas the word culture has slightly different connotations. A particular culture may as well be share by more than one nation whereas the word society is usually applicable to the nation that inhabits a particular country. There are slight differences between these two terms but most sociologists and anthropologists use them interchangeably.

In other words, a culture is a set of beliefs or a particular ideology that a society shares. It is very interesting to understand how people develop a culture because it seems to be a purely social phenomenon developed by a group of people and then spread among others individuals who somehow relate to that particular group.

As an example, communist countries have very different cultures. They vividly illustrate how a group of people can influence a culture. China was not always a communist country. Long before communists came to power the population of the country shared a different ideology. The communist government directly influenced the country's culture by the means of propaganda, the education system, television etc. Subsequently, the next generation is going to absorb the culture modified by communism whereas the previous generation is not so likely to accept it. However, even though communists altered people's views and beliefs they could not completely eradicate most of the traditions shared by the society (Henry Rosemont, 1981).

There are many numerous differences between human beings and animals. Even though humans as well as animals are very complex creatures that have very complicated biological and chemical processes going on in their bodies, humans are more complex creatures because there is a great deal of social interaction that implies relationships, mental processes, human behavior, etc . Social sciences are several related fields that basically study the interaction among human beings. This field is very broad because the social activities that human beings involve in are so numerous that it would be hard to expound all the phenomena that can not be explained by natural sciences in one discipline.

The social sciences include anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, law, psychology, criminology and social psychology. All these sciences are very important because they make an attempt to explain why people act that way they do, why they interact with others, and why they form a global society. Actually these disciplines cover a lot more social issues that directly relate to the behavior of people. The difference between the social sciences and the natural sciences lies in the fact that the natural sciences like physics, mathematics, biology and chemistry study the processes and objects that can be physically measures in terms of weight, speed, or other measurements. Social sciences deal with more subtle social processes and phenomena that can not be measured exactly but can only be pondered and theorized about (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Anthropology is a very diverse and broad discipline that primarily deals with questions like what people think, what they do, why they interact with each other, and how they evolved over the course of time. Mostly, anthropologists deal with very basic questions but it is the simplicity that gives way to more complex phenomena. This discipline also studies how people can adopt to various cultural environments and how the cultures were formed. Ultimately, the purpose of this science is to understand the human life. Anthropology contains three main components that are employed by scientists to unravel the mysteries of the human race. They are society, culture, and evolution. Society and culture are the terms that are often confused and used interchangeably.

The basic definition of society can be found in biology where a herd of horses for example is referred to as society. However, society in the anthropological sense is used in reference to humans who can form a society of several billions of people who share the same culture. Culture, on the other hand, is a set of rules, customs, traditions that people live in accordance with. A society that shares the same set of social rules that can be called a culture. Therefore, there is very subtle difference between the two terms and most of the time they can be used interchangeably due to the great deal of similarity. There are several elements that institute a culture.

First of all, people who form a culture speak the same language, and employ other means of communicating complex ideas such as art, literature, cinema, etc. Thus a culture can be passed from generation to generation. Evolution is a radically different approach and it aims at the evolution of human beings over time. There are numerous theories that try to examine the process of evolution but most of them are questionable. As a separate discipline of anthropology consists of several fields that include cultural anthropology that studies the elements that institute a culture and what role cultures play in the world today; linguistic anthropology that focuses on the role of the language in the society; archaeology that studies the ancient societies, the cultures of the past and the effect they have on the present-day world; and physical anthropology that focuses on the evolution of human beings in terms of biological and physiological aspects.

Physical anthropology is similar to archaeology in the sense that both study the evolution. However, physical anthropology focuses on the physical changes that presumably occurred in the human bodies over time whereas archeology emphasizes the cultural aspects of evolution. As you can see, anthropology is a very broad field and it is closely related to some other social disciplines (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Another very important component that I believe influences the formation of a particular culture is mythology that relates to the people of that culture. Mythology is essentially a set of myths that originated in a culture and were spread around by people. Thereafter, this set of myths became traditions and cultural beliefs that are share by the people of that culture. A myth can be classified as a narrative or a tale that has been passed from one generation to another by word of mouth. This process of retelling keeps going up to the point when it is hard to distinguish between a tale and a true story.

Myths usually get accepted by the culture as a custom or a tradition and when this happens it is hard to tell a myth from reality. Most of the time, people involuntarily believe that the myths that happened to originate a long time ago set the foundation of their culture (E. Evans, 1983). Myths are universal, occurring in almost all cultures. They typically date from a time before the introduction of writing, when they were passed orally from one generation to the next. Myths deal with basic questions about the nature of the world and human experience, and because of their all-encompassing nature, myths can illuminate many aspects of a culture. Although it is difficult to draw rigid distinctions among various types of traditional tales, people who study mythology find it useful to categorize them.

