Category Archives: MPF Observation Series

MPF Observation Series – Technology – Driverless Cars

Driverless Cars

The cars aren’t flying yet, but the way it’s going, it won’t be very long.

If your secret ambition is to be a Driving Instructor, you might want to rethink your career path. It looks like the future of cars is to take the steering wheel out of our hands, and give it to our cell phones. Well not quite, but strangely enough both Google and Apple have entered the ” Who’s going to be the first to have driverless cars ” race.  What seemed a few years ago to be something used only in Hollywood movies, is now right the corner, and I mean right around the corner, as in 2020.

The race is definitely on, and in high swing, with all the major players vying to hit the market first. Let’s take a look at the competitors.

Nissan

Nissan had their first public Autonomous Drive in 2013 at CEATEC JAPAN, Japan’s largest IT and electronics exhibition, and have been working together with teams from MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo. So they are well on their way to that 2020 goal, which by the way corresponds with the Tokyo Olympics. How’s that for good timing. Their driverless concept vehicle is not only great looking, but extremely polite.

BMW

BMW has joined forces with Chinese search giant Baidu to produce a driverless car for the Chinese market. After watching this video, all I can say is ” wow, that computer really can drive “.
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Daimler – Mercedes
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Daimler is set on being the first to have driverless cars on the road, and they are definitely headed in the right direction to make that happen. They also have a driverless truck called the Freightliner Inspiration Truck ( 18 wheel type ) that is now licensed for Nevada roads.
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 Google
 

This one’s a little hard to wrap my head around, but Google is well on it’s way to making driverless cars a normal part of our lives. Their vehicles have self driven over a million miles, and are already on the streets of Mountain View, California and Austin, Texas.

Tesla

Tesla recently enabled the use of an automated driving system, called Autopilot, which allows properly equipped cars to steer, switch lanes, and manage speed on its own. This is their stepping stone to a fully automated vehicle. Look ma, no hands.

Toyota is a little late to the table, but is trying to make up for lost time. In September they announced plans to invest $50 million in building artificial intelligence into its vehicles, and will work with both Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to get back in the game.

Apple has just recently admitted to being a part of the race, but at this point, any details are strictly speculation. I’m betting it’ll be silver, what do you think ?

Honda, GMC, Ford, and Audi are also in the hunt, but are not likely to hit the 2020 timeframe.

The Federal Government has recently upped the ante in this game with the decision by The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, which is responsible for determining the safety ratings for new vehicles, to include advanced safety technologies as part of their ratings assessments. This means that vehicles that don’t have these technologies will have a harder time making a 5 star rating, and following that same line, there will be a significant impact on insurance rates.

I recently caught the tail end of last weeks 60 Minutes show that covered driverless cars, and the interviewer asked ” The Question ” about the inevitable glitches that comes with every computer. The answer of course, was that this technology is different, and that we won’t see the types of issues that are normally associated with computer processing, and I’m thinking to myself, ” Oh come on, really, who’s gonna buy that one ? “.  The fact is yes, there will be problems, especially in the early years, and there will be headlines, big ones, and the lawyers will be lining up rubbing their hands together in joyful anticipation of a large payday, but none of that will change the direction we’re headed. The technology will get better, and it will save lives, because the comparison between accidents caused by computer glitches, and those caused by texting, eating, or putting on makeup while going 70 miles an hour, will be overwhelming.

Driverless cars are coming, and they will change the way we get from one place to another, almost as much as when Ford put the first horseless buggie on the road. Their impact though won’t be limited to just transportation. Every piece of equipment that has an engine will at some point be affected, and it’s need for human operators reduced. We’re seeing a large step in the evolution to attain a fully computer managed world, and the technology is moving way faster than our social ability to deal with the changes it brings. So, hold on to your hat, the world of The Jetson’s is just around the corner.

