The Silly Ones

Frrrrriday Rrrrroundup! #18

tiny toy cowboy figure with lasso

An end-of-weekly roundup collecting fffffive of the fffffantabulous things I find stumbling around the web during the week here, but which I post on one of the many other Internet outlets I stop by (or tweet at) during my travels. More about the genesis here.

By now, you've heard of workingman's hero, airline attendent Steven Slater, who told an a-hole customer where he could go, grabbed two beers from the galley and skedaddled via the inflatable emergency ramp. But have you heard the anthem? (Warning: contains swears! But you're used to that kind of thing around here!) [Facebook-ed, via daring fireball]

Mike Tyson has walked through the fire and has something to tell you about it. Not that he'd put it that way, he's actually been through the fire, you see. [delicious-ed, via Ben Casnocha]

How to be alone. [YouTube-d, via everybody everywhere]

Any veteran of the music biz who's still around and kicking and FUNNY knows a thing or two about a thing or two. Bob Lefsetz writes about all the smart things he knows, like the fame/artistry schism in music, and when it shifted, in his daily newsletter.  [Tumbld]

If I were still designing, I think I might just replace my landing page copy with this brilliant piece by Mike Monteiro on when, why and how you should purchase design services. [Tweeted]


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

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Frrrrriday Rrrrroundup! (Political Edition) #17

tiny toy cowboy figure with lasso

An end-of-weekly roundup collecting fffffive of the fffffantabulous things I find stumbling around the web during the week here, but which I post on one of the many other Internet outlets I stop by (or tweet at) during my travels. More about the genesis here.

In case you don't live in California or spend any time on Twitter or Facebook or any other kind of news outlet, the scurrilous civil rights violation that is Proposition 8 was overturned by U.S. District Judge Vaughan Walker, my new personal hero. [Facebook-ed; bonus fave link: most hilarious/sad reactions]

Speaking of hilarious and sad, here are a bunch of actual reactions, measured! with science!, of dudes to styles of feminine comportment. [delicious-ed, via Jezebel]

As long as we're talking about stupid reactions to good things like personal freedom and agency, enjoy this hi-larious graph I found. [Tumbld]

And if you don't think you should concern yourself with personal freedoms and agency because you're not gay or you don't have ovaries, the late George Carlin has a rant for you. [ [YouTube-d, via everyone and his brother on Facebook]

Okay. I know I've already shared one video. But just so we don't end on a completely cranky political note, here's the happiest version of "Mrs. Robinson" evar. [YouTube-d, via Kristian Hoffman]

(Next week, I'll get back to posting goofy stuff. Probably. Maybe. Oh, who knows, right?)


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

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Frrrrriday Rrrrroundup! #16

tiny toy cowboy figure with lasso

An end-of-weekly roundup collecting fffffive of the fffffantabulous things I find stumbling around the web during the week here, but which I post on one of the many other Internet outlets I stop by (or tweet at) during my travels. More about the genesis here.

Flags of the nations, in food! (This one's for you, Jodi.) [Facebook-ed].

If you've wondered what this here Kickstarter thing is all about, look no further than Mr. Craig Mod's excellent writeup.   [delicious-ed]

Terry Richardson shoots Los Angeles. [Tumbld]

One of my fave small fries I met via the interwebs, doing an excellent impersonation of an adorable elf. [Flickr-faved]

And my favorite link from the past week as Coudal Guest Editor, my last: clueless idiot gives "gift" to his ex on her wedding day; Lizzie Skurnick tells him where he can put it.


P.S. Bonus extra link I found VIA Coudal: the world's greatest story involving a screenwriter, a prostitute and the law. So not what you think, it will blow your mind. (And even if it doesn't, the writing will.)

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

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Frrrrriday Rrrrroundup! #15

tiny toy cowboy figure with lasso An end-of-weekly roundup collecting fffffive of the fffffantabulous things I find stumbling around the web during the week here, but which I post on one of the many other Internet outlets I stop by (or tweet at) during my travels. More about the genesis here.

Incredibly (and surprisingly) heartwarming video involving Jewel, karaoke and a little good-hearted trickery. [Facebook-ed, via Gretchen Rubin].

If you don't think a piece about sexism in art can be wildly entertaining AND illuminating AND thought-provoking, you're not reading enough Jill.   [delicious-ed]

My new-favorite quote about writing, and kinda-sorta-prettymuch what I want to do for the next 50 years of my life. [Tumbld]

Fantastic Flickr set of classic albums reinterpreted as Pelican books. [Stumbled, via KERNSPIRACY] [Flickr-faved]

Tarp surfing. It's a thing. [YouTube-d, via The Rumpus]

xxx c

P.S. I'm posting tons more awesome stuff to the Coudal feed through the end of next week. No, really, they said I was good!

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

Frrrrriday Rrrrroundup! #14

tiny toy cowboy figure with lasso

An end-of-weekly roundup collecting fffffive of the fffffantabulous things I find stumbling around the web during the week here, but which I post on one of the many other Internet outlets I stop by (or tweet at) during my travels. More about the genesis here.

Can't stomach Mad Mel's disturbing rants on their own? Try this mashup with kittens! NSFW, of course. [Facebook-ed, via David Avallone].

Great Idea for Book Reviews #247: ask a writer to describe the last great book they read.  [delicious-ed, plus a "via"  shoutout in perpetuity to The GirlPie for introducing me to The Rumpus a ways back]

Two songs heavily reliant on the vernacular use of "baby." They could not be more different from each other, yet they are both undeniably catchy. [Tumbld]

One of the great things about summer? The joy of blue popsicles. [Flickr-faved]

If you're fond of the "oh, god, why am I stuck here and how the hell do I move ON?" posts that tend to pop up here on Mondays, you will lurve this simple, illuminating bit of wisdom on just that. [Tweeted, which almost never happens, so you know it's good]


P.S. I will persist in reminding you until July goes bye-bye that I'm guest-editing the links feed at Coudal all month long!

