Category Archives: interview

TBT! Interview with The Dating Doctor

Aah my lovelorn friends! The Phil Factor has help for you. With the day of romance nearly upon us, I thought that many of you could use some help from The Dating Doctor. Here’s is my epic interview from 2015.

(02/13/15) David Coleman is The Dating Doctor. Is he a doctor who is dating? Is he dating a doctor? I don’t know and it’s none of our business. What I do know is that David has spoken on relationships and leadership to audiences all over the world.  For those of you unprepared for the holiday coming up we’ll focus on the dating part.  Don’t worry my literary friends; David’s expertise won’t be limited to just the questions I ask here.  He’s got books. Books you need to read before you do further damage to your love life.

news.uwlax.edu

news.uwlax.edu

TPF: David, thank you for taking the time to visit The Phil Factor. As you may have suspected, people read my blog. Often they’re people who spend more time relating to others online than in person. What advice about relationships do you have for people in our increasingly social media focused world?

David: To “hover” a few seconds before you hit the send button on a text, post, tweet or mail message.  Once you hit send, you have put your words, video or pictures in motion and that action cannot be reversed, and never erased, so you need to be comfortable with all the possible ramifications of the way your words or pictures are received.  Also remember, if you publicly play out your relationship on line, every day, its success or failure will be just as public as well.   

TPF: What is the biggest mistake people make early in a relationship that could doom their chances for success?

David:  They mistake infatuation for love and fall far too fast, far too soon.  Infatuation is INTENSE. It is short-lived, demanding and can turn normally rational people into “life is too short…let’s do it” optimists.  They say and do things normally reserved for couples who are a bit farther down the line in a relationship and then wonder why they, nor their partner can keep up the level of intensity they felt when they first met. 

There are three primary types of loves people experience:  Eros (Physical), Agape (Heartfelt) and Philia (Friendship).  When a couple allows infatuation to rule their actions, they often skip the development of these stages and then get very disappointed in the end when things “just didn’t work out.”

Date-Smart-430x594

TPF: What’s the most impactful way someone can grab the attention of someone they are interested in but don’t know in a crowded/busy social setting?

David:  Eye contact…smile…say hello.  The look you share, the words you use, the way you express yourself and the interest you show will separate you from those who didn’t have the guts to at least say hello.  Holding a gaze just for one extra moment and accompanying it with a coy smile lets that person know that among people in a crowded setting, you noticed THEM.  Then, before leaving, you need to walk up to them and say, “I just wanted you to know that I noticed you.  This is my card (or my name or my email address or my number…).  If you ever want to even have coffee, say hello and meet, it would be my honor.”  Then graciously walk away.  Take the high road. The view is always better from there!

TPF: Craziest question you’ve ever been asked? And what was your answer?

David:  A woman came up to me after a show and said, “I’ll bet you have never heard this one…My husband is having an affair…with my mother!”  This lady and her husband had a weekly sporting event they took part in, but they were on different teams.  She found out that he would skip his games and return home to be with her mother who was supposedly watching their children while they were out competing.  My advice to her was, to return home early from her game the following week and walk back into the house with several close friends as witnesses along with her so that it would not be her word against theirs and so that they would be caught red-handed in the act.  I also suggested that she get a top-notch therapist and good legal advice if she indeed intended to head in the direction of ending her marriage.  I heard from her a year later.  She was doing well, had met someone new and felt as if she was at a healthy point in her life.  Her husband had been distant and abusive for years so this unfortunate situation gave her the courage and strength to move on.  Her and her mother, “we’re still working things out.”

Making-Relationships-Matter-Book-1

TPF: Your traditional education, Bachelor’s and Master’s aren’t in Psychology or counseling. How did you come to a career in writing books and speaking on dating and relationships?

David: As an undergraduate and graduate student both of my degrees had a high degree of social work, psychology and communications in their curriculum so I received a heavy dose of human nature and communication training.  From a young age, I had the innate ability to read people, know where they were in their life and give them the advice that the needed to hear, not necessarily what they wanted to hear.  I didn’t care if people liked me, only if they learned from me and my service or advice exceeded their needs and expectations.   I also seemed to have the ability to introduce people to each other whom I felt “might hit it off.”  My outgoing personality served as a bit of an ice-breaker and allowed others to meet with me as a conduit.  Then, they could return and ask me questions and my advice seemed to really help them. Thus, a career was born.

TPF: Our mutual friend, magician James David, referred to you as “A real life Dating Doctor like Will Smith played in the movie, “HITCH!”” Would you say that’s accurate?

David: First, James is an amazing talent and magician.  I am proud to call him my friend and yes, he is accurate. What Will Smith’s character portrayed in the movie Hitch is what I do every single day professionally. Like he helped Kevin James’s character connect to the love of his life, I help 10 or more just like him in real life on a weekly basis.  I basically try to help people get out of their way as many are self-sabotaging their chances of being happy and meeting someone with whom they would be ideally compatible.  I have dozens of success stories under my belt over the past 20 years and enjoy working with people who are seeking healthy relationships and unbridled happiness.  Talk is cheap.  I am not.  I have found that people who pay a price work twice as hard as those who “want something for free.”

