Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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Tag Archives: photography

Summer Camp for Adults? Cash on In!

FullSizeRenderSummer is here and a few years back I read about Adult Summer Camps.  I didn’t pay much attention to the Adult Summer Camp craze because I was too busy being, you know, a parent.  Besides, I’ve done my fair share of camping, backpacking, and attending summer camps as a young Boy Scout and also as a Boy Scout troop leader.  Oh, and don’t forget my trips to various Girl Scout camps with my daughter as well.  So you can imagine, I’m not too interested in sleeping a musty old cabin eating bad food at the dining hall as an adult because we now have an Adult Summer Camp opportunities abound.

So, you see, the idea of Adult Summer Camp doesn’t really appeal to me.  However, I can see that it is a great idea because it already exists and someone is making some money.  However, I believed these “summer camps” are called business conventionsand trade shows and held in places like hotels.  Usually  you have to attend because your job requires you to.  Or you could go for pleasure and attend something like Comicon.  You know, a place where you can dress up in a costume just like you do on Halloween.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It is a hobby and hobbies are something you enjoy doing and I strongly encourage you to attend a convention if you want to.  I just don’t understand why someone wants to head out to the woods and go back to summer camp.  I’d much rather head to a hotel and enjoy the pool and spa services.

Of course, I’m a fool for not cashing in on the Adult Summer Camp craze.  I know a number of experts (aka friends) that could assist me in creating a new summer camp.  If someone wants to pay me to attend a summer camp, who am I to stop them?

What courses would I offer?  The list is endless!

  • Lawn Mowing and Lawn Care
  • Complaining & Whining
  • Photography
  • House Painting
  • Blogging
  • Cheap Vacations
  • Car Maintenance
  • How to Fail
  • Drone Flying (and Crashing!)
  • Home Beer Brewing (and its sister course Beer Drinking)
  • How to Be Depressed in Your Life without Mental Illness
  • Boating and Floating
  • Camping Basics
  • Candle Making
  • Wine Drinking
  • Scotch and Whisky Drinking

Pretty much whatever you can imagine, we could offer it as a course.  I could rent some old summer camp, set up some old army tents, get some retired school cook for my mess hall, and we would have our summer camp up and running in no time.  Daily Field trips to the local pub for inspiration would be a must.  Hands on experience (like painting my house) with a touch of reality (see my highly regarded course “How to Fail”).

I know you are dying to sign up.  For only $1499 per week, this summer camp experience can be yours.  You can send me cash anytime.  I promise to save your spot for you.

Have a great idea for a course?  Want to be a part of a winning team (or you need a job for the summer)?  Let me know!  Frankly, I need all the help I can get.

 

 

 

 

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Things to Demotivate You….

Sigh. It is hard to keep motivated when you have a blog about worthless advice. I find myself distracted by all the happiness and goodness of the world. Once in a while, there is some stupid financial advice you can cling to to Demotivate you. My favorite: Make more money and spend less. Whoa. Heart stopping advice.

Facebook doesn’t help either. People are always updating their Facebook status with “I’m having a great time with my family on our trip to Maui”. Or “I just won $300 at the casino and I’m currently up $600”. No one admits they have just lost their kid’s college fund (if they even bother to start one). No one says they hate their overbearing uncle during the family reunion on Kauai. I thought you were suppose to over share on Facebook? Isn’t that what your Facebook friends want?

You don’t want to be happy all the time. You want to get upset and be angry. Oh, does that offend you when I say something like that? Should I be happy all the time and have positive thoughts all the time? Should I shrug my shoulders up and say “Oh Well” when there is a school yard shooting? Should I not be angry when there is injustice in the world?

You can’t be positive all the time. There are times when you won’t be happy. I know I won’t be a billionaire in my chosen career path. The numbers just don’t support it. I can make a very comfortable living but I won’t be flying on a private jet from photo session to photo session. That doesn’t upset me. I’m ok with that.

