plugs

What can you give me for Christmas?

bonanza gift Having worked my way through various careers (i.e., advertising copywriting, TV writing, acting, graphic design), it's become clear to me what I am not (copywriter, screen/TV writer, actor, designer).

And, having spent a fair amount of time now writing (on this here bloggity-blog, among other places) and speaking (at my Toastmasters club, although I'm happy to come and talk to your group, if you like), it's also become pretty damned clear to me what I should be doing next.

There's just one problem. For someone who's spent her entire adult life in one form of communications or another, I have a surprising inability to articulate what the hell it is I have to say and what the hell use it is to other people.

Okay, see? That's two problems. Start talking about myself, and I get all bollixed up.

I realize this is my issue to grapple with, and grapple, I do. I have also enlisted grappling assistance from my marketing coach and my shrink, who, upon hearing my egregious ineptitude at self-summary, immediately volunteered herself for grappling duty.

But I would like to enlist your help as well, dear reader. After all, you, those of you who actually come back here and read these little stories and essays and illuminata on nerdery, most likely have a better handle on why you return than I.

Also, I have found that the odd email that comes in over the transom or the random comment left on a particular post is often more illuminating than hours of cogitation or reflection or self-help exercises. Really. You guys are beyond awesome as a mirror. And the answers that have started coming in since I started focusing on this and asking out loud for help have, well, already been helpful. It's just time to ratchet things up a notch, I think.

I don't expect a fully articulated brand statement; I don't really have any expectations, other than this might be an interesting experiment. But, because 'tis the season and because you are doing me a solid and also probably because, as my exasperated shrink says, I have the LOWEST sense of entitlement of anyone she's ever treated, I will do this: for every helpful comment (or email, if you'd prefer not to be public) that I receive by this December 25th, I will donate $1 US to Habitat for Humanity, up to a total of $1,000. I don't really expect 1,000 comments and/or emails, although that would be great, but hey, it's a great organization and if I'm getting huge blessings, I'd like to pay it forward in an immediately tangible way.

Of course, I hope you know that my ultimate goal is to take the information and help make the world a better place. It's dorky, I know, but my mission statement (this, I have) is to be a joyful conduit of truth, beauty and love. I'll keep doing it at ground level, no matter what; I've just had a nagging (and growing) feeling these past few years that I should be doing a better job of putting myself out there.

If you're a genius whiz-bang marketing type and you can sum me up in a genius-whiz-bang mission statement, that's awesome. If you just tell me why you like reading the blog, or the newsletter, or the acting column, or the design column, or my emails, or any other of my writing, that's awesome, too. You can also...

  • tell me what your favorite post is (and hopefully, why)
  • tell me how you describe this blog to other people (if, if fact, you do this)
  • tell me when you think I'm "on" and/or when you think I'm "off"
  • tell me which posts best sum up "communicatrix"
  • tell me what the hell a communicatrix is
  • tell me (your idea here)

And if I get no comments or emails, well, that's fine, too. This is a process, and an evolving one, and what's supposed to happen will, in its own time. Hell, I'll probably give a bunch of money to Habitat anyway because I really dig them and Jimmy Carter is one of my personal heroes.

But I just thought I'd ask. Again. Out loud.

If nothing else, it's one step out of the hole of anti-entitlement.

xxx c

UPDATE (1/1/08): Another 8 or 10 replies came in via email since the last comment, bringing the tally up to $45. I'm rounding up to $50, and heading over to H4H right now. Thank you, everyone, for playing! And if you've come to this late, but still want to contribute, email me: I'll keep the offer open up to $500 in calendar year 2008!

Image by wallyg via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

The third anniversary is leather

leather Three years ago today. Hard to believe that much time has passed.

Also hard to look at some of the old passages. It is definitely true, that old saw about writing writing writing to find your voice.

Thank you for sticking it out with me these past 36 months. Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. Hope you won't, either.

Or if you do, that you'll come back.

More fun and games in store, starting tomorrow...

xxx c

Image by peevee@ds via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

If you can't develop yourself via at least one of these sites, there's no hope for you

grow Thank you, Priscilla, for starting it. Thank you, Adam, for adding me.

This is already such a comprehensive list, it's tough coming up with more names. But I'll throw in...

...and after the kisses, the list!

xxx c

Image by pbo31 via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Aaron Potts at Today is That Day

Adam Alexander at Adam’s Peace

Adam Kayce at Monk at Work

Adam Khoo at Adam Khoo’s Philosophies and Investing Insights

AgentSully at Life Learning Today

April Groves at Making Life Work For You

Argancel at C’eclair (for those who speak french)

Ash aka Mr. Biggs at One Powerful Word

Al at 7pproductions.com

Alan Torres at Made to Be Great

Alex Shalman at AlexShalman.com

Alexander Kjerulf at The Chief Happiness Officer

Alexys Fairfield at Unraveling The Spiritual Mystique

Albert Foong at urbanmonk.net

Alvaro at Sharp Brains Blog

Amber at Random Mangus

Amie Ragan at Psychology of Clutter

Amy Hedin at There is no Maximum to Human Potential

Andrea Learned at Learned on Women

Andrea J. Lee at Money, Meaning, and Beyond

Andy Wibbels at AndyWibbels.com

Anita Pathik Law at Power of four Way

Anmol Mehta at AnmolMetha.com

Anna Farmery at The Engaging Brand

Antonio Thornton at AntonioThornton.com

Ariane Benefit at Neat & Simple Living

Ask Lucid at Ask Lucid Spiritual Development

Barb Melloh at The Law of Attraction Info

Barbara Sliter at Creatorship

Belle Wong at Abundance Journal

Ben Yoskovitz of Instigator Blog

Bill Perry at Lucid Blog

Billy Smith at The Organic Leadership Blog

Blogfuse at LifeDev

Brad Isaac at Achieve It

Brian Clark at Copyblogger

Brian Kim at briankim.net

Brian Lee at geniustypes.com

Brooke at Plain Advice

Bob at everyeveryminute

Bolly at Motivational Corner

Cam Beck at ChaosScenario

Cara Lumen at The Success Magnets With Cara Luman and Your Second Wind Blog

Carlon Haas at Possess Less Exist More

Cheif Family Officer at Cheif Family Officer

Chris Brogan of ChrisBrogan-dot-com

Chris Cree at SuccessCREEations

Chris Marshall at Martial Development

Chris Melton at Soupornuts.com

Chris Owen at Pink Apple

Christine Kane at ChristineKane.com

Christine Valters Painter at Abbey of the Arts

Clyde at Feeling Good

Colin Beavan at No Impact Man

Colleen Wainwright of Communicatrix

Conceive, Believe, Achieve at Conceive, Believe, Achieve

Crabby McSlacker at Cranky Fitness

Craig Harper at Motivational Speaker

Curt Rosengren at Occupational Adventure

Cyres at Cyres Matters

Damian Carr at Soul Terminal

Daniel Sitter at Idea Sellers

Darren Rowse at Problogger.net

Dave Pollard of How to Save the World (walks the talk)

