After hearing an ad on the tele the other day with the question, “tell us what you do” – I thought for a couple days about that and how to make a simple sentence that could explain what I’ve been working on for most of my life and explain what I do. So this is it –
“I am an information specialist with a focus on solutions.” – cricketdiane
Now, that just sounds like bull, but actually it does describe it accurately. With the blog I’ve done that and in person I’ve been doing that since the time I was no more than a little kid trying to learn things. But, the point of learning all these things has been specifically to find and develop solutions generally. And, that I’ve become expert in doing to some extent.
However, the main emphasis that I have right this minute is to continue the development of materials for the America the Beautiful Show website and events projects using the information that I’ve acquired from living in America throughout my adult life “without” – to help those who are finding themselves there now.
In this respect, today I made a list on 3×5 cards of things that would be helpful information to include in packages given out at the America the Beautiful Show events. These are the things that I’ve discovered over many years that would’ve been very helpful or necessary to know in order to survive not having a real job.
So, here is the list – (and then I’m going to put it on the website) –
The first three things are the most critical that I learned which were absolutely required –
1. It doesn’t matter if you have a job or money – you’re still worthwhile and your life is valuable – who you are is important with or without money.
2. It may take a long time to do this – that is okay but it can be very frustrating. Talk to somebody, talk to anybody or write about it and get it out of your system.
3. If you were rich and had everything money could buy – what would you want to include in every day? Go ahead and do those things now. Gardening? Meeting new people? Getting out to see the world? Hobbies? Charity work? Writing a novel? Creating new music? Building something? Inventing something to change the world for the better? Singing? Making videos or becoming a tv personality? Go ahead and do it.
The main list of things that would be helpful information to give away at the America the Beautiful Shows –
1. Spend an hour a day learning – and online learning resources, open courseware online from universities, webinars and information rich learning possibilities list – community and online
2. List of public access computers and internet – libraries, work centers, workforce incentive centers, cybernet cafes, schools, adult education and community centers computer labs available for public access – addresses, contact info and times available
3. List of libraries, times, resources there, loan time for materials, library phone numbers and online addresses for renewal and for reference / research – about community meeting rooms and public notice bulletin boards, special programs, reference – ask a question phone number for the refdesk librarian, Friends of the Library program, kids and family programs, library computers and make it an every other week event to have library day for your family
4. Labor Department, workforce incentive locations, Dress for Success programs, build a resume workshops, temp employment agencies in the area, Labor Department programs, training and testing, phone numbers, dates for programs – map to get there ( for all of the above)
5. SBA, SCORE, Startup resources for small businesses, bank, financial companies, mortgage companies, realty companies and Chamber of Commerce phone numbers, locations, explanation of help available at these – classes, workshops, information, resources and how to access – phone? online? Also special seminars, workshops, public info resources being made available in the immediate future at those locations. There are explanations of mortgage classes available, buying a house info sessions, business brokers offering seminars, economic development groups offering classes and seminars for starting businesses, financial education efforts being made through banks and the Treasury Department locations, etc.
6. Convention centers and trade centers nearby with schedule list of coming events with times and map to get there (same for fairgrounds and business centers like Galleria) – where to find the online addresses for event schedules and where to purchase admission for events, where to find vendor and booth fees and participation info for events held there.
7. About shoes, weather, clothing, using cable / internet resources, weather channel info, about coats, heat stroke, warmth for winter, new thermal lightweight clothing, how to carry clothes separately when going to a job interview or business presentation when walking and taking the bus instead of driving, ride share / carpool resources locally; info about telecommuting and flex-time work possibilities to ask employers and potential employers about, telecommuting / teleconferencing tools and online resources, Skype and Cisco, etc. – cellphone comparison charts, including email, internet svc, text messaging, phone costs, where to buy a computer or software locally, how to ask an eight year old or an eighteen year old for help with computing, texting, emailing or archiving.
8. Computer how-to classes at computer stores, trade schools, tech schools, online, Geek Squads locations, adult ed and community center computer how to classes, dumb question phone numbers for computer stuff, where to find an online computer geek or tech help to ask a question, computer clubs locally where information can be asked about computers, business and resources to get trouble-shooting help / answers about computers and software. How to read an information specs about a computer as found in any computer store or advertisement – what it means in simple terms.