Let-Your-Leadership-Speak-Book-1

TPF: In your experience, are men more clueless about what women want in a relationship, or is it the other way around?

David:  They are both mystified at times because the game keeps changing.  The speed of the internet and social media, the explosion of dating apps on our smart phones, the increase in the number of people using dating sites and the lack of real human interaction due to texting and tweeting, etc.  has made both sexes wonder just how dialed in they are to the opposite sex.  You also have an increase in the number of people identifying themselves as bi-sexual, a-sexual, pansexual, transgender…and this keeps both men and women wondering, learning, experimenting and searching for people like me to help them navigate the often treacherous waters of dating, relationships, romance, sex, marriage, divorce and dating after divorce.   This is why I try to stay dialed in to the current trends and am not afraid to have candid dialogue with my clients and audiences.  You never get a wasted day back, so spending time heading in the wrong direction or paralyzed by fear is simply unacceptable.

TPF: David, thank you again for taking time out of what must certainly be a very busy week for you. For those that want to learn more about David, including his book on leadership as well as his books on relationships you can visit his website,   www.DatingDoctor.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  Seriously, check out his website. He has some pretty impressive accolades. If you’d like some of David’s coaching you can call or e-mail him too!  Direct Coaching:  1-866-Date-Smart (1-866-328-3762) or email: TheDatingDoctor@mac.com

As always, if you want to share the love you get from #ThePhilFactor please hit the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog buttons below. Is there any better gift for your Valentine than The Phil Factor? Umm…nevermind. Don’t answer that.

Throwback Thursday! 6 Questions with Sharknado/TMNT/Brady Bunch Star Robbie Rist

This is maybe my favorite interview ever. We e-mailed back and forth for a week. He couldn’t have been nicer.

e0319a1df6fc5df281ab7d23b69979ef

For my readers who don’t know Robbie’s name off the top of your head, you no doubt have seen or heard him in something. Over the last forty years Robbie has been quietly woven into the fabric of American pop culture like few others. If you haven’t seen him in a movie or TV show, you’ve probably heard his voice as a cartoon character dating back to his work as Michelangelo for the 80’s cartoon and 1990 movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or the Final Fantasy X video game or more recently as Stuffy for the Disney channel’s Doc McStuffins.  He’s also appeared in too many shows and movies for me to list here.  Even better though, he has an awesome rock band, The Ballzy Tommorow! What gave me the idea to contact him for the interview was when it occurred to me recently that he has been part of two of the most iconic pop culture phenomena of my lifetime, The Brady Bunch, and Sharknado.

IMG_8347-800x5331-419x279

Phil: Robbie, welcome to The Phil Factor and thank you for taking a few minutes for my readers. When you got the part as the bus driver in Sharknado, what did you expect would be the public reaction to the movie?
Robbie: Well, I had heard about the poster for the movie from a friend who had gone to the American Film Market here in Santa Monica (The AFM is like a micro Cannes. People try to sell films there) and both of us being genre fans, we kinda lost our minds at the thought of it. I have said that the title of Sharknado says more in three syllables than A Trip To Bountiful does in 6. Then I found out my friend Anthony C. Ferrante was offered it. Anthony and I were working on music for another of his films when he told me he was offered it and I told him, “I don’t know why or how, but I really think you should do this movie. Something about it feels…….like something….”. So, I guess I thought the response would be pretty great, considering the way people reacted to the name. I wasn’t expecting Twitter to explode over it…..

sharknado

Phil: You obviously were absolutely right. The name caught my eye and ear and I decided, good or bad, I had to see it. Doing music for movie soundtracks isn’t your only musical outlet. Could you tell us about your band? What kind of music do you play? What has been your best gig?

Robbie: Well, we have gone through a name change after losing an original member (Pandora’s bassist/drummer Karen Basset) so now we call ourselves Ballzy Tomorrow! As far as style, I have pretty much been doing the same kind of pop/country/psych thing for decades. It’s that kind of power pop music no one likes but I get a kick out of it. Best gig ever was playing The Rally in The Alley in Buffalo NY in the 80s. It was, like 20,000 people. Played with Spirit. Fun day.

images (36)
Phil: Aww,  it’s too bad I didn’t know about it. At the time I lived about ninety miles east of Buffalo and could have come out to see your band. If Ballzy Tomorrow, The Mockers, or the band you produce every come out East, let me know. Robbie, You’ve had a very diverse career. What’s your favorite thing you’ve done?

Robbie: Tough to say. I just like to make stuff. I mean, I am super proud to have been a part of so many things that hit the zeitgeist super hard like The Brady Bunch and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But I think I am most proud of Doc McStuffins. Apparently it is set to cause a spike ion the amount of young women (specifically African American young women) who go into studying the sciences, especially medicine. Considering that almost every cartoon on the planet, McStuffins included, is in existence to primarily sell toys, I would call this a solid fight from the inside victory.