The three most common types of tales are sagas, legends, and folktales. When a tale is based on a great historical (or presumably historical) event, it is generally known as a saga. Despite a saga's basis in very distant historical events, its dramatic structure and characters are the product of storytellers' imaginations. A legend is a fictional story associated with a historical person or place. Legends often provides examples of the virtues of honored figures in the history of a group or nation. The traditional American story about young George Washington and the cherry tree – in which he could not lie about chopping it down – is best described as a legend, because George Washington is a historical figure but the story about the cherry tree is recognized today as fictional. Folktales, a third variety of traditional tale, are usually simple narratives of adventure built around elements of character and plot – for example, the young man who slays a monster and wins the hand of a princess. Folktales may contain a moral or observation about life, but their chief purpose is entertainment (E. Evans, 1983).

Myths may include features of sagas, legends, and folktales. What makes one of these tales a myth is its serious purpose and its importance to the culture. Experts typically define a myth as a story that has complying drama and deals with basic elements and assumptions of a culture. Myths explain, for example, how the world began; how humans and animals came into being; how certain customs, gestures, or forms of human activity originated; and how the divine and human worlds interact. Many myths take place at a time before the world as human beings know it came into being. Because myth-making often involves gods, other supernatural creatures, and processes beyond human understanding, some scholars have viewed it as a dimension of religion. However, many myths address topics that are not typically considered religious – for example, why features of the landscape take a certain shape (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2002, Deluxe Edition).

The key character of Chinese mythology is monkey. He is a god-hero who is the cornerstone of ancient China's mythology (Henry Rosemont, 1981). Based on what is said in the legends, monkey was born from a stone egg that was created from a rock as old as time and included the essence of the Earth and Heaven. Monkey was endowed with a magical staff that could shrink or grow to any size. Also this hero had other magical abilities. For example there is a famous picture in Chinese mythology where the monkey creates an army out of his fur blowing it into the air.

Subsequently, this clever creature creates a monkey warrior out of every single hair. Monkey defied the supreme god of Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor, with his own claim as high god. To appease the mischievous Monkey, the Jade Emperor proclaimed him King of Heaven, concealing the fact that he had only made him a heavenly stable keeper. Monkey discovered this deception and, enraged, returned to Earth to wreak havoc. The Jade Emperor entreated Buddha for help. Buddha dropped a mountain on Monkey, and Monkey remained benefit it for 500 years. On his journey from China to India to retrieve Buddhist scriptures, the monk Tripitaka unearthed Monkey, who became tripitaka's escort and disciple. With two other companions, Piggy and Sandy, both exempts of the Heavenly Court reborn in monstrous bodies, Monkey accompanied the monk for 14 years, covering nine kingdoms and encountering numerous fantastic adventures. After introducing the scriptures Tripitaka had obtained in India to the Chinese emperor in the imperial capital of Chang-an, the four travelers were borne up to heaven. Monkey, with his irrepressible spirit and countless magic tricks, is generally regarded as a personification of the nature of genius (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Culture is basically the patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in social groups learn, create, and share. Culture identifies one human group from others. It also identifies humans from other animals. A people's culture includes their beliefs, rules of behavior, language, rituals, art, technology, styles of dress, ways of producing and cooking food, religion, and political and economic systems (E. Evans, 1983). Culture is the most important concept in anthropology – the study of all aspects of human life, past and present. Anthropologists commonly use the term culture to refer to a society or group in which many or all people live and think in the same ways.

Likewise, any group of people who share a common culture – and in particular, common rules of behavior and a basic form of social organization – constituents a society. Thus, the terms culture and society are somewhat interchangeable. However, while many animals live in societies, such as herds of elk or packs of wild dogs, only humans have culture. Culture developed together with the evolution of the human species, Homo sapiens, and is closely related to human biology. The ability of people to have culture comes in large part from their physical features: having big, complex brains; an upright post; free hands that can grasp and manipulate small objects; and a vocal tract that can produce and articulate a wide range of sounds (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2002 Deluxe Edition). These distinctively human physical features began to develop in African ancestors of humans more than four million years ago.

The earliest physical evidence of culture is crude stone tools produced in East Africa over two million years ago. People have culture primarily because they can communicate with and understand symbols. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and to exchange those thoughts with others. Language and other forms of symbolic communication, such as art, enable people to create, explain, and record new ideas and information. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and exchange those thoughts with others (E. Evans, 1983). A symbol has either an indirect connection or no connection at all with the object, idea, feeling, or behavior to which it reiterates.