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Mercedes-Benz F015 – Luxury in Motion. From the Mercedes Website
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MPF Observation Series – Communication in the Modern Age – Our Cell Phones

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Our Cell Phones – A Love Affair

The cell phone is truly one of the most significant developments in modern times. It has become a friend, an assistant, a personal researcher, a playmate, a pet, a camera, a media hub, and our main source of communication. We have become so attached to this little piece of electronics that a survey done almost 4 years ago, showed that 84% of us couldn’t go a day without their phone, and this was more than just Americans. In fact, there are many parts of the world where more people have access to mobile devices than to toilets, or running water.  Can you imagine what that survey number would be today ? We’ve come a long way from the the old landline phone or corner payphone, that’s sole purpose was to allow us to talk to someone from a distance.

Personally, I’ve had a love, hate, love relationship with my phones. The first one was in the late 80’s, when they were about the size of a small child, and had about 30 minutes per charge, but it sure beat running around trying to find a payphone a dozen times a day. As the technology got better, our business got crazier, and I was chained to my desk about 12 hours a day, with a phone in each ear, and an office full of people waiting to see me. The last thing I wanted at that point was to be reachable outside the office, so I flat out refused to carry a phone until we sold the company. The first phone I got after that, was basically, just that, a phone, nothing to write home about, but handy. Then I saw the light, bought a smart phone, fell in love, and since then, have spent entirely too much time looking at that ” big ” little screen.

Though our cell phones are making it much easier to stay connected and manage our day to day routine, they are rapidly changing the way we relate socially. How many times have you been at a restaurant and looked around to see how many people have their heads buried in their phones ? And it’s not just friends, it’s couples, and families, and even folks that are obviously on a date. Everyone at the table consumed with whatever they are reading or watching or listening to, and it doesn’t stop when the meal comes, then it becomes a matter of giving the food just enough attention that it ends up in their mouth instead of their laps, without skipping a beat on the phone.

With our cell phones, came texting, which I have to say, has some definite advantages. At 3am when you’re wide awake with nothing much to do, you can text someone, even though you’d never consider calling them at that hour. If you just want to quickly give or get a small piece of information, there’s nothing better, but as with most things, we are taking it to the extreme. One out of three people would prefer texting to talking. We are becoming a race of super thumbs, able to type 120 abbreviated words a minute. Look ma, no fingers. This has issues on many levels, not the least of which is our young people developing a diminished capacity for grammar, sentence structure, and basic one on one communication skills. More importantly though, without the experience of hearing someone’s tone, mood, or intensity, and the sharing of thoughts, ideas, and desires that come with verbal communication, we lose a very important aspect of human relations. We lose a portion of our ability to understand, to empathize, and to sympathize. We need to hear the emotion in order to truly understand the need, written words will always fall short. That though may be one of the big reasons that texting has become such a factor in our lives, it’s so much safer than any other means of communicating. If we’ve forgotten something, missed something, or done something wrong, we don’t have to hear the disappointment or anger on the other end. This allows us to choose how we get news. If it’s something that will benefit us, or make us happy, we most likely will want to talk about it. If it’s something that may be negative, we can create a buffer and avoid talking altogether, but unfortunately we then are less prepared when we find ourselves in those ” can’t get out of by texting ” situations.

Something that came as a surprise was how addictive our cell phones have become. They seem to be our virtual lifeline to friends, family, and all the things that interest and excite us. That 2012 survey showed that 1 in 4 people check their phones every 30 minutes, and 1 in 5, check it every ten minutes. You can see that every time you are in a public place; in lines, on the street, in cars, in meetings, very few of us do not have a phone either in their hand or against their ear. Employers cite our cell phones as the number 1 productivity killer in business. That’s a huge statement, but I doubt anyone would question it’s validity.  I find myself putting restraints on how often I pick up my phone. I tell myself, I’m only going to check things first thing in the morning, around lunch, and before bed. But sure enough, I find myself sneaking a peek so many times during the day, I quit counting, and then I say “OK, tomorrow, I’ll only check my phone … ”

My husband is one of the few non converts left, and though he owns a watch phone ( AKA James Bond stuff ), it’s off way more than on, and it’s on only when the situation requires it. He won’t text because he enjoys that human to human contact, he wants to hear the feelings in the voice on the other end of the phone, and his viewpoint helps neutralize my cell phone addiction tendency, but he is also missing out on the benefits that come with today’s technology. So somewhere there is middle ground. A place where we can take advantage of our quickly evolving electronic world and all the benefits that come with it, without compromising our relationships, or our humanity.

