Category Archives: Popular Culture

Artur Meyster: How to Know if You and Your Career Aren’t Meant to Be

Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

 

Text by Artur Meyster, Copyright 2020

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How To Know If You And Your Career Aren’t Meant To Be

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Sometimes, job offers are way more attractive on paper than in real life. Nowadays, during interviews, employers are saying whatever crosses their minds to catch qualified aspirants’ attention. As a result, you may land a job that seems like your dream job, but it isn’t. Still, you don’t have to feel bad if your current career isn’t a good fit. What matters at the end of the day is identifying when it’s the right time to leave. If you’re wondering about quitting or making a career change, these signs will help you decide and move in the right direction.

Your Duties Make You Feel Frustrated

Sometimes, the job you have always wanted is not what you thought. For that reason, if your dream job makes you feel frustrated, don’t be of two minds about quitting. Doing the same tasks repeatedly without using your strengths is not good for your mental health or career. Look for a job that makes you feel motivated. Nowadays, companies are investing in new technologies like AI to help workers during repetitive processes.

Talking to your boss is always a good alternative to solve the problem. Ask them if you can collaborate on projects where you ca use your best skills. If you have machine learning skills, don’t hesitate to give an extra hand to data scientists or data analysts. This will help you to stay motivated and feel comfortable. However, if your boss disagrees, don’t stay in a place where your best skills aren’t appreciated. 

You Don’t Enjoy What You Do

Enjoying what you do is crucial to feel comfortable and achieve happiness in life. Hence, if you dislike what you do and you think you should look for another job, don’t let your fear of being jobless stop you. Embrace changes and start a new job searching path. 

In 2020, companies in the healthcare sector and the online retail industry are actively looking for new hirings. If making a career change is necessary to land a job you may like, don’t be afraid of making your decision. After all, most people spend between 40 and 50 hours per week at work, and enjoying what you do will be key to improving your wellbeing. 

Your Feel Overloaded

If your responsibilities make you feel you’re starting to crumble, you should ask for help. Talking to your boss may be a good option to fix the issue. But, if you receive no support, this is a big sign that quitting is the best decision you can make. Feeling overloaded is not healthy. Since overwork can have adverse effects on employees’ health, relaxing is a must. Don’t accept a job offer that makes your work-life balance awful. 

Developing Your Skills Is an Uphill Battle

In 2020, the competition is getting more challenging day after day. For that reason, you need a job that provides you with professional development opportunities. If developing your skills is an uphill battle at your current job, you should think about leaving. Having no professional development might take you out of the game and will make getting employed hard. Look for vacancies that provide you with tuition reimbursement benefits.

Top-notch companies like Netflix and Nintendo are concerned about skills training. Therefore, they provide employees with tuition reimbursement benefits to help them stay competitive. Many employees have enrolled in coding bootcamps to get equipped with in-demand programming tools. 

Coding Dojo, for example, offers online programs that allow students to become self-sufficient developers in a few weeks. Their programs cover in-demand tools like JavaScript, AWS, Python, and React. Coding Dojo also offers career services to help students achieve their short-term and long-term career goals. 

General Assembly, on the other hand, helps students to develop their skills with ease. By providing them with schedule flexibility, students can decide whether to take full- or part-time courses. And by allowing them to learn from experts in the field, students can stand out from the competition. 

In Summary

Never keep a job that affects your personality or causes you to be in a bad mood the whole day. To move forward, you must enjoy what you do. Keep in mind that when people feel motivated, they keep a positive attitude and find solutions instead of problems. If you recognize these signs at your current work, don’t be scared of leaving. To get a meaningful job, you may need to go out of your safe zone, but I can guarantee that you won’t regret it.

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Artur Meyster: Founder of Career Karma

About the Author: Artur Meyster is the founder of Career Karmahttps://careerkarma.com

Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, lifestyle, Media, News, Science, Student Life

Bob Shell: Morality & Science

Photo: Tony Ward

 

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The Honorable Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and current member of the United Nations Global Commission on Drug Policy recently said, “We need to accept that behaviors and actions of others that are not aligned with our own moral perspectives do not need to be turned into criminal offenses.”. That’s a remarkably perceptive observation.

I’ve always believed that my body and soul belong to me alone, and the government has no business sticking its long nose (or arm) into my affairs. As long as I’m harming no one else I should have the unimpeachable right to do as I please. Government today wants to be our daddy and dictate what we can do. One of my favorite people in history is Woodrow Wilson. He once said:

“I do not want a government that takes care of me. I want a government that keeps other men’s hands off of me so that I can take care of myself.”