For instance, most people in the United States find some meaning in the combination of the colors red, white, and blue. But those colors themselves have nothing to do with, for instance, the land that people call the United States, the concept of patriotism, or the US national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. To convey new ideas, people constantly invent new symbols, such as for mathematical formulas (E. Evans, 1983). In addition, people may use one symbol, such as a single word, to represent many different ideas, feelings, or values. Thus, symbols provide a flexible way for people to communicate even very complex thoughts with each other. For example, only through symbols can architects, engineers, and construction workers communicate the information necessary to construct a skyscraper or bridge. People have the capacity at birth to construct, understand, and communicate through symbols, primarily by using language.

Research has shown, for example, that infants have a basic structure of language – a sort of universal grammar – built into their minds. Infants are thus predisposed to learn the languages ​​spoken by the people around them. Language provides a means to store, process, and communicate amounts of information that vastly exceeds the capacities of nonhuman animals. For instance, chimpanzees, the closest genetic relatives of humans, use a few dozen calls and a variety of gestures to communicate in the wild. People have taught some chimps to communicate using American Sign language and picture-based languages, and some have developed vocabularies of a few hundred words. But an unabridged English dictionary may contain more than half-a-million vocabulary entries. Chimpanzees have also not clearly demonstrated the ability to use grammar, which is crucial for communicating complex thoughts. In addition, the human vocal tract, unlike that of chimpanzees and other animals, can create and articulate a wide enough variety of sounds to create millions of distinct words.

In fact, each human language uses only a fraction of the sounds humans can make. The human brain also contains areas dedicated to the production and interpretation of speech, which other animals lack. Thus, humans are predisposed in many ways to use symbolic communication. People are not born with culture; they have to learn it. For instance, people must learn to speak and understand a language and to abide by the rules of a society. In many societies, all people must learn to produce and prepare food and to construct shelters. In other societies, people must learn a skill to earn money, which they then use to provide for themselves. In all human societies, children learn culture from adults.

Anthropologists call this process enculturation, or cultural transmission. Enculturation is a long process. Just learning the intricacies of a human language, a major part of enculturation, takes many years. Families commonly protect and enculturate children in the households of their birth for 15 years or more (Encyclopedia Britannica). Only at this point can children leave and establish their own households. People also continue to learn through their lifetimes. Thus, most societies respect their elders, who have learned for an entire lifetime. Humans are not alone in their ability to learn behaviors, only in the amount and complexity of what they can learn.

For example, members of a group of chimpanzees may learn to use a unique source of food or to fashion some simple tools, behaviors that may distinguish them from other chimpanzee groups. But These unique ways of life are minor in comparison to the rich cultures that distinguish different human societies. Missing speech, chimps are very limited in what they can learn, communicate to others, and pass on from generation to generation.

People living together in a society share culture. For example, almost all people living in the United States share the English language, dress in similar styles, eat many of the same foods, and celebrate many of the same holidays. All the people of a society collectively create and maintain culture. Societies preserve culture for much longer than the life of any one person. They reserve it in the form of knowledge, such as scientific discoveries; objects, such as works of art; and traditions, such as the observation of holidays.

As it was pointed out mythology plays a vital role in the development of a culture. The tales and sagas that originated in a particular culture are adopted as beliefs and traditions that in turn form a cultural foundation that people adhere to. It is not only traditions that determine a cultural barrier that interferes with the mutual understanding among cultures. People in China were able to develop different traditions and customs partly because they inhabited a different geographical area and were not influenced by the American culture. There are things that can only be understood by people who live in a particular area. Furthermore when the representatives of a particular culture confront people from another culture there is a great deal of misunderstanding between them. Using the sociological terminology, it can be classified as a cultural clash. Such a cultural clash happens whenever people from two different cultures attempt to communicate an idea not taking into account the cultural differences that exist between them.

Bibliography
Chinese Language, Chinese Philosophy, and Truth. Journal of Asian Studies 44: 3 (May 1985), p. 491-519

Encyclopedia Britannica 2002 Deluxe Edition.

Edward Evans. Understanding and interpreting cultures. New York: Random House, 1983.

Henry Rosemont. Studies in Classical Chinese Thought. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1981.

Lisa A. Raphals. Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998.

Four Key Habits For Successful Screenwriters

Lake @ the Lake District

What separates winners from losers? Why do some people manage to sell a screenplay, while others do not? In short, is there anything that we can learn from successful screenwriters that will allow others to achieve success?

Having worked in this business for around ten years now, I've certainly had lots of time to ponder this question, and, of course, to try and apply the lessons I have learned to my own career as a screenwriter.