I do wish I was a better blogger and a better writer. I wish I could have the dedication to sit down between my other projects and write a bestselling novel. However, I accept the fact I’m lazy and making excuses for not doing the things I should be doing or the things I want to do. I own my failures and understand that in their own twisted way they help to motivate me.

I’m sorry, I’m suppose to be talking about demotivating you, not helping you! Silly me, trying to better the world through my logical thought process. If something is really important to you, then you should do them. Unless it is a meth habit, you shouldn’t do it. Highly addictive and it will cause you to make bad choices. Most of the time, you hurt your family and friends. Hmm, maybe you shouldn’t do what you want, right?

I want to run my car into the stupid driver in front of me but I don’t. I want to sleep in but I get my butt up and work. I’ll work late to catch up when I fall behind. I don’t get to do whatever I want because I’m a responsible adult with grown up bills to pay. Sigh. Now, I’m feeling more demotivated. I’m glad I was about to work though this “up and happy” moment.

Back to life and reality!! To the freeways!

How Not To Be That Idiot Driver

I’m not much of a commuter so when I do have to drive somewhere, I pride myself on not being an idiot. I know where I am going and what freeways and exits I need to take. I know where the problems will be and when I should merge or exit.

Today, some idiot decided she needed to merge in front of me without bothering to look. She must have known she had three choices: speed up on the on ramp and cut me off, crash into me, or stay at her present speed and gently merge in behind me. As we know from my present tone that she cut me off.

Now, I didn’t blare my horn, tailgate her, or even get that upset. I just shook my head in amazement. Seriously, it was that important to get ahead of me in your Blue Tahoe? Like it made the traffic go that much faster? And don’t bother to look at me as you merge, the rest of us will gladly watch out for your vehicle this morning.

I did catch up to her as I neared my final destination and she was texting on her phone. I honestly could have cut back in front of her, slammed on my brakes, caused an accident, and gotten a new work truck out of it.

But I didn’t.

And I live to write another day without back pain!

Thanks for allowing me to vent and release.

How I became a New York Times Bestseller author!

If you really want to be depressed, do a little research into making that creative career switch.  As my imaginary stalker Cyndi and you both know, I have a dream of writing that next New York Times Bestselling novel that will make me rich!  Oh yeah! I’ll be jet setting around the country in first class (sweet!) and wearing a tweed jacket, reading passages from my latest work to adoring fans, sipping an Americano and chuckling at my good fortune.

I got into this research mode with a stop this afternoon at the local grocery store. I noticed they had some brand new books for sale on a display table near the checkout stand.  As I flipped through a few pages of the novels, I wondered how much money the author would receive from this hardcover book.  Since it wasn’t a genre I had any interest in, I made a mental note to look up the author when I got home (which I since have forgotten the author’s name and the book’s title).  Oh well.  I decided to see what an author might expect to sell their first novel for (in terms of advances) and how many copies the first book might actually sell.  Was it ten thousand books?  Twenty thousand copies?

Yikes!  What a wake up call.  It might be as low as 500 books!  I know that everyone wants to write a novel and become a published author.  I didn’t know the pay was so bad.  I looked around at a few blogs and some people commented that they wrote because they love to write.  Bravo for them!  That is fine as a hobby but not as a career.  Some comments even alluded to the fact they would make more money flipping burgers at the local fast food restaurant than as an author writing for a whole year.

I have nothing against writing as a hobby.  However, if it is something I’m really passionate about and I want to make a living at it, then I do want to get paid more than the average burger flipper.  Call me greedy for chasing the dollar but my family does like to live in a nice house and have food on their dinner plates.

Sure, I could say “Follow my heart and the money will follow”.  A better piece of advice would be to write that novel in my spare time, try to sell it, and don’t quit your day job.  We all know that no one has spare time; it would be an evening and weekend endeavor.  I don’t mind doing that as a hobby but it sure would be nice to get paid if I am doing a part time job on the side.

Writing isn’t easy.  Characters and plots take time.  You have to develop a story, write a rough draft, and edit it.

