Saturday, May 8, 2010


There is a running joke in our house.

The kind of joke that requires at least one member of the household to be a classical musician to make it really funny.

What makes it funnier is if the other member of the household is on record as having once referred to classical music as "music without words".

So the joke goes something like this:

Leopold: Who is this?

Artboy: Lady Gaga.

Leopold: Why do people know this?

Artboy: She's a singer.

Leopold: Would I know anything she's done?

Artboy: No. All of her music happened after the 18th century.

I will hurry to say that this is, when all is said and done, a joke.

Leopold's musical tastes are ridiculously eclectic...spanning everywhere from Bluegrass to old school Country, Radiohead to the Pet Shop Boys, a carefully curated selection of musical theater bits to, of course, classical music.

But I was thinking about the "music with words" comment yesterday when Roller Derby Queen introduced me to "literal music videos."

I have not laughed this hard since I first discovered Mystery Science Theater.

Or, more accurately, I have not laughed this hard since (as part of a session on film criticism) I had my students watch Mystery Science Theater and I laughed hysterically while they watched me with a mixture of horror and pity. For some reason, this made me laugh harder.

I don't know that I can say I have a favorite of these. I will also note that, much like chocolate chip cookie dough candy, too many will probably result in some degree of nausea.

But, to get you started, I'd like to suggest Love is a Battlefield.

Or you can check out the one that got me hooked Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Jump! Jump! Jump!

So...The English Teacher (1) offered me an opportunity.

A chance to take another leap of faith. Right alongside her. All Thelma and Louise-like.

And I'm hesitating as the voice of reason in my head does battle with the excitement I feel in my stomach whenever I consider it.

What's funny is that the last time I took a blind leap of faith I found something that I loved to do. Teaching.

Or, more accurately, I gave myself permission (3) to do the thing that I knew I loved to do but could never make happen in a sensible way.

The thing that I started to do that was all reasoned and responsible? Taking the job with BIG. Not so much. I've met some fantastic people and yadda, yadda, yadda...but I don't get goosebumps.

So here I stand again. Looking over the edge...wondering what's waiting at the bottom should I decide to take the plunge. There are worse ways to spend the weekend.

1. Who I still like in spite of her Kindle-loving ways. I mean. We're not talking a casual fondness here. She is a "you'll pry this from my cold, dead hands" kind of adopter (2).
2. No Van Pelt. It's not that one.
3. Along with a heaping, helping of support from Leopold.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


The thing which often amazes me is the fact that I continue to be amazed.

By people.

Or, more accurately, the ability of grown adult to behave in ways that would have caused most of us to be sent to the office or, at the very least, warranted a lecture from mom or dad about the right way to treat people.

In other words, bullies.

See...if we learned anything from ABC Afterschool Specials and very special episodes of a wide range of television shows it was this. Every bully is really just a frightened kid lashing out because of jealousy and their own insecurity.

So the solution was always very easy. 

Someone would show the bully some compassion. They would try to be their friend. Or, alternatively, Peter would punch the bully in the mouth, loosen his tooth and the  other kids in the class could finally have their revenge by standing around the kid chanting, "Baby talk, baby talk, it's a wonder you can walk."

What we were never warned about, however, is that sometimes bullies simply grow up.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Who knew? Oh. Right. I did.

For a while there I was doing really, really good with not doing the Starbuck's thing.

The bank account was happy. I was drinking water that was not shot through with steamed milk and chai tea. I was breaking away from the crowd...literally.

It's amazing how much time can lapse while standing on line waiting for $4.00-worth of marketing in a white cardboard cup.

Yeah. Well. That's kind of not been the case lately.

Which seems to have made me barista happy. She knows my drink order (1) and doesn't even make me walk around to the little pick-up area.

But this is not all about my falling back into the arms of the massive corporate mermaid.

It's about fonts.

Standing on line this morning I noticed all the new posters that are up, a new marketing push to show how you can customize your morning beverage experience to show what an individual you are (2).

Funny thing...looking at the new signage...I recognized all the fonts and icons. I've even used some of them.

Huh, I thought. How many people in this line are giving a second thought to the font that was used to write "Frappuccino" on that sign?

And then I thought, how the heck long am I going to be standing in this line?

And then I thought, this might be why I stopped coming to Starbuck's.

1. Remarkably, after some time away she remembered it the minute I took my place back in the queue. 
2. Standing on line at one of the largest corporate chains in the world.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

No. No I don't.

Dear Blog,

A number of months ago I started a BIG new job. I had some trepidation when I started, but that's not surprising. I admit that I'm not someone who does change well and my previous position had ended poorly.

Unfortunately, things are not going well due in large part to the behavior of some of the fellow members of my team. I have tried speaking to supervisors and articulating my frustrations in a clear and professional manner to no real impact.

What should I do?


Artboy (Not) in Seattle

And that's where the advice column schtick ends. I'm not going to answer my own letter because, well, that's kind of crazy. Which might make such an answer ironic.

Or not (1).

But this is a question that I'm struggling with and, frankly, I blame my parents.

See, we were raised to have a work ethic that seems almost ridiculous in its simplicity. You worked hard. You remained humble. You gave credit where credit was due and you thanked the people who helped you along the way.

But I'm learning that other people didn't have parents reminding them that no one has ever accomplished anything all on their own. Let's face it...even Jesus had a back-up band.

From the get go the job at BIG was intended to allow me to do the things that actually make me feel good at the end of the day. What I'm discovering is that this approach works much better in theory than in practice.

1. I always prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to saying something is ironic.