Wisconsin Lutheran College was established on January 31, 1973. At the time, it had a temporary facility. Four
years later, though, the college purchased the present land and buildings that used to
house an old Catholic boys'/girls' school since the 1880s. Today, 40 years later, half a dozen new buildings have been built, 1,000 total students are enrolled there, and Forbes has ranked the institution 128th (of 600) on its list of America's Best Colleges. I graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College in the Spring of 2002.
The city of
Milwaukee, Wisconsin was incorporated on January 31, 1846 when the competing towns
of Juneautown, Kilbourntown and Walker's Point finally joined together
to establish one municipality. Up until then, they had been competing (and at times, fighting) with each other. The Milwaukee Bridge War is one such example. After the 1845 conflict, the three towns decided to set aside the fighting and join together as the city of 594,000 people that know today.
Happy Birthday guys! I have many fond memories from my time spent with both of you!
Being successful on social media sites isn't as easy at it looks. Reaching fans and followers is a lot of hard work. More often than not, our voices lose their uniqueness, and we get lost in the drone of a constantly moving Facebook/Twitter feed. We disappear into the hum. We become average. We fail to stand out. There's nothing more frustrating than talking to a non-responsive audience.
So, how do we cut through all the noise? How do we make sure our fans and followers hear what we have to say? The answer is simple: Build relationships.
Take the time and go out of your way to make your fans feel welcome and appreciated. Personally respond to all comments. Retweet. Tag your comments by name. Encourage discussion. Participate in the discussion. Listen. Put yourself last. We're led to believe that social media is all about us. Me, myself, and I. We're led to believe it's all about OUR lives, what WE feel is important, what WE think other people should know. That may be true of a personal Facebook account (where your friends will love you no matter what), but to be truly successful with your fans and followers, you have to change that thinking. You have to make the fan more important than yourself. You have to give your followers a reason to want to "like" or "follow" you. If you make your social presence all about you, people will lose interest; ego is a big turn off. But if you put them first, if you meet their needs, if you share things THEY want to hear about.... your fan base will grow. Slowly, perhaps, but it WILL grow. Set aside the time to be genuine and personable. Put in the effort. Remove the ego. The more you listen and answer, the more likely you are to be heard. -Jon posted by Jon at 11:42 PM I
link to this post I
"El Vendedor de Humo"
"El Vendedor de Humo" (Translated: "The Smoke Seller") is an animated short film about a
lone peddler who arrives in a small town, hoping to sell his wares. He offers an amazing magical product: to make people's
dreams come true -- for a fair price, of course.
It's a fun little film; I think you'll like it. Give it a watch, and enjoy!
"Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do." - Walt Disney
Well friends, after a year and some months hiatus, I have decided to return to Twitter. My tweets will be different than what I post here on my blog, or on my official Facebook page, so stop by sometime and follow me. You can find me on Twitter @jonbaas.
This is a great reminder for all husbands and wives, courtesy of Time of Grace:
"When you're on a dance floor and it a "modern" dance, people don't have to pay the slightest bit of attention to what their partners are doing. You do your thing, they do their thing. You don't have to coordinate anything. You just bust your moves. The floor is full of people basically dancing by themselves in the general vicinity of a "partner".
Being happily married, however, is more like a waltz or a tango. You have to hold each other carefully, move in sync with each other, pay attention to your partner, and mind your feet. In both marriage and ballroom dancing, someone has to lead and someone has to be willing to be led. You have to communicate so that you can move gracefully together.
Do you think that the cosmic designer and engineer of gender, sexuality, and marriage might know how this dance works best? "Husbands,.... be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect" (1 Peter 3:7).
This means that men need to step up and accept responsibility for leadership, leading like Jesus. He led like a servant, willing to give up his life for the people he loved. This means that women need to surrender some of their independence and cheerfully place themselves under the leadership of their husbands, whom God expects to represent Jesus in the home.
Do you trust the divine dance instructor enough to let him teach you his moves?"