Technology will continue to move forward at lightning speed, and our gadgets will continue to make a large portion of our lives much better, but there is no way though our society can change quickly enough to adapt to the new world we’re creating. We have to help each other find that balance. The young have a much better understanding of the computer world, and the elders have a much better understanding of the human world. If we work together, hopefully, we can find the sweet spot in the middle.

Something to think about.

Heather M Spencer

Mission Positive Films

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MPF Observations – Communication in the Modern Age – Strangers or Not ?

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Strangers or Not ?

Don & I decided to get a quick bite to eat after a concert a while back, and ended up at a Honolulu landmark called Liliha Bakery ( the original one ).  It’s actually a bakery and old fashioned diner that’s been around since 1950, equipped only with a counter, and about 15 or 16 bar stools. It’s generally hopping in the late night hours so getting a stool can turn into a pretty good wait, but it’s worth it, if just for the experience. The servers and short order cooks work in perfect unison, and you have a front row seat, as the only thing between you and them, is the 2′ counter in front of you.  As we were watching our meals cooking on the grill, a waitress set a plate down next to Don that definitely caught his attention. Within a matter of seconds, he was in a conversation with the recipient of that meal, and they continued to chat throughout our time there. For my part, I was conversing with the lovely lady sitting next to me about her menu recommendations for the next time we visited. It was a wonderful experience, chatting with folks we didn’t know, and probably wouldn’t see again, but with no expectations or preconceived notions, we were just relating to each other as people.

A few weeks later, we were at a local pizza place picking up a ” to go ” order, on what happened to be the last game of this year’s world series. While we were waiting, we wandered into the bar area that had the game playing on a large screen TV, and were immediately caught up in the excitement of the crowd. You’d have thought we were all the best of friends.

Those two incidents got me thinking about how we relate to strangers. What makes it OK for us to let down our walls, and share a conversation, or an experience with someone we’d normally pass on a street without a glance ? In our day to day lives, we surround ourselves with an invisible ” people ” shield that allows us to feel comfortable around strangers as long as they don’t penetrate that shield. Interestingly, the size of our comfort area changes with the situation. When there are very few people around, our area can be quite large, but when we’re in a crowd, we draw it in to accommodate the closer environment.  Case in point.

We were visiting New York City and decided it would be great fun to go to a Yankees game. Being on a tight budget, we opted to take the subway to the game, and fortunately boarded it well away from the stadium. That was apparently the transportation of choice for most of the fans, so our car was completely full well before we reached our destination. By full, I mean sardine can full. As nearly every square inch of my body was pressed against another person, the thought crossed my mind that if someone wanted to get fresh, there wouldn’t be anything I could do about it. Then I realized that if someone actually had that intention, they wouldn’t have any more luck getting it done as I would stopping it. When we hit the last station before the promised land and the ability of taking a full breath, the doors opened to the hopeful people that were waiting to board. You could here the collective sigh when they quickly realized they wouldn’t be getting on that train, and then something happened I would have never thought possible. A teenage boy had decided that he was going to get on no matter what. He backed up about 20 feet and took off toward the train like he’d been shot out of a cannon. When he was a few feet away from the opening, he went airborne. Somehow, someway, the ripple effect of his impact made just enough room for him to fit, but how those doors ever closed, I’ll never know.  When we finally shimmied off the train and had decompressed from our flattened state, I realized that I had never been that intimate with someone, and not at least known their name.

