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Let’s Just Call Them “Personal Trends”

For a change, I am posting first thing after I wake up rather than last thing before I go to sleep. It is noon. My sleep has been a bit off kilter lately, and taking a very deep nap sorta got me in trouble the other day, so I need to start thinking about getting everything balanced there. The problem with this blogging schedule is that, except for yummy morning breath, nothing has happened to me yet upon which I wish to comment.

OK, how’s this:

A couple of months ago, I began talking with a man who is trying to bring a certain product to market. It is a product I wouldn’t mind owning, myself, and at the time, I thought I wouldn’t mind having a financial stake in it, either, so our conversations expanded even after I found out that his company is sort of an organizational and marketing disaster. No problem, I thought. Even though I have my own business that takes all of my attention and is probably expanding to the point where it will require me to develop another entire brain, and even though I’m trying to finish two books and have ideas for four more, and even though my little dog is going through some time- and resource-consuming health issues that may require us to sue her previous vet for malpractice, and even though I’m on the board of a local organization and have suddenly found myself spearheading a neighborhood beautification project . . . let me just fix you and your company to the point that you at least appear viable, at which time I will be considered invested and you can give me millions of dollars after you are successful.

We started with logo, since his previous one had been done in Microsoft Word and everyone who has seen it teases him about it. Indeed, it is currently the most ridiculous logo I have ever seen, and that includes Verizon’s. So I sat him down for an hour and had him tell me his vision for a logo, which was as banal and listless as his current actual logo, but I ran with it, paying more attention to what he said he hoped to accomplish with it (the feeling, the demographic it was to attract, etc.) and came up with some pretty damned good stuff, if I do say so.

He sent me a quick email about how, he didn’t know why, but none of it appealed to him.

Then I went back to the drawing board and said, OK, let me give you EXACTLY what you asked for so you can see how stupid it looks, then you will be ready to move off in a different direction. And once I started, I saw how I could incorporate some of his ideas and make it, if not brilliant and unique, at least something about as workable as 99% of the other logos out there.

Nope.

Then I sent him some more of my own ideas, one of which was probably spot on and the other two would be more appropriate for a more visionary client. I also sent him one that managed to inadvertently reinvent BP’s new logo, which is really quite clever the more I think of it–which is of course why I ended up stumbling upon the same idea in a different way.

He didn’t even reply to my email.

OK, so fuck you, right? I don’t know why I even bothered, especially for someone who had shown plenty of idealism but no clear vision. The first time I met him, he was wearing moderately bright green pants and a clashing green shirt, so it’s not like we’re talking about someone with a great deal of insight about public perception. I imagine I got carried away with my usual obsessions of trying to fix other people’s disasters and also getting in on the ground floor of something big so I can stop worrying about my house and car getting repossessed . . . but of course these are all energies that are better invested in my own projects so THEY will be that successful one day.

(None of this is to say that if Steve Jobs calls tomorrow on my iPhone, which I waited in line all day to purchase upon its release, and says he is IN LOVE with the idea I presented below and wants to fly me out to Cupertino right away and make me a vice president at AAPL that I will not go running.)

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Now Is the Best Time


Rob and I jointly stumbled across this idea as we drove back from the Undisclosed Location last fall, and I decided to share it with the world as testament to what intelligent and perhaps slightly brainwashed marketers we are.

Near Space Mountain in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, there is an “attraction” that has languished for a million years called “The Carousel of Progress.” That nobody ever goes in there is illustrated by the fact that Progress seems to have crashed to a halt in the late 1980s, but the idea is that one gets to witness the entire twentieth century via the strides Americans have made in their technology, and how our lives have changed accordingly. These scenes, acted out by robots, tend to focus on home appliances since G.E. was the sponsor of this extravaganza, so they tend to lay on ideas like “How The Electric Stove Changed Civilization” fairly thickly.

When I was a kid, this used to be accompanied by a snappy theme song that went, “Now is the time / Now is the best time / Now is the best time of your life!” The current version, which begins, “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow!” sort of loses its impact when one realizes that “tomorrow” in this circular universe is really 1992.