While I do not profess to have all the answers – if I did I would be luxurating by the pool in my Hollywood villa rather than writing this article – I believe that you can adopt that will increase your chances of success as a screenwriter:

Persistence: This is the first key habit for a reason – this is not an easy business. If you come into it thinking that you can just whip out a quick draft of the first idea you think of and Hollywood will come knocking at your door you are in for a rude shock.

Many people think that screenwriting is easy – they've seen plenty of bad films, and they think "I could easily write something better than that!" And compared to a novel it's a snip to write a film script – whereas a typical novel weights in at around 120,000 words, a screenplay is closer to 20,000 words – so how hard can it be to write 20,000 words?

Actually, it's pretty hard! For while the screenplay format is significantly shorter than a novel, that brevity places its own demands upon you – no thoughts, no space to explain everything – you have to get straight into the story and show everything through what your characters do and say.

The truth is that many people write one screenplay, can not sell it, then quit – but like anything else, you get better with practice, so your second script will be better than your first, your third better than your second, and so on. Persistence is vital. Because if you keep writing, keep improving, keep networking, keep sending your scripts to people, you will eventually find someone who is interested in what you have written.

Keep Learning: Screenwriting is a skill, and you need to keep on developing and improving your skills. One way to do this is to be open to learning. There are many different ways to learn this skill – you can take a screenwriting class, buy a book on screenwriting, read articles like this, read professional screenplays, and of course be sure to regularly sit down and analyze completed films to see what works and what does not. Learning never ends.

Write From The Heart: Many writers spend time trying to write what is currently popular. Writing what you think people want to see – or, in fact, what you think they might want to see in three years time – is a waste of time. As William Goldman famously said of the movie business, "nobody knows nothing." The bottom line is that all good writing is about emotion – if you are passionate about your story and your craft, the emotion will show in your story, and readers will respond to that.

Write Regularly: Finally, any writer must commit to writing regularly. The only way to BECOME a writer is to BE a writer. Of course you will have another life – a job, family, hobbies etc – that will make it hard to write every day, but the more often you do, the better your writing will become.

With a few rare exceptions, good writers are made, not born. You can make yourself a good writer by being passionate, persistent, open to learning, and by writing every day. If you write it (and keep writing it) they will come …

Writing Without Rules

The Cuban Queen Bordello

How does that work when you have writer's block? Even famous authors can suffer from writer's block. It can be very frustrating when you have a deadline and have to get that essay or report in on time.

What causes writer's block? Think back to your time in English class in school. Your teacher wants you to write an essay about Shakespeare or your thoughts on a particular poem for your homework. This you find boring. As you sit at home with your copy book open on a blank page the clock ticks loudly in the background. It is not happening. There is no enjoyment in the task. Teacher has set certain criteria about what has to be included in the essay, how long the essay should be, specific very important points that need to be expanded on and of course your own opinion. The list is endless and monotonous. The deadline is tomorrow morning first thing.

The stress levels are fairly high now. Where has the fun gone? Many adults have memories from school similar to this one. Now when you sit down to prepare a report or article this memory from your school years is playing in the back of your mind. You may not be aware of it but if you are sitting in front of a blank screen or piece of paper then there is a traumatic memory in there somewhere from your school days.

So what can you do about writer's block? Give this exercise a go before you start. Hold a pen in your non-dominant hand. Hold the palm of your other hand in front of you and draw what you see without looking at the page. Keep your eyes focused on all the creases and undulations of the palm of your hand. This is not about the finished piece of artwork. This is about the process.

You activate the right side of your brain when you draw with your non-dominant hand. This part of your brain is responsible for your creativity. The left side of your brain is you logical and analytical side. This is the side where you can get thought up in all the detail – such as all the points the teacher wanted included in the essay, the length of the essay and all the other 'teachers' rules from you school days.

When you activate the right side of your brain you will release your creativity and the ideas will start to flow. It will be a lot easier to write. Forget all the rules which the English teacher set. The only rule here is there are no rules. Give it a go and have fun writing without rules.

Different Kinds of Art

paradise of ducks

There are many different kinds of art. Some of the different kinds of art include original art, modern paintings, and art from the Impressionist era. Art that is original, by definition, is work that is one-of-a-kind and it can be any kind of art, not just a painting as long as it was created by the real artist himself or herself. Modern art is, by definition, art "of the present times." Finally, impressionist artwork is work in which the artist paints the picture as if he or she has just something very quickly. Art is one of the best ways to lose yourself in your thoughts, either when creating it or when viewing it.

Original art is the one-of-a-kind painting or work done by an artist. Original art is anything that is done by the artists themselves. Replicas of famous paintings like the Mona Lisa have been created, but it is easy for art connoisseurs to know what the real piece looks like. The best form of art is in its original form. Usually the original pieces of famous paintings can be found in museums all around the world. For example, the "Mona Lisa" is located at the Louvre in Paris, along with other Da Vinci works.