As most of you know, I'm a professionally-trained actor. I've been in movies, both Hollywood and independent; I've acted on many stages; and I'm currently contributing my voice as a character in an online audio series. But I also have a problem that requires some creative thinking -- I used to live in a big city with plenty of stages and film projects. Now I live in a small Wisconsin city of 3,000 people, completely surrounded by farm fields. There are no acting companies here, there are no movie studios. If I wish to continue acting, I need to be bold and "create" my own stage.
So, here's my plan: I'm going to be creative and unconventional, I'm going to do something most people wouldn't think of, and I'm going to trade myself to Hollywood.
Trade myself to Hollywood? How is that going to work?
Well, with your help, I am going to start a chain of trades with anyone -- anywhere, and I am going to "trade up" until I find myself with a speaking role on the set of a Hollywood movie or television show. Anyone who wishes to be part of my bold little adventure is welcome to trade with me. I'll start with one item, I'll trade that item to someone else for a bigger, better or more interesting item, I'll trade that item to someone else, and so on. My final trade will give whatever item I have at the time to whomever chooses to cast me in a small speaking role in a Hollywood acting project.
Simple as that. And throughout the entire project, I will blog about the people that I meet, I will share pictures, I will write about the objects I trade for, and I will share experiences and advice from my own acting career. In the end, I also hope to blog about my time spent acting on the set of whatever movie or television show I trade for at the end of my adventure -- much like I did when I acted on the set of "Mr. 3000" with Bernie Mac.
So, where does this start? What item do I have to begin this chain of trades?
To start us off, I have in my possession, a lone, solitary one million dollar bill. I collect historic, real and fake currency -- this is one of the fake bills from my collection. Please keep in mind, this bill is NOT worth $1 million dollars; you cannot spend it in a store. It's not real. But it is an artist's unique creation, and it does represent the kind of fake money that is used as props in Hollywood movies and television shows. (This particular bill has not been used in any movies).
Since I am starting this project with the hopes of trading up to an acting role in a Hollywood production, it seems appropriate that my first trade item be a fake one million dollar bill. But not just any fake million dollar bill, no, this one looks cool and "realistic". It's unique. It's not something you see every day. In fact, it's one of my favorites from my own personal collection. I'll even autograph it for the first person to trade with me!
This is what my un-autographed $1 million dollar bill looks like (front and back):
UPDATE #4: - (Feb. 27, 2013)
This $1 million dollar bill has been traded to Rex in Utah for a Walter Koenig autographed publicity photo. To learn more about this trade, read my blog recap located at the link below:
UPDATE #3: - (Feb. 14, 2013)
Someone has offered a trade for my $1 million dollar bill, and I've accepted that offer. The trade is now pending (via the USPS). Stay tuned if you would like to trade for the cool new item in trade #2!
When I first released my "Trade Jon Baas to Hollywood" project, I offered an old autographed stage script from one of my earliest stage appearances (as Gandalf in "The Hobbit"). Two weeks later, though (on February 11, 2013), I decided that I needed a first trade item with a broader appeal. As a result, I chose to update this project and offer my $1 million dollar bill instead.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind about this project:
Q: Can I mail you a trade, or do we have to meet in person?
A: While I would prefer to meet anyone I trade with in person, I will accept other trade formats -- most likely through the mail. Ideally, trading in person would be best, though, as that means we can both meet and have our photo taken together for my blog... and for your personal collection!
Q: Will you travel to meet me if I want to trade with you?
A: My ability to travel long-distance is rather limited at the moment. I live in northeast Wisconsin (USA), in the small city of Brillion. Brillion is located near the larger cities of Green Bay, Appleton, and Manitowoc. While I would prefer to make in-person trades in my general area, I am willing to consider other options as they present themselves.
Q: What kind of things can I trade you?
A: You can trade me anything except the following:
No vehicles. In other words, no cars, trucks, boats, etc. The object has to fit inside my house or garage until my next trade. I would have nowhere to store a car, truck or boat.
No buildings. Again, the object has to fit inside my house or garage.
No business coupons or promissory discounts. It has to be a specific and/or unique item that I can trade up to someone else. Not everyone has access to your business to use said coupon.
No food items, perishable or non-perishable. Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, but there's no guarantee they'd last until my next trade. :)
Nothing illegal. Guns, drugs, you know the drill.
