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8 Cool Things about Penguins from 2 Videos

I’ve been doing some research for my next book “Penny Penguin Wants to Fly.” The first video is cool because of the Adelie; the second video is cool because of the chick’s down. In no particular order, my favorite things from these videos are after the first.

  • Emperor penguins abandon their chicks to get the chicks to journey to sea.
  • When they leave, chicks can be about a meter tall!
  • Emperor penguin chicks lose their down after their first swim.
  • The giant petrel can eat penguin chicks. Emperor penguin chicks form a defensive circle.
  • The Adelie is the feistiest penguin in the world.
  • Black wing tips mean the emperor penguin chicks are ready for their first hunt.
  • Emperor penguin chicks will swim for three or four years in the deep ocean before returning to their hatching grounds.

If you want more penguins, order “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” or purchase one of our handmade stuffed penguins. Join our Patreon for penguins, creativity and books.

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Five for Five! Join Our Patreon today and get more Creative!

There are just five days left to get in on our five people equals one additional creativity article for Patreon Penguinators only. In other words, for every five people that join our Patreon by July 31, 2019, I will write an additional article on creativity.

In the past, we’ve had secrets of creativity revealed, steps to greater creativity illuminated, and analysis of movies and TV shows and how they relate to creativity. Many of these articles are supplemented by free content on Penguinate.com. In August, we’ve already scheduled our first article about the 1980 film “Popeye,” criticism and creativity.

Creativity isn’t the only thing you get when you join our Patreon. As a member of our team, you’ll also get a Penguin photo of the month. Last month featured Penny Penguin on a fire engine at Toon Town. She didn’t even have to fight anyone to get on! If you want more creativity in your life, join our team and we’ll build our creative lives together. Thanks!

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Will Our Patreon Be Poppin’? Eight Days Left on Our Special Offer

Our penguins welcome a new penguin

Winds in the east\ Mist comin’ in\ Like something’s a brewin’\ About to begin\ Can’t put me finger\ On what lies in store\ I’ll write an extra article\ If I get five more (patreon members)…

One-man band, poet, chalk artist, chimney sweep… Bert has a lot of jobs in “Mary Poppins” and he does them with style. Anyone who can go up on the rooftops and step in time or chase a cartoon fox through his own drawing has a flexibility of thinking that allows him to be more creative. Flexibility in thinking is one of the four key categories that are measured when scientists study creativity.

We have eight days left in our Patreon promotion. For every five people that join at any level before August 1, I will write an additional creativity article. I already have one ready to go for August 14: “’Popeye,’ criticism, and creativity.” If I did the next one on “Mary Poppins,” my Patreon will be popping!

Join our Patreon today and let’s see how many articles on creativity I can write in a month! (I could probably do a whole series on “Mary Poppins.” The Sherman Brothers, the animation/live action, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke… That’s even without considering the sequel.)

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The Joy of a Carefree Saturday Morning

It wasn’t too long ago when I would get up early on a Saturday, sneak down the stairs with my favorite stuffed animal, Chrissi the Lion, and turn on the TV. I’d keep the volume on low so as not to wake my mom, who worked the night before. It didn’t matter what was on the TV because I would run back upstairs and grab a couple more stuffed animals to sit with. Then I would go to the kitchen and get some cereal. Most of the time, it would be something sugary like Mr. T Cereal, Cap’n Crunchberries, or Lucky Charms. One time it was Corn Bran; my grandpa had brought a case of the cereal with him during a visit, and they were surprisingly good in spite of the name and the fact that there was no surprise inside.

Continue reading The Joy of a Carefree Saturday Morning
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Curiosity Leads Down the ‘Penguin Highway’

In “Penguin Highway” by Tomihiko Morimi, Aoyama is a curious boy in the fourth grade. He takes copious notes, researches everything, makes observations, and never gets angry. When ever he feels like he might get angry, he thinks of breasts, and it calms him down. Is that normal for a fourth grader? I don’t know, but it’s normal for Aoyama, who is clearly not an ordinary child.

When Aoyama is confronted with several problems, he decides to research them all. His friend Uchida and the girl Hamamoto help him with the time he has to spend on researching “The Sea.” Uchida is also part of his exploring and mapping the town. His side project is researching the lady from the dentist office who can make penguins, which is what sparks the whole story.

Aoyama shows that its not good enough to ask the questions. He keeps a journal with him at all times. Hamamoto does the same, and Uchida learns to use a notebook, even if he isn’t the smartest one in the group. Taking notes allows Aoyama to access the information he has learned at a later time. It also allows him to manipulate the data, so he can get a bigger picture.

Taking notes requires observation skills. Aoyama has practiced observing, so he sees what others may miss. He then makes hypotheses and tests them to see if they can withstand the scientific method. He knows his theories are most likely wrong, but it’s important to make and test them.

Aoyama’s methods are honed and only missing one piece – sometimes, the answer doesn’t lie in the logic of a situation or possible behavior. In creativity, the process is similar: take notes, observe, ask questions and stay curious; sometimes, you have to make that intuitive leap to a better answer.

If you’re looking for another good read, check out these books on my website.