The contemporary art era is defined as any kind of modern art created from the 1900s to the present. This type of work wave artists the freedom to call almost anything art. It also created an escape from political and social turmoil through the ages. Some of the different categories of modern art include expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. Contemporary artists include artists such as Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keefe, and Pablo Picasso, to name a few. Contemporary art sees to be a form that people either really love or really dislike. Probably the most interesting thing about contemporary art is that it can be anything. Before contemporary art, there were strict rules about what could and could not be art. After the modern art came along there were no boundaries anymore.

Surprisingly enough, impressionism is a form of contemporary art. Impressionist art is supposedly to be an image of something as if the person had just seen it briefly. It began in France, during the nineteenth century. Impressionist art features bright colors and scenes from outside. Impressionist art also focuses on real-life images and does not focus on the details of painting. Impressionist era painters include famous artists like Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

These kinds of art are only three of numerous different types of artwork. Original and contemporary art have only recently become popular, where impressionist art has been consistently popular ever since it's beginning in France. Anytime you are able to see great art by visiting a museum, you should take advantage of the opportunity. Viewing different kinds of art allows you to see what type of person you are. Creating art and viewing art are also great ways to lose yourself in your thoughts.

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The 4 Stages of the Counseling Process: What Every Youth Counselor Should Know

Lake Saiful Muluk

There is a natural progression that takes place within the context of the helping relationship. This process enables you and the person you are working with to build a relationship, assess the situation, set goals and come up with a plan to bring about your desired results. This progression is known as the counseling process. There are four stages of the counseling process. They are: developing a relationship, making an informed assessment, establishing mutually agreed upon goals and objectives and developing an implementation plan.

Phase 1. Developing A Relationship

In order to develop positive helping relationships with youth, you’ve got to be able to connect with them. This can only happen when youth are made to feel like you genuinely care about their well-being and that you understand where they are coming from. It’s about behaving in a way that demonstrates the core conditions of genuineness, respect and empathy.

To develop solid relationships with youth, you need to create a safe environment where young people will feel comfortable enough to open up to you and talk to you about anything that is on their minds. You also need to help youth see that despite their circumstances they have strengths. In short, you should start things off from a strengths-based perspective.

Questions to Consider When Trying to

Develop A Relationship

· In what ways can you build better relationships with the youth in your program?

· If there are youth who are not actively engaged, what can you do differently to engage them?

· If a youth is resistant, what steps can you take to reduce resistance?

· What worked in the past with resistant youth?

· How do you know when you’ve built a solid relationship with a youth? Could you use these indicators to strengthen your relationships with other youth?

Phase 2. Making An Informed Assessment

An informed assessment happens when both you and the youth gather information in order to figure out what’s “really” going on so that you can assess what needs to happen next in order to change the situation for the better or build up the youth’s coping skills to better deal with a problematic situation. The first step in making an assessment is to find out if change is necessary, and if it is what needs to happen for change to take place. If you have determined that change is necessary, then the next step is to figure out what needs to change. Is it a behavior? An attitude? A situation?

A good assessment can provide an opportunity for a young person to see how his/her behavior or attitude might be contributing to an undesirable or unhealthy situation. Assessment is an ongoing process. You need to regularly check in with your youth to see how things are going. Reassessments enable you to ensure that you and the youth are on the right track.

How do you gather information in order to make an informed assessment? You can gather information in a number of ways: talking with youth, observing the youth’s behavior and interactions, discussions with other people who are involved in the young person’s life, and reading any documented information on the young person. Keep in mind that when utilizing someone else’s verbal or written report as a source of background information, you run the risk of subjecting yourself to their biases and assumptions.

Points to Keep In Mind When Making An Assessment

· Be aware of your biases and how they impact on the assessments you make.

· Involve youth in the assessment process.

· Don’t rely on one single source to make an assessment, gather as much information as you can from a variety of sources.

· Don’t automatically label a behavior as dysfunctional because you don’t understand it, or it is not germane to your culture.

· Make sure to point out a young person’s strengths even when addressing problematic behavior.

Phase 3. Establishing Mutually Agreed Upon Goals and Objectives

Why is it important to establish “mutually agreed” upon goals and objectives? Because if a young person is in agreement with the goals then he/she is more likely to follow through on them. When a youth is actively involved in the goal setting process and is in agreement with the goals, then he/she is more inclined to take ownership of the goals. What are goals? Goals are broad statements that identify what you want to accomplish. Think of goals as the end result that you are trying to achieve. While goals are broad statements that identify what you want to accomplish overall, objectives are the measurable steps that you take to achieve your goals. For example if you have a goal that states, “youth will be better able to manage her anger.” One of your objectives might be, “youth will recognize emotional triggers that lead to angry outbursts and use positive, self-talk to calm herself down.” Your objectives should always be concrete and measurable. They should also be derived from the overall goal.

