At the heart of ‘Mad Men’

first_imgMatthew Weiner is a talker. He admits it. In answering questions — about his writing process, about the hit AMC drama he created, “Mad Men,” which will end its seven-season run next month — his mind meanders away from simple truths, often to a story and a place in the past where the writer and director felt shunned and downtrodden, not unlike his show’s protagonist, Don Draper.Like Draper, Weiner struggled to build the life he wanted. He once stopped writing altogether because he found it impossible to break into show business. Finally he landed gigs writing for sitcoms. It was during that time that Weiner had an idea, a story about a man from meager beginnings who lands it all — success, looks, women — and in despite of it, is miserable.“‘Is this it?’ and ‘What’s wrong with me?’ These two questions are at the heart of the show,” Weiner told a Harvard audience Monday at Sever Hall.Fans preoccupied with the approaching finale were offered no clues on Draper’s fate during a conversation between Weiner and Bret Anthony Johnston, the director of creative writing at Harvard. The event was the keynote in Harvard LITFest, a week of workshops and talks now in its second year.Instead of focusing on the end of the series, Weiner talked stories — the events that shape us, whether we realize it or not, and the necessity of persistence in life and in art.Weiner’s pilot script earned him the attention of “Sopranos” writer and producer David Chase, who cleared a space on his writing team for Weiner. After “The Sopranos” ended in 2007, Weiner began shopping his period piece around. It was nabbed by AMC, a network that had never delved into original programming. Before too long “Mad Men” had gained a passionate following.Weiner said that he’s driven by mortality and finds himself always scripting “some version of ‘Rip Van Winkle’ … someone does something they shouldn’t have done and they’ve missed their whole life,” he said.He admitted he has occasionally weaved in tidbits from his own life. While working on “Signal 30,” an episode from Season 5 that included a fight between Pete Campbell and Lane Pryce, Weiner was “the most depressed I’d ever been in my life.“I don’t know what it was: the permanence of time passing, success, my relationship,” he said.The characters fell victim to the same unnamable malaise.“It’s a cliché. Suburban woe. Middle-age crisis. Frustrated art. Waning sexual powers,” Weiner said. “But to have a third person express it … I hope it means something to other people.”The episode also featured something unique: a poem, written by the character Ken Cosgrove. Weiner did his college thesis in poetry, and said he was crushed when a professor he let read it ripped it to shreds. But for all the heartbreak and rejection that comes with the territory, Weiner said, it’s essential that the developing writer take heart in compliments and words of encouragement and keep going.“I want to be known as someone who takes a lot of risks,” he said. “Writing-wise I’m constantly at war … I’m embarrassed to repeat myself unless I feel it’s a thematic underscoring. There’s a lot of stuff and it’s like, ‘Will that work?’ Well, we’ll see.”Dispelling the idea that he’s the show’s main author, calling it “some commercial construction,” Weiner spoke often about having a team of writers, “which creates safety.”“The story comes from a lot of people, and I pick and choose and consume it and do a lot of rewriting and dialogue,” he said. “But we’re all very emboldened as a group to walk to the brink of failure all the time and not know the difference. And you really can’t know the difference.”True writers, he said, will endure that doubt and fear and move past it — because they have to.But to be a writer is to be a good observer, said Weiner, and an even better listener. “People ask me what I’m doing next and I say that I’m returning to my first love — eavesdropping.”last_img read more