So how is it that we can freely chat with someone at a diner, yet not say a word to the person that’s pressed against our backside ? How many times have you taken a long flight, and shared few, if any, words with the person that’s crammed into the seat beside you ? How can we cross paths with someone on a sidewalk without acknowledging they exist, but can cheer side by side with an entire group of total strangers ?

First, let’s take out the social butterflies that will talk to anybody, anytime, anywhere, AKA John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. ( sorry, as it’s Thanksgiving I had to throw that in ), and the ultra shy. For the rest of us, the line between being open to making new connections, or moving on without contact, seems very blurry. Part of it is the unstable nature of today’s world; we are warned continually about keeping our guard up against those that would take unfair advantage of us. We also carry a basic fear of rejection that makes us cautious about exposing ourselves to possible hurt, similar to the asking someone for a date trauma. I think though, the desire to connect is part of our psyche, but to allow that to happen, we need the catalyst provided by a shared experience. When we pass someone on a street, or ride next to them on a public bus, train, or plane, we have no knowledge whatsoever about who they are, or what they’re about, so there’s no easy place to start. If however, we’re on a tour bus, or a junket to Vegas, we have a common thread, so it’s much easier to begin that first conversation. It’s also interesting that the ease of connecting is directly related to the level of emotion generated by the shared experience. Meaning that if that tour bus picks you up and drops you off without anything unusual happening, your chances of really bonding with someone new, are limited. However, if that same tour bus breaks down in the middle of the nowhere, you’re probably going to get to know your fellow travelers pretty well, and if someone on that bus goes into labor while in the middle of nowhere, you’ll probably end up with a lifetime friend or two.

Anyway, something to think about on your next long flight, that is when you’re not on your phone or tablet, but hey, that’s a whole different post.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and if you haven’t already seen it, check out Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, it’s a fun Turkey-day flick.

Heather M Spencer

Mission Positive Films

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MPF Observations – If You Build It, They Will Come – Not

Social Media Crowd

When my husband and I started our business in Hawaii about 30 years ago, the internet was just a gleam in Al Gore’s eye ( sorry I couldn’t resist ). At that time there were really only two ways to create a customer base, one was through direct advertising, which could be quite costly, or by knocking on doors. Since we were operating on a shoestring, we had a case of sore knuckles for the first couple of years from all that knocking. We were fortunate in choosing a business that manufactured something for the local market, and that wasn’t inundated with competition. We worked the entrepreneurial 80 plus hour work week, took great care to make sure we had happy customers, valued our wonderful staff, and before too long we moved into that sweet spot where word of mouth takes over.  That carried us until the day we sold the business. Now I’m not saying we didn’t have hard times, or face a number of very difficult challenges, but we always made payroll.

During the last few years of that business, I got interested in documentary film making, ( we’ll talk about how that happened on another post ). So when we handed the keys over, and I walked out the door for the last time, I was ready to begin my new adventure, but this time, I had a new powerful tool to use; “The Internet”,  ♪ da, da, da dahhhh ♪.

I was convinced that if I built it, they would come, and being that it was a world wide internet, they would come in droves. Sweet ! So I set up a website, let it sit there to do it’s magic, and began learning my newly chosen business. For the first few years, I was waist deep in filming, editing, sound, animation, compression, and everything else that goes into making a movie, but I knew that as soon as I had it ready to go, all I had to do was put it on the website, and sit back and watch, woohooo. Well the day finally came that it was ready to be released to the public. I had gone through the film festival circuit, made sure I had all the legalities covered, and done everything I thought possible, to make sure things would go off without a hitch. I pushed the publish button, sat back with bated breath, and … nothing.