Dave Schawbel at The Personal Branding Blog

Dave Schoof at Engaging the Disquiet

Davers at Language Trainers Blog

David Allen at The David Allen Company

David Bohl at Reflections on Balance

David Fitch at David Fitch.com

David Richeson at 360 Degree Success

David Rogers at How to Have Great Self Confidence

David Seah at David Seah.com

David Zinger at Slacker Manager

Dawud Miracle at dmiracle.com

Dean Lacono at Law of Attraction for Beginners

Debbie Call at Spirit In Gear

Debbie LaChusa at 10 Step Marketing Collection

Debra Moorhead at Debra Moorhead.com

Denise Mosawi at Destineering.com

Des Walsh at Thinking Home Business

Devlyn Steele at Tools To Life Guide

Dick Richards at Come Gather Round

Dominic Tay at Personal Development for Winners

Don Simkovich at Hey Don

Donald Latumahina at Life Optimizer

Donna Karlin at Perspectives

Donna Steinhorn at Rethinking

Douglas Eby at Talent Development Resources

Dr. Charles Parker at The Core Psych Blog

Dr. Hal at Northstar Mental fitness blog

Drew Rozell at Drew Rozell.com

Dwayne Melancon at Genuine Curiosity

Edward Mills at Evolving Times

Ellen Weber at Brain Based Business

Emily G. W. Lilly at The Science of Waldorf Education

Emmanuel Lopez at The Adventures of Motivatorman

Ellesse at Goal Setting College

Elly Jolly at Jolly Life Coaching

Enoch Tan at Mind Reality

Eric Napier at Quotation Collection

Erin Pavlina at Erin Pavlina.com

Evelyn Rodriguez of Crossroads Dispatches

Frank Kanu at Frank Uncovers Excellence in Leadership

Frank Roche at KnowHR Blog

Galba Bright at Tune Up Your EQ

Garr Reynolds at Presentation Zen

Gary at Personal Strategic Plan

Gilad Buchman at Sigsug

Gleb Reys at Personal Development Ideas

Grayson at Modern Worker Blog

Greg Butler at holistic-personal-development.com

Greg Frost at ChargedAudio.com

Geoff R at Gearfire.net

Gretchen Rubin at Happiness Project

Gustav at Success-is-in-you.com

Guy Kawasaki at How to Change the World

Gyanish at Diethack

Halina Goldstein at The Inner Travel Journal

Hilda Carroll at Living Out Loud

Heather Goldsmith at A Creative Journal

Henrik Edberg at The Positivity Blog

Honman at Open Your Mind to Prosperity

Inkedmn at The Cranking Widgets Blog

Isabella Mori at MoriTherapy

Itzy Sabo at Email Overloaded

Jacklyn Ker at Inspiring and Empowing Lives

Jarle Husefest at The Personal Development Blog

Jason and Michael at Black Belt Productivity

Jason Ivers at A Miracle a Day

Jason Womack at Fit and Effective

Jay White at dumb little man tips for life

Jean Browman at Transforming Stress Into Power and Cheerful Monk

Jeannette Maw at Good Vibe Coaching

Jeanie Marshall at Empowerment and Meditation Blog and DailyAffirm: Positive Affirmations Day by Day