Am I whining too much?  Sure.  I’m entitled to do a little whining.  Like everyone else, I want it to be easy.  I know it won’t be easy but it might be enjoyable.

I just hoped that by investing that amount of time into a project, it would at least spin off some additional income I could invest with.  Maybe build up my retirement that much faster.  Being 40 and having a stock market crash and real estate crash knock me down a bit, it would like nice to have an extra income stream to rely on.  A business that I only had to work on a few hours a week yet would spin off some nice cash flow.  Maybe a blog about fairy tales?  Because this is what this blog entry seems to be about!

As always, your comments, concerns, and suggestions are always welcome!

Busy As a Bee!

Busy as a Bee

We are halfway into our busy school photography season where I work 60-70 hour weeks and take on an extra amount of personal projects I should probably not do. I also put other household chores on the backburner (such as laundry). Luckily for me, my clothes are very boring. I wear the “Dad Uniform”. The “Dad Uniform” being the khaki slacks (or Dockers style colors of grey, olive green, tan) and a long sleeve button down dress shirt.

My button down shirts are also boring in colors….lots of blue. Ooooo…I added a purple shirt to my collection the other day…what a rebel. Lots of dress shirts with vertical styles too! Be still my beating heart. A fashion diva I’m not.

And I actually shave everyday during this time of year. No more three or four day bread growth for me. I have to look presentable. Yuck….

Catching up at work!

May is two-thirds done and I am finally getting a bit caught up with all my work. I have put my blog on the backburner. I even had the insane idea of doing a garage sale to get rid of stuff; it didn’t make much sense considering how far behind I feel I am at work. Whether I really am behind as much as I think I am can be debated. Nevertheless, I am catching up.

The hardest part of photography is the backend of the business. The photography (creating the images) is the easy part. The hard part is all the paperwork and processing of the digital images that will drive you nuts. I don’t mind the retouching but some days I wish I could just throw the whole job in a bag and send it to the lab for them to deal with. A magic job sack

I still need to work on my ebook and I have decided to do a major landscaping project this summer because I’m nuts. A few days of sunshine and my creative juices start flowing. I start thinking to myself….I want to remove this retaining wall and put in a stone wall….but how do I make it all flow……yet I want a patio outside my office door…or maybe a deck would be better…

I actually like to do building and yard projects. Now, my wife would question that statement and would refer to the numerous unfinished yard projects I have. She just doesn’t understand I don’t like working in the rain…or the cold…or when it is too hot. That means I have about a two week window sometime in July that might work for me and I’m usually gone at that period on vacation with the family.

Regardless of what actually happens, I can tell you that I’m looking forward to a fun filled summer. Whether it is in the yard or on some tropical island, I’m looking ahead to some fun with the family.

My run in with Jim Bibby City of Burien Code Enforcement Officer

City of Burien Employee Jim Bibby – a man who doesn’t do his homework!

“A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” -Confucius

Earlier this week, I received a letter from the code enforcement officer Jim Bibby of the City of Burien stating that my business doesn’t exist and I need to take my business sign down.

What?  Really?  So my City of Burien business license is worthless?  Why do I bother obtaining one every year?  Why was it issued to me by the City of Burien if my business doesn’t really exist?  Hmmm, do I get a refund then?

Jim Bibby doesn’t like me.  I had a run in with him in 2006 about this same sign.  He wouldn’t listen to me so I went over his head to get some answers and some real customer service.  I think he didn’t like that.  I didn’t cower up and do as he said.  He was clearly wrong then and he is wrong now.

I had another run in with him in 2008 in regards to a “For Rent” sign I had posted for an empty apartment we had.  He stated that I had to have a professional real estate sign posted, not a homemade one.  This is even if we (as owners of the property) wanted to rent it out ourselves instead of having a real estate agency do it.  (Please note: I am a Washington State licensed real estate broker).  We ended up post a sign in the window and it rented fairly quickly despite of Jim Bibby’s and the City of Burien’s actions.  Needless to say, the City of Burien is clearly anti-business and anti-landlord in that respect.  They probably hate cute puppies too.