A week later, nothing, a month later nothing. What in the world had gone wrong ? Well the first thing obviously, was that I chose a field that has a huge amount of competition, most of which are better trained and way more experienced. Another huge factor, was unlike the other business, that created something people neededthis was dependent on what people wanted, BIG DIFFERENCE.  But, really the biggest reason I wasn’t getting the response I expected, was my incorrect perception of how the internet works. When I started doing searches on my company and film, I found very little, even knowing exactly where to look. How could a customer possibly find me, I was virtually invisible. Wow, was that a wake up call. I realized at that point, that the basic principals of building a customer base had not changed, you still  have either paid advertising, or you have to go knocking. The only difference with an internet business is instead of sore knuckles, you get a sore head, because now you are knocking on virtual doors. Since the company and film were both self funded, it was back to that shoestring again, so time to go a knockin’.

First order of business, update the website, then start a blog, and of course that very important component, get active in Social Media. Ok, did that, and then with great excitement, checked out my search engine status, to find I’m still in the Nada realm. **** ( insert expletive here ).  Really ! Alright, it was time to get serious about rankings, SEO, keywords, meta, and all that other blah, blah, blah. I have to take a moment here to give huge appreciation to all the folks that do this for a living. You definitely earn your money, and just as soon as I can afford it, I’m hiring one of you to do it for me. Anyway, I’m sitting at the computer, with my head spinning around on my shoulders in exorcist fashion, cursing the internet gods for making me do this, when a light bulb finally came on. Now granted, I’m in a virtual room of light bulbs, and only one came on, but at least it was something. And finally, it looks like the needle is moving, I’m starting to see some changes. It’s still not impacting my bottom line, but there appears to be life out there somewhere.

One very unexpected thing that has come out of all this, is it’s caused me to start writing, which is a blast, so at the least, I’m doing something I would never have done otherwise, and enjoying it. Whether or not I can create a successful business this time around, remains to be seen, and I’ll definitely keep you posted about how it’s going and what I’ve learned. It should be interesting.

Final word to all of you that like me, have thought of the internet as the rainbow with the pot of gold at the end, think again. Yes, it can be, and for some very, very lucky people, it’s an easy ride, but for most of us, it’s merely a tool to be used to in the course of what’s necessary to  establish and run a business, which always has been and still is, a very challenging and difficult thing to do. It takes hard work, and there’s no way around it. So if your dream is to own a business; role up your sleeves, grit your teeth, and and get ready to do a lot of knocking. May you have great success !

Heather Spencer

Mission Positive Films

 

 

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Observations – Communication in the Modern Age – The Webinar vs The Seminar

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The Webinar. In today’s world, there’s no need to have to leave home, or your vacation hideaway to get your learning fix. You can now do it from the comfort of your own hammock. Now that’s living.

This morning I attended a ” webinar”. I got up 15 minutes before it started ( being in Hawaii, what is morning on the mainland, is dark thirty here ), made coffee, and settled in front of my computer, jammies and all. I didn’t brush my teeth or hair, put on makeup, or worry at all about my appearance, sweet ! All hail technology !

Now, let’s turn the clock back a few years. If I was lucky enough to have the speaker come to Hawaii for a ” Seminar “, I would have had to get up 2 hours before it started, make coffee for a ” to go ” cup, do the whole makeup, hair, and clothes thing, and then head straight into morning commute traffic. Upon arriving at the location, I would have spent 15 minutes threading my way up a never ending maze of a parking garage, and then at a half-run barely made it to the check in table to get my badge, and handouts. Once in the room, I would be slithering through one of the narrow isles between the rows of chairs trying not to step on someone’s toes, to get to that one remaining chair right in the middle of the row. And you already know that seated right in front of me is the world’s tallest person, so to see the speaker, I have to cock my head to one side or the other, and just as soon as I do, they move their head the same direction. Sound familiar.

Now, all you webinar and seminar speakers, please don’t get offended, because most of you are great at your jobs, but after a couple hours of any power point presentation, the listeners start to develop a case of ” the heavy eyelids “. Thankfully, that’s usually when the morning break comes, which also means time for a pit stop, which especially for the ladies, also means time to wait in line while your bladder is stretched to the max from the morning coffee. Then you quickly grab another cup of coffee, and of course, one of the highly nutritious sweet rolls that have been sitting out for about 4 hours, yum, and then squish back in to your chair. A few more hours pass, you pay a ridiculous parking fee, and then you’re on your way home, with hopefully a little bit of time left to get some work done before your evening duties begin.

