Friday, December 5, 2008

George and TI

I let someone down. Actually two people, friends, but one of them is dead now. I hate being so blunt but that's the reality and I don't want to sugar coat it. When I found out about the death and the cancer, the guilt came back in a huge, tidal rush. Guilt so strong that it was all I could feel for a long time. As usual I became angry with myself for all of the things I didn't do, the phone calls I didn't make, the forgiveness I didn't give. I vilified myself, continually asking in my head, "Why couldn't you have been a better person?" Why couldn't I have been a better person?

I believe we all go through a period in our emotional maturation I will call "George" because I'm too lazy to think of a psychologically more appealing, yet intellectually amusing name. George is a process of relating all of our mistakes in a way that rationalizes them so that we feel less guilt, feel justified for our actions and allows us to "save face." It's kind of an ego centric phase that some of us never evolve away from. To grow out of George requires honesty, not just with others but most importantly with ourselves. It's a deeper kind of honesty that makes us let go of looking stupid or wrong and admit our real feelings in real time. Most of us can realize our real feelings about for instance what a friend did that pissed us off, but it takes a little time and emotional intelligence. At first we think we must let it go because we're supposed to and everyone will be happy if we do. But we can't stop thinking about "The Issue" (TI) and we keep thinking about it, until we either rationalize again why we should let go of TI or realize we don't like TI and start to resent the friend and ourselves for feeling that way. The process could then go one of two ways: A. We are honest with ourselves and in turn use a tactful, loving way to communicate our feelings about TI to the friend. There might be an argument - or not, awkwardness - or not. But then it resolves and...leaves our consciousness. Poof. Or B. We continue to justify and/or deny our feelings without being honest. We continue this "face-saving", right-fighting mentality and most likely feel resentment and guilt - forever. Or at least a really long time.

I think at age 37 I'm learning how to move past George. I'm realizing it's not always all about me. The past is in the past. You never know what life will bring and all the other cliches that actually have a good point. A good friend of mine described friendships in a very eloquent way. She said, "There are Journey Friends and Life-Long Friends. Life-Long Friends can come and go, in and out of your life but they will always be there for you and you for them. Journey friends are only meant to be there for a certain part of your life - you experience a journey with them and that's it, you both move on."
I let my friends down. My friends that should have been Life-Long Friends, but I wasn't out of George and didn't communicate TI so they became Journey Friends. They should have been Life Friends. But Life got cut short.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Correspondence

*warning: several references to the rear-end and its parts. Not for the weak of heart.

Dear Dr. Pain In The Ass,
I want to thank you for my recent sigmoid-whatchmacallit. I've had a few but WOW, this one was really one to remember. Your assistant told me he had pain medication to give me if I needed it. He said I would be asleep anyway but promised the drugs were ready and waiting in case I said "Ouch." Then you, Dr. PITA, came in and we had a nice chat while you injected the sedative into my IV. It went like this: First injection, "Feel Anything?" "Nope." Second injection, "Feel anything now?" "Nope." Third and final injection, "Feel anything?" "Nope, should I?" "OK, let's start!" That's when I had a thought bubble. Why am I awake? Oh well, the Doc must know what he's doing. Suddenly, I felt a unique sensation I never imagined I would feel:

SOMEONE PERFORMING LIPOSUCTION UP MY RECTUM!

I wouldn't be so freaking mad if my ass actually ended up smaller.
Seriously? Were you looking at my colon or shredding it because that was the most excruciating pain like no other I have ever felt.
And did I get the flippin' pain meds? That would have just been too logical.
I fell asleep after it was all over - probably from the shock of having had rectal lipo.
Oh, and I think I left something behind (no pun intended) in your office. Yeah, a piece of my dignity (and maybe a piece of my ass - or so it feels). Lost. Gone forever.

Most Sincerely,
Someone you owe an major apology and a seriously large tube of Preparation H

Since I still have a sense of humor:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Facebook - Not Just College Gossip Anymore

As I talk to friends and colleagues about Facebook (don't forget I am of the age group, according to the original Facebook crowd, "Old People Invading Facebook") I notice generally two schools of thought. Those who use Facebook to get in touch with friends, post photos, poke a person or a hundred and those who won't touch Facebook because of its annoying reminders, lack of anonymity, time consumption and well, they're just too cool for school.

I agree, there are times you want to b*tch slap (not my term, you CAN really do this virtually, of course on Facebook - FB) or "throw a sheep" at those people who send numerous daily wall posts and dare I say useless status updates (I'm just as guilty). But step back a moment and look at the revolution that is Facebook/social media and those using it as a change agent for Cause Related Marketing (CRM). Many of us woke up election morning to hundred's of thousands of status updates stating that they voted. The ultimate version of peer pressure via social networking. Did it work? I submit that it did! Voter turnout supports this. And it doesn't stop there...Millions of dollars have been raised for thousands of charitable organizations, social and political causes. Many of them $1 at a time.



Baby Boomers have lost ground as the largest generation in the United States. The new internet, tech savvy, gadget hungry generation of today represents more than 70 million consumers. This generation has been touted the Millennials and 60 minutes reported now as "The Age of the Millenials. Thus social media is quickly becomimg an important part of communications today. The communications professional in me realizes this is innovation at its best. The non-professional in me thinks, "Holy Sh*t, this is so cool! Who wouldn't want ride the proverbial wave?" Organizations, whether corporate or non-profit are gearing up for an exponential change in marketing to this generation. The Millenial consumer is looking for a platform to have a voice and FB gives them this platform. On FB, tens of thousands are voting where charitable dollars should go, discussing political issues, candidates and starting grassroots organizations and causes. I for one, though I swore obscenities at my Blackberry when 20 FB notifications woke me up from my much needed nap, will continue to dig deeper into what FB can offer beyond a god-damned hatching egg!