Jeff Lilly at Druid Journal

Jeffrey Phillips at Think Faster

Jennifer at Goodness Graciousness

Jennifer Mannion at Heal Pain Naturally

Jenny and Erin at Jenny and Erin

Jeremiah Owyang at Web Strategy by Jeremiah

Jerry Hart at Blue Print to emarketing

Jerry Lopper at Personal Growth

Jessa at clairvoyantGuidance.net

Jessica Hagy at Indexed

Jim stroup at Managing Leadership

Jim Walton at Black In Business

JoLynn Braley at The Fit Shack

Joan Schramm at Accelerating Momentum

Joanna Young at Coaching Wizardry

Joanne at I’m Happy Fish

JodeeB at You Already Know This Stuff

Joe Vitale at Dr. Joe Vitale at Zero

John Pratt at John Pratt International

John Place at John Place Online

John W. McKenna at The Leadership Epidemic

John Wesley at Pick The Brain

Jon at Join The Secret

Jonathan at Smart Wealthy Rich and Freelance Folder

Jory Des Jardin at Pause: Meaningful Work

Josh Bickford at Reach For Magnificence and Reach for Magnificence

Josh Kaufman at The Personal MBA

Judy Martin at The Work/Life Monitor

Julia Rogers Hamrick at Julia’s Blog: Journal of the Journey Home to Eden

Julie Bonner at Declutter It

Kailani at An Island Review

Kammie Kobyleski at Passion Meets Purpose

Karen at Journey with Water Learner

Karen Lynch at Live The Power

Karen Wallace at The Clearing Space

Karl Moore at Karl Blog.com

Karl Staib at Karl Staib.com

Kathy Mallary at Coaching Biz Tips

Keith Ferrazzi at Never Eat Alone

Kenton Whitman at kentonwhitman.com

Kevin Kinchen at Creative Power of Thought

Killeris at Attitude, The Ultimate Power

Kim and Jason at Escape Adulthood

Kim George at Doing What You Can Do

Kimber Chin of Client K

Kirk Nugent at Kirk Nugent.com

Kirsten Harrell at Ipopin

Krishna De at Biz Growth News and Todays Women in Business

K.L. Masina at Be Conscious Now

Leah Maclean at Working Solo

Laura Young at The Dragon Slayer’s Guide to Life

Lee Nutter at bmindful

Leo Babauta at Zen Habits

Life Reflection at Universe in a Single Atom

Linda Salazar at Awaken The Genie Within

Lisa Braithwaite at Speak Schmeak

Lisa Gates at Design Your Writing Life

Lisa Van Allen at Finish Strong

Liz at Internet Marketing Strategies

Liz Strauss at Successful Blog

Lodewijkvdb at How to be an Original

Lola Fayemi at Real World Spiritual and Personal Development

Lorraine Cohen at Powerfull Living

Luciano Passuello at Litemind.com

Lucid at Spiritual Suggestions

Lumosity at Brain Health Blog

Lyman Reed at Creating a Better Life

Lyndon Antcliff at LyndonAntcliff.com and Cornwallseo.com

MT at MindTWEAKS

Maddy at Illuminated Minds Want to Know

Malathy Badri at Laws of Universe

Manny at Success Books

Maria Gajewski at Never The Same River Twice

Maria Garcia at Get Organized Now

Maria Palma at The Good Life

Marianne Williamson at Journal

Mark at The Naked Soul

Mark Forster at Get Everything Done

Mark LaPierre at The Winding Path

Mark McManus at Build Your Life To Order

Mark W Shead at Productivity 501

Martin Avis at Kickstart Daily

Mary K at Becoming Your StellarSelf

Matthew Cornell at Matt’s Idea Blog

Meg Haworth at Life Lessons From Your Soul

Melanie Benson Strick at The Success Blog

Merlin Mann at 43 Folders

Michelle at aMusing My Genius

Michelle Moore at Happiness Blog

Michael Port at The Think Big Revolution

Michael Vanderdonk at TOACH Performance

Mike Janssen at Opgestroopte Mouwen

Mike Kemski at BANABU

Mike St. Pierre at The Daily Saint

Millionaire Mommy Next Door at Millionaire Mommy Next Door

Mona Grayson at Question The Mind

Mr.Wang at Mr Wang Says So

My Everyday Planner at My Everyday Planner

Nancy Mills at The Spirited Woman

Nancy Tierney at Unconditional Confidence

Neil Patel at Quick Sprout

Nic Askew at Monday 9AM Blog

Nick Smith at Life 2.0

Nneka at Balanced Life Center

Organize-It at Organize-It

Pamala Slim at Escape From Cubicle Nation

Pamm Larry at My Spiritual Dance

Patricia Singleton at Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker

Patti Digh at 37 Days

Paul at Paul’s Tips

Paul Piotrowski at Self Help Wisdom

Paula Kawal at Paula Kawal.com

Peggy Payne at Peggy Payne’s Boldness Blog

Peter at I Will Change Your Life

Peter Aldin at Great Circle

Peter Haslem at Necessary Skills

Phil Gerbyshak at Make It Great

Philippe Matthews at Shockwealth

Priscilla Palmer at Personal Development Demands Success

Quint Jensen at Win Your Mind

Raymond Salas at Zenchill Powertools

Real Modern Man at Real Modern Man

Reg Adkins at ElementalTruths

Ricardo at Wake Up Tiger

Rich Schefren at Strategic Profits

Rick Cockrum at Shards of Consciousness

Rick Cooper at The PDA Pro

Ririan at Ririanproject

Rob at 7Breaths

Rob Cooke at Leave the Office

Robert at Compassionate Council

Robert at Myselfdev

Robert Ashcroft at PDSS Online

Robin Skeen at Robin’s Reflections

Robin Yapp at Yapp 3.0

Robyn McMaster at Brain Based Biz

Roger Von Oech at Creative Think

Rolf F. Katzenberger at Evomend

Rosa Say at Managing With Aloha Coaching

Ryan Marle at The Alpha Project

S.J. Yee at Personal Development for the Book Smart

Sam at Aquire Wisdom and Live with Passion

Scott Adams at The Dilbert Blog

Scott Berkun at Berkun Blog

Scott Bernadot at Keeping The Secret

Scott Ginsberg at Hello, My Name Is Blog

Scott H Young at Scott H Young

Scott McArthur at McArthur’s Rant

Self Pursuit at Self Pursuit

Senia at Senia.com Positive Psychology Coaching

Seth Godin at Seth’s Blog

Shane Navratil at Zoomstart

Shauna Arthurs at Breathing Prosperity and Follow Your Path

Shaheen Lakhan at GNIF Brain Blogger

Simone at Dynamic Living

Simone and Mandy at Outfit Inspirations

Slade Roberson at Shift Your Spirits and Spiritual Blogging

Sleeping Dude at How to Wake Up Early

Sonora Jayne Case at Positive Realities Coaching

Spike at Organize It

Start Up Coach at Take Charge of Your Life

Stephanie and Jeffrey at Brains on Purpose

Steve Beisheim at Jumping Ship Happens

Steve King at The Green Geek

Steve Olson at Steve-Olson.com

Steve Pavlina at stevepavlina.com

Steve Roesler at All Things Workplace

Stephen at HD bizblog

Stephen Hopson at Adversity University

Steven Aitchison at Change Your Thoughts

Success Current at SuccessCurrent.com

Surjit at Gurushabad

Susan Sabo at Productivity Cafe

Suzanne Bird-Harris at Learning Curve Coaching

Takuin Minamoto at Takuin.com

Ted Demopoulos at Blogging For Business

Terry Starbucker at Ramblings From a Glass Half Full

Thom Quinn at Qlog

Tiffany at Little Red Suit

Tim Ferris at 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog

Tim Taylor at My Agapic Life

Tom Peters at Tom Peters.com

Tom Spanton at TRCoach

Tom Van Brunscot of Transformation Economy

Tony Chimento at Living Forward

Tony D Clark at Success From The Nest

Torlink at You Create Reality

Travis A. Sinquefield at Disorganizational Behavior

Travis Wright at Cultivate Greatness

Trizoko at Trizoko.com

Trevor Gay at Simplicity is the Key

Troy Worman at Orbit Now!

Tuck Self at Rebel Belle Blog

Tupelo Kenyon at Tupelokenyon.com

Ubertech at Geeks Guide To GTD

Vera Nadine at Vera Nadine.com

Vickie at Contemplate This

Wade Millican at The Middle Way

Wally Bock at Three Star Leadership

Wan Qi at Meditation Forum Mantras

Wild Bill at Passionate Blogger

and these collaborated sites:

Burst Blog

Change This

Change Your Thinking

Daily PlanIt

Did I Get Things Done

GTD Wannabe

Jobman2

Joyful Jubilant Learning

Life Coaches Blog Stratagies for a Greater Life

Lifehack.org

Lifehacker.com

TED Blog

Transformational Girlfriends

Unclutterer

Here I go, shooting my big mouth off again

me at Subject Line Here Believe it or not, it's been over a year since I've been on a stage. Yup, one whole year (and a summer) since Shane Nickerson organized the first L.A. blogger performance thingy I'd ever heard of, "Subject Line Here."

Since then, Leah Peterson of LeahPeah has taken on the heinous task of riding nerd herd patrol. I was unable to attend the first gathering of L.A. Bloggers Live! because I was busy being inducted as Chief Nerd, but--gawd help us all--I'm doing this one. (I have no idea what I'm doing yet, but oh, well!)

Here's the line up as of now:

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 22nd, at Tangier. 4 bucks cheep. Be there or be square.

Oh, wait, if you're reading this, you probably already are...

xxx c

I WON! I won I won I won I won I WON!

for bean mama Here's the contest.

Here's what I won it with.

Why the excitement, you might well ask?

Well...

  1. as I told the fair (pun intended) contest holder, I have not won anything since Michelle Glatzer and I called in to WLS our freshman year and won The Beach Boys' Endless Summer
  2. exactly

So I have no idea what the prize is, but I don't really care. I met The Driver of This Fare City at TequilaCon07PacNW and she is a crafty type so I know it will be most excellent. But that's really beside the point. Because the point?

IWONIWONIWONIWON!!!

xxx c

Image by shaletann via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

No, really, what's your story? (A solicition or an opportunity...or both)

whisper I've been working on a super-secret web project for an interesting, celebrity client who is using her high profile in the real world for, as I like to say, the powers of Good and not Evil, something I always try to support here at communicatrix-dot-com.

Hell, that's kind of my modus operandi for life in general.

Anyway, eventually, everyone and his brother will be able to participate just by going to a good, old-fashioned URL. But for launch, we want to have some coolio stuff ready to go. I told my client that I have the most interesting, fearless readers in the world, and hey, counting the readers of readers, that's probably close to true, so I'd put the word out here.