Doc-McStuffins_320x240

Phil: When Sharknado just blew up and became this huge thing, did anything changed for you?

Robbie: Well, not as far as my bank account goes, but some really great stuff happened like…..I had never had one of my songs re-mixed before.

Also, some young people did a vocalese version of the theme (which I couldn’t find). So, did I get more work out of it? Not really. But sometimes art is its own reward. Some people really reacted favorably to it.

Phil: The Brady Bunch and Cousin Oliver. How do you feel about people bringing that up constantly?

Robbie: Great! Hey. It’s on the resume. I respect the right of somebody to not want to be bothered but I don’t get that considering most people become performers to get attention.

Robbierist

Phil: We know what you’ve done and what you’re doing. What’s coming up for you in television or movies? Where and when is your band playing next?

Robbie: The band is actually two bands. We do songs that we write but we also do a weekly half 70’s tribute band/ half live band karaoke thing at a restaurant out in Moorpark California called Red Ball’s Rock and Roll Pizza. Happens every Friday. It’s pretty out of control. The original band plays a once a month residency at Canter’s Kibitz Room in Los Angeles.

I just finished three songs for the Sharknado 3 soundtrack!

Phil: Yes, you heard him right folks, if you haven’t followed my Twitter or Instagram, there will be a Sharknado 3 this summer! So, besides creating awesome music for awesome movies, what else?

Robbie: I have also been doing some comedy writing and performing with an artist out here named Lisa Orkin. She has a website called HonestlyLisa.com that is a comedic relationship thing. Every week we do these little minute long audio bits based on her real dating life. She’s pretty much a genius.

I also have a (what we hope is) comedic talk podcast called The Spoon which can be found at www.thespoonradio.com.

I’m gonna be producing a band from Barcelona in a couple of months called Suzy & Los Quattro. This will be my third go around with them. I’m also gonna be on an acoustic tour of Spain in October with my friend Seth Gordon from The Mockers

(Hey folks, don’t worry, The Mockers and Suzy & Los Quattro will be my next two Music Monday features ~Phil)

Robbie: As far as the acting side, I just won the gig as Mondo Gecko in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Doc McStuffins is going into its last year so…….I have no idea what is gonna come next. It seems to always be something…..I guess I can always go back to college…….

wpid-20150625_205040.jpg

Phil: Awesome! Congrats on the Mondo Gecko role and congrats on the continued success of all your music ventures. Thank you again for taking the time you did. In the future, anything you’re working on has a home on #ThePhilFactor. If you want to follow Robbie on social media you can find him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You can also support Robbie by downloading the Sharknado soundtrack.

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

Author Interview: Danielle Wilkinson Steiner!

29524874

Now this is an interview I’m really excited about, although truth be told, I’m a little disappointed that I can’t interview the main character of the book. Nina Puppalina is real and has the best dog name ever, which is perfect because she is a dog. Her owner and the author of the story of Nina Puppalina and her erstwhile human companion Lizzy Lou, is Danielle Wilkinson Steiner.

41PcEvkiQkL._UX250_

TPF: Danielle, welcome to The Phil Factor and thank you for taking some time for my readers and dog lovers. Without giving away too much, could you tease my readers with a tantalizing synopsis of your book?

Danielle:  The Great Adventures of Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou: Nina Finds Her Home is a children’s picture book written and illustrated from the rescue puppy’s perspective about her adoption experience! Will she find the right home? Who will take care of her?

TPF: So how did the name Nina Puppalina come about?

Danielle: When we adopted Nina from our local SPCA, they had given her the name Nina. We loved the name and kept it! Our daughter Elizabeth’s babysitter, Sally coined the name of Nina Puppalina when she met our new pup for the first time and it stuck!

TPF: Your bio says that you worked in the publishing industry before choosing to write your first book. What did you do in the industry and did that experience help you when you decided to publish your own book?

Danielle:   I worked for three large publishers; Houghton Mifflin, Pearson and Wiley. I always worked in the College Division doing sales and marketing. College sales are very different from Trade book sales….I can’t really say my career encouraged my desire to self -publish. Writing a book one day was always on my “bucket list” and I did not think it would be a children’s picture book until we adopted Nina.  I decided to self-publish because the story is based on my family. I wanted to be able to share my story my way and own copyright.  Also, I knew going the traditional publishing route probably would have taken more time…….and I wanted Elizabeth to enjoy working on the process with me….not to mention  enjoy the book before she was too old to appreciate it!

TPF: How does your daughter Lizzy Lou feel about being immortalized in literature forever? Any concerns that she’ll grow up with a diva complex?

Danielle:  Well it’s funny, since Nina is telling the story, Elizabeth has decided “Nina’s famous”. So far no Diva complex, she’s just happy to be able to share our story and promote pet adoption!

 11180334_780233668757651_1262546004436353066_n

TPF: Your cover art work is gorgeous. Can you tell us a little about the artist?

