Dreams . . . Cancer . . . Nightmares . . . Sleeplessness . . . What of Insomnia?

Note: This week begins a celebration of World Creativity and Innovation Week, April 15-21. I thought it appropriate to highlight some intriguing, insightful and, hopefully, entertaining bits and pieces of creativity and innovation from around our globe.

My initial offering deals with Insomnia and how, for some people, it can be truly nightmarish. This post includes information and images from both a presentation on insomnia and select photos by a photographer who has severely suffered from insomnia.

In this excerpt from an issue of Adobe Create Magazine, the photog takes us into his bizarre world of striking, nightmarish illusions.

And his fight with insomnia.

Photographer Nicolas Bruno has suffered from sleep paralysis since he was seven years old. In Bruno’s case, when he enters REM sleep, his mind becomes conscious, or awake, but his body remains asleep. During these recurring episodes, he experiences shortness of breath or pressure on his chest and the feeling that he’s being choked or is going to be killed. Screaming shadow figures menace him in bed. He’s unable to move, and the state seems to last hours. Sometimes it stops because he awakens; other times he moves into another dream. All of it is out of his control.

And you thought you had nightmares!

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When Bruno was fifteen, he began experiencing sleep paralysis almost every night. To help process the resulting stress, he kept a dream journal and then turned to drawing and photography. At first, he photographed mostly landscapes and abandoned places. Over time, he started making work directly inspired by what he goes through during sleep paralysis.

“Transforming my experiences with sleep paralysis into artwork not only helps me understand the dreams,” Bruno says. “It gives me a universal voice to speak about something almost impossible to describe with words. After I complete a photo shoot and see my final image, I feel so relieved to have transformed a once uncontrollable nightmare into something positive and tangible.”

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“The characters I portray within my work are figures I’ve documented within my sleep paralysis episodes. Faceless men in suits often stand at the foot of my bed, and women in dresses might float across my bedroom to shriek in my ear. Sometimes I’m grasped by hands that attempt to drag me off of my bed. These characters reoccur, transform, and sometimes reveal more about themselves as time goes on,” explains Bruno.

Though Bruno still suffers from regular episodes of sleep paralysis, he has learned to minimize the contributing factors, which include excessive stress, too much screen time before bed, an irregular sleep schedule, and sleeping in unfamiliar locations.

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“As I’ve become used to the feelings,” he says, “I’ve found that riding out the experience subdues the terrifying nature of the dream and can leave room for analysis, and even a quick exit. If you allow the fear to win, you’ll never have control of the situation. My advice is to build up your courage to face these dreams head on, whether it be through strength, religion, logic, or spiritualism.”

I struggle with sleeplessness and insomnia, too. Strange dreams of partially true vignettes of moments in my past life sometimes intermingle with “newly scripted” happenings, making for a weird combination of mental nighttime gymnastics.

I’m a cancer survivor as well as a caregiver to my wife. No stress here!

When I consider the various meds I take daily as well as the numerous decisions and judgement calls my wife and I make on a daily basis, it’s probably no wonder why I have insomnia. And weird dreams.

I was interested when I heard about a lecture recently given by MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston relative to sleeplessness and insomnia. Here’s a link to a presentation I received that evening so you, too, can gain insight into this all-too troubling disorder.

Please don’t hesitate to share your own insomnia stories, especially if you have learned some techniques to counter or offset this malaise.

 

 

 

 

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Friday Fun Quotes: Advertising and Otherwise

Continuing a series of various illustrious quotes, here are some worth-remembering “sayings” which I find interesting and inspiring. Hopefully, you will, too.

Some quotes are from the American Advertising Federation newsletter “Smart Brief,” while others come from various sources. Enjoy!!