We're still working out the copyright issue, because ultimately, there may be enough cool stories to warrant a compilation in book form, which she'd like to be able to do. But for now, let's say that there will be a rider there where you can opt-in if you'd like to be included in the book, and opt-out if, for some reason, you wouldn't. Either way, everyone retains copyright of his or her material, meaning you're free to do whatever the hell else you want with it.

In other words, she ain't looking to get rich off us chumps; she's doing fine in that department. She's just really, really into stories.

And that's what the site is about: everyone's stories. Because as someone who's walked longtime amongst the rich and famous (and the starving artists and regular people before then), she knows that "famous" does not necessarily mean "has better story."

So here are the topics she's looking for essays on now:

  1. "Most inexplicable fling or crush" (you know, that one you're, like, WHAT THE HELL?!?! after it passes)
  2. "New passions or obsessions, however fleeting" (she mentioned a new and strange love of watching Sunday golf on TV, even though she hates golf and has no desire to learn to play)
  3. "Regrets" (big, little, whatever)
  4. "Most memorable high school dance" (could be prom...although not for me...)
  5. "In what ways are you a weenie" (uh...yeah. 500 words probably isn't enough for me)
  6. UPDATE: "Favorite space you've ever lived in, and why"

Each story should be on ONE of the topics (i.e., don't combine your crush with your prom story, or at least not as though people will get that there is more than one topic; each story should stand alone).

Also, if you want to play, they should be:

  • around 500 words, max
  • personal (i.e., about your experience)
  • p0rn-free (or really, really hilarious)

Other than that, she's wide open. Site should go live June 1, god willin' and the creek don't rise. If you're totally freaked by sending your precious words to me like this, I can give you more details, but you'll be sworn to secrecy and if you blab, you will be SO uninvited to my birthday party.

E-MAIL STORIES TO ME, PLEASE, AT communicatrix-at-gmail-dot-com

Let's say by...May 18. (Don't want to drive the developer batty, esp. since he's The BF.)

Don't worry if you're a great writer, a medium writer, or not-a writer. Although I believe there's no such thing: we're all storytellers somehow, and if you don't believe me, you don't listen to StoryCorps enough.

Or read this blog enough, for that matter...

xxx c

Image by grana (aka. crazypuccia) via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Good news, bad news and 25% more communicatrix

good news bad news I've been AWOL, I know, with both good and bad reasons.

First, the good. I saw Uma for the first time in weeks and she is doing so amazingly, astonishingly well, I almost did a cartwheel. It is good that I restrained myself, as people might then have to visit me in the hospital, and I think we have all had quite enough of THAT lately. She looks healthy and robust, she's talking, she's reading, she's hanging out, she's getting her words back, in short, she is well on her way to being 100% pre-trauma Uma, which is fantastic news, no matter how you slice it. I floated on air for the next two days...

...at which point I crashed, hard, just like my poor, poor hard drive. I've finally learned my lesson: I already have a bootable clone of my backup computer, and tomorrow, as soon as the Apple store opens, I'm getting two more backup drives. One will be a bootable clone of the G5, the other will just be Insane Colleen's Redundant Copy to keep offsite. Because I never, ever want to spend three whole days restoring my data again.

And for those of you Mac-heads who have yet to get smart, may I just say "DiskWarrior" and "SuperDuper." Saved my bacon. Mac tech, alas, did nothing...again. Total waste of time. Five hours of time.

Oh, and for those of you I'm supposed to do something with in the next four weeks, if we made plans to do so in the past eight weeks, I'm apologizing in advance if I don't show up, all my calendar data since the last backup is gone with the wind.

Finally, an announcement I've been waiting to make for a month: my NEW NEW NEW newsletter launches this week! Chock full of life-changing secrets, money-saving tips, winning lottery numbers, Furry pr0n and tasty recipes using common, everyday laundry products!

Actually, it's just one solid article on communicating, writing, self-expression, etc, and some mini-reviews of cool stuff, for now. I'm trying to be more disciplined in this vehicle, since I tend to meander on the blog. (And intend to keep doing so!) You can sign up by clicking on the gigundus banner to the right or right here. No spam, ever, I promise. Knowing me, I probably won't even use it to try and sell you anything, I'm such an old hippie.

xxx c

Image by carolitajohnson via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

the communicatrix elsewhere: pride, the bitch goddess

draak sessie 4 iii As Professor Tom Leykis says, I can advise on mistakes because I've made almost all of them.

One of my big lessons this spin around seems to be about ego: specifically, keeping it the hell out of the way. Pride has kept me in more foolish situations for more years than it's comfortable to remember, and frustrated more personal and business relationships than I could list.

I decided to write about pride in this month's acting column because it's a particularly sticky wicket for performers, who have to have a certain amount of it to get up in front of everyone else and shake what their mama gave them, but only just so much and not a bit more, or they will be slapped down especially mercilessly. (In case you hadn't noticed, people can be particularly cruel to performers (or, as The BF calls them, "Celebrities: Our Most Precious National Resource.")

Follow the link, and lemme know what you think.

xxx c

Read "Don't Let Pride Kill Your Career: The Four Traps to Watch Out for If You Want to Go the Distance" in The Networker, on LAcasting.com.

Image by bruno tessa via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Love: the soft, chewy center of everything (guest post)

Brandon There is nothing to kill a crush like meeting them in person.

In the case of Brandon, he of the now-retired BBE (Best Blog Ever!), he of the mysterious, undisclosed location in the PacNW, he of the curly poet locks and genius pen (and no, that's not code for anything), my crush crashed hard. Not because he doesn't live up to the promise of his silken prose or those sex-ay eyes (see above), but because you can't objectify someone who emanates such a deep-rooted kindness. I mean, I tried, but you really can't. Brandon was probably the person I talked to the least at TequilaCon (out of, you know, the people I actually did speak to) because he was the one I wanted to talk to the most.

There. I've said it.

When I found his blog, I read everything. Every thing. When he put it down and took up guest posting, I immediately fired off an email requesting a post here. I got a polite response, but no post, and I didn't want to be a nudge.

So I was beyond thrilled to awaken this morning not only to sweet, sweet reality (note to self: do NOT eat a pound of butter just before bed, no matter how good it makes the rapini taste), but to a humbly worded semi-request and a really, really long-ass post.

But it's good. And it's about love, and service. And as the world needs a lot more of both right now, especially combined, I cannot think of a more perfect thing to gift-as-a-verb you with on this crisp and sunny California morning. This is a speech Brandon will give today to an extraordinary group of young people. You get it here first.