Danielle:  Sarah Ashmun is a local mixed media artist, I met through Linked In. She has a background in landscape architecture and my book is her first children’s picture book to illustrate. She was really keen with understanding my vision and capturing it so beautifully. We both read Alexandra Horowitz’s. NYT best seller, Inside of a Dog…..her current research was used to illustrate and write from the dog’s perspective. Sarah also had her first baby girl, Skylar born in January 2016!

TPF: The reviews for your book on Amazon are outstanding! Will Nina Puppalina readers have a sequel to look forward to in the near future?

Danielle:  Yes, stay tuned our next book is Nina Puppalina, Lizzy Lou and the Trainer, full of fun and antics.

 TPF: Danielle, thank you again for sharing The Great Adventures of Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou with us. We look forward to reading more in the future. You can follow Danielle (and Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou) on Facebook and you can order her books here on Amazon.

To Beat The Devil: Author Interview with M.K. Gibson!

51O7h-lESgL

An author friend who has a small independent publishing company recently asked me to read and review a recently published first novel by a new author. Admittedly I was a little leery. I’m very picky about what I read. I’ve started and stopped three different novels over the last several months because I didn’t enjoy them. My friend told me a little about the plot and I agreed to try To Beat the Devil by M.K. Gibson. Remember those three novels I never finished? I flew through To Beat the Devil in a week and was disappointed the sequel wasn’t out yet. It is flat out fun. It may not be for everyone. For instance, if you’re a woman who likes Nicholas Sparks, move on. We don’t need your kind here. If, however, you’re someone who might like a book that is the equivalent of Star Wars, Blade Runner, and The Hobbit thrown in a blender with a dash or two of funny 80’s and 90’s pop culture references, then To Beat the Devil is your new favorite book. Let’s hear from author M.K. Gibson:

812dveKF83L._UX250_
TPF: For my readers who haven’t yet downloaded the book, without giving too much away, could you give them a quick plot teaser?
M.K.: Haven’t downloaded the book yet? Your words anger and confuse me! 😉 hah hah, just kidding. So the short elevator pitch is Bladerunner meets Dresden Files meets Supernatural. The slightly longer plot pitch is thus: To Beat the Devil is a quasi cyberpunk novel set after the biblical apocalypse. God is gone, Hell has risen and to combat that, mankind began augmenting themselves with technology. The novel picks up almost 200 years later. Our protagonist, Salem, is an immortal smuggler who a bit of an isolationist and a jerk. He has his world opened when he meets a mysterious client who helps him find his humanity, while together they investigate what’s happened to the human soul.
TPF: What did you do in the Air Force? How did your experience in the Air Force help you with this book?
M.K.: I could tell you but…
But seriously, I worked in Military Intelligence as an analyst for 20 years.
Did it help me? Not directly. But indirectly, 100% yes. In my career I’ve been all over the world and see places and things many folks don’t get the chance to outside of travel. Plus, I was blessed to have had the opportunity to meet many diverse and interesting people, learn their stories and watch every manner of human interaction. And, in my time, I’ve been at tremendous personal and emotional highs with horrible, wretched, tearful lows. As I write, I try and draw from those people and those experiences to hopefully infuse my writing with heart and believability (I swear that’s a word!), even in a dystopian, cyberpunk, Hell ruled future.
For example, back when I was stationed in Alaska, I did a lot of shift work. Over the winter, you would go weeks to months with no sunlight. I was single and recently promoted so my age peers were no longer my work peers. Thus, I was sad, alone in the dark for a good long time. I used those feelings when I write Salem who feels isolated from everyone and everything in this new, messed up world.
TPF: Since retiring from the Air Force, is writing your full time gig, or do you do something else? And if you could, would you just write full time?
M.K.: My current full time gig is as a military contractor. Basically doing the same thing I used to do when I was in the Air Force, but as a civilian. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but when the day comes when I can support my family with my writing, I will walk away from government work and never look back. I want NOTHING more than to write and entertain people until the day I die.
TPF: As unusual as some of your characters are, are some based on people you’ve known in real life, and are you Salem?
M.K.: Hah hah…you found me out. Yes, in many, many ways I am Salem. Similar build, appearance and manner. He is my avatar. My way of reacting in an insane, unique world. But, in many ways, he and I are vastly different. In my defense, a lot of first time writers with 1st person point of view books put a lot of themselves in their primary character. It not only makes the voice more personal, it strengthens their writing as they (we) learn the craft and practice.
And yes, I’ve used people from my life as templates for some my characters. But those templates evolve into, hopefully, fun characters to read.