Nothing inappropriate either. This is a family-friendly project.
Q: Can I call you on the phone to suggest a trade?
A: At the moment, my phone number is only available by email (unless you already know it). Anyone that I trade with may be given my phone number so that we can work out the details of our trade.
Q: Why do you live in the small city of Brillion, WI (the city with only 3,000 people)?
A: Before July 2010, I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There are plenty of stage and movie acting opportunities there. Afterall, Milwaukee is one of the largest cities in the United States. In July 2010, I married my wife; she was already established as a teacher here in Brillion. I moved from Milwaukee to Brillion so that my wife did not have to give up her job. I do miss the acting opportunities that I had in Milwaukee, but marrying my wife was more important to me. :)
Q: How long have you been acting?
A: I've been acting since I was eight years old. I am currently 32 years-old. My first taste of acting was as an authentic Civil War reenactor. My parents became involved with reenacting, and included me and my five younger siblings in the hobby. I got involved as the field musician -- also known as "the little drummer boy". When I was in grade school I was in my first movie. I started acting on stage in high school. And when I went to college, I decided to study theater and acting as my future career. If you want to know more about my professional acting career -- during and after college, you are more than welcome to read all about it on my biography or filmography pages.
Q: What movies have you already been in?
A: You can see a list of my movie and stage credits on my filmography page.
Q: Why are you doing this "trade-up to Hollywood" project?
A: Why not? Everyone has dreams, goals, and aspirations. Sometimes you have to take bold and creative steps to make those dreams and goals come true. You'll never know unless you try. :)
Q: What inspired you to start this project?
A: Truth be told, I've wanted to do something like this for a long time. Now seemed like a good time to move from "want" to "pursue". As far as my inspiration, that comes from many sources, one of which was this guy, eight years ago.
Q: What kind of Hollywood movies or television shows would you like to be in?
A: Well, I'm open to whomever chooses to trade me an opportunity. Ideally, though, the following roles or projects would interest me the most. If I was traded a chance to act in one of these, I would be, well, beyond thrilled!:
An episode of the ABC television series, "Castle". I've always wanted to work with and meet Nathan Fillion. I am a huge fan of "Firefly", now I love "Castle" as well.
Anything Star Trek related. I've been a life-long fan of the franchise. The opportunity to be a Starfleet officer in an episode or movie would be a thrill-come-true. Although, to be honest, any speaking character would be just as exciting.
Q: How long will this "Trade Jon Baas to Hollywood" project last?
A: As long as it takes. I'm serious about this. At the moment, me and my wife do not have any children. When/if I become a father, an ambitious project like this would be a lot less likely. So now is a great time to put my time and effort into these creative trades!
About ten years ago (circa 2002), I took the time to analyze my personality. So much in life can be determined just by knowing more about yourself, who you are, and how you think. At the time, I wanted to see how I could apply that knowledge to my future goals. I wanted to see what my unique personality said about me as a person, as well as the creative individual that was setting his foot into the professional world.
I decided to take a few tests that emulated the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The official MBTI, which costs money to take, is a psychological questionnaire designed to measure preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. Each test result is assigned a four-letter code that summarizes the test-taker's personality results in the categories of Extroversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perception. I compared my results from these tests, and they place me into the category of an INFP personality.
Here's a simple definition of an INFP personality:
I -- Introversion (preferred over extraversion): INFPs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintences, and they expend energy in social situations (as opposed to extraverts who gain energy).
N -- Intuition (preferred over sensing): INFPs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.
F -- Feeling (preferred over thinking): INFPs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.
P -- Perception (preferred over judgement): INFPs tend to withhold judgement and delay important decisions, preferring to "keep their options open" should circumstances change.
"Quiet, reflective, and idealistic. Interested in serving humanity. Well-developed value system, which they will strive to live in accordance with. Extremely loyal. Adaptable and laid-back, unless a strong-held value is threatened. Usually talented writers. Mentally quick, and able to see possibilities. Interested in understanding and helping people." (personalitypage.com)
Here's a more detailed description of an INFP personality, also categorized as "The Dreamer".