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

Frrrrriday Rrrrroundup! #13

tiny toy cowboy figure with lasso

An end-of-weekly roundup collecting fffffive of the fffffantabulous things I find stumbling around the web during the week here, but which I post on one of the many other Internet outlets I stop by (or tweet at) during my travels. More about the genesis here.

Don't mess with the women of The Daily Show. Especially if you're Jezebel. [Facebook-ed].

A Marxist take on the financial collapse, with pictures!  [delicious-ed]

Those BP folk, they sure are some nimble-footed PR geniuses. [Tumbld]

Not crazy about Scientology, but I like the building from certain angles. [Flickr-faved]

And don't forget, I'm guest-editing the links feed at Coudal all month long!


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

100 Things I Learned in 2009, Part 2


Wherein I (once again) attempt to show that one is never too old—or middle-aged, anyway—to learn. Or spout off about it. Part 1 here, in case you missed it.

xxx c

  1. Making something short takes a long, long time.
  2. And still provides a disproportionately large ROI.
  3. To love is to serve.
  4. Idiocy can inspire genius.
  5. Podcasting is more fun than I thought it would be.
  6. Screencasts are more fun for everyone than I thought they would be.
  7. Writing for a year seems to take two.
  8. Less is the new more.
  9. If you don't like what's on TV, change it.
  10. Never stop growing.
  11. Especially when you want to.
  12. The world's new-greatest radio station is YouTube.
  13. Time Warner needs a good kick in the 'nads.
  14. You don't have to like your teachers to learn from them.
  15. In fact, you learn more if you don't.
  16. I'm better at wrangling than I thought.
  17. I'm smart enough to acknowledge that and move on.
  18. Well, mostly.
  19. When they say "stop to put on snow chains," they mean it.
  20. If anyone is selling answers, run.
  21. Clicking offline is the payoff for all the click-click-clicking online.
  22. (And I mean click-click-clicking.)
  23. Hilarity is less important than sanity.
  24. Skype will be to Vonage as Vonage was to PacBell.
  25. And it can't be it soon enough.
  26. The best way to write about marketing might just be in verse.
  27. There's a reason Einstein and Uncle Steve wear the same thing every day.
  28. Consumables are the best gifts.
  29. Cash is the best consumable.
  30. With the possible exception of The Pears.
  31. And PIE.
  32. Keep your tools sharp.
  33. The bear gets his days at the table, too.
  34. The impulse to give away is almost never wrong.
  35. The impulse to take on, not so much.
  36. It is not what it cost you, but what it costs you now.
  37. At a certain age, knits should be loose.
  38. Their hatred is never about you.
  39. And vice versa, hot stuff.
  40. You cannot live well in two places.
  41. The road to hell is paved with drive-thru windows.
  42. Wealth really is a state of mind.
  43. Wellness, on the other hand, requires peeling your ass from the couch.
  44. "No, thank you" may be the most delicious phrase in the English language.
  45. Followed by "delete all" and "forward to voice mail."
  46. Silence is platinum.
  47. $10 a month for faxing works out to $60 per fax.
  48. .Me, you're next.
  49. Collaboration is AWESOME.
  50. So is having your 1,000th post land on New Year's Eve Eve.

New here? Or just uninspired to check the back catalog until now? I live to serve!







100 Things I Learned in 2009, Part 1

colleenamplified_technotheory How about we start off this year's list with a riddle:

Q: What's harder than writing your annual 100 Things list?

A: Writing it after a year of blogging every day, plus once weekly somewhere else, plus writing a monthly column, plus writing another monthly newsletter, plus tweeting, plus Facebooking, plus whatever other goddamned writing-type stuff that I do in the course of my non-writing work.

You'd think all of that writing would prime me for some kickass listmaking: all that material! All spelled out, organized and time-stamped! Because hey! I'm a Virgo, right? But you'd be wrong. Hours and hours' worth of 100% wrong.

Still, this is one of those exercises I derive a great deal of value from that other people seem to enjoy as well. Your win-win, if you will. So without further ado, here you goo.

Go. I meant "go."

Oy, has this been a long year...

xxx c

  1. You're never too old to be a nimrod.
  2. Or less of one.
  3. Or, thanks to Mike Monteiro, out yourself as one.
  4. Malcolm Gladwell is even hotter in person.
  5. Kermit didn't know how right he was.
  6. Beginnings are lovely.
  7. But endings have a kind of mature élan.
  8. Boulders suck infinitely less c*ck when you mock them.
  9. Especially when you do it in 2/4 time.
  10. But I still wish I could see the top of this motherf*cking hill.
  11. The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single purse-cleaning.
  12. Even a comments thread can be a collaborative work of genius.
  13. If you think your period is annoying, wait until you slide into a full stop.
  14. For that matter, wait until I do.
  15. My estimator is still bigger than my actualizer.
  16. Blogs are going the way of the buggy whip.
  17. So stick a sarsaparilla in my arthritic claw and call me "Granny."
  18. I love Hulu, but I will pay for Netflix.
  19. When the going gets tough, refer your ass off.
  20. SXSW doesn't get older: it gets better.
  21. Okay, it gets older and better.
  22. But mostly better.
  23. A second screen is worth its weight in third computers.
  24. Burning out on words is where poetry begins.
  25. Everyone has her price.
  26. Mine, apparently, is a whopping 4%.
  27. I will never become my best until I stop trying to be the biggest.
  28. It really is nicer to give than to receive.
  29. Making things is great.
  30. Making things because you must is sublime.
  31. Most of my favorite places are islands of awesome in a sea of shit.
  32. Nei kung puts the "whee!" in chi.
  33. "Meat salad" is not an oxymoron.
  34. Or a euphemism.
  35. (Outside the pokey, anyway.)
  36. Anything can be art.
  37. You can learn at least as much about yourself from the lists you don't write as the ones you do.
  38. There's nothing better than reading a great book.
  39. Except for reading a great book by someone you know.
  40. Commitment is still the sound of prison doors slamming shut.
  41. I'll run out of money before I run out of money for art.
  42. Tina Fey is every bit as good as they said she was.
  43. No, better.
  44. It is much harder to figure out how to get somewhere when you don't know what "there" looks like.
  45. That goddamn Yehuda Berg is a smart dude.
  46. Goddamn him.
  47. The best way to save time is to buy more of it.
  48. Dollar for entertainment dollar, you cannot beat what came out of Judy Garland's twat.
  49. Just don't bring it up over Christmas dinner.
  50. Sometimes, the good guys win.