Jensen Ackles

Jensen Ackles

TPF: If you could choose anyone play your protagonist Salem in the movie version of your book, who do you think would be the best fit?
M.K.: When I originally came up with the idea and tinkered with it back in 2008, it would have been Jensen Ackles, Dean Winchester from Supernatural. Hell, I guess he could still do it. I’m sure Hollywood would want Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper or Ryan Reynolds. I think it may actually be against Hollywood law that they are not in a movie at least once a quarter. Hmm…
TPF: So what’s next for you? How soon is the sequel on the way? Will there be other books not based on Salem and his Earth?
M.K.: Well, book 2 is slated for late summer. I’ve written enough material so far for 5 books, and I have a lot more ideas for where the series goes, ends, possibly picks up again and perhaps some one-shot spin-off novels. I recently submitted my manuscript for Villains Rule to my publisher. It’s my attempt at a Pratchett/Goodkind tongue-in-cheek comedic action novel, which follows a human from “the real world” who acts as a villain adviser to fantasy overlords.Of course, like all writers, I have a ton of great story ideas in my mind. I just need to the bloody time to get them out.
But, before this interview is over, I would like to take a moment and say Thank You to you Phil Taylor. Thank you for taking a chance and reading my book. Thank you for your review and lastly, thank you for this opportunity to talk to your readers. Writing has been a lifetime goal of mine. Starting from the bottom sucks. But, with good people like you, helping poor schlubs like me, each day is easier and worth sitting down at the laptop. To any reader who pick up my book and gives it a read: From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You are why I do this. In the immortal words of Henry Rollins: Live Long & Strong!

M.K., thank you very much for taking the time to talk about your book for my readers. You can find M.K.’s awesome, action packed and hilarious book on Amazon and you can follow M.K. on Twitter, and his website. For more great novels from other authors in this genre visit Amber Cove Publishing and JimBernheimer.com. Have a great Sunday! ~Phil

New Eyes: Author Interview with Steve Treu!

29342175

New Eyes is a new book by first time author Steve Treu. I know I don’t usually get into any deep thoughts here at #ThePhilFactor, but Steve’s got some really interesting ideas that may open some eyes. Let’s get right to it!

TPF: In a nutshell, what makes your book, New Eyes, and your theory different from all the other self-help books people have to choose from?

Steve: Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna, Buddha and Albert Einstein all walk into a bar for a discussion. They walk out together as friends. That’s New Eyes in a nutshell!

This book is revolutionary in its depth and breadth. First it dives into quantum physics to identify the true source of our problems, and then it links together all of the world’s well-known religions to support the idea that evolving consciousness is the primary objective of the human species.

While it goes deep into uncharted waters, New Eyes was essentially written for the layman. I’m a former sportswriter and nothing in this book will go over anyone’s head. I didn’t write it to impress college professors, I wrote it so that everyone could have practical access to some of the greatest mysteries within this universe. In other words, as complex as New Eyes may sound, my goal was to keep it as simple as possible. Ultimately, the intention of this book is to inspire a paradigm shift.

TPF: Are you talking about spirituality from a scientific perspective or are you a spiritualist looking at science from a religious point of view?

Steve: Yes. Which is to say, both! The book makes the case that the two disciplines are not mutually exclusive, as science and spirituality are merely different languages that are describing the same thing. It begins with a scientific perspective, explaining the nature of reality through the lens of quantum physics, then shifts toward the non-physical perspective to shed light on the true meaning and purpose of spiritual teachings.

Unfortunately, religion has been greatly misunderstood and misapplied for centuries, creating conflict and division throughout the world.

Steve Treu

Steve Treu

TPF: If someone isn’t looking for self-insight or improvement, what would they like about your book?

Steve: Knowledge is power, and readers are telling me that they feel both after finishing New Eyes. The middle section of the book is filled with super cool concepts.  If you enjoy movies like “The Matrix” or “Interstellar” or “Inception” or anything of that genre, you will be fascinated to know that the world of science fiction is becoming science fact. There is surely much fodder for Jeopardy enthusiasts or trivia buffs in New Eyes.

TPF: What has been the most surprising reaction you’ve gotten to your book?

Steve: Good question. I’ve worked with over 3,000 clients in my life as a licensed professional counselor, nearly all with addiction or mental health issues. I have seen first hand how the concepts in this book heal people as they shift their perspective on life, with countless clients reporting that they feel “cured” from what had ailed them. So I am not surprised when I hear from them how they have been impacted by New Eyes. Plus, my 12-year-old son Aidan said he wanted to read it … and then I actually caught him doing so. That was surprising. (And also gratifying!)

TPF: What can you tell me about your company Quantum Revolution, Inc.?

Steve: As the name implies, we are starting a revolution of the mind that we intend to go viral. Reality-changing scientific concepts have been kept quiet for far too long.

Indeed, the book begins with a little story about a man from the 1500’s who is among the first to realize that earth revolves around the sun. Can you imagine not knowing that? Well, future generations will one day look back upon us, shaking their heads in amusement that we were unaware of some of the scientific facts that we have not been applying.

I’d hate to be the last one to find out that the sun does not revolve around the earth. At Quantum Revolution, we hate to see people struggling when both science and spiritual show that suffering is unnecessary.

As such, we are a mental health and addiction treatment company that utilizes such principles to help people heal. When they shift their consciousness, they improve their lives. Our goal is to make these concepts known to anyone who wishes to be on the cutting edge of modern science and spiritual awakening.

TPF: So what’s next for you?