20 Starting over

first_imgVolume XXIXNumber 1Page 20 By Mike IsbellUniversity of GeorgiaI’ve been putting off redoing the landscaping at my house for along time now. This may be the year I finally break down and redoit.When we first moved into our house, I tried using the existingplant material around the foundation in a landscape plan. In someplaces I added plants. In others I removed some.But I just couldn’t figure out a way to develop a new landscapeplan using the existing plants and make it look right.So I’m going to start over from scratch — well, at least I thinkI am.If I do, I’ll have several things to consider besides the designof my landscape plan.House overhang. I won’t plantshrubs underneath the eave of my house, because I’m not willingto water the shrubs any more than I have to. I’ll let the rain domost of my watering.Drainage. There’s only one area inmy yard that has poor drainage and where the soil is usually wet.I won’t plant anything there that won’t thrive in wet soil. Idefinitely won’t plant azaleas there.Light requirements. Most plants dowell in either sun or light shade, while others require moreshade. I’ve got sunny areas and shady areas, so I’ll need to knowthe light requirements for the plants I choose.Tree competition. Planting shrubsdirectly underneath shallow-rooted trees, such as elm and maple,will result in water shortage to the shrubs during a great dealof the growing season unless they’re watered. And, as I said, Idon’t want to have to water.Winter protection. I likecold-hardy plants. Period. I don’t want to worry about the plantsin my yard being injured in below-freezing temperatures. I’mgoing to select plants adapted to the plant-hardiness zone whereI live.Mature size. Shrubs come in allshapes and sizes. It’s important to know the mature size ofplants before they’re planted. I don’t want to find out severalyears from now that I planted them too close together. And Idon’t want to discover a plant has turned into a big, green glob,covering up the window.Disease- and insect-resistant. Toheck with having to spray something to keep diseases and insectsat bay. I want a plant that nothing wants to grow on and nothingwants to eat.I know there are many beautiful plants I won’t even considerplanting just because they don’t meet my requirements. But that’sjust me.Now, if I can just get started.(Mike Isbell is the Heard County Extension Coordinator withthe University of Georgia College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Meet the next generation

first_imgYou know how important it is to win over to the Millennial demographic, and you’ve been focusing your efforts on that group for a while now. Currently between the ages of 19 and 36, Millennials (also known as Gen Y) spend around 82% of their income, according to Nielsen data. As they enter their prime earning and borrowing years, they’re poised to dominate the market.But they’re no longer the new kids on the block. Now that you’ve figured out how to communicate with Millennials (while continuing to engage Gen X and the Boomers), get ready to take on another challenge: there’s a new generation on the rise.They don’t have an official name yet, but this young generation’s financial activity already ranges from piggy banks (probably virtual ones) to checking accounts.So who is this new generation?According to McCrindle Research Center, they were born between the years 1995-2009.There are approximately 23 million of them in America.They’ve never known a world without the Internet.They speak emoji.Online research and online interaction are a way of life of them.By 2020, they’ll account for 40% of all consumers.They’ll pay for technology, but not for things they can get online for free.Meet iGeneration. Or Generation Z. Or Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives, Socratics, Gen Next, Post Gen, Plurals… All of these prospective names came from a recent USA Today poll on what the post-millennial generation should be called, but so far nothing has truly stuck. For now, we’ll call them iGen.Here are some tips for communicating with these up-and-coming prospective members:Personalize everything. (And we mean everything.) iGen wants brands to recognize them. They don’t want emails that say “Dear Customer” or “Valued Customer.” They’re used to their data being collected and they expect to be addressed by name. iGen is the first generation that has grown up with social media and they expect brands and companies to be social media savvy.Speaking of social media, iGen relies heavily on social media for research. Millennials and Gen X look at social media as a way to connect with friends. iGen sees social media as a way to receive information. A study by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) found that when researching colleges, 60% of iGen stated that they felt comfortable contacting schools through social media. 48% of those surveyed by HBR said that Facebook is their primary platform for social media and research. Almost 50% of iGens who participated in the 2014 Most Memorable New Product Launch survey turn to YouTube to learn about new products, compared to only 25% who read emails from brands.Give iGen a reason to love your brand. iGen is looking for simple yet sophisticated social media platforms. They constantly have a screen in front of them – in fact, multiple screens (and they’re rarely without a smartphone).And one of the surprising findings from the HBR study is that iGen loves content. This generation is intrigued by research and finding more things out. Look for ways to quench their thirst for knowledge and offer user experiences that are simple but powerful. For example, Instagram is updating their marketing platform to allow users to click on a photo and instantly buy that product.If you want an example of a brand that’s doing it well right now, watch this ad campaign from Dominos. Yes, you saw that right: you can order pizza by texting an emoji.iGeneration is here, now. They are graduating from high school and enrolling in college. They are working their first jobs and making their own money. Alternative methods of banking are more natural to them than traditional methods of banking. Now is the time to re-evaluate your member service practices and marketing efforts, because very soon this new generation will become a dominant purchasing power. 36SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Joel Richardson Joel is Millennial who keeps his finger on the pulse of what’s new and now, helping Third Degree’s clients stay ahead of the game. His background includes social … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Finding your summer sanity