Next installment: Wednesday, December 30th! Can't wait? Luckily for you, I've been doing this crazy sh*t for five years!







Image by Jared Goralnick (@technotheory) via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Poetry Thursday: Helliday pudding


Start with a week
or two
(or four
if you're really hungry).

Squeeze gently
until each day feels
a little shorter to the touch,
and looks
a little darker to the eye.

Add a pinch too much sugar
or salt
or rum
as desired.

Mix thoroughly
until your arm tires
and the concoction
forms stiff peaks.

Enjoy immediately.

(Note: This will look better
than it tastes.)


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

Scary monsters!


This past weekend, as I noted in my monthly roundup, I performed at the lovely Jane Edith Wilson's Lit.Up!, a monthly event where writers and actors craft short, mostly humorous pieces (if this past one was any indication) and then perform them in front of a very lovely crowd to raise money for various charities.

For this month's theme, "Scary Monsters," I decided to write a story about a very scary experience I had here at The BF's house. Careful readers (or listeners) will note that there is a marked reduction in my use of the "F" word. The theater-esque space is part of Jane's "super-crunchy" do-gooder church, so while we were not banned from using a judiciously placed curse word, we were, in the words of one of the older church ladies, asked to refrain from making it "wall-to-wall 'motherfucker'."

How could you refeuse an invitation to perform at such an event? (P.S. The wall-to-wall-motherfucker lady approved of my little piece, below.)

The audio should play by clicking the big arrow in the embedded Flash player. If it doesn't, click here to listen on the podcast page.

For those of you who prefer to read your scary stories, or who want to compare how something "reads" to how I read it, which might be interesting or instructive, the text is pasted below.

I'd love your feedback, whether you read or listen!




From the time I was 6 or 7, when I first learned about druuugs, I've had nightmares about being spirited away against my will.

The one I had all through childhood was set in Chicago, right across from the apartment I grew up in. Only this is a dream, so it's an abandoned, post-apocalyptic, Chicago-from-hell, with more Mies van der Rohe buildings.

In this dream I'm walking alone, trying to get somewhere safe, when out of nowhere two shadowy figures sidle up to me, one on my right and one on my left. Before I can scream, they stick me with a hypodermic needle to knock me out, but not before I realize, "Oh, my god! They're sticking me with a hypodermic needle full of druuugs and are going to kidnap me and do god knows what" (dot dot dot)...

In this other version of the dream, I'm walking in another urban landscape, some street in the San Fernando Valley, only again, with no people (just like a suburban street in the Valley).

I walk kind of fast in my dreams, just like I do in real life because I have these really, really short legs, so I'm gaining on the only other pedestrian, this 1950s-era hipster dude, plaid fedora, narrow pants, dusty green suit coat, who smells just a little like bum.

I know he's not a bum, but I also know something's off. In the dream I think, "I should cross the street," but I'm afraid that'll be too obvious because we're the only two people. Plus he's African-American, and I don't want him to think I'm crossing because he's black, because I'm not, I'm just someone who's 5'2" with really, really short legs and no ability to defend myself.

And just I'm passing him and thinking, “Oh, it's all in my head,” he swoops me up in his arms and heaves me sideways, like I'm a stack of human firewood, and starts crossing the street toward an old Impala I somehow know is right there, just out of my vision, the way you do in dreams. And as I open my mouth to scream, he wedges his arm in there to muffle me and all I can taste is wool and fear and this certainty that god-knows-what is going to happen to me (dot dot dot).

That's the thing that always scares me the most: the "god knows what" (dot dot dot). Because you never know what they want from you, these scary monsters that jump you in stairways or stalk you in parking garages or troll the streets of quiet neighborhoods at night, looking for houses with the most cash and the least security.

The BF, whom I call that both because he is my b.f. and those are his initials, lives in one of those houses. It's a beautiful, rambling old place in a quiet, undisclosed location, by day.

By night, at least when I'm alone there, it turns into a creaky, gothic house of horrors straight out of a Stephen King novel. Which I learned for myself, by myself, the first time I slept there all alone.

The BF had gone out of town, on business or to visit his kids, so I did the logical thing and offered up his place to my ladies for our semi-regular get-together. It may be a little creepy, but it has a bitchin' deck that's perfect for drinking cheap wine from Trader Joe's while solving world problems. Plus, who ever hosts doesn't have to drive, which allows for more drinking of cheap wine.
When your ladies leave though, and it occurs to you that you're going to be alone in this beautiful, rambling old house with its creaky-ass floors and overly ample egress, well, by then it's too late. You're too full of cheap Cabernet to drive yourself home to your safe, snug, 1-bedroom rental with your nosy, across-the-courtyard neighbor who has the police on speed-dial, so you lock things up and go to bed. Naked. Because you are me, and I am stupid.

I have no idea what time it was when I awoke, suddenly and with my heart pounding, both because I don't sleep with my glasses on and because the clock is on the other side of the bed, which I can't roll over to because the reason I have awoken is there is someone in the hall just outside the bedroom, standing there, staring at me quietly.