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Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom… is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.   Anthony Bourdain, 1956-2018

There is no way for the American economic system to function without advertising. – John O’Toole

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. – Albert Einstein

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power to that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared. – J. K. Rowling

I’ve always felt advertising was a major instrument of the free enterprise system. Effective advertising can not only have a truly powerful impact on clients’ fortunes but for their stockholders and employees as well and therein a great ripple effect on our economy. Liener Temerlin

To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well. – Isaac Asimov

I have a theory that the best ads come from personal experience. Some of the good ones I have done have really come out of the real experience of my life, and somehow this has come over as true and valid and persuasive. – David Ogilvy

Be honest, truthful, and altruistic. If you concern yourself with taking care of others, there’ll be no room for lies, bullying and cheating. If you’re truthful you can live transparently, which will enable you to establish trust, the basis for making friends. – Dalai Lama 

There is no material with which human beings work which has so much potential energy as words. – Earnest Elmo Calkins

Inspiration can strike at anytime, anywhere. But usually not at 1 a.m. in the office. – Lee Clow via Lee Clow’s Beard tweet

So, whatchathink? Gotta favorite? Lemme know.

Ad Speaks Houston: A New Kind of Podcast

Do you have a favorite podcast? Have you ever participated in a podcast? Do you have any idea how many podcasts there are? That’s okay, neither do I!

If you’re in the Houston, Texas area and are involved in some way with the advertising industry, you’re in luck. Even if you’re not in the area, you’ll still find this interesting and may even learn a thing or two.

Curious about what is happening at AAF Houston? That’s the American Advertising Federation Houston for those who may not know. Check out Ad Speaks Houston, which airs on KPRC 950 AM from 10 am to 11 am on Sundays. If you can’t catch it on air, all of Ad Speaks Houston podcasts are on SoundCloud. 

It’s the first time AAF Houston (AAFH) has done something like this. We just want to reach out to our members and those who may be interested in joining. You’ll find a variety of topics and interviews conveying thoughts about the industry and happenings in Houston. Many thanks go to Ray Schilens (longtime supporter and current AAFH board member) of Radio Lounge for spearheading the Ad Speaks Houston podcast.

Being a longtime AAFH member myself as well as a past board member and officer, I was honored when Ray approached the board for interviews. I was glad to help launch the project. My interview with Ray is number 19 in the series. Take a listen.

Ad Speaks Houston

Happy Halloween? The Trumpster Gets Treated.

Young trick or treaters being scared by a Trump-like figure with orange hair and carrying two very full pumpkins of candy

Striking, isn’t it? Kinda scary, too; well, at least for the little kiddos, all masked up with candy-laden pumpkins running for their lives. It’s Halloween, after all, and when I saw this illustration I couldn’t resist sharing on this most appropriate of “holiday.”

This blog is not purposefully political but because this cover art of a well-known magazine gets one’s attention by the illustration, I thought it worthy of being shared.

There will, of course, be those who don’t find it funny in the least; others will think it hilarious. Artwork, in this illustrative form, is very creative. It does more to entice the reader inside to view the story than any photograph would do.

It also helps that it’s Halloween.

The New Yorker offers a playful trick-or-treat-themed cover—with a political edge. The work of illustrator Mark Ulriksen, a longtime contributor to the magazine, it shows President Donald Trump striking fear into the hearts of trick-or-treaters.

When New Yorker Art Editor Francoise Mouly interviewed Mr. Ulriksen, he briefly addressed the political subtext of the cover:

Mouly: Your previous Halloween covers have featured a haunted version of the Capitol and some colorful characters in Congress. We’re sensing a theme.

Ulriksen: Yes, I somehow equate Washington politicians with scary monsters.

Well, there you have it, boys and girls.

Happy Halloween, everybody.

BOO!

Hall of Fame Quotes – Advertising & Otherwise

In another in a series of various illustrious quotes, I showcase some worth-remembering “sayings” which I find interesting and inspiring. Hopefully, you will, too.

Some quotes are from the American Advertising Federation newsletter “Smart Brief,” while others come from various sources. Enjoy!!

