‘The Monster in Blackwood Forest’: A Short Sneak Peek

As an editor, I get to see some pretty amazing writing before it ever hits the shelves. A little while ago, I was able to edit “The Monster in Blackwood Forest” for Drue M. Scott, and I was struck by his ability to create a realistic world that generates excitement about where he’s going to go with the story. Now, that he’s in the process of getting the book ready to publish here is what I can tell you…

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Panini 2003 Mickey and Donald Figure Collection

On one of the streets parallel to the main street in Valletta, there was a Panini shop. Panini is the name of an Italian sticker company (not to be confused with the sandwich). When I was growing up, they did sticker albums and collectible stickers for the Disney Company. I decided I wanted to see what was in this shop that could sustain an entire business, and it was all the Panini stickers, mostly focused on soccer, you could ever want. Then I saw the Panini 2003 Mickey and Donald figure collection with stickers. I bought a couple to see what they were like and decided I needed the entire collection.

The Packs

Each pack contained one figure and five stickers. There are 24 figures in the collection and 228 stickers. Since the store didn’t have any sticker packs by themselves, I decided that I probably wasn’t going to get the entire collection. The figures were more interesting to me anyway.

Buying the Collection

Every week I set aside a certain amount of money to go get a couple of packs. I don’t remember what that figure was, but I’m sure it was somewhere around four or five. As I got closer to completing the set, I may have purchased more or fewer depending on where I was and what I believed the supply at the store to be. This collection was from 2003, I doubted I would run across it randomly anywhere else in the world. It was an only-in-Malta kind of thing.

Almost Heartbreak

One week I went in and bought the rest of the box. I thought that was it. When I opened the packages inside the box, I didn’t have a complete set. I looked on the Internet for the pieces I was missing, and they wanted more money than I was willing to pay. (Plus, it doesn’t have the excitement of surprise or the bonus stickers.) I went back to the store and didn’t see what I wanted. I decided to ask. The person behind the counter brought out another box. When it came to the end, the last character I needed to complete my Panini 2003 Mickey and Donald figure collection was Mickey Mouse.

Collecting is one way to capture those things that inspire you and drive your imagination. For more ways to improve your imagination and creativity, subscribe to this blog, join our Patreon, and get my books: “Disneyland Is Creativity,” “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity,” and “Penguinate! Positive Creativity.”

Celebrate Failure Like You Celebrate Success

Celebrating success comes easily to Americans. You see professional football players dancing in the end zone, even if their touchdown didn’t mean they won the game. You see confetti pour out of the ceiling at NBA games, even when the team is no longer in the playoff hunt. You get a bonus in your paycheck when the company has a banner year… Well, we can dream that’s what you would get if you were a part of the company’s success, and I’ve heard they do that somewhere. And by all means, celebrate your success! You earned it. However, success isn’t the only thing you should celebrate. You should also celebrate your failure.

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Remember Your Creativity with “So, You Think You Can’t Draw”

On Monday, July 27, 2020, the last in the “So, You Think You Can’t Draw” series is going live over at Patreon. This episode focuses on putting the shapes together to come up with a simple drawing. It’s designed to take all of the things you’ve practiced over the previous six episodes and help you visualize what a drawing can be in its easiest form. These are the drawings that you did as a child – the ones your parents put on the fridge and the ones that delighted your grandparents. You will remember your creativity and bring it back into your life.

Episode 1

The first episode, which you can see in its entirety on YouTube (or above), focuses on lines because they are the basis for everything else you’re going to do in drawing. Lines are the first thing you need to learn and practice. They seem easy, and they are, that’s the point. However, how you use the line will determine what you get from your drawing. The more you draw, the better you will get at the skill.

Boost Your Confidence

There’s a voice inside your head that tells you that you cannot, or should not, do things. Sometimes, this voice is correct. You can’t fly without a mechanical assist. You shouldn’t walk around the streets naked because it’s against societal norms. Much of the time, however, this voice is wrong and probably doesn’t belong to you. Instead, it belongs to the doubters, some of whom are well meaning, in your life.