I can't make out her face exactly, except to see that it's narrow and pale, and framed by long straight hair, parted down the middle. I lift my head slowly, carefully, almost imperceptibly (I hope) to get a better look. A woman in loose-fitting clothing, one hand lightly touching the wall, is watching me, dead still, like a hippie Modigliani.

And then, though I can barely hear it over the pounding of the blood in my head, I faintly make out whispering further off down the hall. She jerks her head away as I drop mine back on the pillow.

First? This is not a dream. In a dream, when things get scary, you wake yourself up, which BELIEVE ME, I tried to do here. Repeatedly.

So…this is bad. This is really bad. I'm lying in bed, still slightly buzzed, with no phone in arms' reach. Plus I'm naked, because I'm stupid, and my robe is at the foot of the bed. If I sit up to get it, she'll see me move and call to whoever is down the hall. If I reach for anything, she'll see me and maybe call to whoever is down the hall.

I'm totally, utterly fucked.

I decide to at least try for my glasses so I can assess the situation. I lift my head slowly, slowly. As the hall comes into my field of vision, she's there again, staring back at me. They must have made her the lookout. She leans in a little closer, maybe seeing me move, and, omigod omigod omigod, our eyes lock. We're staring right at each other. You could hear a pin drop, only not if you're me because now the blood is pounding so hard in my head I can hear nothing but my imminent death, galloping down the road to meet me.

So I did the thing I could think of: I went to sleep.

Now, I didn't actually go to sleep; what I actually did was lie back down and play possum. Let her fucking watch me. Let them steal everything in the whole fucking house that's not nailed down. I heard something go "thud" toward the front of the house, fine. Let it. Let them set the house on fire and leave me. I would not move until they were gone.

Only I guess all the worry and stress and whatnot finally wore me out because the next thing I knew, I was waking up and it was light out. I lay there for a minute, getting my bearings. I was alive; that was good. Still naked. Okay. The house was standing. It even looked like there was still stuff in it.

I put on my glasses and sat up to reach for my robe and as I did, I saw her again, in the hall! Only it wasn't her; it was me, my own stupid reflection in my own stupid mirror that I had stupidly leaned up against a wall in the hallway the day before. I leaned in; "she" leaned in. I leaned back, she leaned back. I don't know what the hell all the creaks and the thuds were. The usual old house groans and moans, I guess.

Since then, I've done a few things. The first is a lot of thinking. I'm pretty sure the dreams represent a fear of change in general and the unknown, in particular, but it's definitely me, afraid (especially after the sun goes down) of things over which I have no control. I'm working on it with my shrink, and with luck, I might vanquish some of these fears before the lights actually do get turned out on me for good.

But the other things I did? Were moving that damned mirror and getting a dog that sleeps in the room with me. Scary monsters may be imaginary, but it doesn't mean you don't fight them with everything that's real.

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

Rejuvenating rendezvous-es

gianttub_gill_rickson It was an amazing weekend of colossal proportions.


THING THE FIRST: I got a metric buttload of work done. My fellow squinty-eyed middle-agers reading the actual page will notice a ton of it straightaway; the rest of you can feel free to see here and, HUZZAH!, here for external examples. Oh, and feel free to tell me what you think via this handy device.)

THING THE SECOND: The BF finished a HUGE job and celebrated by cleaning his entire house. Which, I can say now, was a huge job in and of itself. And no, I didn't help; I volunteered for two stem-to-stern tours of duty in that theater and finally realized that if I did it again, we would not last as a couple through the experience. Because neither one of us could take the stress. (Highly compatible people do not necessarily have highly compatible styles of Getting Things Done.)

THING(S) THE THIRD: Heaping helpings of neighborly love! To wit...

  • a joyous, post-cleaning dinner at one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants (oh, lordy, that SALMON!!!) with The BF and a new-and-great friend, Hippie Jan (so named to help differentiate her from L.A. Jan and Chicago Jan)
  • a joyous, post-wedding gathering for an old, dear actor friend and his new, dear bride
  • a joyous, laugh-laden reunion with my old art director, Kevin, who is out here on a production

If you've been following along for awhile, Kevin is known here as the fellow who put together an extraordinary project to mark his 50th birthday: a compendium of anecdotes on life, love, happiness and other interesting things from 50 people whom he felt shaped his life, the idea being that if a man is known by the company he keeps, what better way to find out what makes us so than to go to the source.

We talked a lot about the project, which has been very well received, adored, even, not only by the contributors, but by the people whom they were moved to share the book with. There's been a resounding call on many fronts for Kevin to pitch this as a book-book for wide publication: yes, the stories are specific to him, but they're so specific and so tender and so beautiful, there is something profoundly universal and touching about the whole affair. You cannot read this book and not be moved, seriously.

In honor of these highly moving stories, I'm sharing another of my own submissions, two of seven or so I sent back to him made the final cut. The first was about art and truth and the fire that burns within, but this one...well, this may be my greater contribution, when all is said and done...

xxx c

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

Story after the jump.

The Request, as it came from Kevin:

Recall some small detail about our halcyon days at Y&R back in the '80s.  It could be a small moment, a particular view, a scent, a color. With any luck it will bring a laugh or at least a smile. Describe it and explain what makes it so memorable and meaningful.

The Answer, as it came from me:

Many, many years ago, when my chief features of youth and vigor were abundant enough to have let me rack up successes without much else going for me, I was graced with a big task: to assist in the launch of what looked to be a rather revolutionary frozen food product.

I couldn't be trusted to do this on my own, of course, so I was partnered with one of my beloved art directors, an equally youthful and vigorous Kevin Houlihan, with whom I had many deep, soulful discussions about the merits of feta cheese omelettes vs. “real” lunch food, and which of us had better hair.