first_img 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Amanda Reed Web: Details I’m currently sitting at the beach with my 6 year old fast asleep on the couch beside me. In these quiet moments I’m reminded of just how precious every moment with her is. There will soon be a day that she doesn’t nap, that she doesn’t want to snuggle up next to me, and when she has family vacations of her own to go to. In moments like these I’m so grateful for the flexibility my job offers me, but when you work from home, summer with kids (especially young ones) can be a challenge. How can I stay in my routine and enjoy this time with her to the fullest? If I’m being totally honest, I first found her being at home during these months incredibly stressful. I felt like a bad parent during the times she was watching tv, and like a bad employee during the times we went on picnic lunches together. See my personality is all or nothing. I’m in or I’m out and while I have certainly learned a lot about balance over the years, it’s not something that comes natural to me and it takes extra effort for me go cohesively between mindsets. I needed a plan, something to help me keep my sanity. Enter teacher mode. It had been years since I made any lesson plans but I didn’t see why I couldn’t apply the same concept here. I could sit down on Saturday morning with my coffee and plan out the week ahead. By that point I was aware of work commitments for the coming week and could block off set times, I could structure in activities my daughter would like – such as art projects, science experiments (her favorite), or other independent things she could do during my work blocks – having this planned out meant that I could have all the supplies ready so that I wasn’t constantly interrupted by her asking for things. Then we could plan activities outside the work blocks that we could do together – going to the movies, riding bikes, going to the pool, etc. – this helped her see that even though I had work to accomplish that there was still plenty of time in my day that would be focused on her. We had a jar of activities and sometimes we wouldn’t have a pre-planned activity just pre-planned time then we would pull from the jar and see what adventure we would be up to that day. Maybe you don’t want a giant weekly calendar on your fridge, maybe that feels like more work to you, but I am positive there are small boundaries and limits you can structure in, that will help keep you sane during these (long) summer months. In addition to keeping yourself in a positive mindset, you’ll be modeling how to balance work and personal time and show your child that they don’t have to choose between the two. In the moments of stress and tension that are sure to come along, I find that grabbing a popsicle and soaking up a little sun together goes a long way in relieving it.  last_img read more

Dutch pharmacists’ scheme attributes 0.7% loss to defensive strategy

first_imgSPOA, the €1.2bn pension fund for public pharmacists in the Netherlands, lost 0.7% on its investments in 2013 due to what it described as its defensive investment mix. As a consequence, its return fell 5.4 percentage points short of Dutch pension funds’ average return, as estimated by supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).It said it lost 8% on its fixed income holdings – currently 61% – due to rising interest rates last year.A return of almost 16.5% on the scheme’s equity portfolio could not offset the negative return on fixed income, it said. At the end of 2012, SPOA had a 23% stake in equity. Its holdings in property and alternatives were 7% and 6%, respectively, at the time.In a clarification on SPOA’s website, the board said it could not change its investment policy, arguing that the DNB would shoot down a more risky investment policy given the scheme’s financial position.At February-end, SPOA’s coverage ratio was 107.9%, including a required rights discount of 4.6% for this year.In 2012 and13, the pharmacists scheme had already to cut pension rights by 7% and 6.8% respectively.SPOA chairman Mark Hagenzieker told IPE that the pension fund does not want to drastically change its investment policy either.“We have always invested conservatively,” he said, adding that a recent asset-liability management study has made clear that the current investment mix is the best for the pension fund. However, Hagenzieker declined to provide details about the current portfolio.SPOA has always prioritised pensions’ accrual to accruing financial buffers. As a consequence, the scheme suffered badly during the financial crisis, with its coverage reaching an absolute low of 84.1% in 2011.The board of the pharmacists scheme further made clear that it is looking into the options of cost reduction. It said that the pension contribution of its participants is based on a cost level of 0.5%, but that it had found that the real costs were 1.5% during 2013.SPOA has approximately 2,745 active participants, 960 deferred members and 1,130 pensioners.last_img read more

Protean Firms Up Wave Energy Converter Sale

first_imgProtean has completed the term sheet agreement for the sale of the Protean Wave Energy Converter technology assets (WEC Assets) to Australian company PEARL Clean Energy (PEARL).As announced in the binding agreement earlier this year, the key terms include PEARL spending a minimum of $700,000 on the WEC Assets within the first 5 years from signing the agreement and paying a 1.5% royalty on all future revenue generated from the WEC Assets during the first ten years from signing the agreement.Protean will also incur no further costs associated with the WEC Assets.Protean’s decision to divest its interest in the WEC Assets is said to be a result of the previously advised strategic review of assets undertaken by the company. The decision is consistent with the company’s focus on developing its Daejon vanadium project in Korea whilst concurrently working to commercialize the V-KOR vanadium redox flow battery technology.last_img read more