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The Email List: Struggles and Reasons

I’ve been struggling with this idea of an email list for several reasons. It’s a lot of extra work. It’s an extra expense. I don’t really like the email lists I’ve joined, and I was hoping that people would migrate over to my Patreon where we can make beautiful words and penguins together. (You can still migrate to Patreon and get cool things for as little as a dollar a month.)

Extra Work

I already write at least one post a day for my blog; I surpassed 200 days of posting in a row on July 12, 2019. I plan on keeping that streak alive, but it isn’t easy to come up with something new every day. I try to write 3 posts a day for my SEO job when they have work available. I need to write posts for my Patreon – one or two a month. I edit books as a side job.

Adding one more thing to my list of things to do, which includes marketing, continued learning, reading, refilling the creative well, dishes, laundry and other housework, taxes, teaching English, searching for freelance jobs to supplement my income, keeping my social media accounts active and relevant, and spending time with my wife and family, is a little overwhelming, especially when I really have no idea what I’m doing. How can I keep an email list current and active while still finding time to write my next book?

Extra Expense

MailChimp offers free limited use email lists. If I get more than 2,000 subscribers or I want to do something cool like set up a series of future emails, I’m going to have to pay up for that. This extra expense may end up being worth it, but right now, it’s hard to justify. Automation would be great for an introduction to Penguinate.com and its creativity, books and penguins. For now, I have to live with what there is – the opportunity to follow up with an immediate discount email, a day later intro email, and an email on the first of the month that rounds up everything I posted on my blog. Then, I’ll hope people don’t forget who I was when the next email I send is more than a month away.

Other Email Lists

Russell Nohelty and some other people do these great list building contests. For a small fee, authors join the list builder. The money is pooled to come up with a prize package that people will really want based on a fandom, like Doctor Who, Firefly, or Marvel. I’ve signed up for a couple of these and ended up on email lists that were not what I was expecting. (Who knew Buffy the Vampire Slayer was related to the reverse harem genre of books?) Aside from that, I received 20 to 40 different emails or more during a two-day period after the sign up and those emails keep coming until I unsubscribe. They aren’t just from the authors, they’re from Amazon, Kickstarter, GoodReads, and other websites the authors had people sign up at to get more entries. (I did not win the Buffy swag, by the way.)

All the emails end up being the same. Hi, I’m author, here’s what I’ve been working on, here’s a free (short story, book), here’s a contest you haven’t entered, here are some other free books… I don’t want to inundate your email inbox with emails you aren’t going to read, and I haven’t figured out how to make an email that is any different. Why would I want to make an email list where people will get the same thing (minus the freebies) that other authors are already sending out? Do you really want pictures of my cat? (If so, I’ll send them, but she doesn’t like being photographed.)

On Patreon

I was really hoping to build my Patreon into a juggernaut. If I could get 600 people signed up at a dollar each, my financial situation would be much more stable. It wouldn’t give me the opportunity to quite everything, but it would reduce the amount of freelance and SEO work I had to do. Unfortunately, I still haven’t got a handle on how best to get fans to sign up for the Patreon. I’ve offered discounts at any level. I’ve created offers, like join at $30 for three months and get a penguin. I’ve posted about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I haven’t figured out how to grow any of my social networks beyond a certain number and Patreon is the same right now.

Why Am I Doing It?

I am starting an email list because it’s the best way to keep you in the loop about what Jenya and I are doing creatively. YouTube changed its criteria for creators to monetize videos. Facebook changed its algorithm, so that creators had to pay to get their fans to see what’s being posted on the fan page; it has also randomly marked my penguin8.com as spam without giving me a reason or checking the posts that I sent notices about. Weebly eliminated access to its website for anyone geographically listed in Russia and other countries. These changes have made it more difficult for creators to make a living off of random and organic growth. They have also shown that these companies control my eCommerce to a degree that is not only uncomfortable and unprofitable but also dangerously close to being able to remove my presence from my largest outlets with a small change in their algorithms. I can’t count on social media and search engines to drive organic views to my websites.

In addition to this, my SEO job ebbs and flows. There have been days when there just aren’t any articles to write. I need to find a better way to make money, and every other book and website I’ve read about being a creator in the Internet age says an email is the only way to go. When a website like examiner.com or MySpace shuts down or becomes less visited, the email list is still there to sustain the creator. In theory, I’m in control of the email list, and thus in control of my destiny. And isn’t that all anyone really wants? To control his or her direction?

So, please sign up for our email list. Like share, comment on our social media posts and sign up for our Patreon. I look forward to you becoming honorary Penguinators.

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Pay-It-Forward Penguins

Flopsy Penguin!

At Lilac City Comicon 2019, I had someone come to my table. He paid the adoption price for a costumed penguin and asked me to find a good home for one of our penguins. It was hard to do so because all of the children I saw after that had brothers and sisters. If I gave one child a penguin, I would need to give all the children a penguin. Since I only had one pay-it-forward penguin, I had to use my patience and wait for the right moment.

A girl in pink came to our table with her friend and loved our penguins. She asked about the adoption prices, touched the penguins and sighed. She left without a penguin. I kept watching the children go by. Some just ran by the table without stopping. Others glanced at the table but kept moving. Parents wrangled their kids away from looking at the penguins.