But now, our discussions centered around names. Because this was such a revolutionary frozen food product, as I recall, its Unique Delivery System ensured a fresh taste and crisp texture to the finished product heretofore unavailable in an entrée of its kind, we needed a name that was not only catchy and compelling, but descriptive as well. After all, actual focus groups of civilians had confirmed what we'd all tasted for ourselves in the test kitchen: freshness! Gourmet-quality taste! Beautiful presentation! Complex depth of flavor! These were no mere TV dinners; they were masterpieces of gastronomical proportion!

(You'll pardon the pun, there are far worse to come.)

So we sat in my office, the two of us; he, drinking endless Diet Cokes and alternately pacing or musing from my guest chair, feet on my desk; I, chain-smoking Marlboro Reds, hammering out lists of names on my trusty Selectric™.

Fresh Plates! Fresh Masterpiece! Creative Masterpiece! Fresh-n-Easy Creations! Gourmet Plates! Masterful Creations! Masterful Plates!

And in one moment, we locked eyes, the same genius idea popping into both our youthful, vigorous brains at the same time. I hammered it onto the page, pulled the sheet from the typewriter and we fairly skipped down the hall to our boss' corner office.

"Michael! Michael! Got a minute?"

"Ye-e-e-es?" he drawled, in his inimitable style. (Michael was what you'd call one of your unflappable types.) "We've got it! We've got the name for the frozen food thingy!"

"Mmmm?" he said, leaning back, his face still an imperturbable, pleasant mask. (Michael had been in the business for what I now realize was an eternity by that point.)

Kevin and I looked at each other...and at Michael...and at each other. And finally, in unison, we let it ring out into the room:



Michael looked at us. We looked at him.


He looked at us. We looked at him.


He looked at us and raised a single eyebrow. And, I can't be sure of this, but I'm fairly certain one corner of his mouth turned up ever so slightly, probably at the thought of retelling this over cocktails to various other less youthful, less vigorous parties.

We looked at each other.


There are moments in life that are perfectly Proustian in nature, that send time collapsing in on itself and us back to a moment that, in hindsight, perfectly sums up "happiness" or "love" or "peace".

And then, there are Masterplates


Searches, we get searchesâ„¢: revival edition

searchesThose of you new to the delights of communicatrix-dot-com may not be familiar with a long-ago weekly tradition, the "Searches, We Get Searchesâ„¢" feature.

Of course, those of you newer to the communicatrix-dot-com family of readers might be, erm, more familiar with a...shall we say sexier version of me mining my stats for comedy gold.

Well. No song this week. (Although as I've mentioned recently, given the nuttiness of the general searching population, I refuse to rule anything out for the future.) This week, we're doing it up old-school, as god in her infinite old-school-godlike wisdom intended.


how do you stop someone from sucking all the happiness out of life? (Google)

Never stop what you can successfully sell tickets to.

free underarm stubble (Yahoo!)

If that's not an economic indicator, I don't know what is.

best paying carpenter jobs (Google)

No no no, it's not the carpenter jobs that pay; it's the hanger-on jobs that pay.

i don't want a colonoscopy (Yahoo!)

Oo! Oo! Can I have yours?

feng shui and stairs to the basement (Google)

"The chi is coming from inside the house!"

a motor in 10 minutes project (Google)

And we were worried about handing Detroit that bailout money!

if i keep sucking in my stomach will it get smaller

No, but if you look at yourself in a rear-view mirror, it will seem farther away than it is.

what clothes to wear if you look like audrey hepburn? (Google)

Something in a plain black burial vestment.

poem for handyman shower (Google)

Your Special Day is coming
Remember: white, not black!
And please, before you walk the aisle
Do cover up your crack.

i love the apple store (Google)

Captain Obvious kills a few hours on the Google.

read heads with cleavage (Google)

I'm not sure how efficient it would be, but you could have a lot of fun trying.

naked stage hypnotist (Google)

Auto-suggestion taken to new levels.

prednisone and alchohol mixed (Google)

Hulk smash(ed)!


Get your motor runnin', Day 5: Theme Song for 2009!

First day of a new week.

First (business) day of the new year.

First day of the rest of your life. (Okay...sorry. It's a '60s thing. You had to be there.)

I figure this is as good a day as any to put the FIRST EVER video on communicatrix-dot-com. (No, that Southwest Blog-O-Crap Contest thingy doesn't count: that was a still frame linking to a video; this is the video, uh, also linking to the video.)

WARNING: There are VERY naughty words contained herein. Three of them (I think), two of which are used multiple times, and with vigor. Because something about songwriting brings out the filth in me, I guess. Also, this song covers an important subject that demands underlining! But if you're a sensitive motherfucker, you should probably just ignore this and come back tomorrow.

Ready? I give you...

The Boulder: A New Song for a New Year


Happy new year! Now, let's get to work!


100 Things I Learned in 2008, Part II

homesick_merlinmann I know! I know! You've been on pins and needles, those of you not on tenterhooks. (Go on, click. I didn't know what they were, either.)

Here's the second half of my Sweetly Grouchy Look Back at 2008. Which, to wrap it up in a sentence, wasn't bad, exactly, but felt an awful lot like having a baby elephant: a long time in coming, and at the end of it, you end up with...another elephant*. (Although, hey, I guess if you're the Mother Elephant, that's a good thing.)

All right! Enough of this jibber-jabber! Let's get on with the main event.