Brandon, it's all you...

xxx c

* * *

I want to start off my remarks by saying I like all of you, each and every one of you, including the ones of you who have had years 10 times as productive as mine when I was an AmeriCorps member 10 years ago, although you have to take inflation into consideration if you want to make a fair comparison of our accomplishments, because remember, in 1997, a gallon of gas only cost a buck fifty seven, a movie ticket was less than 6 dollars, and the ed award was only $4,725. So really, and I'm just doing the math in my head, so bear with me, carry the 4, cross the 'T,' press and voila, the 20 volunteers I recruited would be the equivalent in 2007 dollars of 537 miscounted votes in Broward County Florida. Go figure. I guess what I'm saying is 1. A meaningful comparison between your accomplishments and mine from a decade ago is difficult, and 2. I like what you've done with the place.

Just because we cannot compare your apples with my oranges, or as they say here in Wenatchee, your aplets with my cotlets, however, does not mean that we cannot pat each other on the back and stumble out of the grizzly cafe tonight at 2 am singing "It Had to Be You," because we totally can, it's just that, well, I'll be honest with you, looking at all of you out here, knowing how far you've come, how much you've accomplished, I must confess to breaking that age old commandment against envy. I envy you, not only because of your accomplishments, but because you have had the good fortune of being able to broadcast, podcast and vlogcast your good deeds, all while listening to inspirational music like Hillary Duff to get you through the really down times, and post all your photos to flickr, with the images photoshopped just enough to actually make you look good while hand pulling scotch broom or stumbling out of the Grizzly cafe at 2am after a long day of tutoring, mentoring, grant writing, firefighting, fundraising and googling that weird guy who sent you a message through myspace. Yeah, he is kind of cute. You know his photo, anyway. Looks a lot like Jake Gyllenhaal. Go figure.

You even multitask, which in my defense, wasn't even invented until after we technophiles discovered the ability to log onto the internet without hanging up our telephones first. Or after we realized that text messaging wasn't just a new name for Morse code. I tried to fax my resume recently and the person on the other end said she'd look up that word, FAX, on urbandictionary.com. I hung up before she found out, very, very afraid of what she might think my intentions were. It's scary out here, and I don't just mean outside the grizzly cafe at 2 in the morning. I mean, you know, it's scary in the 21st century.

But I also envy you because you are all here still smiling, reasonably un-medicated and not nearly as naked as I remember AmeriCorps members how they used to be, back in the 20th century. You remind me of a friend I once had in high school, the only kid I ever knew who liked to work. When he was 16. He would invite me to spend the night, and we would go fishing until late in the evening or hunting morel mushrooms or finding a swimming hole off the Mississippi river, mind you this was Missouri, so all of this is perfectly normal, and no the story does not end with me doing a pig imitation to a banjo reprise, but don't think I wasn't worried about it at the time, either.

Yet, after packing 20 hours of adventuring into a single day, he was still up at 4 in the morning, two 10 gallon buckets of water in each hand ready to water the horses and the cows, but not the rooster, because the rooster wouldn't be awake for another hour and a half, and I just hated him, his enterprise, his determination, his EXAMPLE. And I hated the way he smiled, especially when he would get excited about the prospect of shucking beans in the afternoon. You could tell he liked work in a way that would mean I would have to work, too, or be called lazy, and there's nothing that hurts like the truth, so you work. In essence, he turned me into nothing more than a big fat liar. Although at least I'm not trying to convince you that the corn has eyes and the potatoes have ears.

I later learned that my friend wasn't normal, that he suffered from something known as 'work ethic,' and the only cure is something they sell over the counter at the Grizzly Cafe. And I felt blessed to have eventually escaped this bizarro town where Tom Sawyer fools you into running off with the carnies just so that he might paint the fence all to himself and the convenient store clerks actually check non-laminated driver's licenses in a desperate attempt to keep you from self medicating back into wellness, and this is the part of the story where there are years of peace and harmony, the weather is unseasonably mild, your passions are held in a reasonable check and the path of least resistance is finally free from traffic, you can now afford a car with cruise control and settling is just another word for nothing left to choose.

The calm shattering storm made landfall of course in 1994, the politicians apparently dragging my old friend away from his morning chores long enough to engineer a super virus from the blood the sweat and the tears sampled from what I hope was an upper body garment, and this new hyper disease they named 'ethic of service,' and they made it far more infectious than any previous ethos, so much so that the first victims, in a catastrophe later renamed the Summer of Service, were in essence blinded by the desire to volunteer. In fact, the first time they discovered service, it reminded me of the first time my 2 year old son discovered, really, truly discovered his own pee pee, and for days, weeks, even it was all we could do to convince him that there are other things you can and probably should do with your hands, such is the curse of ethic of service that those who suffer believe, truly believe that they aren't just engaging in an act of altruism, but they are helping themselves. Self service they call it, and it's not pretty. I hear it's against the law in Oregon.

I'm sorry to tell you this, but soon you will all suffer from ethic of service, too, and I would tell you what the cure is, only all those people who need tutoring, mentoring, grant writing, firefighting and fundraising would google me and start flooding my myspace account with messages of adoration and pictures of Jake Gyllenhaal getting my hopes up only to bring me crashing down when I see what they REALLY look like when we decide to meet at the Grizzly Café at two in the morning, and what they really look like is all kinds of angry, hurt and meanness all wrapped up into one big mob of a package.

So I'm not going to tell you. Yes I realize I'm being selfish about this, but I like the way I look, what with the non-broken nose and non-blackened eyes and non-bloodied lip. I like my hair, too, especially after I try a really good conditioner, like Sebastian potion 9. You all should get you some of that.

I also speak to you as an ethic of service survivor, and I have to admit, after a lot of embarrassment, pain, humiliation and itchy redness, I eventually learned that I wasn't dying from ethic of service, but was in fact living with ethic of service. What helps, of course, is that I am surrounded by fellow sufferers who have made this, rather ironically, wouldn't you say Quinn, into the one terminal disease that actually improves the quality of your life, actually makes you better, funnier, more resilient, more interdependent. Yes, you rely on each other, and would not survive long if you were the only ones of your kind.

There is a 2200 acre honey mushroom colony underneath the blue mountains of eastern Oregon. It used to be known as the largest living organism in the world. Until all of you came along, joined hands in a common cause and became one living being with a single heart and 100,000 hands. You used to be like me before I came down with the beautiful disease, constantly at the point where you were more afraid of success than failure, and now you are starting to realize, thanks to your illness, that this is some awful point to reach. It's what climbers refer to as a Himalayan point, a point Himalayan in its mortality rate, not everyone can return from such a point, and those who do often lose their extremities.

But you don't need your hands, your feet or even your eyes, not when the person next to you beats with the very same heart, not when you all share one life giving organ, pumping that gloriously infected blood, the way we as children were so desperate to do when the world was too terrible, and we'd hide behind the fence of the convenient store, shattered pieces of glass, cutting the skin on our thumbs and binding them to our friends, hoping to reach a day like what you have all discovered when you took that oath of service surrounded by people you've really, truly known all your lives but have only now just come to meet, face to face.