Officials urge harvest season safety

first_imgBatesville, In. — Indiana residents are still encouraged to watch out for farming equipment when traveling on the roads this harvest season.Ninety-two farm equipment vehicles (not including trucks) were involved in fatal crashes in the United States in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.To help keep motorists safe, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana State Policeand Indiana Department of Transportation ask drivers to be alert, patient and responsible when on the road.They also encourage Indiana residents to avoid tailgating farming equipment, watch for wide vehicles and only pass large, slow-moving machinery when in a passing area.For more tips to keep you and your family safe this harvest season, click herelast_img read more

Why I joined QPR, former Eagles star reveals

first_img Promoted Content5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksThese Maisie Williams Facts Are Bound To Shock YouWhat Are The Most Delicious Foods Out There?7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The WorldWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?Everyone Was Stunned To See How Little Anakin Looks TodayBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made8 Things You Didn’t Know About CoffeeWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its Growth6 Extreme Facts About Hurricanes6 Incredibly Strange Facts About Hurricanes “Everything was agreed, but actually I didn’t know that one of the terms was that they [West Brom] were getting [Junior] Hoilett and [if I had known that] I would have never driven to London. “Even Harry Redknapp, the then QPR Manager, said on Radio sometimes last year that they told me to come, he made the confession. However, you know the mainstream media don’t care about the truth. “They [media] only want sensation, ‘A guy turned up at the stadium, trying to force a move, look at this’ Wow, wow! “If you give them the truth, they believe no one is interested in it since it’s not sensational stuff, and that is the world we live in today, there is politics about everything we see today. read also:UK golfing season: Osaze Odemwingie can’t wait to Tee- off “The truth is not what everyone is interested in, the story was all over the place because it was sensational, it made me more popular in some way, and I decided to pick positives out of the situation.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Osaze joined West Brom in 2010 and went on to excel for the Baggies, scoring 31 goals and supplying 17 assists in 90 appearances. But he thought he had secured a Deadline Day switch to QPR in January 2013 and drove to Loftus Road to complete the formalities on the deal. But things quickly turned ugly after Osaze was refused entry into Rangers’ stadium with the media reporting that both clubs had not agreed on a fee and that the then-Nigeria international was only attempting to force a move. Osaze, speaking to Brila FM, insisted that contrary to what the media reported, the deal to take him to QPR had been agreed and was only told subsequently that the transfer rested on Hoilett moving to the Hawthorns.Advertisement Loading… Peter Osaze Odemwingie has opened up on his infamous failed move to Queens Park Rangers, saying it was caused by Junior Hoilett’s decision not to join West Bromwich Albion and not what the British media reported.last_img read more

Trapattoni backs spirit over flair

first_img Trapattoni is backing his side to deliver as he sends them into a crucial World Cup qualifier in Sweden tonight. Despite only being the fourth game of the Group C campaign, defeat in freezing Stockholm would leave the Irish facing an uphill struggle to catch Germany and Sweden at the top of the standings. Trapattoni said: “We are not great individual players like (Lionel) Messi or, with Sweden, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic. But we are a good team with good balance, good attitude.” Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni is convinced his team’s strong spirit makes up for their lack of individual flair. He added: “We have no creative (Cristiano) Ronaldo or (Lionel) Messi, or other stars, but we are a good team. I am confident for this. “Every day when I see the team in training I am happy for my side. We play quick and with confidence.” Trapattoni’s major team selection decision has seen him opt for the solidity of Leeds midfielder Paul Green – despite a lack of popularity with fans and pundits – in the centre alongside Glenn Whelan. Wigan’s James McCarthy misses out but Trapattoni feels Green’s presence will offer the best balance as he implores full-backs Seamus Coleman and Marc Wilson, as well as wingers Robbie Brady and James McClean, to attack. Trapattoni, who compared Green to Gennaro Gattuso and Nobby Stiles, said: “We have to think about the balance. I can also change after I see how the game develops.” Aston Villa’s Ciaran Clark will partner John O’Shea in central defence despite the return of Sean St Ledger to the squad after injury. Millwall goalkeeper David Forde will make his competitive debut while Shane Long will start up front alongside captain and record goalscorer Robbie Keane, whose role will be slightly withdrawn. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Flattop 5K Road Race draws massive turnout