In any case, Rob and I decided that Disney’s largest and greatest stockholder, Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, Inc., might want to take a closer look at the potential for this golden oldie as a fun marketing tool for the future. An Apple-sponsored “Carousel of Progress” might begin at the time of the slide rule, whiz by the calculator and the punch card, and drop us into 1984 when the Macintosh first made its dazzling appearance. From there, the robots can show us how life has really changed for the better over the past several decades, and how Apple has led the charge in redefining our expectations of technology, artistry, and entertainment. The last scene can be ever changing, theorizing how Apple technology might look twenty years in the future.

The souvenir shop in this attraction could be a mini Apple Store selling their regular products as well as collectors’ editions customized with mouse ears (imagine a glowing white Mickey on the back of a MacBook or a polka-dotted iPod preloaded with songs from all the Disney movies). I can’t think of a better way to introduce Middle America to the company we latte-drinking coastal elites sold our souls to years ago and also keep a current face on Disney’s aging offerings.

If there is justice in this world, the next call on my iPhone will be either from Madison Avenue or Cupertino, California.

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Dances with Ghosts

Last night, I was tossing and turning when I started talking to the ghosts. I says to them, I says, “Your clomping around up there is not helping my insomnia”–this in reference to the multiple footsteps that creaked directly over my head. Even Goblin heard them, although they didn’t seem to bother her. When I’m actually on the third floor, the ghosts are as silent as a tomb, so I know they plan their activities accordingly. Maybe the supernatural aerobics class begins at 1:00 a.m. in Rob’s office.

There were also these weird knocking sounds. I said, “If this is a ghost, knock once for yes and twice for no.” Then came three knocks. So I changed tactics: “Knock two times for yes and three times for no.” Five knocks. Are they this indecisive all the time or is it just the house settling?

I said, “What is your name?”

“Harry,” it said. Or was it “Sharon”?

Waitaminute. “Clara?” I asked hopefully. That was the name of my grandmother, with whom I have been wanting to talk again.

“Under the bed,” came the response.

“Iiiiiiiiiii’m not comfortable with that.” I gathered the covers around my chin.

“In your ear.”

The ghost and I simultaneously came to the conclusion that the conversation had lost its productivity and it went back upstairs. Maybe they make you sign up for aerobics classes in the afterlife, because I never would have thought of my grandmother Clara as the type when I knew her before.

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Love Is What I Got?

I got nuttin.

All right, I got a little doggie who hobbles on three legs and a front garden that has a lovely recycled-material border around it.

I got employees who are sick, sick, sick. Physically, that is. The mental thing is to be expected.

I got half a bottle of white wine in the fridge.

I got a husband who is never home and deserves Scorn for forgetting to do a certain something yesterday. Yes, the whole world is watching.

And speaking of which, I got the whole world in my hands.

In other news, it looks like we have the following new adherents to Content Challenge:

Deana: sixgables.wordpress.com
Jeffrey: jeffreyricker.wordpress.com (who got sucked in by accident)
Someone Else: who may not want me to tell you he’s participating vicariously

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Boneyard

Dear Internet,

I am carving a few minutes away from my busy day to spend some time with you. This morning I met with the awesome architects for the PNS (Potential New Store), and now I am redesigning ads for people who originally sent me the wrong specs. If people could just be bothered to get everything right the first time, as I do, the world would be a better place, or at the very least my list of murder victims would be slightly curtailed.

Yesterday I wrote a check for $30 to a man who claimed he is going to install a border around my front garden, and I gave him the two packages of bordering I had purchased. He vanished with these items into the night, promising to commence work first thing this morning. As of midafternoon, there is no sign of him. I can cancel the check but I hope I have not been swindled out of two packages of bordering; I was so proud of it because it was made out of 100% recycled material. I wanted my garden to be a beacon of hope to the world, not a trashcan for the art students and a toilet for the local dogs, but instead it will be the same dusty mound it has always been. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

I have some ideas I will tell you about another time.

Love,
The Little Engine Who Should

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I Love a Rainy Night, and Also Nights that Are Not Rainy

Content Challenge calls, but it’s going to be a short one tonight because daddy shore is tired. Today at work, one of my employees told me she reads this blog and then she and I assembled a complex tower of recycled-paper stationery. Then I had to rush home and meet the guy who is going to install a border around my front garden tomorrow. That simple precaution won’t stop those wily art students, who can hit it with a banana peel at ten paces, but it will stop dirt from getting all over the sidewalk, which will help my house stop looking like some sort of hillbilly haven.