I had the distinct privilege of watching you, the performers and the audience, at the talent show last night. I adore your abilities, I adore your smiles, and even listening to your laughter, I adore your fears and your worries. I adore your ability to laugh at how poor you are. And I adore your ability to understand how rich you are in good fortune. I adore that you will write and sing torch songs for the members you served with, that you will one day mourn an unrequited love for the heart they put into this intentional poverty, this walking in each others' shoes, this following in downtrodden steps, this softening of jagged points of view.

Look around you and see the poorest people you will ever see with that greatest of good fortune, that disease known by the one four letter word that is sometimes hardest to say above all others. This love is your good fortune, you are your good fortune. And it is sickening, the happiness it brings me to point this out.

Image by someone at TequilaCon with Brandon's camera, evehorizon via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Citizen of the Day (a.k.a. The Carnival of Neilochka)

Dicky the Perv So you thought it was all about the gifts, eh, compadre? (Well, for Expat Jane, an expert in, I shit you not, packing at the main Seoul P.O., it was, but that's another story at the end of this one.)

No, Neil, my L.A. neighbor, my inspiration 30 miles south on the 405. When the lovely Sophia told me of her plan to gather your readers in an orgy of commerce to celebrate your birthday, I said, "F**k that noise; Neil, our most generous patron of page hits via his extensive linking, must be honored in the way that suits him and his famous member best: bloggy-style!"

But Sophia, I quickly realized, is indeed a force to be reckoned with. Plus, I get the idea she likes presents. I mean, I know you wouldn't put all those conservative titles on your own commie-left-wing Amazon WishList. So the Gift Bonanza was on, although Sophia graciously if reluctantly gave her blessing for this, the First (and, unless someone else does it next year, the last) Carnival of Neilochka!!!

Carnival smileys

For awhile, I thought we might have to name this "The Carnival of Neilochka's Penis". Neil's penis has inspired many a blog post. And while Finn reminds us that when it COMES to Neil a talking penis is just the TIP of the iceberg, I still smell a penis, out to steal the limelight!

And Daisy, of I Said the F Word, even hoodwinked her husband into driving to L.A. just to visit Neil's penochka!

Friends! This is shameful! Citizen Neil is more than his member only: he is a man of depth as well as breadth (not to mention length and girth). And, as his friend (and pre-birthday host) Danny Miller of Jew Eat Yet? points out, Neilochka has the deep, dark secrets that accompany such depth.

This Journey attests as well to the many, many things we can, and have, learned from Neil Kramer.

And if it weren't for Our Citizen of the Interwebs and his brilliant sense of humor, where would poor Nancy French be? Stuck out there in Deliverance territory with nothing but an old Annie Hall DVD to stave off her pizza-free gloom, that's where!

Legs are important

Besides, given Citizen Neil's growing popularity, it may be time for him to broaden his horizons. Via TherapyDoc, Headline WSJ: Neil runs for President of the United States, Wins Handily. (Direct Quote: "My mother told me to be nice to people and you know? She was right! It's SO key!")

And Nance over at Dept. of Nance, clever and intrepid journalist that she is, actually traveled forward in time to grab an exclusive interview with Neil-of-the-Future, the famous self-help book writer, for USA Today! Take that, Carnival of the Mundane!

I think Neil owes a huge popularity to his way with the ladies. If I could divine his method and bottle it, I could retire a multi-billionaire tomorrow! Seriously, folks, Neilochka has all sorts of lady-fans from all over the world who wanted to wish him well on his special day, like Breann of Firefighters Daughter; Tara of Paris Parfait; Fitèna of C'est la Vie!; Miriam, of Miriam's Ideas (keeping it real with what looks like an original, if unauthenticated, Hugh MacLeod).

A hard day's night

More than anything, something about Neilochka seems to bring out the poet in people.

Everyday Goddess salutes Neil both in haiku and limerick form (a little something for those of you who hail from Nantucket.)

Befitting her unofficial title as Poet Laureate of Neal Nation, Pearl has composed a second poem for Neil on his Name Day, set to the tune of The Brady Bunch theme song, so you can sing along! Hopefully, Neil will at some point share Pearl's other opus when he's done hanging with the hippies in Mendocino or making his estranged wife, Sophia, take baths without water.

Not to be outdone, Jane Doe of By the Way... also penned an Ode to Neil. That infamous hussy, Two Roads, combines two, two, two songs in one to note this auspicious occasion. Wendy, of Quiet About a Lot of Things, added a picture and a promise to her poem. And Roberta, of Roberta's Voice, has a whole category devoted to Odes to People on their Birthdays.

let's get together

Even a carnival is not all fun. It takes effort, and planning! (That may be the understatement of the Citizen of the Month.) Better Safe Than Sorry of Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture fretted over what to give the Man and His Penis Who Have Everything, before arriving at the perfect solution.

McKay has a couple of things for you rattling around in what sounds like the world's largest purse.

V-Grrrl took the easy way out and sent an electronic card of sorts. And while I wouldn't call what Ascender does "easy", I would characterize you as "lucky" for counting her among your many fans.

And planning is something you'll have to get on yourself, by the way. As Tamar says, you owe her a little something and the time is coming to pay the piper.

But all parties, even weeklong ones, must come to an end. And I cannot think of a more fitting one than this, from Mo, aka Catharsis Queen, who sums it all up for us in a few words and a picture.

"Legend", huh? So that's what the kids are calling it these days...

xxx c

UPDATE: Since this was all done under cover of darkness with a blind captain at the helm (wait...that would mean I was competent, scratch that), a few tributes did not make it to the post in time for publication, i.e., me scrambling to figure out at 8:03am why this did not autopost at 2:51am. (So much for my super-spy tactics.)

So...

Ariel, one of Neil's legions of fans from Across the Pond, weighs in with her well wishes and a typical British "howdy-do" at the end, on from fuck-up to fab!

Jill (aka Introspectre) finally pulls out of her "migraine" long enough to post an excellent birthday poem to Neil. (Warning: this post is safe, but the rest of Introspectre is an adults-only website.)

Finally (we think, anyway), Lefty of Long Relief squeaks in just under the wire two days after the fact with a gripping tale of how Neil saved his life.

Images by (top to bottom): Fred Armitage, Orbital Joe, dou_ble_you, Orbital Joe, dou_ble_you, via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Uma, Fernando and the magic of You

umameter I know many of you only visit this site in Bloglines, or NewsFire, or whatever your favorite RSS reader is. I am happy to have you read; really, it is all I ask. The actual prettiness of the site (or lack thereof, which I'll get to) is beside the point.

But if you've been reading from your RSS reader and not the site itself, while you've been spared some wonky-ass-ness from old code, you've missed the phenomenon of the UMAmeter and its meteoric rise.

Even if you've only read via RSS, you've had access to Uma and her bizarre tale of woe: a series of seizures a month ago in a New York bed; (not) waking up in a stage 5 coma at the St. Vincent's neurological IC unit, surrounded by doctors and worried loved ones; the green hearts on UMAtine's Day, at the very least.

So I'm-a spell it out for you about UMA: this is a girl who wants to L-I-V-E. She has beaten all odds, she is fighting her way back like a champeen, and soon, so soon, she will be wending her way back to L.A. via air ambulance at the staggering price of $20,000. That's, um, one-way.