My sentiments exactly.

The same applies to my photography. Just because some people were offended by my erotic nudes is no reason to demonize and imprison me. Nudity and sex are both natural and normal parts of the human experience, but they scare the bejaysus out of a certain portion of humanity. Perhaps because both show that were animals, in spite of our exalted ideas of ourselves. It doesn’t bother me to be an animal, even to be “The Third Chimpanzee,” as Jared Diamond has called us in his book of that title. Are we more than mere animals? It used to be said that humans alone had self awareness, and that made us different. But recent research with animals has shown that some animals are self aware, specifically the great apes, bottlenose dolphins, orcas, magpies, and Asian elephants. Most recently, a fish called the cleaner wrasse has passed the “mirror” test for self awareness. This is a simple test. Put a mirror in front of an animal and see if it realizes “Wow, that’s me!”

Scientists in Germany put a black mark on the fish in a place where it could only be seen in a mirror. The fish was confused by the mirror at first, but then caught on and, after checking its reflection in the mirror, tried to remove the mark by rubbing the area of the mark against a hard surface. The mental ability of distinguishing “me” from “the rest of the world” is a very important step up the ladder of intelligence.

Another very simple test uses a three-sided box made of wire mesh. An animal is put inside with a treat clearly visible on the other side of the mesh. The animal is blocked from the treat in front and on both sides. To get the treat it has to master the idea of going away from the treat, out the open back of the box, and around to the treat. Most animals fail this test, futility trying to reach through the wire mesh, which is impossible. Most dogs fail this test, as do most cats. A minority of dogs figure it out, and a larger percentage of cats. Both fail the mirror test, although many years ago I had a cat who figured out mirrors, and also figured out how doorknobs work.

In 1929 a scientist named Constantine von Economo discovered a special kind of brain neuron, that has been named after him. Most brain neurons are blobs with the single axon and multiple dendrites extending in all directions. The von Economo neurons are long and thin with axon and dendrites only at the ends. So far these special neurons have been found only in humans, great apes, whales and dolphins, and elephants. I call them “the neurons of consciousness.”

Humans have about 1.5 times as many von Economo neurons as elephants. Are these special neurons what makes us human? Could a simple mutation that produced these neurons be what elevated us above all other earthly life in sentience? I tend to think that the answer is yes.

It’s purely an untested personal theory, but I think that ingestion of certain substances may spark the production of more von Economo neurons in our brains. Silicon valley has recently discovered the benefits of microdosing with LSD and other psychotropic substances, and has found that it increases productivity in jobs where conceptual thinking is important. Where does any government get off telling people not to use natural substances that improve their mental acuity? The fact that these substances are currently illegal has not significantly reduced their popularity. There must be a good reason for that.

I feel blessed that I came of age when these substances were legal and “magic mushrooms” and peyote buttons could be ordered by mail from magazine ads. Pure pharmaceutical LSD made by Sandoz in Switzerland, where Albert Hoffman discovered it by accident, was readily available. Then in 1969 the government made everything they could think of illegal, shutting down research into therapeutic use of psychotropics. Only recently has very limited research been restarted, often with strong positive results. We’ve been held back from important research for fifty years! And all because of misinformed, ignorant fear. Governments worldwide need to learn that they do not own their citizens, that the citizens own the governments.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonyward.com/bob-shell-do-you-believe-in-ghosts/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Documentary, Friends of TWS, History, Men, Politics, Science

Bob Shell: Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

 

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Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020

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Do You Believe in Ghosts?

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Do I believe in ghosts? I’m not sure. Since, like the original Christians, I firmly believe in reincarnation, I’m not sure ghosts fit into my cosmology. But, I’ve had experiences that certainly seem to indicate the existence of something like the traditional ghost.

My first photography studio was an old country store building that was part of the small farm we bought in the early 70s. In front, with double doors opening onto a big front porch, was one large room, which, after I took out the counters, gave me a large, unobstructed working area. The only limitation was low ceilings, only about eight feet, that made certain lighting effects impossible. There was a second floor that I didn’t use, so I thought of taking away part of the floor to get my lights higher, but wasn’t sure. of the structural integrity of the building if I did that. The upstairs was where the people who once ran the store had lived.

