Shaking the Snow-Globe, Again

With the coming of spring — the warming, the lengthening days, Daylight Saving Time — comes a lessening of the funk I’ve been in since I turned 50 in October. My social media outreaches are going fairly well, and I can no longer call myself friendless, though for the most part I’ve never really met any of these people.

My mood is elevated more now that I’ve again taken up my project ideas. And I realize I’m back to that cycle. I plan some enterprise or other, with the goal of either joy or accomplishment or cash. I get to a certain point, then I get distracted, or discouraged, or the idea just grates on my brain, and some other shinier idea takes its place, and I get enraptured in that — while the little sane part of my brain realizes that this one will never see the light of day, either.

And so it’s been through much of my adult life. Always planning, always showing off my imagination, never following through. Always for some sensible reason.

So today, a confluence of three ideas — more like a collision — are all vying for next position in the conga line of my attention.

1: Animated short, The Babysitter. A YouTube-style viral video explaining a point of the American Constitution with an allegory of a family that hires a babysitter. It was originally scheduled to help Texas Representative Ron Paul in his bid for the Republican nomination. By the time it occurred to me, the window was so small until the beginning of primary season that I “regretfully” shelved it.

2: PainForecast.com. This idea filled the void left by the movie idea. It’s a web service-with-widget that would detect your arthritis pain sensitivity based on the weather, and give you a five-day forecast when the pain would likely get bad. It got pretty clear I’d need to actuate the idea before I could interest a sponsor, which means bucks. I’m just getting the order of procedure down, and who I need to ask what and in what order, when I buy and read The Four-Hour Work Week. I go into the book with the PainForecast idea and come out with…

3. An information product, to be named later. Author Tim Ferriss recommends I reach into my area of expertise and find something I can teach (which I realized is a certain basic skill critical to every Adobe creative app, that I know well and like to tutor), and produce a DVD for sale via mail order. I realize I can’t just crank out a two-minute tutorial with a screen capture; I would want to be the world’s expert in this particular use of the software. I’d also have to stamp out any reservations I’m having to the thought of charging as much as Ferriss says I should for something that so many people are giving away. I’m not all the way through the book yet.

So this weekend, the perfect storm came. Yesterday I get a Twitter update from Laura Fitton, a.k.a. Pistachio, inviting participants in her interactive media experiment, Mediacasters.tv, the first subject of which is coverage of Boulder, Colorado’s Startup Weekend. Next thing I know, I’m encapsulating my proposal on a Mediacasters wiki Laura put up for the purpose. I didn’t want to disappoint. But what if it gets presented today? I’m almost hoping it’ll fall through the cracks.

Then, last night on Twitter the Ron Paul campaign (I forgot I’m following him) announces he satisfies ballot requirements in all 50 states. What does that mean? Will he announce his candidacy as an independent? If so, the desk is wiped clean and the animation project is back on, with a generous production window closing September or so. I can perform some tests today to to better cobble together a production pipeline using my current apps. This task would give me some pride of artistic accomplishment in a project I can control, in contrast to my day job. I’ve aspired to be an animator since before computers, and now I have the chance. I’m sleuthing the sources to see what they mean by that news. As if I need the excuse of Ron Paul’s campaign to do animation.

But I could really use the bucks that the information product could bring, at least to hear Tim Ferriss tell it. I have no savings, and am in credit card debt up to my eyeballs. I’m working this job only because of the benefits, since my wife has a disease (she exhibits symptoms of arthritis, and is the inspiration of PainForecast) that’s taking all the health care coverage we’ve got.

Which way do I go?

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