9. Motorcycle safety, defensive driving quick list of how to, check tire pressure for safety and better gas mileage info, repair it yourself places locally, electric cars info, natural gas cars / natural gas fueled trucks info, where to buy ethanol at local gas stations maps, natural gas fill-up stations locally for vehicles – golf cart and ATV dealerships, electric car and truck dealerships locally – local skate parks, skateboard parks, REI, Bassmasters, Sports Authority, rock climbing, swim centers & hiking trail / wildlife trail areas, bicycle shops and bicycle safety chart for riding with the traffic – shoes and clothing necessary for bikes as primary transportation
10. Natural gas safety before winter startup – Natural gas company can come out and check it – weatherproofing and insulation improvement help through stimulus funds, solar hot water and solar panel systems info to briefly understand how they work, where to purchase solar and wind powered electricity generating systems, how to finance, how to get them for local schools, churches and businesses, online info sources about generating power with solar and wind, about flexible solar materials and where to find those to purchase (online and locally)
11. About online bill paying, online banking, averaging payment plans for electricity and natural gas programs to make even payments throughout the year, water saving measures, indoor air quality info – how to choose a good air cleaner, what are hepa filters, how much air volume to move for what size space to clean the air in homes, offices, and small business suites, savings from bus / mass transit / subways / carpools chart – biking / motorcycles / cars chart visually comparing costs to use everyday, mpg = how much are you paying per mile based on the price per gallon based on how many gallons per mile you are getting from your vehicle.
12. About credit, credit cards, how to understand the interest on credit purchases chart, how to access programs to work out or re-work mortgages, emergency help food banks and social net resources, anger management classes, free therapy resources, Families First and similar free and sliding scale therapy programs, career counseling and retraining services (labor department and at local colleges), diabetics clinics and nutrition / cooking classes, local gyms, swim centers, public parks and recreation department programs and contact information / schedules.
13. how to get a real estate license, how to get a business license, how to get a vendors’ permit, how to rent kiosks at malls, how to get a booth in art shows, festivals, trade shows, at 5K runs and other events, where to find the contact info to ask if a resale or tax id number is required as a vendor, ask an IRS question phone numbers, how to find the certified public accountant organization locally to find a certified accountant for business help on the financial bookkeeping and to understand the kinds of information that will need to be tracked for a specific business and its taxes.
14. how to look up patents online, online addresses for the patent office and for trademarks, access to the Secretary of State office info online to register a corporation or to get professional licenses that are required – with the online address and phone numbers, physical address and map to location, where to find copyright office online and simple explanation of the difference between copyright, trademark, patent and State registration of business elements, WIPO information, costs of a provisional patent and patent fees generally chart, list of patent and corporate attorneys particular to small and startup businesses locally, patent process generally explained in overview, and an explanation of why to get an attorney’s help to draw up legally binding deals in business or in sales of things for royalties, such as creative works, designs, patents, copyrights, writings, music, inventions, product designs, etc.
15. List of dance locations, square dance, “folk dance” public dance events, public dance studios and classes, parents without partners clubs and phone numbers, bridge and canasta clubs, karaoke and open mike nights at clubs around the area, comedy clubs with open mike nights there, public calls list for choirs, actors, musicians – where to find locally, where to find online; Sunshine Directory of arts festivals, online calendars of events and convention / trade shows ahead of time in order to be in them as exhibitor or vendor, Comic Cons, independent film calls and festivals / film groups, role-playing groups locally, public broadcasting classes, Anime and Manga groups / conventions, finding local historical re-enactment groups online, Chess Clubs, Co-ed sports, car rallies, autocross, car shows and local car club contacts, local garden clubs, sales and business networking groups, Toastmasters, how to find local groups and activities – where they are listed in the community and online – where to call and ask, musician resources and local bulletin boards with musician info and trading – online and in physical locations around the immediate area, – how to find local groups of various kinds information online. Simple information about using search engines online effectively.