Questions to Consider When Developing

Goals and Objectives

· What do you and the young person want to achieve?

· How are you going to achieve it?

· When do you want to achieve your stated goal?

· What obstacles do you anticipate?

· How will you address these obstacles?

· How will you use to measure and monitor progress?

· Are your goals realistic?

Phase 4. Implementation Plan

The implementation plan is a plan that you and the youth work on together. It is designed to prevent, intervene, or address unhealthy behaviors and practices. The implementation plan identifies who will perform the activities, where the activities will occur, how frequently they will occur, how they will be carried out and when they will be carried out. Implementation activities are designed to help individuals re-think risky behavior, work through problematic issues, address unhealthy lifestyles practices, learn new skills and build strengths. Implementation activities can include: counseling, crisis intervention, training and education, supportive services, concrete services and constructive use of free time.

As you can see, each stage of the counseling process builds upon the former. As you move through each stage, you will come to realize that it takes patience and practice to counsel youth effectively, but if you are committed to the goal you’ll do just fine. You may not feel completely confident in your ability as a counselor, but as you expand your knowledge base, gain more experience and strengthen your helping skills, you will become a more effective counselor.

Copyright © 2006 by Cassandra Mack

Excerpted from Cassandra Mack’s book, “Smart Moves That Successful Youth Workers Make”

What Makes a Person Intelligent?

Church of Santa María de Colliure, France

In traditional intelligence theories when one is asked the question “What makes a person intelligent?” the most common responses will often note a person’s ability to solve problems, utilize logic, and think critically. These typical traits of intelligence are sometimes grouped together under the heading “raw intelligence”. A person’s intelligence, traditionally speaking, is contained in their intellect. In other words, how we each understand, evaluate or respond to external stimuli, regardless as to whether it is a mathematical problem or anticipation of an opponent’s next move in a game, is our collective intelligence. Our intelligence therefore, is our individual, collective ability to act or react in a continually changing environment.

The principal problem in traditional intelligence theories is that they promote “fractured learning”. Many educational reformers have clearly stated that “taking tests merely shows that a student is skilled at taking tests”. At best, traditional tests focus on only about one tenth of an individual’s intellect. Note that Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, two of history’s most famous examples of brilliant minds, were terrible at taking traditional tests, therefore terrible at “school” in general. Multiple Intelligences theory then, demonstrates that the ability to take traditional tests is almost entirely in the realm of the Logical – Mathematical

intelligence. This intelligence will be detailed later along with the Interpersonal intelligence, which imparts in some students the ability to second guess a teacher’s structuring of a test. Traditional IQ tests predict school performance with considerable accuracy, but they are only an indifferent predictor of performance in a profession after formal schooling.

In an interesting but controversial study conducted during the 1960’s by Biologist Marion Diamond, of the University of California at Berkeley, two sets of rats were raised in different environments; One set had toys to play with, playmates to romp with and a roomy box that was kept clean and fresh. The second set was put in solitary confinement; all alone in a much smaller cage with no toys to enjoy. After several weeks, Diamond measured the size of each rat’s cerebral cortex, the brain area which is responsible for higher nerve functions. The rats in the sociable, clean and stimulating environment grew brains bigger than the rats with the impoverished surroundings. “Does the enriched environment increase the dimensions of the brain, and does the impoverished environment decrease the dimensions of the brain?”, asked Diamond. “The answer, very clearly, is YES.” Similar results were replicated with cats, monkeys and later with humans. So a stimulating, enriched learning environment is crucial to mental development. If we likewise incorporate the varying student intelligences in our teaching activities, our success as well as our students success, will be markedly improved. That each of us possess all the intelligences, that they can each be developed further, that these multiple intelligences work together in a complex manner, and that there are, in fact, many different ways to be “intelligent” are inclusive in a study by Armstrong. Here briefly, in retrospect, are eight of the major intelligences of Howard Gardener’s theory and their relative traits:

Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence:

The capacity to use words effectively, either orally or in writing. It is highly developed in story-tellers, orators, politicians, poets, playwrights, editors, language teachers and journalists. Students with a high degree of this intelligence think in words; learn by listening, reading, and verbalizing. They enjoy writing, like books, records, and tapes, and have a good memory for verse, lyrics, or trivia. Getting into discussions, telling jokes and debating are also characteristics of this intelligence. Maya Angelou is strong in this intelligence.