Here is a partial list of people who will be shamed and scorned if they fail at Content Challenge. (Sorry, I’m too tired for hyperlinks tonight.)

Crash: crashandbyrne.blogspot.com
Frenzy Lohan: www.mooseandsquirrel.net
Roberto: lordofthecrumbs.blogspot.com
Stephanie: volition501.blogspot.com

Who else?

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Hello Content Challenge, My Old Friend

Guess who got back from his writers’ retreat in time for Content Challenge! If you guessed good ol’, me, you would be correct. Oh my goodness, what a time. I wrote about thirty-three pages of my New Book, which is quite a bit more than I have written in my Old Book in months. I think the new one will be the winner in this Tortoise and the Hare.

Every day, I would awaken at the crack of 11:30 and then sit down to write. I’d get through a couple of pages and then have to take a two-hour nap, an hour of naptime per page. Then write again, then nap again. There was some discussion of this meaning my writing was coming from a deeper place, but maybe I was just tired. My work schedule is not normally grueling, but it is so psychically challenging, I can’t tell you. Everyone’s problem is my problem. Imagine if you had the compounded problems of fifteen people on top of your own. Sometimes I get home after just a couple of hours on the job and have to curl up in bed or drink a bottle of wine.

Anyway: the retreat. So lovely. We went to my parents’ house in Western Maryland, in middle of nowhere. No net connection, barely any cell connection, just woods and lake and herds of deer crashing through the underbrush. Goblin thought she had found her soulmates and tried to crash off after them, but her stapled-up leg kept her in the yard.

Every day, except today actually, most of us gathered to do kundalini yoga, which I used to do back in my New York days but haven’t had the opportunity to do since. It was such a quiet place, and the yoga practically froze my ever-analytical mind into a statue. Heaven. And I’m reasonably happy with what I wrote, so I think it was a complete success.

Now to sink back into my real life, filled with work, vet appointments, neighborhood beautification projects, and content challenges.

And chupacabras, of course.

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Content Challenge, Bitches

I call a new Content Challenge starting March 24, 2008. Frenzy Lohan has already seconded this motion. She has the power.

Content Challenge = you blog every day before midnight for 30 days or else heaps of scorn will be piled upon you by the other challengers!!!!!!!!!!! HEAPS. OF. SCORN.

Anyone who’s in, reply in comments.

Ironically, I can’t start before March 24 because I will be out of town on a writing retreat. I anticipate heaps of scorn piled upon me from that exercise, as well, but that will be the rarefied scorn of agents and publishers if I ever finish my book. Oh, I started a new one, so now I can feel inadequate about two unfinished projects. Thanks, Mad Scientist, for giving me that special courage.

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Don’t Tell Me that Lovers Always Mistrust

Hold me to my every word
Forget about the things you heard
Time will conquer
Time will state
We owe every tear to fate

You know I’m not crazy.
You know I’m not crazy.
You know I’m not crazy.
You know I’m not crazy.

Hello, poppets. My, have we been on a roller-coaster ride. It’s all good because tomorrow I’m ending it all: I’m going to hang myself some new curtains! Well, they’re not exactly curtains, more like these weird fabric panel things I got at IKEA that I have to cut to the proper length before hanging. This takes a while, not necessarily to wield the scissors, but do you know how time consuming it is to throw a tantrum every time I cut a crooked line across fine polyester? I am going to be so ostracized from the neighborhood beautification project. That is just a sneaking suspicion.

Someone I know opened a new café this week so I dropped by to wish him luck and realized his prices are much higher than the prices in my café, even though our drinks are like a million times better AND we have organic milk and stuff. Not like it’s a competition or anything but I am totally going to raise my prices. The free ride is so over, you have no idea. How does $18.00 for a latte sound? What, you say that you are too poor because of the insanely selfish economic policies of rich Republicans? And this is my problem how?

Look, the way I see it is this: we as a nation are not going to get anywhere until there are some rich liberals in charge. I am liberal but as poor as a stone. If a million people order my organic super-delicious lattes for $18.00 a pop, I can get the resources I need to look out for the little guy. This is a sacred trust I would inaugurate by repainting my house, possibly doing something with stone veneer, and installing new lighting fixtures. And did anyone say NEW KITCHEN? Why yes, I think I will have one of those, too, thank you. Not that I ever venture into the kitchen for anything other than my fistfuls of vitamins, the corn chips I eat for dinner every night Rob is away, and the gallons of wine with which I wash down these culinary delights. But a new kitchen would be nice, and also some pellet stoves and new landscaping in the backyard to replace the dead and weed-choked landscaping that has been loitering out there for years. I feel like I’m living in Gargamel’s hovel.

