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Reading some other blogs this morning and came up with this gem from Shane Labs who heard from his “mentor” on RISK…

You have to take risks that are going to make you feel like you’ve just jumped out of an airplane. Naked. And you’re falling so fast your balls are slapping you in the face.

Any questions?

God is Love?

I look at me. What am I? I’m ruled by a drive inside – the very basic, the MOST basic drive, that is pleasure and pain. I move toward pleasure. I avoid pain. Everything I do is governed by this. Nothing falls outside it. I look at everyone else. Same thing. I look at the animal kingdom – same thing. The pleasure pain principle makes us what? Selfish. It makes us look out for ourselves first. Our own pleasures, our own avoiding pain, puts us at odds not only with those around us – with animals and plants around us- which we care little for… but it puts us at odds with our selves. We’re at odds with everyone we meet. And yet, another drive is – we NEED social contact. We need food. We need (at least crave like lunatics) sex. We need a safe home. We need power. Control. We all, or most of us seem to need to figure shit out about what is going on around us.

We have these drives… they are inborn. They don’t come from outside us. Dogs have them – some of them. They tear each other apart for crossing what they assume in their head is their territory.

In the big picture – we are at odds with ourselves, society, the environment, animals, and plants. We are selfishly driven. We cause extraordinary pain to others as we try to make ourselves happy, or hurt less. We are struggling against forces that we can never overcome. We are ants in the plastic vertical cannister that are here for something’s amusement. Or, we’re here for nothing at all. Or, we’re here as the result of a mistake. Or, we’re here as the result of a god that didn’t think it through. Or we’re here as the result of a science experiment by alien kids. Or, we’re the result of alien genetic engineering. Or… the possibilities are almost endless.

We’re not here as the result of any supreme god’s love for us.

My sister, Laura Lovic-Lindsay just had a short (flash fiction) published at FiresideFiction.com and I love it.

Maybe you will too.

It is every bit as odd as I expected from her. She is really the queen of weird stories!

Shoelace

Coding Swift in Forest Tent Midnight

What will YOU be doing in 2015? Same ol? Maybe you’ll be holed up in a tent in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness writing code. Who knows? Maybe you will. © 2014 Matt Hosford at Flickr.

Fook is defunct.

Vern Lovic, step up to the stage. This is your life…

I’ve been working my ass numb for the past few days on my new ALL IN project for 2015. What am I up to?

Creating Training Tutorials for SWIFT – Apple’s next generation of code to write applications for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod). Released in June 2014, this is a major step toward bringing high level coding mainstream.

If you asked me what I thought YOU should be doing this upcoming year – the answer is:

LEARNING TO CODE SWIFT

I created SWIFTmonk.com and there is still a lot to do over there, but you can sign up today to start getting the tutorials as they are released. Figure a week from now I’ll be able to start releasing those. I am learning to code at the same time you will be. We’ll go through it together.

Writing articles for someone else is tough. You have no assets. You have a worn out ass-bone, and no assets. Get yourself some assets. If you are not writing books, then what are you doing that will pay you as you sleep?

Make some money as you sleep, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.

I was sitting here working on my Swift course lesson outline and I got a beep on the phone. A message from e-Junkie.com. I just earned a $7.50 commisson on the sale of a photography book I must have put at VernLovic.com somewhere. I can’t think where else I could have put that affiliate link. Then DING. Another one. I just earned $10.00 commission on the sale of another photography book at e-Junkie.com.

This is why almost whatever you were planning on doing in 2015 isn’t quite like what you could be doing. If that makes any sense.

The future is learning to code apps. I’m 100% in for 2015. I can’t get excited about anything else. Writing books – is over for now. I’ve watched my sales go from $2,000 per month down to something like $400 at the moment. Not so good. I mean, it was great while it lasted, but I’ve written so much and the payoff isn’t anything like the time-work invested. Time for a new plan. A new Vern.

Maybe reinventing yourself is the way to go in 2015. I’ve certainly seen the light. Writing code is something that you can do from anywhere in the world. You can take on small projects working for someone else for 10-20 hours a week and make another $600 a week if you know how to code using Apple’s XCode program to write in Swift. Or, you could just write your own apps.

Ever wanted to create something from scratch that others can use on their phones or tablets?

It is easier than ever to get started doing that. Apple just gave everyone a trampoline and a kick in the ass to begin programming in Swift. It isn’t that difficult. If you passed Algebra in high school, college, you can learn Swift.