Again I say, ” All hail technology “. I spent half the time, in the comfort of my own office, did a bit of multi tasking during some slow periods, got the biggest part of a day’s worth of work done, didn’t pay a cent for parking or gas, and learned something to boot. And though my taste buds miss that old dried up sweet roll, my waistline is definitely better off.

Heather Spencer – Webinar Junkie

Mission Positive Films

 

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Observations – Communication in the Modern Age

Tech SwampedThere are a few good things about getting older, not many, but a few. One is that with time and experience, you have a better understanding of how things work, or at least a good means of being able to make comparisons.  For instance, the way we communicate with each other has changed significantly over the last 30 years. My husband and I started a business in Hawaii in the mid 80’s, and at that point you had three means of contacting someone. You could call them, you could send them a letter by mail or courier, or go visit them in person. That was it; there were no faxes, no texts, no voicemail, no Email, no Facebook, Twitter or anything else. I know at this point, if you are in your twenties, that concept is horrendous, but at that time, it made things much simpler and much more personable.

If you called someone, they would actually take your call, or even more surprising, if they were tied up, they would call you back. Imagine, someone returning your call, that’s almost unheard of today. I say that because almost every time I return someone’s call, it puts them into shock, and then after a few seconds of silence while they bring their dropped jaw back into position, they start thanking me profusely for doing what used to be normal. The structure of the call was different then as well, at least in Hawaii. Chatting with someone about their health, their family, and their hobbies was something you did before you got to business. It was called ” talking story “, and it basically was there to remind you that you were dealing with a real person that had feelings, goals, dreams etc. It added a necessary degree of respect to the business relationship. A case in point. I made a call to my credit card company a few nights ago, and spoke to a very nice man who right away asked how I was. I responded and returned the question, and was surprised to hear his reply. He was overwhelmed I had asked how he was, and told me that was the first time that entire day someone had asked him that question. When did common courtesy become such a rarity ?

For important issues, there were pieces of paper with writing, called letters, and you couldn’t procrastinate in getting them out in the mail, because you knew it would take at least a week to reach its destination. If you missed posting it in time, or it was a really pressing matter, you had to pay a huge bill to a courier service to get it there by the next day, or your first-born if you wanted it there on the same day.  Believe me, technology wins on this one. It’s a hundred times easier and more efficient today, and I wouldn’t want to turn back the clock, but the cost for that efficiency is a means of exercising and receiving patience. Everyone knew how long it took, so you weren’t expected to pull a rabbit out of your hat on a moments notice.

Then of course there was the personal visit. This was by far the best way to give and receive information, and generally it led to a stronger bond, whether a business associate or a friend, but it is also  was a very time-consuming and inefficient way of conducting business. Our office was a 30 minute to 1 hour drive from most of our clients, which meant a 5 or 10 minute meeting, could cost you 2 hours of your business day. That was huge. And it also gave rise to the traveling salesman, who spent more time on the road than they did at home. So again technology has improved how things are done and fortunately with teleconferencing, you get most of the personal connection. It’s not as good as a handshake, but close enough.

Ah, then came the fax machine. Woohoo, now things were getting easier and cheaper. What a fabulous addition that was to our business, in so many ways. The only down side was that now you not only had another method of receiving information, it was basically instantaneous, so people’s expectations of how fast you should respond to something, corresponded to the speed of the communication. That was the beginning of the end of patience as we knew it.

Soon, the curse arrived, voice mail, and with it, the automatic switchboard. Gone were the days you could talk to a live person, and gone were the days when people believed they should return a call. They didn’t have to. If they wanted to avoid someone, they just left their voicemail on. It was especially hard for those that worked in accounts receivable, because now, you literally could not reach a person unless they wanted to be reached. This changed everything.