And you can be assured that once I get my own life straightened out, I will use the remaining pennies of my resources to help the world’s downtrodden. Eighteen-dollar lattes! Get em while they’re hot! Or cold, I don’t care. I’m not the one who has to drink them.

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Beauty through Existence

Here is Goblin Foo, not in the best of spirits but home from the hospital and resting. I have about five pages of instructions for her daily care and it’s clear I will be doing little else besides working down that checklist for the next six weeks.

In other news, I am meeting today with the architect who will hopefully be getting the ball rolling for my new store. Yes, I am getting a new store! At least, I will be if I can get through some insane negotiations and get approval for the budget I will need. This is a rather overwhelming notion, but as it’s one of the less ambiguously good things going on, it’s a task I am happy to launch into.

Lastly, something must be going haywire in my medications as I have been rather bizarrely involved in my neighborhood politics over the past few days, eviscerating a stupid person in public in a way I rarely indulge in and then moments later, for some ungodly reason, volunteering to write a grant for a beautification project for the block I live on. Not only that, the beautification project was my own idea! I think the most beautiful thing about my block currently is the fact that Rob, Goblin, and I live on it, but if there’s something I can do to help out the less fortunate souls, I suppose it behooves me to do so. Sometimes even an atheist worries if god is giving him the stink eye.

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News Break

Goblin is out of surgery and apparently doing fine. Lots more anguish for my poor little girl in the next few weeks, but at least the major problem has been addressed for the moment.

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Deep Breaths

Thank you for putting up with yesterday's little tantrum. Do I feel better? No, I do not. Goblin is going in for surgery in the morning, and just the thought of it makes my chest near explode. However, I took more drugs today so I can face this with a calmer head, and I also plan on purchasing some long-neglected curtains this evening. The lesson in all of this is that one should never neglect curtains and also that, um, hmm. Always floss?

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Equations

I don’t understand the world, like how things can look simultaneously moderately good and very, very bad. After an unparalleled veterinary fiasco poor Goblin needs two more surgeries that will leave her lame for another four months if not forever; I am quite literally one paycheck away from bankruptcy; and I can’t get through a single day without a dose or dram of something to dull my razor-sharp edge–and I’m talking, like, adamantium claws here, plucking away at my carotid artery. And yet sometimes things look good, or at least brightly murky as if they might one day turn out to be good if the laser beam of my willpower doesn’t waver a micron.

One thing for sure is that there is only so much longer I can exist in this state before something, somewhere gives. Next week–I hope it’s next week–I’m going out of town for a while. A retreat, I shall call it. But that is after Goblin’s next surgery, endless lease negotiations, wrangling ad space all over town like a mad buccaneer, and telling all of my employees exactly what I think of them. And I doubt my trip will be very relaxing as I anticipate the horrors to which I will return.

I am so stupid. I know I’m terribly well off compared to 99.999999999999999 percent of the world, and I am so grateful for that, but at the same time I wonder that if I weren’t just even .1111111111 percent less well off my life wouldn’t be several times easier.

I never was much good at algebra, but I know disgusting whining when I see it, goddamn it.

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Knock Knock

Oh yeah, I have a blog. And it’s 2008. How are you, 2008? I have to say, from my perspective, you are shaping up nicely but then again I’m on drugs and trying to ignore the horror show that is Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Blog, I’m sorry you have been such a ghost town lately but 2008 got in the way. Also you are stupid and ugly and no one reads you anymore. Who the heck wants to see three thousand photographs of a chupacabra?

Tonight I am going to the art school to give a presentation and participate in a panel discussion. The title is, “The Sidewalk: It’s Not Rocket Science,” and the subtitle is “Why Do You Damned Art School Students Always Stomp through My Front Garden?” There may be a subsection about the orange peels I find in the soil at least once a week. I was not aware that the Orange Peel Fairy was such a frequent visitor to these here parts.

Also I think my ear was on television last week. My eyebrow is so jealous.