You’re not too old. I’m 48. I started a week ago. In 2015 I’ll be competent in something I never was before. I’ll be creating things I never could have before. I have the chance to not only create my own apps, but because I’ll know a new language that others are dying to learn – I can create a training program for them that is in my style. Big Picture style.

If you are unsure about writing books. You don’t sing or write songs. You don’t make videos at YouTube that are killing it. You don’t have any great ideas for inventions or new businesses that can bring you income notifications through email – think about learning a new programming language.

It sounds DAUNTING – doesn’t it?

It did to me for about 15 years. I could have learned C++, Objective-C so many years ago. I had friends doing it. Family. I could have been well on my way to something fifteen years ago. Instead I went another direction and it worked out in some ways. I did some GOOD stuff.

“THE GOOD STUFF WILL KEEP YOU FROM DOING THE GREAT STUFF!”- Eric Thomas

That’s my mantra for 2015.

What’s yours?

Come on, join me over at SWIFTmonk.com and let’s crank life up to another level entirely by learning Swift in 2015.

I’ll race ya…

VL

Writing code on macbook pro for iphone apps

I’ve considered writing code since 1997. Will 2015 be the year I run with it? Copyright © 2014 Aaron Tait at Flickr.

Just a quick comparison here. I’ve been considering three things for 2015. I need to go ALL IN on something. I’m too scatter-minded to focus on one project. I need to change that for 2015. My goal is to focus primarily, entirely, on one activity for the year.

Choices:

  • coding iPhone apps
  • writing books
  • Youtube videos

If I could figure out how to crank up my Youtube channel from twenty-two million views to six-hundred million, I’d get started TODAY. Making videos is more fun than writing books or coding ANY day. I can’t seem to come up with The Plan for such a thing, so I’m probably looking at writing or coding.

CODING

WRITING

Potential $ is higher per app

Lower per book or total

Faster for short apps, longer for big

max 3 months

learning curve 6 months

proficient now

less redeeming value – coding tech

can affect people more – coding minds

unknown

known

road less traveled

high competition

maintain code in future

write once and done (fiction)

always changing – radically

changing slowly

I anticipate difficulty recalling past details

easier to remember previous work

less fun, more attention to detail

more fun during process

Both can be done anywhere in the world with an internet connection. That’s basically anywhere in the world that I’d want to be. Both are always changing, but code changes much more year-to-year. There is also the matter of maintaining old code to be compatible with new iPhone / iPad hardware as it is released. That certainly doesn’t sound like fun.

An iPhone app can do well immediately and it could mean a couple of thousand dollars per day. A book, if smashing it, could make a couple hundred dollars a day. I guess a book could make a thousand a day for a while. With books the monetization takes place immediately at the time of sale. With apps it can be immediate or stretched over time. You can release a free app with some ads that are paying you per view or click. You can offer upgrades within the app which lead to more sales. You can offer a cheap 99c app that later upgrades to a $4.99 app. Advertisers within the app can be changed any time to accommodate higher paying ads. With books, someone buys it and that’s it, you’re done. Sure I have some mentions of my website and other books inside all the books I sell, but I don’t have a good feel for how much that’s working.

So, the two are very similar, and yet there are some profound differences.

One of the differences is the last one I mentioned – fun factor. I’ve made this a high hurdle in my mind. I’ve always believed I needed to be doing something fun to make money. Besides a few years in the Air Force, I can honestly say I’ve always done something fun. Coding does not look fun. I do see that it will probably be more rewarding to write a great application vs writing a great book. More rewarding in my head. More rewarding as cash in the bank too.

Over the long-term I think a great book has more lasting value. A great book can sell for 100 years. You can affect people’s minds and souls by writing a good book. With an app I can help people solve a problem, or give them an hour of escape from their daily grind. I don’t really WANT to give people a meaningless hour of fun though. With every book I wrote so far, I’ve tried to give the reader something more. They mean a helluva lot to me. I don’t know what an app would mean.

In terms of legacy, what would I be leaving with a bunch of apps when I die? In five years nobody will be using them anyway. Write a good book, a couple good books, a series of good books, and that’s a better legacy to leave in my wake.

So anyway, I have seven days to figure out what 2015 is going to consist of. I haven’t decided against YouTube video yet, but I do need to put more thought into it and come up with a list of 100 amazing videos that have the potential to really crank over there. Crank, meaning a couple million views each. I have one video approaching 3 million I think. I’ll check. OK, 3,733,000. Nice. But I need a string of those to really be a smashing success. I know a guy making $6,000 to $10,000 per month with YouTube, but he’s an asshole. I don’t want to be one of those. I mean, nobody wants their legacy to be, “He was an asshole.”