Before long came Emailing, texting and social media, and even a superhero can’t keep up with all the levels of today’s communication. We are inundated from the moment we wake up to the moment we hit the pillow. There are not enough hours in the day to fit it all in, even if you didn’t have to do the menial things like make a living, or raising your children. So now to cope, we have 4 levels of categorizing those that are trying to reach us. The ” have to’s “; such as our boss, our mother, our personal trainer. The ” want to’s “; our significant other, our kids, the cute guy from the pet store. The ” if I get time’s “; our co-workers, our friends that want our help with a new project; and the ” not in this lifetime’s “; which is basically everybody else.

The problem of course with our modern age communication overload is we forget that at the its basic level, we are still dealing with real people who have real feelings, and real problems, just like us. So the next time someone calls you, if you can’t take the call, at least try to call them back. And when that phone solicitor interrupts your dinner, before you hit ’em with both barrels, try to remember that they are just trying to make a living, because they too have rent to pay, and a family to support. We are all in this together, and the more we realize that, the better world we’ll have.

Heather Spencer

Mission Positive Films

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Wrinkles & Movies

How’s that for a weird title. Let me explain. My husband and I went to the movies this weekend and saw Skyfall. Don’t worry, this is not a movie review. I will say though, it was a very enjoyable movie, and I thought Javier did a very good job at creating an interesting villain. What struck me though were two things, one minor, and one major, very major. Let’s talk about the minor one first. Creating something that is appealing to the mass market is no easy thing, but creating something that appeals to the mass market for 50 years is incredible ! Whoever is responsible for handling the Bond franchise has done a phenomenal job of making sure that it continues to change with the times, while still keeping the brand intact. Wow, that is almost impossible, but they continue to make it work with each film. Kudos !

OK, now for the major one, at least from my viewpoint. We as a nation ( I don’t want to speak for anyone else), have become completely obsessed with the ” appearance ” of youth. In other words, someone that is seventy actually thinks that plastic surgery will make everyone else think that they’re really only twenty. HELLO !  REALLY !  Sorry folks, when what used to be your cheeks, are now sitting somewhere around your hairline, trust me, that’s not what you looked like at twenty.

Ok, let me say right now, I think plastic surgeons are extremely important. There are a great many circumstances where reconstructive surgery is imperative to living a normal life, and that they possess the skills to do that is highly admirable. But in this instance, I’m referring to elective surgery.

Now, going back to where we were. Actors in particular, are under great stress to try and appear youthful. We all know that most moviegoers are young, and therefore most movies are geared toward the young. It’s a simple matter of financial mathematics. So as an actor ages, their source of income continues to diminish, and the need to help sway the hands of time is enormous. The other favorite trick in the movie business for performers of a certain age, is to either avoid ” close ups “, or put on a softening lens that’s as thick as Mr. Magoos’ glasses ( Ok that one really dates me ).

Believe it or not, I’m now going to get to the “major one “.  Skyfall, as in 3 other Bond films, features Dame Judi Dench as ” M ” in all her aging, and wrinkled glory. The director also didn’t shy away from a number of very ” close ups “, and if there was a softening filter used, it wasn’t noticeable. And folks, as far as I’m concerned she was stunning !

What her face showed was the beauty, strength, and determination that is necessary to live a long life. That in itself is quite an accomplishment for all of us. It’s not easy to get into your seventies and beyond, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. Disease, accidents, crime, and natural disasters are all enemies to reaching a ripe old age. Our wrinkles come from laughter that reaches down to our toes, from tears that rip through our heart, from feeling the warmth of the summer sun on our face, or squinting against a freezing rain. Our wrinkles come from all the things that make life special, they are are songs and sonnets, why in the world would we try and hide them. So thank you Dame Judi for allowing the film makers to show your age in all it’s splendor, and thank you to the filmmakers for having the courage to let us see it.

The next time you look in the mirror and see a new wrinkle, rather than cringing, pat yourself on the back, you just earned another badge of honor. Congratulations!

All the Best,

Heather

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