There was also a back room downstairs that I made into my darkroom.

A staircase in that room led to the upstairs. Having spent as much time as I have in darkrooms, I’m certainly not afraid of the dark,.but that room used to spook me because I’d be working making prints or developing film and I’d clearly hear someone coming down those stairs, or going up them. It got so bad that I took out the staitway and closed the opening to the upstairs. Did I ever see anything? No. Nothing ever touched me, either. Not that time.

Years later, my late girlfriend, Marion Franklin, whose untimely death put me in prison, used to spend a lot of time, with me and solo, just hanging out in my photo studio on Main Street in Radford, Virginia. She loved it there, and was learning to work behind the camera as well as in front as a model. I’d made plans to enroll her in a photography school to learn the nuts and bolts of the business.

Anyway, it was not unusual for us to just hang out in the studio, even when we didn’t have any active photography projects.

Several weeks after her death, I was just sitting in my studio, head down, eyes closed, feeling very depressed. Not only had she died, but the local cops and prosecutor were blaming me for her death. I was in a real funk, not knowing what my future held, or even if I had a future.

I felt a soft hand on my shoulder. When I opened my eyes and looked up, there stood Marion, dressed in her usual blouse and jeans, smiling down at me with love in her big brown eyes. To say it freaked me out would be a major understatement. She stood there a few moments looking into my eyes, never said a word, and walked away.

I was completely stunned, didn’t know what to do. I think I called out, “Don’t go!” or “Come back!” But, when I ran into the office where she had gone, it was cold and empty.

Over the next few weeks she came several times, always when I was most depressed, and then I never saw her again.

Famous physicist Sir Roger Penrose, whose books I recommend, says he has evidence that the soul survives bodily death as a “packet of information stored at the quantum level,” an idea borne out by research at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Germany. It is only recently that some real research into the nature of the soul has been done.

After my arrest for things that never happened I began seeing a therapist recommended by my doctor. I was having problems over Marion’s death and being falsely blamed for causing it. The therapist was a very kind woman whose regular sessions helped me survive the four years between my arrest and trial. When I told her of my visits from Marion, she told me that in her experience as a therapist, it was a common experience.

But what did I see and feel? I wonder to this day if I’d picked up a camera and snapped a picture, what would have been recorded. Nothing, perhaps, if it was merely a projection from my mind borne of longing. But, maybe, just maybe, it would have recorded an image of what I saw, gentle Marion returning to my studio that she loved so much. I’ll never know, and,.after several manifestations, she never reappeared. These occurrences were in the daytime.

Whitley Strieber has written of his experiences with his late wife, Anne, and even ‘coauthored’ a book with her spirit. I don’t dismiss his writings as fantasy, as so many have. I think we’ve removed the spiritual from our sciences to our detriment. We’ve tried to convince ourselves that there is no difference between living and dead matter, kicked the soul out the window. Slowly, I’m seeing that change, as a new generation of people take over the sciences. Maybe one day we will have a science of the soul and understand how the universe really works. I hope I live to see it.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonyward.com/bob-shell-jailhouse-nicknames/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Current Events, Environment, Friends of TWS, History, Science

Studio News: House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antonette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

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House of Antoinette 1950 has been delivering sassy statement accessories since 2010. The products are a stylish alternative to mass production generic accessories. All items are limited edition or one of a kind. Our jewelry comes from Japan, China, Thailand, Russia and many more exotic places from around the globe. The accessories are top quality, durable and forever lasting.

The accessories have been featured at New York Fashion Week, special events like birthday parties, expos, and New Years Eve celebrations. House of Antoinette 1950 has been featured in media publications such as IndieFlava Magazine, World Fashion Media News, Philadelphia’s Main Line Today and a variety of fashion blogs. The accessories continue to delight clients from all over the world. The company founder, Antoinette Nassef is based in Philadelphia.  For inquiries to purchase her hand made works of Art, email:antoinettenaseef8@gmail.com.