What you've been missing these past coupla days, my RSS friends, is the aforementioned rise of the aforementioned UMAmeter. To the tune of $10K in two days. And this girl is theater-actor, MediCal poor, with broke-ass L.A. theater friends. But the call has been sounded around the world, and one ignores it at one's own loss.

My prediction? Even with slowing returns, we'll hit $15K in one day, maybe two. DO NOT LET THAT STOP YOU!!! She has got a staggering fight ahead of her, with staggering attendant costs. I know; I was sick once, four years ago, and my bill came to $80K and change. For 11 days. And I had good insurance!

I'm posting a big-ass thing on blogging.la tomorrow that covers the story in detail, so I won't belabor it here. Go. Give. All you people who asked what you could do for me when I was sick, and I said "no, it's covered"? Give now. Give to Uma. She needs your help. The people who are helping her need your help.

Be a part of a winning trend! Be able to look back years from now, when Uma is president or Chief Troublemaker or whatever Major Thing she's destined for and say, "uh, yeah, I made it happen." Go here now and give, bruthah!

And then mosey on over to fernando_graphicos, designer supreme, who graciously sent me the fresh code for the communicatrix website so it'd look purty for all you people. Oooh and aaaah over his juicy design goodness and uber-mensch-ness.

And then get on back to your regular lives and raise some fucking hell. Because that, more than anything, is what Uma wishes she was doing right now.

xxx c

Give to the Uma Fund. Go to blogging.la for more details (on Feb 28) now!

Nerd Love, Day 21: Happy Uma Day

uma heart When I started this series three weeks ago, it was with the very conscious notion that it'd be winding up on one of the most ridiculous holidays in the world to be coopted by modern consumers, Valentine's Day.

Let us make no bones about it: Valentine's Day sucks. Having any designated day to buy things for other people sucks. Not that buying things for other people is bad; it can be excellent, when offered up in the right spirit of freedom, love and joy, just as most things are. But to know which holiday is on the rise two (or three months) out by the color of the merch poking out of the pallets in the CVS aisles as last holiday's tatty crap is offloaded from the "seasonal savings" ghetto to the final dumping grounds of off-price land, well, call me a cynic (as if you haven't already), but that, my friends, is one step away from hailing Big Brother in the streets.

So fuck that flowers and candy shit. Seriously. Fuck it fuck it fuck it. I have a far better way to honor the true spirit of the day, a festival! of love!, and save yourself money and help some people in need at the same time.

My friend, Uma, is in a hospital in New York City, fighting for her life, following a brain aneurysm two weeks ago. She's got people all over the world rooting for her recovery because yes, of course, she's one of those Fantastic People we really, really need more of on this planet. (And for you hopeless romantics who need your gooey icing on the cake, she's 27 and just got engaged.)

Her fiancé and her best friend have been sending out updates daily with news of her health or lack thereof, so we have a way to focus our thoughts. (You can read much of them online starting here.) It's a scary mix of not-good and good right now, with the not-good being about massive stroke and swelling of the brain and the good (the excellent) being about rapid neurological recovery that no one can explain.

This morning's request was a simple one: wear green. Draw a green heart on your hand, if you have no green. Send waves of good, positive thought out there towards Uma.

Uma was no more a fan of the crappy Valentine's Day that's turned us all into February scrooges than you or I. But as her best friend, Erik, points out, Uma is pro-love, and in a big way. And, in her more active times before this fall, was a hell-raisin', law-unabidin' rebel who viewed acts of rebellion small and large with glee.

So I cannot think of a better way to end this series than with an ode to Uma, and a plea for you to perhaps take a moment of your Wednesday to send a healing thought, or a minute to draw a green heart on your hand.

Except, perhaps, to end-end it with this:

uma bird

Uma, wherever your thoughts are at right now, I know they approve...

xxx c

Nerd Love, Day 14: Stealth Nerd, #2

gretchen rubin Let's review:

Obtains Ivy League undergraduate and law degrees. Check.

Clerks for U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Check.

Chucks it all to do nerdy research and write books. Check.

Yes, Gretchen Rubin is beautiful and polished and living a life of chic Manhattan mommyhood. Don't let that shit fool you! Not only has girlfriend written four books and spent a year researching happiness from all angles, which she is now writing a book about...

...she has a blog about it.

I call nerd.

xxx c

Nerd Love, Day 9: Nerd counsel

the best advice Fuck Robert Young. Screw the stiffs syndicated in most mainstream publications. You wanna know something about something?

Ask a nerd.

Giving really good advice is nerd territory, period. Because all nerds (a) burrow deep and (b) are compelled to share. Seriously. Like crack-addled monkeys, nerds cannot resist getting their advice on at any opportunity. It provides a kind of physical release for them.

In fact, the Nerd Advice Trajectory is very similar to that of the perfect bowel movement. It requires a variety of input, the precise application of both internal and external resources, a gestation period, and, after a mild and pleasant interval of anticipatory urgency, provides an ecstasy upon release matched only by orgasm or an elusive sneeze that finally finds purchase.

Here, for your enjoyment and edification (because the highest form of enlightenment is served up in an entertaining way, i.e. a way that will land), a list of Smart Nerds with Good Advice:

1. Randy Cohen (a.k.a. "Ask the Ethicist" from the NY Times)

Yeah. We need religion to be moral. Yeah. Right. (link)

2. Cary Tennis | "Since You Asked," Salon.com

No one gives better advice than smart, sensitive recovering alcoholics. Or, apparently, engenders such lively discussion in the comments section. (link)

3. Heather Havrilesky | Rabbit Blog

You may know her from Salon's "I Like to Watch" TV column. She's better here. Link leads to a particularly fine example. You may wander from there. (link)

4. Dan Savage | Savage Love

Hilarious, smart, no bullshit sex/relationships advice columnist. And gay. Whatever. Only a pinhead would see that as his chief identifying feature. (link)

5. Sue Johanson | Talk Sex on Oxygen.com

Demystifying sex for the masses. Everyone's favorite Canadian sexpert. Makes Dr. Ruth look like a showboating piker. (wikipedia link) (showtimes link)

6. Carolyn Hax | Tell Me About It, Washington Post

So smart I almost don't hate her for being younger than I am and graduating from Harvard. Almost. (link)

Who am I missing, nerds?

xxx c

UPDATE: D'oh! Forgot...

7. The Car Talk Guys

Excellent advice, expertly delivered (i.e., with humor and sass, thank-you-muchly) each week on NPR. (Thanks, trillwing!) If these guys can entertain someone on her third Toyota Corolla (i.e., someone who could give a rat's ass about cars), they can entertain you. Love those accents, too! Grrrrr... (link)

Image by jamelah via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

the communicatrix elsewhere: Man up, actor-girl!!!

limo

Years ago, while living in New York, I had a recurring fantasy:

As I was walking to or from my miserable job to my equally miserable apartment, a stretch limo would pull up alongside me. The smoked glass window would roll down smoothly (this is when plebs still had to roll down old-school), a hand would extend out from the darkness of the cool interior (it was always August-hot in the fantasy) and a well-manicured finger would point at me...me! I was being selected for some nebulous form of greatness, to be lifted up from my sadly unappreciated existence to...well, some nebulous form of greatness TBD.