Visual-Spatial Intelligence:

The ability to perceive the world accurately and to perform transformations upon one’s perceptions. This is highly developed in guides, interior designers, architects, artists, fashion designers and inventors. Students with a high degree of spatial intelligence think in images and pictures, like mazes and jigsaw puzzles. They like to draw and design things, and enjoy films, slides, videos, diagrams, maps, charts. The daydreamers and those who may have strong opinions about such things as colors that go together, textures that are appropriate and pleasing and decorating are included in this intelligence. Pablo Picasso was strong in this intelligence.

Musical – Rhythmic Intelligence: The capacity to perceive, discriminate, transform, and express musical forms is most highly developed in musical performers, music aficionados, and music critics. Students with a high degree of musical intelligence learn through rhythm and melody, play a musical instrument, or May need music to study. They notice nonverbal sounds in the environment: the chirp of a cricket, rain on the roof, varying traffic patterns, and usually learn things more easily if sung, tapped out, or whistled. These people love music and rhythmic patterns and can often reproduce a melody or rhythmic pattern after hearing it only once. Various sounds, tones, and rhythms may have a visible effect on them (that is, you can see a change in facial expressions, body movement, or emotional responses). They enjoy singing and listening to a wide variety of music, and are often quite skilled at mimicking sounds, language accents, and others’ speech patterns, and recognizing different musical instruments in a composition. Paul McCartney is strong in this intelligence.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence:

The capacity to use numbers effectively and to reason well. This intelligence is highly developed in mathematicians, tax accountants, statisticians, scientists, computer programmers, and logicians. Students with a high degree of this intelligence often reason things out logically and clearly; look for abstract patterns and relationships; frequently like brain teasers, logical puzzles, and strategy games. They also like to use computers and to classify and categorize. These people think conceptually and abstractly and are able to see patterns and relationships that others often miss. They like to experiment, solve puzzles and other problems, ask cosmic questions and think. They love the challenge of complex problems to solve and always have a logical rationale or argument for what they are doing or thinking. Albert Einstein was strong in this intelligence.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: Consists of expertise in using one’s whole body to express ideas and feelings, and facility in using ones hands to produce or transform things. A highly developed intelligence in actors, mimes, athletes, dancers, sculptors, mechanics, and surgeons. Students with a high degree of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence process knowledge through bodily sensations; move, twitch, tap, or fidget while sitting in a chair or at a desk and learn by touching, manipulating, and moving. They typically like role playing and creative movement and generally like physical games of all kinds and demonstrating how to do something. They communicate well through body language and other physical gestures. They can often perform a task only after seeing someone else do it. They find it difficult to sit still for a long time and are easily bored if they are not actively involved in what is going on around them. Michael Jordan is strong in this intelligence.

Interpersonal Intelligence:

The ability to perceive and make distinctions in the moods, intentions, motivations, and feelings of other people. This Intelligence can include sensitivity to facial expressions, voice, and gestures, as well as the ability to respond effectively to such cues. Students with a high degree of interpersonal intelligence understand and care about people; like to socialize; learn more easily by relating and cooperating and are good at teaching other students. These people learn through person-to-person interaction. They generally have lots of friends; show a great deal of empathy for other people and understanding of different points of view. They are skilled at drawing others out in a discussion, conflict resolution and mediation when people are in radical

opposition to each other. Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi were strong in this intelligence.

Intra-personal Intelligence:

Self-knowledge and the ability to act adaptively on the basis of that knowledge define this group. This is an intelligence which can include having an accurate picture of one’s strengths and limitations, awareness of one’s moods and motivations, and the capacity for self-discipline. Students with a high degree of this intelligence seem to be self-motivating; need their own quiet space; may march to the beat of a different drummer and tend to learn more easily with independent study, self-paced instruction, individualized projects and games.

These people like to work alone and sometimes shy away from others. They are self-reflective and self-aware and thus tend to be in tune with their inner feelings, values, beliefs, and thinking processes. They are frequently bearers of creative wisdom and insight, are highly intuitive, and are inwardly motivated rather than needing external rewards to keep them going. They are often strong-willed, self-confident, and definite, well-thought-out opinions on almost any issue (although they are sometimes off-the-wall). Other people will often come to them for advice and counsel, but others will sometimes view them as distant or weird. Emily Dickinson and Stephen King are examples of this intelligence.

Naturalist Intelligence:

Environmental knowledge and the ability to identify and categorize plants, animals and nature on the basis of that knowledge. The Naturalist Intelligence can include having an accurate picture of the ambient environment, awareness of the interrelationship of natural elements, and the capacity for self-analysis of these elements. It is found most highly developed in archeologists, animal handlers, animal trainers, veterinarians, biologists, racehorse jockeys, zoologists, environmentalists, wilderness guides and naturalists. Students who have a high degree of the naturalist intelligence seem to be nature-oriented, seek to be outdoors or in the elements and learn more easily with nature-related study and environmental projects and activities. They like to collect items from nature, study them, and group them. They tend to be aware of subtleties in appearance, texture, and sounds that those weaker in this intelligence may not grasp. Charles Darwin, Jacques Cousteau, and John James Audubon were strong in this intelligence.