Steve: I am already writing another book, called Hope Is Dope, which is really more of a basic manual for teachers, students, ministers and anyone else who is interested in taking part in this Quantum Revolution. We want to overthrow the way addiction treatment is done in this country by advocating a more love-based approach, one that features virtues such as compassion, wisdom, forgiveness and hope as opposed to shame, guilt, threats and punishment.

It is an empowering model, as each individual person needs to take complete responsibility for their emotional state as well as for their healing. This is a significant part of what New Eyes is about as well, that the world is healed on the level of the individual. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, each person who elevates consciousness facilitates the development of others.

Bottom line, Quantum Revolution Inc. is going to be working on inspiring people to see the world differently. We plan to do this through therapy, education, books, seminars, inspirational speakers, social media, documentaries, feature films, video games and perhaps a quantum theme park one day. (We like to dream big.) In the end, we hope that all of us can walk out of this place together as friends.

TPF: Thanks Steve. My readersand I really appreciate you taking your time to talk about your book, which is available in both paperback and e-book format from Amazon. You can also find his work on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram as quantum.revolution. For those of you celebrating the holiday today, Happy Easter and for those not, have a great Sunday! ~Phil

Music Monday! 6 Questions with Larry Kirwan of Black 47

flavorwire.com

flavorwire.com

It was the Fall of 1999 or 2000. My wife and I were visiting the picturesque  little town of Stowe, Vermont. We wandered into one of the many quaint gift shops and as we browsed knick-knacks, music played. It was music that immediately struck a chord with me. It’s that feeling when you hear their music that you know you’re going to love everything they do. That’s what I felt when I first heard Black 47. I asked the cashier what the music was and she pointed me to a small stack of Black 47 Live in New York City cds. Every song sounds like a party in a crowded bar.

612KWvqb87L._SX425_

Although the band called it quits on their own terms last year, frontman Larry Kirwan has remained extremely busy. Considering that he writes books and plays, writes for The Irish Echo, hosts a weekly Celtic music show on SiriusXm radio, and performs solo gigs (his new single Floating dropped last week), I was happily surprised when Larry replied to my email.

TPF: Growing up in Ireland, who were your musical influences?

Larry: They were legion.  Though it was a small town, Wexford had its own Opera Festival.  Many people emigrated to London and brought back whatever was happening in music.  Rockabilly artists like Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent were popular with the local Teddyboys and you could hear their reverb-drenched songs pumping from the town’s only jukebox.  As well as that there was a strong tradition of Folk Music that I loved.  And to top it all, my father was a merchant marine who loved Calypso and Tango music.  I imbibed it all.  But everything came together when I first heard Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone.  Astral Weeks by Van Morrison was also deeply influential – probably still is.

download (38)

TPF: From your books and music, your love of New York City is apparent. Was there ever a time you considered returning to Ireland for good?

Larry: No, I never did.  I knew from the first minute I arrived on my own with just $100 in my pocket that I wouldn’t be going home.  I was illegal for 3 years and couldn’t go back and by then, after living in the depths of the East Village, it was way too late.

TPF: When you and Chris Byrne started Black 47 in 1989 did you imagine that the band would become as popular as it did? 

Larry: Our first thoughts were staying alive or at least not getting the shit beat out of us.  The Bronx bars we played in were rough – we were playing loud and provocatively – so we weren’t very popular, to say the least.   We weren’t very good either.  But four sets a night, is great practice.  And there was a shortage of bands, so we could do four nights a week no trouble. We were committed to playing original music in places that just wanted cover songs.  Then we got good at what we were doing and began attracting a following and it all became a lot simpler.  After a year, though, I knew we had something different – and that’s always the most important thing.  Besides that, we were both naturally very political – and that seems to give you a bit of a cachet.  So, we had a lot going for us – and then we were enriched by the other members joining.  But I don’t think we ever thought about popularity that much.  We were a band doing what it wanted to do – that might seem old fashioned now, but to us it was pretty much everything.

noliesradio.org

noliesradio.org

TPF: Your music is a blend of multiple styles. How would you describe it to someone who had never heard you before?

Larry: We played exactly 25 years and I have to admit that, despite my facility for words, I could never summarize it.  Maybe you can give it a go?  The best I could ever come up with – and it’s not very good is – New York Music.

TPF: LOL, I’m not sure I could do better than that. It’s very fitting. You’ve also written several books and plays. What was your first love, writing or music? Or did one lead to the other?

Larry: I was an early reader and read voraciously through much of my life.  I always thought I’d be a writer of some sort but I put it off for a long time.  Meanwhile, I was in love with music so I got into songwriting and performing.  I wrote a novel in my early 20’s that wasn’t very good, although I remember certain scenes fondly.  But playwriting got me really into writing.  I had a small talent for dialogue that made it easy to get a start.  Then I had a very minor hit with my second play, Liverpool Fantasy, and that gave me confidence.  Of course I learned the hard way that a sense of drama is much more important than a facility for words, and I’m up here in Toronto at a workshop of a musical of mine still coming to terms with that.