Earlier this week, I took those tests again, compared the results, and discovered that over the last ten years, my personality has changed. I am now an INTJ personality.
Here's the simple definition of an INTJ personality:
I -- Introversion (preferred over extraversion): INTJs tend to be
quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close
friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintences, and they expend
energy in social situations (as opposed to extraverts who gain energy).
-- Intuition (preferred over sensing): INTJs tend to be more abstract
than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than
the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate
T -- Thinking (preferred over feeling): INTJs tend to
value objective criteria above personal preference. When making decisions, they generally give more weight to logic then to social considerations.
J -- Judging (preferred over perception): INTJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability, which to perceptive types may seem limiting.
"Independent, original, analytical, and determined. Have an exceptional ability to turn theories into solid plans of action. Highly value knowledge, competence, and structure. Driven to derive meaning from their visions. Long-range thinkers. Have very high standards for their performance, and the performance of others. Natural leaders, but will follow if they trust existing leaders." (personalitypage.com)
Here's a more detailed analysis of an INTJ personality, a "free-thinking mastermind".
As a result of this extensive retest, I've found that, over the last ten years, I have remained an overall introvert. I'm still idealistic, loyal, laid-back. I still enjoy interacting with close friends more than I do large groups of people, and I've kept my interest in seeking out abstract ideas and looking at long-term possibilities.
I have, however, changed in the last two categories. I used to focus on personal considerations to things in the world around me, and then I'd considered the social implications of those things, thoughts or ideas. Now it's the opposite. I've become far more objective, and logic holds higher value to me than social considerations. Things have to make sense to be of value. Facts are key.
Ten years ago I also preferred to delay important decisions so that I could keep my options open if things around me changed. Today, I plan my activities and I make major decisions sooner than later. I enjoy the control that comes with predictability. I'm fiercely independent, and I pursue projects that conform to my creative vision for how certain things should be.
When I graduated from college and entered the professional world in 2002, my passion for the arts had no limits. I was going to act.... draw.... create.... dream. The world was my canvas. My artistic interests would shape lives.... It would be something people would look at and appreciate.
Over the last ten years, I've polished those passions into a drive to be entrepreneurial. I've organized my passions into a strong desire to create and tell unique stories (either as an actor or a writer), and I've become far more of a director of those stories than I ever imagined. And in contradiction to my personality ten years ago, I actually enjoy that kind of leadership. I also don't have that same post-college desire to become a gallery-exhibited fine artist; instead, I now enjoy the control that comes with designing my own line of commercial products. I like sharing my creativity.... but I also prefer to do so while blazing my own trail.
It's fascinating how ten years can change your perspective on things. I'm still the same kid who graduated college with big dreams and bigger passions. Only now, I'm a business owner, a CEO, and an entrepreneur as well. The world is still my canvas, but now it has a more ordered meaning to it. And I'm still loving what I do, I'm just doing something a little more constructive.
My parents were right when they advised me, "do what you love, success will follow." Today I'm a successful INTJ, and I'm proud of that personality! I'm grateful for the many opportunities that have brought me here, and I'm humbled by the Heavenly influence that guided me through the tough times along the way. Life has taken me down many roads, but each road has shaped me into the passionate, creative, leader that I am today. If I had the chance, I wouldn't change a thing.
Current temperature here in Brillion,
Wisconsin: 0F. Yes... zero degrees. That's 32 degrees BELOW the official
temperature at which water turns into ice. And our present wind chill
is down around -25F. So, to all those in Los Angeles, CA who
were complaining about their temperature being frigid at 55F.... this is
what cold is like. Right now, here in Wisconsin (courtesy of the wind
chill), it feels like 57 degrees BELOW the temperature at which water
freezes. THAT, my friends.... is cold. :)
I'm all for racial equality here in the United States. I support it wholeheartedly. I am, however, disgusted that President Obama -- merely because of the color of his skin -- is being compared to Martin Luther King Jr. as an outright hero in this country. Obama and King are two VERY different men.