first_imgLAMOINE — Saturday marked the unofficial start of road race season as runners from throughout the state traveled to Lamoine Consolidated School for this year’s Flattop 5K.A total of 171 runners attended the race, the 14th in the event’s history. The Flattop began as an annual event in 2005 in honor of former Lamoine Harbormaster Bill Pinkham and his renowned hairstyle.Richard Sukiennek of Bangor ran away with first place overall with a time of 16 minutes, 39 seconds. His finish was 1:29 ahead of the second-place finisher, Lubec’s Peter Williams.Eleven-year-old Teanne Ewings of Houlton was the top female finisher with a time of 18:50 and an overall place of fourth. Ewings rounded out the top five along with third-place finisher Charlie Collins over Winterport and fifth-place finisher Buster Brown of Lamoine.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textOther top local finishers included Bob Ciano of Castine (ninth place), Halley Facciolo of Ellsworth (11th place), Tim Wakeland of Dedham (12th), John Peckham of Orland (22nd), Michael Wade of Ellsworth (23rd), Charlie Dalton of Lamoine (24th), Alex Johnson of Mount Desert (25th) and Robert Jordan of Ellsworth (28th).Below is a list of the race’s top-100 finishers.Richard Sukiennik, 16 minutes, 39 secondsPeter Williams, 18:08Charlie Collins, 18:39Teanne Ewings, 18:50Buster Brown, 19:03Bryant Perkins, 19:19Tim Pearson, 19:25Erik Knickerbocker, 19:33Bob Ciano, 19:39Evan Merchant, 19:45Halley Facciolo, 20:02Tim Wakeland, 20:12Rick Reardon, 20:16Joe Roberts, 20:18Scott Heidemann, 20:27John Mills, 20:36Peter Lodge, 20:41Dara Knapp, 20:50Aaron Hoovler, 21:10Katherine Collins, 21:16Tom Dowling, 21:46John Peckham, 22:01Michael Wade, 22:05Charlie Dalton, 22:05Alex Johnson, 22:08Ava Dowling, 22:20Ian Bauersfeld, 22:35Robert Jordan, 22:47Jonathan Rice, 22:53Toni Bridges, 23:01Bailey Bishoff, 23:03Michael Westphal, 23:06Mike Zboray, 23:07Ellis Columber, 23:22Peter Hall, 23:27Jared Drake, 23:48Joyce Reardon, 23:52Austin Townsend Jr., 24:02Lisa Kingsbury, 24:05Kassie Strout, 24:06Timmy Collins, 24:08Rick Maser, 24:08Lisa Tweedie, 24:17Christopher Heel, 24:28Jay Haney, 24:36Ivy Wallace, 24:44Marc Dupuy, 24:56Mary Stubbs, 25:07Bret Hanson, 25:08Veronica Davila, 25:20Amy Houghton, 25:32Tony Santiago, 25:33Chris Day, 25:41Jim Newett, 25:43Thomas Murphy, 25:50Christopher Light, 25:52Angela Ewings, 26:13Michael Madell, 26:31Robin Clarke, 26:42Lauren Weinbrown, 26:49 Joshua Morse, 26:51Chris Almy, 26:52Geoffrey Dapice, 37:05Debbie Hall, 27:05Robert Tapley, 27:18Steve Strout, 27:25Kally Havlin, 27:37Susan Bean, 27:47Rebecca Marckoon, 27:48Sam Ingram, 27:54Jennifer Brodie, 27:55Lisa Kearns, 27:58Andrew Somes, 27:58Kyle Snow, 28:05Betta Cahn, 28:15Maggie Fowler, 28:19Nancy Patterson, 28:19Robert Garnett Jr., 28:19Rick Houghton, 28:20Elizabeth Williams, 28:30Lloyd Harmon, 28:30Dave Samuelian, 28:31Matt Haney, 28:56Glen Merchant, 28:57Jeanne Butterfield, 28:59Tamera Murphy, 29:06Cole Lessard, 29:27Stephen Fay, 29:35Susie Fay, 29:38Diana Thomas, 29:43Jessica Marks, 29:54Katherine Dow, 30:02John Tjepkema, 30:10Susan Raven, 30:11Susan Hanson, 30:14Alexandra Collins, 30:22Europah Hagarman, 30:44Alison King, 30:53Rob Laskey, 30:59Robert Jones, 31:22last_img read more