And hey, if I don't see you before then? Have yourself a merry little new year!

xxx c

  1. Never schedule a haircut while your stylist is going through a divorce.
  2. The new stuff of today is the #@%*! crap of tomorrow.
  3. There's no place like home.
  4. Especially when I'm the only one in it.
  5. Although visitors of both the two- and four-legged variety are welcome.
  6. Money is AWESOME.
  7. When the action is "networking," the equal and opposite reaction is "cave time."
  8. A multitude of puzzlements are made clear after spending a little quality time meditating on the size of the left half of the IQ curve.
  9. Backup.
  10. Backup.
  11. Backup.
  12. Just because something is the opportunity of a lifetime doesn't mean it's the opportunity for you.
  13. Blogging is nice, but it's good to be in print.
  14. Doing stuff is a lot harder than naming stuff.
  15. Root canals are every bit as horrifying as you've been led to believe.
  16. And twice as expensive.
  17. And my previous dentist? IS AN ASSHOLE.
  18. Consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but without it, your filing system might as well be on Jell-O.
  19. White people love their fifteen minutes.
  20. Having principles can be costly.
  21. Because, like the old saw about divorce, they're worth it.
  22. Once you let your freak flag fly, it's hard to put it back in mothballs.
  23. Never underestimate the power of a good subject line.
  24. If I'd gotten what I wanted at 22, I'd be dead by now.
  25. Ditto 25, 28, 31, 35 and 40.
  26. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I'm ready today.
  27. In order to get anything meaningful out of your life, you have to be ruthless about what you let into it.
  28. Don't try to manage anyone else's expectations until you've got a firm grip on your own.
  29. Bread is the devil.
  30. The lovely, lovely devil in white vinyl hot pants and a push-up bra.
  31. There are two things you can never have too much of, and one of them is music.
  32. Random acts of kindness happen far more often than you have your eyes open to see them.
  33. Underwear stretches.
  34. A lot.
  35. Denuding your toiletries of their signage is a subversive delight.
  36. Surprisingly, it also makes performing your ablutions more enjoyable.
  37. Provided you have a good memory.
  38. There are many reasons to own Photoshop, but making people laugh is numero uno.
  39. When in doubt, engage in a little manual labor.
  40. Preferably the kind that makes the world a better place.
  41. "The world" being anything from your sock drawer to...well, the world.
  42. I'm going to make a fantastic old lady.
  43. Buy art.
  44. Even if you're broke.
  45. Especially if you're broke.
  46. If you don't hang out with your betters, you'll get worse.
  47. Fortunately, the opposite also holds true.
  48. If you really figure out where you're really supposed to be, that you found it out late won't mean a damn.
  49. For better or worse, 2009 can't possibly be anything but incredible.
  50. I'm not nothing without you, but I'm sure as hell glad you're here!

Next 100 Things: December 2009! In the meantime, you can still enjoy the even more distant past:






*None of which has to do with the fine photo illustrating this post, which is most clearly not of an elephant but rather that pachyderm beloved of French and non-French Absurdists alike, the rhinoceros. And because you may not click through (hey! you're busy!), I'll give you the title of the photo right here:

"Homesick," by Merlin Mann via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Someday, I really need to do a post on the use of illustrations in text. Or at least, of the way I use illustrations in text. It might be illuminating. Just like illustrations are supposed to be...

100 Things I Learned in 2008, Part I

I love lists.

Making them is soothing, stimulating and illuminating all at once. (Also, a hands-on lesson in the old saw that making something look easy is hard work.)

I'm not sure how good this year's list is; honestly, I think that having so much social media in my life has acted as kind of a steam valve for my one-offs, instead of serving as a record of the past year's minor frustrations, accomplishments and general oddities. But I gave it a go because dammit, that's the kind of gal I am.

So without further ado, I give you my year in a list, Part the First. Enjoy!

xxx c

  1. When in doubt, throw shit out.
  2. Always be reading.
  3. It takes a (global, electronic) village to make a video.
  4. The iPhone is like a unicorn that actually exists.
  5. With magic ruby peonies woven into its mane.
  6. And a double ice cream rainbow in the background lighting the way.
  7. Facebook is still the AOL of social media platforms.
  8. Sometime in the middle of this year, that became a good thing.
  9. The shortest distance between you and regular exercise is a youngish dog.
  10. She who makes fun of LOST is doomed to become addicted to it.
  11. It sucks that making the logical, mature decision is considered a miracle.
  12. But that does not diminish the awesomeness of it happening.
  13. Working is easy; focusing is hard.
  14. A good bra is like money in the bank.
  15. Only it's not, because good bras are REALLY expensive.
  16. And banks are, like, not so good with the money, as it turns out.
  17. Have a plan, but make it a loose one.
  18. Learn to say "no" or die buried under your crushing pile of well-intentioned "yes"-es.
  19. The Wire may be the most clearheaded depiction of America since The Godfather.
  20. When in doubt, just add water.
  21. And coffee.
  22. Lots and lots of coffee.
  23. Change takes longer than you think it will, but is generally worth the wait.
  24. The Change takes even longer and had goddamn well better be.
  25. If you think COBRA is bad, wait until it runs out.
  26. And you are over 40.
  27. With a pre-existing condition.
  28. Networking does not, in fact, have to suck.
  29. Everybody farts.
  30. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think Wiis are stupid, and those who have played them.
  31. I miss performing (NSFW).
  32. And, apparently, starring in commercials.
  33. And, finally, at long last and without reservations, my dad.
  34. Setting a goal to have more sex is a great idea.
  35. Telling the person you're going to be having the sex with about the goal to have more sex is not.
  36. Life becomes exponentially more awesome for each person you add to your life who is cooler than you.
  37. And a better citizen.
  38. And more talented.
  39. Astrology may be bullshit, but I'll be damned if I buy another piece of electronic equipment when Mercury is retrograde.
  40. I am a starter, not a finisher.
  41. I don't hate TV; I hate paying for it.
  42. Also, sometime while I was watching Hulu, Bravo devolved into the Schadenfreude Channel.
  43. If you want a real-time demonstration of the journey being the point, get yourself to Inbox Zero.
  44. The world won't end if you hide your light under a bushel, but someone is sure to trip in the dark.
  45. Legs' status as The Last Things to Go notwithstanding, there is an age after which one should not wear a miniskirt.
  46. At least, in public.
  47. Don't bother using Firefox with less than 4 gigs of RAM at your disposal.
  48. A made bed and a clean sink won't solve everything, but they make it easier to deal with almost anything.
  49. I would rather win one fan for life by telling the truth than a thousand for five minutes by fudging it.
  50. (Did I mention that's a really great outfit you're wearing?)