16. Local writers’ groups, literacy classes, GED classes, MENSA, local language resources, French, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Swedish, Portuguese, Latin, etc. – translators services, classes, online resources for language, library and college libraries’ how-to language check out materials, language clubs and local language labs available to the public, writing clubs and workshops – online and in person locally, business and technical writing workshops, proposals and presentations workshops, National Endowment for the Arts and nonprofits’ grant-making / grant-writing workshops dates and info, explanation of how to make a non-profit (brief overview about registration with IRS and needing a business license for it just as for a profit-making business), Rosetta Stone and how to use language resources for translations online, on the computer – brief overview of how to use “read it to you” and verbal input / language translation software found on most computers and internet addresses for online language translating and training in languages
17. Common sense safety – awareness of surroundings, park and walk where it is well traveled and well-lighted, etc.; home safety list and emergency kit handy make it yourself list, where to call Ask-a-Nurse / Poison Control Center phone numbers locally, list of local hospitals with emergency rooms and doc in a box locations – list of things to bring with you to social service / to doctors’ offices generally / to the emergency room / to have handy in case an emergency requires fleeing your home, common sense car safety and create an emergency plan info for your family – carry card to fill out with emergency contact phone numbers and email addresses just in case to have in the car or wallet or purse and in children’s backpacks (and especially to incorporate in something carried by young adults and teens).
18. gun safety and hunter safety courses schedule in the local area with locations and contact phone numbers, gun ranges locally, paintball ranges, laser tag locations, gun and survivalist / army surplus store locations, motorcycle dealerships, atv safety info and driving classes locally, how to get water from thin air by condensation in an emergency situation / purifying water in an emergency easy how to, hiking tools, about shoes for walking (how to select them for everyday hiking to the grocery store on sidewalks and cluttered overgrown road shoulders), how to select shoes for biking to work, “don’t buy what you can’t zip yourself or can’t walk a mile in comfortably” list; info on how to carry groceries, cellphone, mp3 player, all home at the same time notes and about using backpacks, rolling backpacks, rolling frame grocery carts that fold up, using baggage cart frames to carry groceries, rolling icechests, carrying groceries in rolling luggage, – selecting umbrellas and about sunshine, uv protection and all-weather wear for walking in the real world conditions of city and suburban streets to get things done.
19. Networking, social networking and community networking, online networking, creating the 30 second pitch notes how to, online create a business info, how to sell to the rest of the world, where to find info at the US Department of Commerce export help / VAT / taxes and tariff info, how to deal with auctions (online and in person) as buyer or as seller generally, where to find lists of local auctions, dates and times, phone contact numbers for them and online addresses, antique festivals, collectors’ auctions, finding powwows and bike rallies/ motorcyclist rallies and rides info online, where to find local clubs and organizations in the area online.
20. how to construct a video tour of where you live – what to include, video tutorials online and stop motion animation tutorials online, computer programming how to online, build your own computer info online, build your own website / online storefront info and hosts addresses online, WIX, Intuit, GoDaddy, Livestream, YouTube, Etsy, Ebay, etc.
21. Basix food prep safety, books you need – dictionary / business white pages phone book with the blue government pages in the back / basic cookbook to look up how to do things as needed; the agricultural extension office help, information and available resources – phone number, address and website address for the local and regional agricultural extension office, gardening info, master gardeners program locally and explanation of how houseplants make air better indoors, grow a green thing campaign to improve CO2 management in cities and suburbs; get a camera, make an ireport, weather channel viewer created content, current tv viewer created content and VCAMs, places to put video materials online and in the community publicly, G4, viral videos, photography classes and tours locally, photography contests, national parks calls and contests for photos, selling photography, create a “how to” video for YouTube or as a product to sell, make math fun, science at home, chemistry is just cooking, invent something, create something, write something, – video journal what you create, problems needing to be solved, do something new, do what nourishes you (in order to keep going) at least once every week whether it is swimming or gardening or taking a walk in your neighborhood, enjoying a card game with friends or going out to a movie; add a drive, add a picnic, add a museum, add a trip to a planetarium or to a national park or history event.
Now, believe it or not – these are the things that are required to know how to find or access, if you don’t have a job, find yourself unemployed, end up unemployed for any length of time past getting an unemployment check, lose your business, lose your home, and / or don’t have any money.