51KMEX7NMHL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_

I got back into novel writing eventually and enjoy the slog of it, although I’m concentrating more on musicals and plays at the moment.  I do have a novel in the can, as it were – A Raving Autumn – that will probably be published in 2016.

You probably have a better idea of what I’ve done with songwriting.  Being a member of Black 47 was such a great outlet for me.  We always needed new songs and the 25 years went by in a blur.  We rarely performed more than 6 songs from an album of 12 so I’m getting re-acquainted with some Black 47 songs right now as a solo performer.  It’s interesting stripping them back into their original form and finding the soul of them.

download (39)

It’s a little odd.  When I get an idea now I can transform it into a song, a play, or a novel pretty effortlessly, whereas when I began dabbling in all three disciplines, I always knew which of them the idea would slot into.  A blessing or a curse?  I guess I’ll find out as I go along.

TPF: I’ll look forward to A Raving Autumn and I’ll be sure to feature it here. You’re still performing solo gigs and it’s been almost a year since the band stopped performing together. Are there any plans for any more occasional Black 47 shows?

Larry: I don’t see there being any more Black 47 shows.  It was a moment in time – 25 years of a moment.  I miss the guys a lot – we were brothers – not just the members of the band but the crew members too.  But then, I suppose, Black 47 was always more than a band.  We were political, and did things our way, never looked for approval.  We were probably closer to our fans than any band and yet we always played just for ourselves.  You like it – great; you don’t like it, then there are a lot of other good bands to listen to.  I prefer to keep it that way.  Onwards and upwards and look back with pride.

TPF: Larry, as a long time fan of Black 47 I’d like to say thank you to you, the rest of the band and crew for the 25 years of great music. I look forward to hearing more of your solo work and reading your novel. Also, thank you for taking time from your busy schedule for me and my readers. For readers and fans who want to keep up with Larry, you can find him on Facebook, at his blog  and on SiriusXM radio hosting the Celtic Crush show on Sunday mornings. His solo music and Black 47 albums are available in stores and all the online outlets. You can find his books on Amazon, other online retailers and in bookstores.

Have a great Monday! ~Phil

6 Questions with Greenland Expert Sarah Woodall

Photo credit Pilu Nielsen

Photo credit Pilu Nielsen

TPF:  Tell us a little about how you came to work in Greenland and how much time do you spend there?

Sarah: The cut-to-the-chase answer is that I was in graduate school getting a Master of Tourism Administration and in November 2011 a representative from Visit Greenland, the national tourist board, came to my school to give a recruitment presentation about summer internships. The pitch was to travel to Nuuk, Greenland for a four-month internship in summer 2012, work at the national tourist board, and live with a local family to get a close experience with the typical Greenlandic lifestyle. As exciting an offer as this sounded on paper, it was actually a beautiful video showing Greenland’s nature, smiling people, whales, and incredible ice, that hooked me with goosebumps and all. Watch the exact video here!

After the internship period, Visit Greenland proposed to hire me, which I most happily accepted. I just recently celebrated the three year anniversary of my first day in Greenland, at which point I marveled over the fact that between work and holiday both, I have spent a total of 16 months in Greenland – not only in the capital but also in many other towns around the coast. It’s the most amazing life I could imagine.

img_4934

TPF: What surprised you the most when you first arrived in Greenland?

The first place I ever experienced in Greenland was Nuuk, the capital city. What surprised me was how incredibly cosmopolitan it was! Even though I knew the population of Nuuk, I guess I expected a place more along the lines of what small towns look like in Greenland. There’s so much infrastructure, fashionable clothing, beautiful homes with even nicer furnishings than my own home in Washington, D.C., and everyone had the full line of Apple products. I remembered thinking, ‘In terms of material life, there’s nothing to ‘adjust to’ in Greenland!”

Now that I’ve traveled to 19 towns and settlements in Greenland, I know that all of Greenland cannot be generalized by the Nuuk ruler. I suggest to anyone traveling to Greenland that they experience multiple places in Greenland to be able to understand the great lifestyle spectrum that Greenland has.

Photo credit Sarah Goodall

Photo credit Sarah Woodall

TPF: Have you had any funny cultural misunderstandings?

Sarah: Yes! I was attending a colleague’s kaffemik, a social gathering to celebrate everything from birthdays to weddings to first days of school. When I got to the door and started removing my shoes – because Greenlanders never wear outdoor shoes inside the house – I suddenly realized I wasn’t wearing socks. My colleague said I should just wear my shoes inside, no problem, but I wasn’t going to do that, and I definitely wasn’t going to walk around barefoot. So I ran home to get a pair of socks! Fortunately I lived just down the street.

There’s also definitely a noticeable cultural difference in how shy Greenlanders can be, especially at first meetings. While in other cultures one might start with a firm handshake, a big smile, and jump right into a firing squad of questions, in Greenland this would almost be an over-the-top infringement on personal space. It takes time to get to such an open level with Greenlanders, so even at a celebratory kaffemik, it is not uncommon to sit in shared silence around the table.