People like Jim Bibby don’t help the City of Burien; they harm it.  Jim Bibby wants to impose his idea of what my photography business should look like onto me.  Jim Bibby stated in his telephone conversation to me that my photography business doesn’t look like a photography business.  Excuse me?  What?  Jim Bibby has moved from being a code enforcement officer to a photography business expert?  When did that happen?  Did I miss something?

I did ask him in his vast knowledge as a photography business owner that he knows exactly what a photography business looks like, right?  He told me he has never owned a photography business!  The how is he suppose to know what one looks like?  He sold shoes before he had a job as the code enforcement officer (according to the West Seattle Herald).  I told him that you can not pigeon hole all photography businesses into one small minded category.  Some photographers create passports, others photograph weddings, and still others like to strictly do commercial photography work.  Thus, we are not all the same and our businesses are all different.

You can say the same thing about people.  I have been mistaken for a cop a number of times.  I guess I have that “cop” look to me….but I’m not a cop.

What truly upsets me is that Jim Bibby has the gall to tell me what my photography business should look like.  He is a public servant working to enforce the code.  He is not an interior decorator designing a photography business.  If I want to paint the inside of my walls black with pink elephants and put photos of kitty cats in orange dresses, I’ll do it.  If I want to take my equipment home every night, I will.  If I want to work out of my studio some days and take other days off, I will.  For Jim Bibby to tell me that I’m not a photography business is beyond his scope of expertise and his job description.

The thing is, I share space with another business and I’m not over at the studio every day.  That is the nature of my photography business…I don’t have to be there every day.  I meet a lot of clients out on location and not at my Burien studio.  That is the way I run my business and that is the way I like it.  If I want to work from home, I’ll do that.  My photography business is strictly “by appointment only”.  If you don’t have an appointment, I probably won’t be there if you stop by unannounced.

If Jim Bibby did his job correctly and the way the taxpayers pay him to do it, he would have properly researched that I do have a LEGAL business license issued by the City of Burien and I do have a LEGAL business license from the State of Washington.  I have had these for years.  I pay my taxes.  I collect sales tax in the area my business is based in and forward it to the State of Washington as I am required to do.  I’m not trying to make waves here, I’m trying to run my business ethically and support my family financially.

Instead, Jim Bibby wastes my time and the taxpayer’s time and money by sending me a certified letter stating that I need to remove my LEGAL sign.  Yes, it is legal according to the laws and codes of the City of Burien!

In my conversation with Jim Bibby today, I asked him point blank: Do I have a business license in Burien?  The answer is yes.  Does that make my sign legal?  His answer: Yes.

Well, I guess you have your answer don’t you?  I informed this fact to code enforcement officer Jim Bibby.  I don’t think he was too happy with me.  I don’t think Jim likes it when someone points out he is wrong.

I also told him that he was harassing me and I didn’t like it.  He can’t tell me what my business is supposed to look like.  I’m not operating a pet store and claiming it is a photography studio.  I operate a photography business and I take my photography equipment with me on location.  If I want my business to be empty, it can be. My equipment doesn’t have to be all set up in the studio if I don’t want it to be.  In fact, the other business I share space with just painted and installed new floors.  The place looks awesome!  My equipment couldn’t stay set up during a remodel anyway. 

So Jim Bibby, Code Enforcement Officer of the City of Burien, please do your homework before you harass me again.  Otherwise, I will file a restraining order against you and have you arrested by the City of Burien Police Department for harassment.

Psst! I final got a blog entry for you to read!

Hey, it’s a new year and I’m finally getting around to posting a new blog entry,  what a way to build that readership up to high levels!  Maybe, I’ll get a whole two new readers.  In fact, I gave my grandma one of my old computers and made the opening page on here search engine my blog page!  Now she is forced to be one of my readers!  Only 6 billion people more to go….

What have I been up to lately?