Can't wait until the next installment? Why not learn from the past while you wait?





Ramping up to the end-of-year lists


It's that time of year again. You know, the end part.

The part where everyone posts their lists of "Best Stuff of 2008 (That I Still Remember, Anyway)". I know that a huge part of my so-called brand involves being a "rebel" and an "iconoclast" as well as a "deep-thinking blatherer," but another, also huge part of me is a goofball who likes writing pithy bits and marching in lock-step with the rest of the world.

Don't believe me? Well, then, clearly you're no longtime reader of communicatrix-dot-com, as you're not familiar with a little annual tradition I've had in place since Year the First. In involves recalling what I can actually recall of my year, or piece together from old posts, calendar entries and marathon sessions with the "search" function in my gmail archives, here, in list fashion, with some mirth and many more self-links.

That's coming up soon. But it is a MAGNUM-FREAKING-OPUS, baby, and not to be rushed. Besides, I hate it when year-end reviews don't include the end of the year they're reviewing.

So in the meantime, I'd like to share a few sillier items to ramp up to those, the first of which should drop next week. ("Drop" being the technical term for "post" when I'm getting my journalist on.) Because I selfishly and transparently want to whet your appetite for my MAGNUM-FREAKING-OPUS so you'll actually maybe possibly swing around here and take a gander, rather than let it, or them, really (it's in two parts), molder away here, unloved and unread, as you par-tay down, holiday-style, away from the computer.

Also, I kinda-sorta think it would just be nice to start having a little more fun around these here parts. Not all the time: there will still be puh-lenty of deep probing and suchlike in the coming months. (Ahem.)

But in case you hadn't noticed, things are getting rather gnarly out there. More joy!, say I...and will say, throughout 2009.

For now, though, let me introduce you to The Six Days of Christmas, a Video Gift from me to you that is already three days underway.

These are tiny home movies of my family members from long ago: things you know as "commercials," since I come from an advertising family, not a home-movie-taking family. (Although I remember one holiday where some uncle screened what seemed like 14 hours of various family members streaming into and out of the parish church on their way to and from the First Holy Communions, Confirmations, and Other Various Sacraments that Lay People Can Indulge In Publicly. The first 7 hours were pretty hilarious. The last? Not so much.)

You can view them via...

  • Tumblr blog, which for those of you who don't know about it, contains most of the interesting video and photo ephemera I stumble upon on the web
  • YouTube channel, which also is home to the videos I create (more of those in 2009!) and the ones I find interesting, but not appropriate for my Tumblr blog
  • ...the Facebook, if you happen to belong to that fine social networking community

Speaking of Facebook, as my new pal, Tim Walker, tagged me for a fun meme, the object of which was to share seven tidbits about oneself and I had just the other day been tagged for one on Facebook by my other new(ish) pal, Bryn Mooth, the object of which was to share 16 tidbits about myself, I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone by liberating my words from behind Facebook's firewall AND be nice by playing along AND lighten things up around here.

And just so you don't think I'm a complete lazy-ass bum, I'm adding bonus linkage never before available in this version. (Facebook, in an effort to be as user-friendly as possible, I guess, is kind of weird with the linking, so screw 'em.)

So without further ado...

16 Random Things about Colleen Wainwright, a.k.a. "the communicatrix"

  1. Lists are one of my favorite literary forms.
  2. Don't believe me? Check it.
  3. Road trips excepted, I loathe driving.
  4. I could probably eat my weight in Houston's brussels sprouts.
  5. And if they're out of those, the acorn squash.
  6. The butternut? Not so much.
  7. No one who meets me believes it, but I'm one of the world's biggest introverts.
  8. Despite what my dear friend, Bryn, would have you believe, the Very Best Dog in the World is, in fact, Arno J. McScruff. I'd show you a picture, but then I'd have to kill you.
  9. I was ineligible to give blood until four years after my Crohn's onset when I finally made the weight which point I was on immunosuppressants and therefore ineligible to give blood.
  10. I was once flown to Montreal, all expenses paid, to sing a song about my twat.
  11. I am almost pathologically impatient.
  12. My ex-husband and I had our 12th date on the Oprah show, where he was on a panel discussing "Pre-Marital Sex, Yes or No?" He came out strongly on the side of "yes," delivering up the unforgettable sound bite, "You wouldn't buy a car without test-driving it first," after which the woman sitting next to me in the studio audience said, "What a pig, who would go out with him?" 20 years later, I still remember the evil grin on my face as I sloooowly turned towards her to sh*t in her oatmeal. It was a PERFECT movie moment.
  13. If I could have any superpower, it would be to sing like Ella Fitzgerald.
  14. And to accompany myself on piano like Oscar Peterson.
  15. I will go to my grave saying Jackie Brown is superior to Pulp Fiction.
  16. Despite my legendary Internet prowess, until I got this @#*&! meme, I had no idea how to use the "Notes" feature on Facebook.

There is supposed to be some tagging here on my part, but my thought is to just put it out there and encourage YOU to take 15 minutes (or half an hour, or however long you'd like) to do it up if you feel like it. And then post in the comments with a link so everyone can see your own MAGNUM-FREAKIN'-OPUS and show you some love that.

Keep on enjoying those holidays, and stay tuned for more excellent listage to come!


Image by thp365 via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Yo! This post contains an Amazon affiliate link to the 2-Disc DVD edition of one of my all-time favorite flicks, Jackie Brown. Buy it through the link above (or this one, here) and I get a half of a half of a cent or something; don't, and I don't. But check out the film either way. It's THAT GOOD.