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent van Gogh

In creativity, believing you are creative is the first step to becoming more creative. I Designed “So, You Think You Can’t Draw” to show you, and that doubting voice, that you can draw. If you can draw, maybe, you’ll begin to believe you can be creative.

A New Series

I have other ideas for the series, but I need some help putting them together. These will highlight the things we did as kids without realizing it and remind you that you are more creative than you think. You just need to remember it. If you’d like to see more of this type of content, join our Patreon and let me know. That’s where the rest of this first season is, so you’ll find out the five other shapes you need to know to draw anything.

Other Creativity Help

If you’re ready to take the next step to becoming more creative, follow this blog. Pick up my books: “Disneyland Is Creativity,” “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” and “Penguinate! Positive Creativity.” Join us at Patreon, as well; it’s the best way to get more of what you want and to interact directly with me and help create content you want to see. Let’s get together and help you remember your creativity.

My Favorite Jimmy Buffett Songs and Creativity

When I joined the Walt Disney World College Program in 2012, I was assigned a custodial position at Saratoga Springs and Old Key West. I worked at a couple of the other resorts, but these were my home base where I spent most of my time. By far, my favorite place to work was Old Key West. No matter how few people there were, I always had a great soundtrack for my workday, and on the playlist were several Jimmy Buffett songs. These are three of my favorites from Jimmy Buffett after listening to more of his music. (This article contains affiliate links. If you order through these links, you support this work, and it doesn’t cost anything extra. Thank you.)

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298 Consecutive Days of Posting

About 299 days ago, I decided that I would commit to publishing 365 consecutive days of posting. Somewhere along the line, I ran across a motivational speaker, who said something like “If you can commit to 365 days of anything, you can succeed.” I don’t know if that’s true or not, yet. To be honest, my other website, www.penguinate.weebly.com, which I can’t access from my current location, is still doing better than this blog in terms of income and in spite of the fact that I haven’t published anything new there for more than a year. I even pulled the most popular post from that website and put it here: Internal Communications of Southwest Airlines.

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Why I Wrote ‘There Are No Penguins in Alaska’

When I was living in Alaska, I saw a lot of wildlife in the wild. I saw brown bears, black bears, moose, foxes, beluga whales, and other animals while I was hiking – often they were not far from town. It’s an absolutely stunning state, especially in the summer. The one creature I never saw was a penguin because there are no penguins in Alaska. Still, tourists would continue to ask waitstaff, grocery store clerks, and random strangers: How can I see the penguins?

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Stickers from Dodo Pizza as a Collection

Some collections just happen because you like a product and they offer a prize or something a little extra with it. Kids love McDonald’s and the Happy Meal toy is the bonus. (To be fair, many adults also enjoy McDonald’s even though they know it’s not the healthiest food, and I loved when they had Disney tie-ins, like the Christmas 101 Dalmatians [affiliate link] in the late 1990s.)  Cereals often have their own collectibles. In Russia, Dodo Pizza, which can also be found in Mississippi and Tennessee of all places, offers a hospitality packet with each pizza ordered. Inside the packet are a couple of napkins, one or two toothpicks, and a sticker. It’s great for people who collect toothpicks… and stickers from Dodo Pizza.

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Control the Internet, Don’t Let It Control You

If you’re like most people, you have a smart phone. It’s good for taking photos, getting directions, finding out who the winner of the 35th Kentucky Derby was (Wintergreen), and protecting you, at least in a legal sense, from a police beat down or a Karen verbal, and possibly physical, explosion. You may also get a viral video in either of those last two cases. However, your smart phone is also capable of controlling you in ways you haven’t thought possible. Those who worry about being chipped through a vaccine have failed to realized that they have much more effectively chipped themselves through their Internet and smart phone usage. You need to control the Internet and take back your personal autonomy from the what you think to what you do to who you do it with.

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