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House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

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Portrait of Antoinette Nassef

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Also posted in Accessories, Announcements, Art, Blog, Current Events, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Gifts, Glamour, lifestyle, Media, News, Philadelphia, Student Life, Women

Bob Shell: Jailhouse Nicknames

Jailhouse Nicknames by Bob Shell

 

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Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020

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Jailhouse Nicknames

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Almost everyone in prison uses a jailhouse nickname rather than their real name. I’ve known two men called Mouse and one called Groundhog. The first Mouse was a thin little man who claimed he’d been a bouncer at a local strip club. I didn’t see how, but didn’t question the story. Groundhog was a short, stocky man who did look just like a groundhog. Right now I know a Squirrel, a Bird and a Flea. Then there was Horse Man. He didn’t look like a horse but sounded like one. He’d get outside and let out a neigh and snort that you could hear from one end of the camp to the other. One of my friends is called Chicken Man, or just Chicken for short. He’s called that because he knows all there is to know about raising chickens, which he did on the outside. Then there’s Coal Bucket, who used to be a coal miner. We have a Batman, no idea why he’s called that, also a Spiderman, so called because the entire top of his shaved head is covered by a spider web tattoo, with a big spider in the middle on the crown of his head. I’ve also known a Sleet, and a Smoke, but have no idea how they came by those names, and a Moon. My best friend at Pocahontas was Buzz. He couldn’t remember how he got that name when I asked him, just that people in prison just started calling him that. He’s out now, released early this year. Probably the smartest person I’ve known, inside or out. He told me he’d never been inside a public school, completely home schooled, which says something about public education in western Virginia.

Some take their names from where they’re from, like Bama from Alabama, and some called me Roanoke, or just Noke, because that’s where I’m originally from. At Pocahontas someone started calling me The Notorious B – O – B, and it stuck. Pretty soon all most everyone called me that. After a while it got shortened to just B – O – B, and I was known by that name throughout the camp. I didn’t mind.

Some here call me Albert, after Einstein, because when I come out of the shower and towel dry my hair, it goes crazy like his until I comb it into submission. A few at Pocahontas called me Colonel, because since my hair turned white I look somewhat like the old Kentucky chicken plucker. Somewhere there’s a photo showing me standing by a life sized statue of Colonel Sanders in front of a Tokyo KFC, two peas in a pod. (When I worked in TV in the early 70s I met the real Colonel Sanders when he came to our station to shoot some local commercials. But my hair was still brown in those days, so we didn’t look so much alike.,)

Here at River North the younger guys have started calling me “Uncle Bob,” which is a sign of respect, and appreciated. I like it better than the other names I’ve been called.

There was a fellow at Pocahontas called Fishbone. I asked him why and he said it was what his sister called him as a kid. There are also those who take their names from cars. I’ve known a Cadillac and a Maserati. I assume those names are for vehicles they dream of owning. If I took my name from a vehicle, I’d be Land Rover! Always wanted one. In the 70s I owned a couple of Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruisers, but never a Rover.

I’ve had some strange/interesting cellmates in my ten plus years in prison. One was a Spanish-speaking Muslim from Guatemala named Vladimir! I’ve had several Islamic cellmates, one Rastafarian, and a smattering of other faiths. My current cellmate follows the Asatru religion, the old Norse faith.

Back to names; double names are also used. At Pocahontas I knew a man called Bam Bam, and later a Woo Woo and a Don Don. Of course, here in the South double names using the person’s first and middle names are common. The mechanic who used to work on my cars was Willy Wayne, and one of my cousins was Randy Ray. If my parents had followed that tradition, I’d have been called Bobby Ed! There was a songwriter some years back called Billy Ed Wheeler, perhaps best known for his song “The Interstate is comin’ through my outhouse.”

On another topic, I’m one of the few men here not heavily tattooed. Most are prison tattoos, frequently very amateurish in execution and always in black ink (made by burning plastic articles and collecting the carbon black). A few have professional multicolored tattoos done prior to prison, some quite striking. Back before my legal troubles I was going to work on a project to photograph tattooed women. A very fine tattoo artist was going to arrange for the women he’d worked on to come in for shoots. The project never happened because of my arrest. This whole ridiculous legal mess brought many proposed projects to a halt. Maybe one day I will be able to pick up where I left off. I’ve still got lots of picture ideas, and more come to me all the time. It’s very frustrating to be stuck here without access to my photography.

I write these posts on a little mini-tablet sold to us by JPay. It has a 3 1/4 inch screen, so the keyboard is tiny, which accounts for the typos that sometimes appear in my posts. Also, this email app tries to think for me. Whenever I try to write my website URL it changes bobshell to bombshell if I don’t go back and override it. Oh, to have a real computer!!

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonyward.com/bob-shell-the-60s/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, Media, Men, News, Politics