If we would have had a pay-it-forward penguin on the first day of Lilac City Comicon, I know exactly who would have gotten it. A little girl loved our penguins so much, she cried when her dad said she couldn’t have one. I felt bad for the father. He eventually bought Lucky at a discount, but she didn’t want a tiny penguin. She wanted a regular-sized penguin she could love. I offered to take Lucky back, but the dad declined. We can’t go back and change the past.

The girl in pink came back to our table and asked which of the penguins were $25. I pointed at our two penguins without costumes, and she pulled out her money. Then I said that we had a pay-it-forward penguin, so she could choose any penguin she wanted. Her eyes lit up, she started laughing, and she chose Flopsy Penguin dressed in her pink bunny outfit.

Both Jenya and I would love to give every child we see one of our penguins. (Some adults need them, too.) It’s just not financially feasible.

Just recently, one of the people who has already adopted a penguin from us asked if it were possible to pay a penguin forward. Brilliant! If you want to pay the adoption process of a penguin and find someone who will love it, we will do so. Our next scheduled event is at Salem Holiday Market in Oregon; we’d love to be able to give away some penguins there! All you have to do is go to our pay-it-forward page and pay the adoption fee. You don’t even have to worry about shipping and handling!

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Why I am (Finally) Starting an Email List

Waving stuffed penguins

I’ve been struggling with this idea of a mailing list ever since Russell Nohelty told me I needed to get one. There are several reasons for this struggle, which I will get into in later posts, but here’s the main reason I’ve decided to go ahead and see if I can build a good contact list:

It will help me keep in touch with you better.

Really, the main reason for any email list is to help keep people informed of what’s going on in the artist’s/author’s/penguin maker’s world without having to worry about an algorithm or some other business suddenly deciding that everything coming from your entire website is spam and won’t be shown to anyone on that platform.

To keep you in the loop and let you in on our processes and our lives, this email list provides the best solution. I wanted to keep it on Patreon where I was doing a newsletter every month, but people haven’t been interested in paying a dollar for it, yet. So, this email list doesn’t cost you anything. Other benefits include (what else you’ll get):

  • Pictures of stuffed penguins
  • Updates on new releases in books
  • Links to travel photos
  • A creativity tip or two
  • Discounts
  • Notifications of our events
  • Did I mention that it’s free (for you)?

Hopefully, this won’t just be a one-way conversation. As an author, I need feedback, and building a virtual community hasn’t really been easy so far. So, if you’re interested in the benefits, please sign up for our email list. (It’s in the beginning stages on July 14, 2019, so there may be some bugs.) We plan in sending out a couple of updates immediately and then once a month – say on the 15th of the month. Of course, you can always join our Patreon and see the great content you get access to there. You can also follow us on our social media accounts; check out the links in the footer below.

Thanks so much,

Shad and Jenya

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Pay-It-Forward Penguins Take Flight

Checkers and cake

Checkers and his Bright Light Nails family were the first to jump in and pay the adoption fees for one of our Pay-It-Forward Penguins. Checkers has been having so much fun in New Zealand that he and his family decided to help someone else experience the joy of having a stuffed penguin friend this holiday season.

Jenya and I were so excited when we saw that the first official Pay-It-Forward Penguin was already on its way within the first hour of posting the project on our website: www.penguinate.com. Join Checkers and Bright Light Nails this holiday season and pay a penguin forward for a child at the Salem Holiday Market in Oregon. We will also be donating a dollar to the Global Penguin Society for this penguin adoption.

Checkers is the salon penguin for Bright Light Nails. He loves chocolate and traveling through New Zealand when he isn’t helping with the great promotions and nail work being done in the salon. There’s been talk that he will get his own Instagram account, but for now, you can find him at the Facebook and IG accounts for Bright Light Nails. Thanks again to Checkers and his family!

(The first Pay-It-Forward penguin was adopted to a girl at Lilac City Comicon 2019. The adoption fees were paid anonymously. That interaction was one of the factors in creating an official program.)

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What Is a Stuffed Animal?

A stuffed animal isn’t just a toy that sits on the shelf alone. It’s a series of stories that unfold over time. It is surrounded by friends, and central to the friend group is the person who has adopted the stuffed animal and its friends.

Stuffed animals can spark the imagination. They allow the person to create stories around the group interaction. These stories help the person deal with situations that may be painful or confusing. These stories may also help the person find a place in the world.

Each animal in the group will have its own personality: the confidante, the antagonist, the shy one… The imagination soars with each new story that the stuffed animal inspires and becomes a part of.

Our handmade stuffed penguins are built to last and made to be cuddly, warm and friendly. Our sincerest hope is that, as the person grows, our penguins will be there to listen, to provide playful encouragement and to be a friend for a lifetime of memories.

Children know the power and pleasure of stuffed animals. If you’ve forgotten, let our penguins help guide you back to childhood and all the wonder it can bring. If you haven’t forgotten or you have a child in your life who needs a soft friend, our penguins make the perfect gift. Find the penguin that is right for you or a friend and embrace your inner child.