I respect King for all that he said and did for civil rights. He was a good man. With a great vision. Obama on the other hand, has done nothing of equal comparison to King. Not even close. And his short-sighted vision is bankrupting this country.
It's a shame that so many people STILL cannot look beyond the color of a person's skin. Black, white, who cares. It is the personality and actions of a man that make him great.... not the color of his skin or the office he holds.
We live in such a hypocritical country. .... [sigh]
Sometimes I have no idea what to blog about. Today would be one of those times. Therefore, I have written this blog post, and have enriched your life with absolutely nothing new. My apologies. Carry on.
What do the towns of Oradour-sur-Glane, France; Kolmanskop, Namibia;
Bodie, California; Belchite, Spain; and Kadykchan, Russia have in
common? All five are abandoned ghost towns that have fascinating stories
to tell. Here are a few photos of these beautiful and mystifying ghost towns.
UPDATE: - 12:27 AM, Friday.
If you're interested, you can read more about these five ghost towns here as well:
I hate it when large companies choose not
to be transparent and open with their customers and fans, and instead, think it's a good idea to go the silent, "oh, we didn't know that was a problem", or "oh,
we didn't know you cared" route.
Playing the "dumb card" might
get you out of having to deal with controversy, or even having to
explain yourself when you screw up, but it also damages your reputation.
And a reputation is one of the most valuable things any business,
organization, or person will ever possess.
Be honest. Be responsible. Be open. Even when it hurts.
Stupidity, foolishness, and ignorance will kill you in the end.
Last month I designed a Milwaukee Brewers uniform for a contest. The eventual winning uniform will be worn by the team during an upcoming Spring Training game this March.
Earlier this morning, the Finalists in that contest were announced; my design was not among them.
According to the official rules, the contest was supposed to select four Finalist designs. They announced only three (out of nearly 700 original submissions). And those three aren't all that spectacular in my mind. Rather basic, actually. There were many far more creative, unique and original designs in the contest gallery (not necessarily including my own).
In the end, I'm a bit disappointed. Despite the rules and judging criteria, creativity does not appear to be the overall deciding factor. Nonetheless, congratulations to those who *did* put in the time and effort. You may not have been selected as a Finalist, but you showed some great design talent!
Good luck to the three designs that *were* selected. May the best uniform win.
Feel free to take a look at the three winning Brewers uniform Finalists, and vote if you feel so inclined.
UPDATE: - 2:20 PM
The Brewers released this official statement about the issue on their Facebook page:
fourth finalist was selected. However, upon contacting the individual
who submitted the design after voting was completed last week, it was
clear that this fourth finalist was not eligible to participate in the
contest. With the complexities of clearing trademark and licensing
issues with each design (a process that can require several weeks of
advance notice), there was not time to replace the fourth finalist with
an alternate design."
That helps clarify the issue some, but I don't entirely buy it. They could have easily substituted the fifth-best-liked design for the ineligible fourth before the Finalists were released -- most contests handle things that way. In addition, their on-site Release Agreement states: "By submitting my photo, I agree to give to brewers.com and its
affiliates the perpetual and unlimited right and license to use, edit,
modify, duplicate and/or create derivative works from my photo in all
media." So I'm not entirely sure what kind of trademark and licensing issues they needed to consider. It took fan complaints just to have them release the above statement, when they could just as easily have clarified things on the voting page from the start and avoided all the confusion.
The Brewers had nearly 700 creative submissions into the contest. I've seen quite a few of them in their online gallery. It seems an awful shame that they ended up putting less
than four to a final fan vote.
"We all know we are uniquely made, but that doesn't mean we necessariily like it, right? Do you ever wish that you were not so different? If you are biracial, you might feel like you belong nowhere. People from both cultures migt make you feel like an outsider. Maybe God built you stock, but you dream of being skinny. Maybe you're proud that you broke a gender barrier, but not you are the only female in an office of 40 men.
But you know what? God loves diversity. If he fussed enough over creation to make every snowflake different, he certainly didn't want human communities of clones.
The beauty of this is that God builds unity out of the wild diversity of all believers on the planet. Galatians 3:28 says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Nobody has greater value before God than anybody else.