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A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost. – Bob Pritchard

Rules are for people who don’t know what to do. – Keith Reinhard

Creativity is a drug I cannot live without. – Cecil B. DeMille

A good ad should be like a good sermon: It must not only comfort the afflicted, it also must afflict the comfortable. – Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

Advertising reflects the mores of society, but does not influence them.  David Ogilvy

Like the musical score, a mission statement is only as good as the performance it inspires. – Keith Reinhard

Ideas pull the trigger, but instinct loads the gun. – Bob Pritchard

The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.                    Bob Pritchard

Regardless of the moral issue, dishonesty in advertising has proved very unprofitable. – Leo Burnett

Anxiety brings with it massive energy and it is what we do with that energy which separates us.  Laurie-Beth Robbins

 

So, gotta favorite? Lemme know.

See ya next time!

A French Quarter Tale: The Can

Note: This is a different kind of blog post. It’s my take on a short, short story; a brief tale, if you will. It’s also my take on where my imagination lead me following a dream I had recently. Submitted as a tribute in memory and in honor of the late Rod Serling, whom I regret I never got the chance to meet. Maybe someday. 

The corner store. The neighborhood grocery. Every town has one, except there’s no town quite like this one. There’s no store quite like this one. It befits its neighborhood, however. Both are quaint, old and, like the city, both have history.

Some would say colorful. Some, macabre.

By all appearances, this quaint neighborhood grocery store is not unlike many others. The shop owner is friendly, if not a bit surly at times. He stocks a small but ample variety of goods in keeping the interests of his neighbors in mind.

However, this is no ordinary neighborhood grocery. Shelf life, for some items at least, can seem to last longer than the items would like. Whilst sitting on the shelf and being on display, what goes through their minds?

Oh, come now, you say; they’re inanimate objects, they have no minds. Well . . .

Our tale centers around an everyday object in an everyday place; however, this object can’t see; it can only experience and sense. What it “sees” is hazy, blurry. It can sort of “hear” but it’s not sure what the sounds are or from whence they come. It doesn’t know where it is or even what it is. It only knows it is content and happy to be wherever it may be, peering out through some hazy blanket of blur as the world passes by.

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Courtesy of Pixabay & Photorama

This is our brief tale on life’s perspectives from a can on a shelf in a grocery store in the French Quarter in New Orleans . . . as told from The Twilight Zone.

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“There’s that blasted ringing, again! For some reason, everytime I hear that, a voice says ‘Hello’. A form of greeting?”

“Why can’t I move? Am I supposed to move? How long have I been here, wherever I am? I don’t seem to have any connotation of time or even what form I’m in. I don’t know why but I sense there are others around and beside me. Are we all the same?”

“Why do I have so many questions? Am I even supposed to “think,” whatever that is. Why is everything blurry? I get a feeling I’m inside somewhere. Wait, I see movement in front of me, but there’s something between me and the movement. ”

“What are those objects? They move in both directions, and some even stop and look toward me. Then they move on by. Why?”

“Whoa, what’s that? I’m moving! I’m being lifted off this shelf-thing. I, I’m being turned on my side. Hmmmm, I didn’t know I had sides. What’s happening to me?!”

“It’s blurry. Some figure is right in front of me and, whoa, I’m being put back on this shelf-thing. Why? What did I do? This figure in front of me seems to be picking up something next to me. But, wait. The figure takes it, emits a sound and drops it in some sort of carrying device. Why it and not me?!”

“Though I can’t quite make it out, there appears to be another figure pressing up against something and looking in. What is that? Wait, it appears to be looking right at me. Should I feel nervous, even though I don’t know what nervous is?

“Wonder what it’s like on the other side of that something? There appears to be lots of movement beyond me, in both directions.”

“There’s that ringing again. And the ‘Hello.’ Am I imagining all this? I dunno. Wait, now I think I see more figures slowing down in front of me. They both have those carrying devices like before.”

“Oh, boy, here we go again! I’m being picked up, turned on my side . . . and, nothing. What’s going on? ”

“Whooooaaaaa! I’m airborne. I’m upside down, then right side up, then . . . OUCH! I seem to have left my shelf-thing. Now, I think I’m on my side. Could it be I somehow landed in this figure’s carrying device?”