Videos that attempt to affect viewers’ minds go nowhere at all. YouTube is all about shock and awe, assholes and elbows. There is probably little long-term value in videos.

YouTube videos would be the most fun for sure. I don’t think it’s the right focus at this point in my life. I might need to do something boring. Maybe this is the time in my life where I have to bite the bullet and do what I’m not excited about for a few years. That’s maturity, right? That’s growing up, right? I love being 48 and still a kid though.

Ah, decisions, decisions.

Cheers all.

Oh, and an update for 12/28… What did I decide? I’m going ALL IN on coding iOS apps at SWIFTmonk.com!

Here’s a post I just wrote about a rant I did back in around 1996. This was what led to my new book, “Recipe For Chaos,” due to be released 2/28/15. Assuming there IS a 2/28/15. Is that a leap year?

Original Rant (click)

Here’s one of about nine different introductions I’ve written for my next book, Recipe for Chaos. The problem is, there are dozens of ways to write the intro, that I can see. Maybe there are hundreds more. It’s hard to choose The One that will be the most effective in pulling readers into the book.

Here’s one possibility.


 

I’m playing a game.

You too, you’re playing a game.

We’re on the same general playing field, this whacky blue spinning ball, but we play the game on micro-fields with different environments. No two people share the same environment or players around them. We’re not even sure if we’re playing against others or ourselves. We might be playing against the insects or dolphins for all we know.

Many of the rules we follow in playing The Game are the same. But, The Game isn’t fair in any way. It’s completely unfair. It couldn’t be more unfair because no two people have the same advantages and disadvantages.

Not everyone in the game has two arms and ten fingers.

Not everyone in the game can even count the fingers on one hand.

Not everyone in the game has control over their own mind.

The Game is pressure-cooker intense, perhaps because we don’t understand it. As it is, we think many things are important that probably are not. We stress ourselves over minutiae that might not matter at all.

The Game is all a bit much to deal with sometimes.

Some decide to exit early. Suicide is a commonly chosen option. Others vegetate on drugs or television. Some ignore the Big Game and play their own smaller games – seeking the ultimate level of fitness, higher video game scores, business success, or social media mastery. All these are great diversions for people that would rather not face a bigger game of figuring out what we are here on earth for.

On average we suffer the game for seventy years or so. Some die at six-years-old from brain cancer. Others die at ninety-six from slipping on a child’s toy.

Figuring out the big picture regarding The Game and what started it all is slowly driving me mad.

God, The Force, Aliens, The Matrix, whatever name you know it by, I call it “Oz”, is plainly not here to answer any questions about The Game and what the point of life is. Oz is not an active part of today’s game. Oz doesn’t give us any clues as to what the game is about other than what we already have. For the record, I believe Oz is some sort of powerful god-like force that need not look like a human, or a glowing mass of plasma. Oz could be alien blob kids that whipped up this game for their science class project for all I know. I really believe that as much as I do there being some man-like god that looks anything like us.

Some might say we don’t have much to go on to figure out the point of life and to figure out something about Oz. I think we do. I think we have a lot to go on.

Every time I take a look around I see something that tells me more about Oz. Some people walk through a forest and marvel at the tall redwood trees as something their god created or planned for. Others see a flower or a child and they see god in the mix. Still others see a rainbow stretching across a stunning landscape and proclaim their love and devotion for one god or another.

I also see Oz in all of that. In addition, I see Oz in the messy diaper my daughter soiled black. I see Oz in the suffering of a young child with terminal cancer. I see Oz in overweight people eating ice-cream and walking around the mall.

I see Oz all over the place. Every day, if you look closely, you can see various aspects of The Game we’re all playing and how that reflects on Oz.

Oz made the game and all that is in it. There is nothing that escaped Oz’s comprehensive plan. There couldn’t have been anything left to chance or The Game couldn’t have gone on as long as it has. The complicated nature of interwoven dynamics that support our lives on this planet are far too tenuous to be based on a half-assed plan. No, the plan was very well put together. Seamless and complete.

I believe Oz outlined the rules of the game and all that we have. Then, we weren’t given a choice, we were made to play it.

We may not even be the main players in the game for all we know. We sure think we are because our ego-ruled minds tell us we’re the point of this game.

Are we though?

I don’t know.

That’s just one of the many questions we can look at.

Other burning questions that prompted my writing this book:

1. What is Oz?
2. What is the point of The Game we’re all playing?

This book is my attempt to look at all that we have in The Game and see how that might help paint a picture of Oz.