As you know, I split my interests between photography, reading, and real estate.  Once in a while the three major interests of my life converge together in a most interesting way.  This hasn’t happened to me recently so I don’t have a great story to tell you, however, I did have one of my clients’ homes sell and close this month.  We are looking for a new home for them in the Fairwood/Renton area of Washington.  There are a great deal of homes for sale and there definitely is no lack of inventory to see.  One of our greatest challenges is finding a house with a fairly nice kitchen, a decent size backyard, and a decent master bedroom and master bathroom.  We are looking in the $300K to $430K price range.

Now, this would be easy but once you get into the upper price range, the houses do get large in size: 2800-3500 sq ft.  There are only three people in the family so that house size is extreme.  The smaller and cheaper houses tend to have less square footage and less upgrades making them less appealing.

Add   this mix falling values and overpriced homes, a narrow search area, and you get a lot of homes to look at that don’t quite fit the bill.

You want to know a secret?  I love looking at homes!  I love seeing the layouts, the landscaping, the extras people have added to their homes.  It is fun stuff!  The best part is hanging out with people you enjoy while looking at houses…it is addicting….like Facebook.  Speaking of Facebook, I’m in a dry and sober mode now.  I haven’t been checking out Facebook or updating my Facebook page and I feel free!

Of course, now with a new blog entry I have to post it on Facebook.  Hmm, a problem.

I can log on for just a minute…I can get through it…I can resist to urge to stay of Facebook for hours and hours….I can do this!

School Conferences

Ah, school conference half days are here and the kids are getting dismissed from school a whole three hours earlier than normal.  Yippee!  I get a whole three extra hours of fighting and disagreement among my loving children.  You don’t really know the joy of parenting until you heard the click of the car door shutting and the immediate start-up of the bickering and fighting.  The whining…let’s not forget the whining.  Music to a deaf man’s ears!

Now my darling wife insists that I am being punished for all my misdeeds and minor disagreements I had with my sister and brother over the years.  At least I didn’t sit on little brother and try to squeeze the last breath out of him, almost ending his life but I digress to a simpler time.  A simpler time of attempts to kill your sister with a well placed shove or a minor psychological torture of your brother warmed your heart.  Wasn’t it fun to tell your younger siblings that they were adopted?  The look of panic in their face as they realize they might be returned to the orphanage at anytime.

Hmm, such fond memories come flooding back whenever I hear the fighting in the backseat (remember young folk can’t sit in the front because of air bags.  Some might say I’m a bit of an airbag but let’s get back to the topic on hand).

Whoa, not another whining blog about my whining kids or my whining about them or me being a whiner…let’s stay positive..it’s an upbeat blog, right?

Now Cyndi (my former imaginary stalker but now appears to be real stalker) would probably agree that kids are the best part of parenthood.  Well, unless your son grows up to be a loser, can’t hold down a job, doesn’t know how to flush a toilet or use a toothbrush, and lives in an alterative reality where lying is an acceptable form of communication.

Parenthood, the breakfast of the narcissistic man!

 

Working Late

It’s about 1:40 am and I’m whipping out some work.  My desk is overflowing with projects that rob me of my time.  I just finished up some small photography jobs but I still have some bookkeeping to do.  I had a bookkeeper but she quit on me and dropped me like a hot rock.  So currently, I wearing that hat for a while.  I believe I’ve found a new person to do the data entry part of the bookkeeping and I’ll be free again.

I wouldn’t mind if I could get rid of the deposit job as well and the bill paying.  However, in this economy it is hard not to worry about cash flow and making sure the bills are all paid.  Granted, I’m sure someone would pay my bills on time.  My major concern is that I have the funds to actually pay my bills.  During my busy fall and spring photography seasons, I don’t worry about the money coming in.  It’s during the summer I am a bit stress.  I don’t have a lot of photography jobs that pay quickly; most of the summer projects are family portraits and the sales cycle (and payday) is a longer process.

That cuts into the old cashflow!

Well, I’m headed off to bed.  I’m off to West Seattle this morning, up to Ballard, and over to Green Lake before I head back to Burien and then finally Kent.  No rest for the wicked…

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