Laugh all you want; this is how most actors operate on a day-to-day basis. Hell, it's how most Americans operate, we of our First World sense of entitlement and lottery mentality. I wasn't acting back when I had this dream, after all: I had a job, what some would say a dream job, as a copywriter at a top Madison Avenue consumer ad agency, writing TV commercials for cars and packaged desserts.

Imagine if you were an actor, always one audition between you and your million-dollar contract on a hot episodic; often one job between you and living in your car. Now laugh it up, motherf*cker.

It's about time someone started explaining How It Really Works to these poor kids...

"How to Get an Agent...or Not: The Best Advice You Will Never Hear from Anyone in the Business," in The Networker, on LAcasting.com, now.

xxx
c

Image by A@lbi via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Nerd Love, Day 6: Adirondack Lily and the Stealth Nerd

lily of the adirondacks Make no mistake: my friend, Lily, is as gorgeous as they come. And I'm not just talking inner beauty; I mean angel face, non-stop bod, the whole ball o' wax.

And yet...

Lily is a nerd. Not an honorary nerd, either: a full-on, piano-playin', pie-bakin', own-clothes-makin', Feynman-readin' N-E-R-D.

The nerds, they are everywhere, you see. That whole tape-on-the-glasses-bridge thing? Dunzo. Lily has a bitchin' pair of high-end ironic nerd glasses, but she can go deep-normie-cover in contact lenses and Hollywood actress drag. You can't tell the nerds from the civilians anymore, friends. Such is the beauty of the nerd camo that has been embraced by the hipster-ati. Who's a nerd? Who's just playing one on TV?

I'm certainly not telling. My ability to make a living depends largely on keeping people guessing.

But here's a clue: check what's in their homes. Check their homes, period. It's a good bet you'll find weirdly obsessive streaks: excessive clutches of stringed instruments, five shelves of South American poetry, too much software, too much hardware, too much, too many, too too too-doo.

How to discern between nerds and their de trop and ordinary Ammurricans and theirs? Nerd-i-mi-bilia is not available on QVC. Nerds are not trend-meisters or herd members; even in their obsessive overconsumption they flit about the fringe. They are gamers, but crazy-smart; they score off the charts in standardized tests but play in jug bands.

Nerds defy classification. This is why previous eras with their rigid strata were a little hard on nerds, and why we are all breathing a bit easier now. Never before in history has it been so sweet to be a nerd.

Even a nerd in deep cover, with fedora and six-shooter, knee-deep in snow and particleboard cabin construction, in the middle of an Adirondack winter...

xxx c

Nerd Love, Day 5: Score one for the Nerds

all my favorite Thanksgiving foods rhyme with d. lee Nerds with a secret are like little kids before Christmas: they cannot, CANNOT, I tell you, wait for the big day.

The big day, in this case, was supposed to be closer to baseball season. Or at least post-Stupid Bowl. But I could not, COULD NOT, I tell you, wait one more second. Because I finally got my old pal, Tim Souers, the genius I blogged about a year and a half ago, to start a blog.

True, there are only a few actual "posts" up there. But he's uploaded two seasons to the image galleries, two seasons, people!!! Hours and hours of chewy, arty goodness.

Of course, the beauty part is, not only have I given this outstanding gift to the world (via, well, you know, Tim's time, talent and effort), but Tim is cool! He is a Cool Person!!! Who has started a blog!!! Which means...

I actually converted someone to the Nerd Side!!!

Bwahahahaha!

I will get you all, my pretties...

xxx c

the communicatrix elsewhere: How to make resolutions that actually work

LIghting the way

I've spoken before about how resolutions blow big, stinky chunks, but only hinted at how goal-setting can really work.

If you are over 40 or a realist (I am in the former camp, but hardly the latter), you doubtless understand too well that there is no one book or system or piece of software that will change you life for you, only tools and hacks that help facilitate the growth you are ready to embrace.

I know: I spent 40+ years accumulating tools, and while I made incremental progress on my own, I didn't get Big Mama Change until the universe saw fit to sit me down and teach me a hard lesson. Fortunately, I was ready for it. Because really, the universe's next move was, like, non-operative cancer or some shit, and while the morphine and pot-smoking part of hellish pain sounds good, I question how well I would do with the rest of it.

So if you are change-ready (or change-curious) and want a new tool to play with, I humbly suggest you check out my latest column for LAcasting.com on effecting real change. Included are three steps I've found work well for me, as well as one really excellent book/system which I've hinted at here called Your Best Year Yet, by Ginny Ditzler. I did write the column for actors, but it's not totally acting-centric, and besides, it's always fun to read stuff about actors: ask the publishers of US and People and every other fucking consumer magazine aimed at women 18 - 54 in the U.S.

Also, I'm trying to add to my own body of knowledge on this stuff, so if you've found tactics or tools that work for you, please let me know either in the comments or via email (communicatrix at gmail dotterooski com). I first heard of Best Year Yet via Heidi Miller's excellent small biz marketing podcast, and I totally stole that theme thing from Jenny, for example (she was very gracious about it) and would be happy to steal equally good ideas from you, too.

With attribution, of course...

xxx
c

HELPFUL LINKS:

Image by carf via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

How to light up 2007

CFL Despite all the razzing I get from Neil about my fashion-forward geek-aliciousness, I am not an early adopter. Early adopters have to be the first (First!) and they're willing to pay for the privilege. Me, I am too cheap. I let the early adopters ride out the kinks of version 1.0, wait for structural improvements, a better user manual and a lower price, and then I jump.

Take compact fluorescent lightbulbs, for example. Raised by an environmentally conscious alcoholic, monthly trips to the recycling plant with a Chevy Malibu full of empty booze bottles seemed as natural as breathing. Mom predated CFLs by about a decade, but you know if their paths had coincided, she would have ratcheted down to the box Chablis to cover the initially high cost. (Oh, wait, she dropped down to the box Chablis anyway.)

No such sacrifice is necessary now, of course. You can pick you up some dandy CFLs at IKEA for about 5 bucks a pop, free, if you can sneak them into your boyfriend's cart. They'll save a bunch of energy, which saves the planet and also saves you money. How is this not the most fantastic thing in the world? More importantly, how is it that only 6% of U.S. households are using even one CFL now?!? Does no one want to save money? Do you crave full-spectrum light that much?

True, the light isn't as pretty as that from incandescent (i.e., "regular") bulbs. But the new CFLs are pretty darn good. And the ones from IKEA don't even have that weird coil shape.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

xxx c

This post made as my bloggy contribution to a worldwide blogger effort to raise awareness about CFLs. More information on Seth Godin's site, here. Save the planet! Buy a lightbulb!

Image by Irina / Riri via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.