If you added all the other things that would be handy to know, the list really would be extensive. Six years ago, when I moved to the place where I live now, there was rarely anyone walking to go anywhere near here. In the last 3 – 4 years especially, that has changed dramatically and it is common to see many people walking to get their groceries, to go get on the bus, or to go to any number of stores and restaurants within a two mile radius including the local Wal-Mart store. There are more bicycle riders, more skateboarders using the parking lots at night, more people walking for necessity or for pleasure and exercise, more people walking as a family or a couple, more runners and joggers, more motorcyclists and more people who carry their packages home walking to get there after going shopping.
It changes the way you have to think about things to do it that way. It also changes the way you have to do things, when to go on the bus for a job interview or business presentation requires a two-hour trip on the bus to get there (even to somewhere close by) and some measure of walking to get to the bus and from the bus to the door of the location. That makes it different and dress high heels, just don’t get it. The heat can destroy even the nicest clothing, well-pressed and wrinkle free upon setting out. The cold can bring a wind chill with even the slightest wind on a cool day that would never be recognized in a car. It means that the way things are carried there or home is different, too. A large portfolio isn’t even acceptable on many bus systems. Some bus systems have bicycle racks on the front, but some do not. And, adjustments have to be made in how money for a taxi is prioritized against possibly not having any money all week or for the next two weeks because of doing it.
Those are only a few examples of the kinds of information people need right now or will be needing in the immediate future as the economic crisis and large numbers of people being unemployed continues unabated. My idea is that much of this information could be gathered and given out at the events for the America the Beautiful Show as a giveaway package for every member of the audiences, to every sponsoring organizations members, to every show participant and at the same time construct and host a show with entertainment for people to enjoy. Then, at the very least everyone would have access to the same information and resources that are now necessary for survival and for rebuilding the economy from the ground up in communities across America. The above list contains the tools that are required for people to reconstruct their own economic well-being and financial opportunities, as well as to have some helpful information that it can be devastatingly expensive to not have.
I’m going to place this information on the America the Beautiful Show website and then try to get it updated today. I made a quickie video of working on the list in the first place, but it is very raw footage and as much as it was intended to get added to the YouTube site for the project, I don’t know if I can live with the way it looks or that I have the courage to upload it as it is. Since I don’t have any editing software for it – either the clip goes as is or not at all. So, I don’t know. Maybe . . .
Quickie note – you may have wondered why I put gun and hunter safety on the list along with the locations of gun / shooting / target ranges found locally – well, sooner or later, everybody thinks getting a gun will solve problems and shooting yourself in the foot is very expensive when you don’t have any money. It is better to know how to use the durn thing, understand its devastating power with some respected professionals helping you to handle it and then go shoot at the target range when you feel like shooting something.
It is stupid to say, just don’t go get a gun or to pretend that poor people who are out of work don’t have access to them and should be discouraged from that avenue. The fact is, if people have the other resources available to them which work, they won’t have near as much need to go around shooting up anything. But, that is only the case when they realize that all of it is available to them to use if the need arises. In the countryside, there were many years when the things that were hunted, including squirrel, rabbit and deer fed our family – not when I was growing up, but after becoming an adult woman with husband and children.
And, I do know that when possibilities for viable solutions exist that can be worked on, worked towards, worked with and some evidence found that it can work – the despair goes away. The anger and bitterness becomes less and less. The feelings of isolation, loneliness and worthlessness disappear. All of those feelings are a natural consequence of grieving the loss of a job, the worries about money or the lack thereof, long term unemployment, filling out hundreds of job applications to get nothing and not one job, of losing a home to foreclosure or of having to declare bankruptcy and close a business that has taken years to build. But, those same feelings also go away and resolve naturally when positive efforts are being made to right the ship, so to speak – financially rebuilding, fitting into the community in other ways, making new relationships and opportunities, building a new lifestyle in positive ways and not continuing down dead ends like spending the next fifteen years filling out online job applications that don’t yield a job.
Well, I put the article written here (list) on one page of the website – maybe it was on 25 – or 24 . . . . I think it was maybe on 24. But you can read it here anyway – so there’s no point worrying about it. It might do better as more of a list style for the website, though – in order to be easily usable.
I’ll have to fiddle with it some more tomorrow. I’ve just about had all the fun I can stand for one day.