One of the great promises of Multiple Intelligences theory in education is that it will help us to find individual pathways into and out of our students’ minds. Recent advances in educational psychology and research in applied MI theory offer educators a real possibility of developing the potential of all students. Both educators and students should derive from Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence theory that all people are different and learn differently, and that we should respect, value, and nurture that diversity.

Reference Websites:

Reference website for multiple intelligences links and activities:

[http://surfaquarium.com/im.htm]

Exploring Multiple Intelligences: New Dimensions of Learning

[http://www.multi-intell.com/]

Multiple Intelligences Resources

http://www.theatreinmotion.com/resources.htm

Basic MI Theory

http://edweb.gsn.org/edref.mi.th.html

Multiple Intelligence Theory: Principles

http://www.harding.edu/~cbr/midemo/prin.html

Multiple Intelligences: Theory and Practice in the K-12 Class

[http://www.indiana.edu/~eric_rec/ieo/bibs/multiple.html]

Task Card Overview/Multiple Intelligences

[http://www.metronet.com/~bhorizon/teach.htm]

Association for the Promotion and Advancement of Science Education activities website – http://discoverlearning.com/forensic/docs/index.html

Naturalist Intelligence – Sea World / Busch Gardens website for students

http://www.seaworld.org/animal_bytes/animal_bytes.html

The Purpose of the Science Fiction Novel

Miss Virtual World Writer Inspiration Challenge - Screenwriter: Charlie Chaplin

Where fantasy goes into uncharted territory, the kind of story that could not exist, science fiction, a term made famous by the likes of Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein, goes into charted territory. Let's make sense of that last statement: Science fiction is based on truths, questions of reality, and questions of survival. Its purpose is to go where other fiction can not. Unlike horror, it tells something far more dangerous because it could happen. Unlike mystery, there is not always someone at the other end of the gun, maybe "something" instead. Like mainstream work, it proposes fascinating philosophies on mankind in the past, present, and future.

When reporters talked of space stations maybe they were onto something. When Star Trek characters could talk to each other on small, hand-held phones, most thought it was too good to be true. Now we have cell phones, computers that can talk, computers that can think in some ways, and a variety of other ideas that were often suggested in science fiction.

But the science fiction novel has its own place outside of the realm of Star Trek and Star Wars. For one, the legend must be created in words, not film or TV images. Second, the writers behind it are often as much philosophers as authors. Lastly, science fiction is its own frontier, a place for free thinking.

The thesis for all this would be that the science fiction novel engages a reader in a "This is how it could happen." The purpose is, as in all writing, to say something different. Long before "War of the Worlds" and even longer before Star Trek and Star Wars, people looked to the skies with hope, emboldening their legends with all kinds of flying creatures-angels, demons, sometimes aliens-who could do things they could not . That is exactly the purpose of the modern science fiction novel-it says we, the human race, can do something that right now we can not.

The final purpose of the science fiction novel is always to make a mark on society. Star Trek could only go so far. When one looks at a science fiction novel, however, sometimes it seemsingly is a race to the finish instead of a treat on life in the future. Something is always happening; it happens fast. Take Philip K. Dick, for example, who once wrote 11 novels in 2 years (he used various drugs, much like Hunter Thompson, to improve writing speed). However, there is nothing superficial about the science fiction novel. This is because even films have a hard time capturing the legion of ideas presented in the classics, like "The Man In the High Castle," Philip K. Dick's best novel. If any film does capture the purpose of science fiction, it's "Blade Runner," considered to be one of the best films of all time, based on the Philip K. Dick story "Do Andods Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Where it can be hard to pin down the modern science fiction novel, it can easily be seen that writing one can be a lucid ride into the unexplored. One of the best in recent memory is "Hyperion," a science fiction novel that won the famous Hugo award. Here, Simmons explored what is real, much like Philip K. Dick, and did it as though he was poet, forming a tale of seven pilgrims to a far away world, much like "The Canterbury Tales."

Some of the finest novels of the 20th century were labeled "junk" because they explored taboo subjects or had sexually revealing covers. Without the likes of Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and the hundreds of other talents, maybe there would have been no Star Trek, Star Wars, or Battlestar Galactica. Without the junk science fiction novel bought for a nickel in the 1940s and 50s maybe mankind would never have dreamed of stepping on the moon in the 1960s.