“WOW, what a different sensation!

As an aside, our can is now experiencing a sensation it has not “felt” in some time; not since it was first shipped to the store, unpacked and carried to the “shelf-thing”. It doesn’t know how long it’s been in the store nor where it’s next destination will be. 

“What’s happening to me? I feel like I’m moving, yet I’m in close quarters with other objects all around me.”

“Wait, what’s that? I sense that I’m in a different type surrounding than before. There are a lot more blurry figures all around. Is this “outside,” wherever that is? I don’t know what I’m feeling but my sides are getting warmer, and things seem to be, uh, brighter?”

“Where are we going? I demand to know! Put me down this instant!”

“What’s this? We seem to have arrived somewhere. There are more blurry figures but I think we’re inside some other place now.”

“Ah, finally, my colleagues and I are getting out of this contraption. Whoa, here I am again, airborne!”

“‘Umph!’ rough landing, there. Okay, I don’t recognize this place but there seems to be a lot of activity here. Good. Maybe I can acquaint myself with some of the others who made this jaunt with me.”

“Wait, I’m getting dizzy, I’m going upside down. What’s happening to me? Gaaa!”

“I’m being shaken. Whoa, this is not good. I, I’m losing something. Oh, my, it appears to be what I’ve been holding inside me all this time. What is that? I can just barely make it out; it’s blurry but it appears to be . . . Ahhhhhhh!”

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Courtesy of Pixabay & markusspiske

“I’m airborne again, twisting end over end; getting dizzy and lightheaded. Now, what. All has stopped. I’m not moving. Everything is dark. I feel funny. I don’t like this.”

“‘OUCH!’ What the . . . something just landed on top of me. Where am I? Hello, anyone there? Hello . . .?”

The hustle and bustle goes on. The blurry figures continue with their appointed tasks. This kitchen, you see, is busy getting orders ready to serve their demanding customers. A variety of culinary delights are being prepared with ingredients from all over the city. Even though fresh vegetables and fruit are a vital part of this kitchen, every once in awhile, canned goods are utilized in a mix of seasoning. Simple but tasty.

Our subject in this tale has involuntarily offered up its flavorful contents to please the palate of a waiting and hungry patron. Its journey has ended as it now rests among others experiencing a similar fate: The darkness of despair, which some of us would refer to as a garbage heap.

Postscript: This brief tale is offered up to the everyday shoppers, consumers and others who go about their daily lives perhaps pondering if this is all that life presents. The curious among us may pursue but we suggest one simply enjoy what some may deem merely an imaginative tale from the perspective of a can in the French Quarter . . . as told from The Twilight Zone.

 

This post first appeared on my other blog, Joe’s Journey.

Hall of Fame Quotes – Advertising & Otherwise

As it’s been some time since I last submitted for your amusement various illustrious quotes, I thought I’d showcase another in a series of worth-remembering “sayings” which I find interesting and inspiring, and, hopefully, you will, too.

Some quotes are from the American Advertising Federation newsletter “Smart Brief,” while others come from various sources. Enjoy!!

red-quotation-marks-vector-online-royalty-free-picture-435958Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine. David Ogilvy

Nothing will put a bad product out of business faster than a good advertising campaign. Advertising causes people to try a product once, but poor quality eliminates any possibility of a repeat purpose.  Morris Hite

Never hesitate to steal a good idea.  Al Neuharth

I like that they are talking about the work. If they aren’t talking, then your brand is dead.  Alex Bogusky

Make it idiot-proof and someone will make a better idiot.  Bob Pritchard – VoiceAmerica Business Channel

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Bob Pritchard – VoiceAmerica Business Channel

Advertising becomes a dialogue that becomes an invitation to a relationship.   Lester Wunderman

Energy and persistence conquer all things.  Benjamin Franklin

Vision without execution is simply hallucination.  Bob Pritchard

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There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.  Bob Pritchard