TPF:  Do you speak any Danish?

Sarah: Danish is the colonial language of Greenland, one of two official languages. I do read, write, and speak quite a bit of Danish, though I would not consider myself fluent. I learned it more or less by osmosis. Danish is the more common working language around the office, not to mention when I am in Nuuk, I’m living in a home where Danish is the first language.

However, what is more exciting for me is that I am also reading, writing, and speaking some Greenlandic, though also not fluently by any means. Greenlandic is the mother tongue of Greenland and looks like nothing you have probably ever seen before as it is a polysynthetic language that adds multiple suffices to a root to create full sentences in what looks like a single word. Therefore, I’m pretty proud to be learning it! Want to see what it looks like? Check out the website for Sermitsiaq.AG, one of the newspapers.

Taken at 11:50 pm in June 2013

Taken at 11:50 pm in June 2013 by Sarah Woodall

Since I am not fluent in either of the official languages in Greenland, my daily interactions are some combination of English, Greenlandic, and Danish. By the way, in autumn this year (2015), there will be a book out called ‘Inussuk’ about internationals’ experiences living in Greenland, and I have made a written contribution to the chapter about language. (The book has already been published in Danish, and now this is the English version on the way.)

TPF: Wow, that’s exciting! Here’s some questions from other Phil Factor readers

From Done Dreaming : Coincidently I’m reading Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig and have just got to the part where he says if you live in Greenland you are 27 times more likely to kill yourself than if you live in Greece.

Sarah: While this is certainly the darker side of life, I feel that since the topic has been proposed I should address it the best I can citing findings from a report from the Greenlandic government. Danish title: “Selvmord, Selvmordsforsøg, og Selvmordstanker i Grønland”. Translated English title: “Suicide, Suicide Attempts, and Suicidal Thoughts in Greenland”.

Suicide has increased over time in Greenland.
-Male Greenlanders commit suicide much more than females.
-Suicide is more common in towns than in settlements.
-Younger Greenlanders commit suicide much more than older generations.

Many outside of Greenland will hypothesize that it must be the dark, cold winters that drive Greenlanders to suicide, but this is just so superficial and, no offense, so ignorant of an assumption. Aside from the fact that mental disease can affect any population in the world, there are far more complex Greenland-specific factors at play than latitude.

For example, the political climate of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s was full of turmoil and still has implications today. At the time, Denmark was a firm colonial power and, for example, forced Greenlanders to move from small settlements – where life was close to nature, self-subsistent, and full of space and physical activity – to larger towns – where life was farther from nature and totally lacking of space and privacy. If you can get your hands on them, I HIGHLY recommend two films that explain this period in Greenlandic history extremely well. They have English subtitles. Sume is a feature-length film that uses music as the storytelling method, and Qaannat Alannguanni / I Skyggen af Kayakkerne / In the Shadow of the Kayaks is a more academic 5-part narrated series.

From Outlier Babe: What things did the great book “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” get wrong about Greenland?

Sarah:  I’m sorry to say that I actually have never read this book, although I certainly know of it as many tourists say it was one of their first connections with Greenland. What I can say they got right from just the title is that Smilla is a common name in Greenland. In fact, I have a friend whose beautiful daughter is called Smilla.

Outlier Babe: Is the population growing or shrinking? If the latter, why?

Sarah: The population is generally shrinking. The all-time high population was a decade ago (56,969 residents in 2005), and since then, aside from a few years of growth from 2009-2011, there has been gradual decline. The total loss is just under 2%, which for such a small population can have great implications.

There are so many factors that contribute to population size in Greenland, so I won’t make any definitive correlations here other than to simply identify some of them.

There’s quite a high prevalence of temporary foreign workers living in Greenland, primarily from Denmark. Nurses and others from the medical field, for example, will come to Greenland for work for 1-3 years and then return home.

There’s quite a high prevalence of young Greenlanders leaving the country for higher education, again primarily to Denmark but also to other countries around the world. Many return to Greenland after receiving their degree, but many do not.

There’s quite a high prevalence of Greenlanders leaving the country, again primarily to Denmark, once their children reach school age – presumably to put them in a better school system, however there are absolutely schools in Greenland, public and private, where Greenlanders can be educated from the first class up to PhD level at Ilisimatusarfik (Greenland University). Degrees at the University include Language/Literature/Media, Journalism, and others.

Outlier Babe: How did Thai’s wind up in Greenland? The others I can work out, but not so much the Thais.

Sarah: Well, I won’t dare to speak on behalf of all Thai people in Greenland! But it’s the same mentality as why Thai tourists want to visit Greenland – Greenland is exotic, unique, and totally different from what they know at home in terms of culture, nature, and yes, temperature! We hear continuously from tourists living in tropical countries that they are fascinated with the Arctic because of the winter snow and ice.

TPF: Sarah, thank you so much for your time. You have been a wonderful ambassador for your second country. For my readers, you can follow Sarah’s blog on WordPress at Adventures of a Polarphile and you can find out more info on Greenland.com. Have a great Friday! ~Phil