100 Things I Learned in 2007, Part II

still the best dog Wrapping up this fine and crazy year in 50 short-to-medium numbered items. If you have OCD or something like that, you might want to read the first 50 short-to-medium numbered items first.

  1. I may not be a dog person, but I'm definitely an Arnie person.
  2. In every possible figurative sense, my eyes will probably always be bigger than my stomach.
  3. Television? What television?
  4. The shortest distance between two points is often a half-bottle of chianti.
  5. Time crawls when you commit to doing something every day for 30 days.
  6. The strongest proof of global warming may just be a visit to my apartment in September.
  7. Life is better with regularly scheduled Ladies' Nights.
  8. And TextExpander.
  9. Just because you have seen someone over and over on the internet does not mean they are ready to embrace you as an old friend when you finally greet them during a surprise run-in at the coffee shop.
  10. Especially when they are four.
  11. And you are interfering with their immediate receipt of hot chocolate.
  12. Lead by example.
  13. Podcasts are easier heard than made.
  14. Bank accounts are easier closed than opened.
  15. The price of grinding your teeth at night has more than doubled since 1998.
  16. There may be a wearout number of viewings for Play Misty for Me, but at 50, I've yet to hit it.
  17. No matter how evolved I get, from time to time, I will be That Asshole.
  18. Designing album covers is every bit as cool as you thought it would be when you were 10.
  19. Even if the albums are now only 5"x5".
  20. And will mostly be downloaded anyway.
  21. Despite optometrists' exhortations to the contrary, you do not actually need to buy a new pair of glasses every year.
  22. If you want something done, schedule it.
  23. You never know where your next job will come from.
  24. That goes double if you have a blog.
  25. Those classes at the Learning Annex are as educational as you'd expect them to be.
  26. That doesn't mean you won't learn from them.
  27. The Central Coast is even better when seen from the picture window of your own, private rental home.
  28. Never say "never."
  29. On the other hand, "no" is a really good thing to say from time to time.
  30. If Malcolm Gladwell does not want to be my next boyfriend, Jonathan Coulton will do just fine.
  31. Or Bob McBarton, if I can convince him to leave his adorable wife and daughter.
  32. Or Dan Savage, if he'd be into batting for the other team.
  33. The point where dreams get truly difficult is when they start coming true.
  34. You can't quit (or start) until you're ready.
  35. When it comes to letting my hair go, I'm still a total scrotum.
  36. The best birthday presents are the ones that cost nothing and show up unexpectedly.
  37. It is way more fun to marry other people than to marry, period.
  38. Trying to compose 100-things lists in the WP text editor is like trying to make a pie wearing mittens.
  39. She who doth not invoice, doth not get paid.
  40. Let it go.
  41. Really, just let it go.
  42. I'm serious...let it the fuck go, already!!!
  43. Boobage is a pain in the ass.
  44. People are amazingly good at providing help.
  45. Especially when you ask.
  46. Sadly, nothing much has changed from a management perspective since Upton Sinclair's time.
  47. Happily, much has changed regarding access to the means of production.
  48. The less you make of the holidays, the more fun they are.
  49. Even if you own, you're only renting.
  50. When in doubt, put on Django Reinhardt...

Happy new year, one and all!

xxx c

It may be a while before I post another one of these, so...





What I learned on my trip to Seattle


  1. The standards for Seattle coffee are so high that even Starbucks tastes better there.
  2. The early settlers accidentally built all of their gift shops underground.
  3. Two miles feels like 22 when it is all uphill.
  4. Mel Brooks has another big hit on his hands.
  5. Crumpets taste better by the water.
  6. Ditto cupcakes, ham & eggs, beer, coconut pie, and everything on the menu at Etta's.
  7. If I lived there, I would have two muffin tops.
  8. From across the room, in glasses and pigtails, I am Decoy Megan Mullally.
  9. The ride to Bainbridge beats the island itself, hands down.
  10. I still like Portland best.

Top ten dating tips I found cleaning out my files


As most of you know, I'm off the dating train, too far off to write a book or a blog that would be of use, and yet I cannot stand for my hard-won knowledge to go unused.

So when I came across this random list in my mini-purge-fest, I figured that at the very least, I could slap it into a blog post without looking ridiculous.

There are whole books, nay, shelves upon shelves of books these days, you can read on the topic of dating. If you're looking for more, I'd suggest If the Buddha Dated. (There's some good advice in He's Just Not That Into You, too, but it's mostly in the title, with a few extra tips easily extracted in a half-hour, in-store read.)

And like I've said before: better to rent than own! Or at least, rent first!

Okay, on with the list.

The communicatrix's Top 10 Tips for Dating If You're Doing It to Find a Happy and Successful Relationship (as opposed to just sex, which is also great)

  1. Never date anyone better looking than you are.
  2. This goes double if you are a chick.
  3. Character is revealed in the first 5 minutes of meeting someone, and does not change.
  4. If someone tells you he's crazy, he is.
  5. If someone tells you he doesn't think he ever wants to get married, he doesn't.
  6. If the sex is sporadic in the first six months, it will never be plentiful.
  7. You cannot change how a person kisses.
  8. Under no circumstances should you move in with a person before you've known them for at least one year.
  9. Better to make it two.
  10. And wait at least one more to get engaged.

Remember: you may need to switch up your shampoos until you find one that leaves your hair shiny and manageable. Once you do, I advocate cultivating brand loyalty.


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

Things I woke up to this Saturday morning


  • Good UMAnews in my inbox
  • The discovery that Orkut's "Year I Graduated College" menu only goes back six years earlier than I did
  • Relief that I was not, in reality, about to get on a borrowed moped running on empty in a strange town at dusk, charged with running five errands, including picking up my African-American uncle's dry cleaning
  • Disappointment that I didn't have an African-American uncle, because that part was actually cool

xxx c

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