Mar 31 2011

cost analysis, kid style [day 309]

My youngest son came home with this a few weeks ago.

I’m not sure why he decided to draw this, but I’m glad he gets it.  Joe likes money and likes to spend money, but he also lives in the real world.  He’s 10 years old and somewhat budgets his money, that is, enough budgeting to get what he wants to buy.  He talks about buying stuff all the time, but he’s selective when it comes to actually making a purchase.

My oldest talked about an idea he had for an environmentally friendly missile.  While we were sitting in our think tank (hot tub), Cole spent almost 15 minutes telling me about his missile design.  It’s a missile that puts out an environmentally friendly gas that temporarily paralyzes people, allowing the police to ‘go in’ and get the bad guys, place them in prisons, and when the gas wears off, nobody is harmed in the process.  Here’s the blueprints.

Here’s the best part.  Yesterday, he did a cost analysis and figured out was his profit margin will be.  ??!!??!  How does he know how to do this?  He’s eleven years old.  I’ve talked about cost analysis stuff, but I’ve never shown him the process on paper.  Take a look.

Not only did he think of the labor costs, but when Joe talked to him about advertising, he adjusted the analysis accordingly.  I’m guessing Joe’s ad plan for him was to advertise during the Super Bowl.  If my two radically different kids partner together in the future, using their gifts to collaborate for good, they’ll do great things.  Yes, I’m the proud parent today.  :)


Dec 8 2010

swept under the rug… and sofa, and table, and bed, and… [day 195]

There’s no possible way any household vacuum cleaner could possibly suck up all the crap on our floors.  It begs the question, “Why do we have so much little stuff and where did it come from?”

First of all, Spongebob seems to be everywhere in our house.  This pile is only the upstairs sweep, as I didn’t even make it downstairs yet.  Yes, I know, it’s a little weird to share my dirt pile, but it does make you think, right?  It’s like trash I Spy or trash art.  Where’s Waldo maybe?  He’s about the only thing that’s not in here.  This motivates me to get rid of more stuff.

Oh, and a quick tip:  When you clean the house, it’s good to put away the vacuum cleaner instead of leaving it next to your bed.  In the morning, it looks like someone standing over you.  :0


Jul 26 2010

surrounded by trash [day 60]

We had our light painting photo safari last night.  If you want to entertain a bunch of kids, give them a box of toys and some flashlights.  If you want to entertain a bunch of adults, give them the same stuff, but add a camera.

So what does this have to do with trash society?  Many things.  First, it’s a great way to have some family and friends time without spending money.  We play with toys we already have and share our cameras for those who don’t have one.  You can see all the pics from this shoot on flickr.

Second, we always find trash.  Sadly, we are surrounded by trash.  It’s so blended into our lives that sometimes we don’t even see it.

A white picket fence… the American dream?  (I took the ‘green bag’ pictured on the left)

I have this quirky feature I just discovered about myself.  I’m always looking down when I walk and I subconsciously look for stuff.  While on vacation, I found a guys wallet stuffed with cash.  I did get it back to the owner.  I found a computer cable, in the dark, on the floor at work.  I always find stuff on the ground.  I have no idea when I started this or why, but I’ll work it to my art.  Last night, I found some trash on the ground and decided to use it in a few photos:

This became a good opportunity for some ‘trash awareness’ with the kids.  We kept the little plastic mountain, probably a piece of a milk jug.

Third, we can teach the kids about art and making statements with the things around them.  We might bring props, but how do they fit into their surroundings?  The above photos are disturbingly reflective of our society and I’ve titled them ‘Protect the Plastic‘.  Kids are the future and what we teach them now will mold their core values.

There are probably many more things here, but those are the highlights.  If you would like to join in on a photo safari, join our Facebook group.

What things do you do to help lessen trash production?  This challenge of not shopping retail has helped me.  Less stuff, less impulse buys, less trash.  :)


Jun 2 2010

the challenge: day 6 & day 7 [materialism & a project for kids]

I’m back home from my trip to Mexico and back into my much too busy routine. I don’t have any shopping challenges to report, however I am uncomfortable with my very comfortable life.

There is one thing I’ve been thinking about, and that’s how this challenge will affect my kids. I’m trying to teach them that materialism is not good, while the life lessons they’re learning in our society are sending the opposite, and quite powerful message that materialism is very good. Last night we sat out on our rickety old trampoline (in the rain) and talked about what we’re passionate about. My boys are 9 and 10 years old, so the discussion itself was a bit of a challenge.

I decided to give them each a summer project. The project will allow me to teach them some of my design skills, while teaching them to help people and encourage others to do the same. They are both to choose a topic, do a journalistic photo shoot and create a video. They will have to storyboard it and blog during the process. Honestly, they’re viewing it as summer homework. Hopefully they won’t see it that way once we get into it. I’m such an abusive parent! LOL

Cole is doing his project on The New U.S. Army, a new non-violent army. Joe is doing his with a comic book style superhero named God’s Host. And me? I will be helping them and doing the 8 million other things I have in my head. This morning I’m looking for a homeless retreat in Dallas and planning a new type of recycling program. Yes, there’s much to do in this world… shopping is not on the list.