I want to know the point of this game, sure, but what really intrigues me more is what Oz is, and the WHY of The Game. Why are we all playing this? Why does life appear to be filled with negative events and challenges? How can we lose? How can we win? Are we playing against ourselves or against other people? What happens after this Game? Is there another game we face next time? Is it more difficult than this one? Are we all going through fifty lifetimes of games to see who comes out the other end as a winner? Or, are we going through fifty lifetimes of games so Oz can see what evolves that might be better than human beings?

The possibilities are endless as far as what happens after this game – right?

So, I just want to take a look at this world we live in, and all the rules that we play The Game by. I want to see what the rules we have, say about Oz. Do they help us build a picture of what Oz is really all about? Or, does it all lead nowhere?

I feel like I must give it my best shot to figure out because it has been on my mind for decades now. I’ve put off writing this book for so long because I couldn’t wrap my head around how to create a comprehensive book on the subject.

The answer is, that would be impossible. We can’t possibly look at every single aspect of The Game and put it all together and figure out what Oz is, what Oz meant by creating all this.

What we can do, I’m hoping, is to take a sample of what we see and try to infer something about Oz that gives us more to go on.

Sounds reasonable, right?


Please help me out by answering these few questions. THANKS!!


You know how you sort of know somebody, but you don’t. I mean, you guess things, but you’re not really sure just how well you know a friend until you see something that shows you exactly what he’s all about?

I met Andy when he and some buddies came from the Pacific northwest – Seattle, Oregon, for herping in Thailand. Catching snakes, that is. He was really adventurous, throwing caution to the wind most of the time, and just going for it. He was brought up well, a respectful guy, brilliant guy, and fun to be around as long as you weren’t going to become a casualty of his antics. That’s why this video was so right on.

I just saw my his proposal to his wife. He video taped it.

UHM, T – W – I – S – T – E – D doesn’t BEGIN to describe it!

Grab yourself a strong drink and have a watch:

Woody Allen close-up portrait.

Woody Allen gives me a great close-up shot just a block from his home on Central Park West. ©1989 Vern Lovic

This was 1989 maybe. It’s been a while.

I was walking around NYC with my friend, Ted. We spotted Woody Allen with a woman that wasn’t Mia Farrow. We followed for a bit, took some photos. Ted went across the street and took some photos. Woody turned around and came straight back at me. Taking photos as he came toward me he motioned for me to put my camera down.

“I just want to talk to you for a second.”

“What are you doing with the camera taking my photo?”

“You’re Woody Allen, I want to get some good photos.”

“What would you think if I ripped those cameras off your neck right now?”

I paused, getting ready to beat his dumb ass in front of hundreds of people if he pushed me or attempted to take my cameras.

“I don’t think you’ll do that.”

He got closer, right up in my face.

“WHY NOT? WHAT IF I DO IT RIGHT NOW?”

“You’ll be on the cover of every newspaper and magazine all over the world. Look across the street.”

He did. My friend ted was zoomed in with his 300mm telephoto.

Woody stepped back a meter from me.

“What kind of photo do you think you’re going to get then?”

“I don’t know. Something I can sell to the newspapers. Maybe you falling off the curb. Maybe you kissing the woman you’re with.”

“Well, you’re not going to get anything like that. Here, take a photo now.”

“I don’t want a photo like that. Can’t sell it.”

Woody was now really agitated.

“You’re scaring my friend over there, just take a photo right here.”

I thought briefly about it. Decided I wasn’t out to piss off the world. I told him, “OK, wait, I need to change lenses.”

I changed to my 85mm F1.8 lens, my sharpest, and I took this shot.

“That’s it then, you’re not following us any more?”

Sure Woody, that’s it. Thanks.

Just blew through Twitter this morning which led to reading a few things, some of which you might really like:

Tim Ferriss talks about John McPhee – staff writer for The New Yorker, and taking a class with him at Princeton. Also within the post is an article written about McPhee by one of his former students. Quite good.

I was happy to see McPhee loves a paragraph from my favorite book ever – Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness. I’ll paste it below.

“Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine.” JC, The Heart of Darkness

Here’s an article JM wrote about Writer’s Block.

If you ever wondered what great writing looked like, and you weren’t quite sure, here is a list of John McPhee’s articles at The New Yorker, sixteen pages of articles to scroll through. I really do like his style.

The Essentials of Writing a Fiction Novel. This is mine. It’s a 9,000 word look at exactly what I do when I write books for Amazon. I’ve written 26 books I think it is. Quite, quite good!