There's a reason why you are designed the way you are and have been placed where you are. Ask for God's help today to understand and appreciate better the value of your own uniquenness."
"If you come to my brainstorming meeting and say nothing, it would have been better if you hadn't come at all.
If you go to work and do what you're told, you're not being negative,
certainly, but the lack of initiative you demonstrate (which, alas, you
were trained not to demonstrate) costs us all, because you're using a
slot that could have been filled by someone who would have added more
It's tempting to sit quietly, take notes and comply, rationalizing
that at least you're not doing anything negative. But the opportunity
cost your newly lean, highly leveraged organization faces is
You know, this whole current "gun debate" is
getting ridiculous. People are focusing on the wrong thing -- and they
refuse to see it. They're trying to treat a symptom, rather than focus
on the root of the problem. Guns are NOT the root of this problem.
A gun is just a tool. Just like a sword, or a knife, or a
screwdriver... or a hammer is a tool. How about we focus on the real
problem.... our culture's fascination
with obscene violence in movies, video games, television, etc. THAT is
what motivates individuals (mentally ill or not) to choose to take the
violence they see in fiction around them, and bring it into reality.
THAT is the cause of terrible shootings like the one at Sandy Hook.
Blaming guns for terrible shootings, is like blaming your spoon for
causing you to choke on the Cheerios YOU put into your mouth at
In movies, film and Hollywood, costume, hair and makeup test footage is very important. It helps the production team get a good look at how a character will look on-screen. Here's a look at some of the behind-the-scenes makeup/wardrobe test footage for the television series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation". I believe most of this footage is from 1988 when the series first began.
Give this a watch, and enjoy some of the character "looks" that might have been, but ultimately, were not. Data had some fascinating possibilities, and Deanna Troi.... her other "looks" were -- well, you'll just have to watch this video to see what I mean. The term 'creative' is a bit of an understatement.
In our present United States culture and
economy, I find it interesting how easily Americans focus on the wrong
things. The have-nots in society look at those who have more success or
money than they do, and then they resort to complaining about how unfair
life is. It's easier to complain and be all "woe is me" than to take
action and improve unpleasant conditions. Life is what you make it. If you're
not happy with where you are in life, work hard and make it better.
Anything is possible so long as you find the motivation to make it
Our country, our economy, our government, our nation's
employment situation, there's a lot to hate about those things right
now. But the mark of true success is in finding ways to overcome those
struggles, and have the willingness to put in an effort, rather than
just sit back and complain. Like it or not, that's exactly what the
wealthy/successful people have already done.
Have you ever read the speech that William Safire wrote for President Nixon in case of a moon landing disaster? Or the speech General Dwight D. Eisenhower was prepared to give if the Normandy Invasion failed? Or perhaps even Sarah Palin's undelivered 2008 victory and concession speeches?
For every great speech, there are a number of versions that were discarded on the writer's room floor. Here are 12 historic speeches that were written, but for a variety of reasons, never delivered.
Hankook Tire has challenged some of
the country's brightest industrial design students to re-imagine the role
of tires in automotive design, and to do so from entirely new perspectives. If the competition is any indication, we may well be driving on a brand new set of creative wheels in the future. Give this video a watch, and feel free to share your thoughts!
Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Warmed by
the Gulf Stream, the island nation has a temperate climate and has been settled for more
than a thousand years.
Yet, despite a population of just over three hundred
thousand, the hauntingly majestic countryside of Iceland is dotted with the ruins of houses and other abandoned buildings. Take a peek at some amazing photos of these lonely old buildings, and take in the vast, open emptiness of the landscape that makes them so very beautiful.
I've been cast as Starfleet helm officer, Ensign Jonathan Sylveste, in the upcoming season three finale episode of "Star Trek: Excelsior" titled, "The Graceful End". Sylveste has a significant impact upon the plot as one of the main Bridge officers throughout the episode. I'll start recording my lines next week, post production begins at the end of January, and the final feature-length audio episode should be available within 2-3 months.
"The Graceful End" is my second appearance in the Star Trek: Excelsior web series. This is also the tenth and final episode of the show's third season. A fourth season is already in the works.