There is more to Facebook than it's cover represents, in other words - Don't judge a Facebook by its cover.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Inspiration

Recently, I thought I was going to die.

OK STOP LOOKING AT THE DUDE IN THE VIDEO FOR A QUICK SEC - I KNOW IT'S DISTRACTING

I found myself in such horrific pain for three weeks with CT scan after MRI after ultrasound - potential tumor then not, one Doctor telling me one thing and another Doctor something completely different. Not to mention, no one particular Doctor wanted to claim my illness as falling "in their realm of specialty." It's a freakin' human body in pain people. I felt like Sarah Palin's accent...nobody wanted to claim me. And whatever happened to Doctors being diagnosticians? I was never diagnosed with anything, yet I came out of the thick smog that was part narcotic pain medication mixed with a touch of the rank stank of my rarely bathed self (sorry honey) and the delusion that I was no longer human, I had been abducted by aliens who subsequently implanted their embryo into my body and it was fighting it's way out through my belly button. The day I felt some semblance of normalcy, I was ready to go do something as human as possible (besides eating) like invest in the stock market. What? Did I miss something bad? Or I even thought about joining a soccer team or running a marathon. Yeah, I guess the narcotics hadn't quite worn off yet.
I thought I was going to die and I didn't and I'm going to live the hell out of my life. Well, not quite as bad ass as this guy:



Let's all bow in humility.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Life With Logue - Parenting a Gifted Child

When Logue was born, exactly 13 years, 7 months 19 days ago, I knew right away he was an old soul. He didn't like a lot of noise, activity or fuss. He would sit in his bouncy chair and laugh and giggle at a Native American mask a friend's father made for us. He hated sleeping alone as if he knew about solitude already. We started to call him our "Little Bhudda" he seemed so "Zen" (except when we had to put him on the washing machine to calm him down in the middle of the night). At 18 months his daddy asked him how his nasty cut on his eyebrow that he had gotten on the playground was and Logue answered, "It just IS Daddy."

When I took him to mommy and me class he was content to play on his own. If another child neared his area, he just moved on to something else. When circle time came, he was not about to participate. I know now what he was thinking: "Why join in with the others when I can have the Duplos all to myself and reinvent the pyramid?" "Besides, who wants to sing the ABC song when you can design a Lego airplane from scratch and really Mama, the wheels on the bus? We all know they go 'round and 'round." Logue resisted play time up in the gym as well. Other kids were not interesting to him, especially if they were ramming each other with various wheeled, kid powered vehicles. To Logue vehicles (Hot Wheels) were to be lined up in neat little rows, color coordinated and by make and model.

Preschool came and man did Logue put up a fight. Being young, first time parents, we didn't want to cause him more agony than he already appeared to be in every time preschool days came around. You'd think that the resounding "Logue!" shouted from every student in the classroom when he walked in would be a welcoming treat for a 3 yr old. Not Logue. We caved often when those crocodile tears came pouring down, "I don't want to go to school, it's too hard!" Poor teacher Nancy, the sweetest lady ever who adored Logue. She had her work cut out for her. But again, I knew what he was thinking: "What's the point in going to this place where you have to stand in line, run around in a gym and...What is all this nonsense about coloring inside the lines, for God sakes people, think outside the box!" A conformer he was not. Polite, gracious and kind he was (thank God for small favors) which I why I think they let him stay.

Around age four I started noticing Logue reading signs along the road in the car. At first I thought he was just talking, singing - the usual toddler stuff. It started to dawn on me that he might be reading. So, I tested him. "Do you know that sign says stop because you recognize the red octagon?" "No, mama, it says S-T-O-P, stop, just like that sign over there says Cleaners." "Oh, my bad." Soon it was cereal boxes, milk cartons and very quickly our house was bursting at the seams with books. That's when the worrying started. How do we parent this child? Are we supposed to send him to some think tank or boarding school for special smart 4 yr olds? Reading about gifted children and other parents with smart children brought me back down to earth...THEIR children were reading when they were 2 yrs old. Whew!

...to be continued.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Promised I wouldn't Get Involved in the Political Realm...I Lied

No matter what party a candidate is from, left or right, Democrat or Republican, I expect a prospective leader of our free country to conduct him/herself with dignity, honor and dare I ask for a slight bit of humility? I hoped that we had learned from historical events that declarations of hate, slander and racism do not bring us the truth, rather those things instill fear into already afraid Americans. I'm not expecting the Presidential Candidates to rival the Dhali Lama, far from it. Bring it down about a hundred notches and there you have a reasonable expectation for the behavior we should expect from our Political Candidates. Enough with spinning facts into fear. Really...Acorn is destroying the "Fabric of Democracy?" Come on now...get a real campaign.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Destinisia

Have you ever gone somewhere and forgotten why you went? Yeah, that happened to me today...if you saw a woman turning in circles at the grocery store looking perplexed and lost...that was me! Awkward. Yeah, I'm sure people were thinking "Oh, look at that poor girl, she's a little slow." It's called Destinisia. (Thanks Urban Dictionary)

Anyway what was I talking about? Oh yeah, since Anna and I live across the country from each other, we need to talk to each other face to face rather than ear to ear. Mostly because I'm a retard who can't hear people on cell phones and just end up saying "Huh?!" the whole time and nothing gets communicated whatsoever. We could text, but we always have so much to talk about - we'd be thumb lashing each other ourselves into carpal thumbal. So, we use iChat. I love technology (except when it doesn't work) and iChat or Skype - is priceless. One of the best conversations Anna and I have ever had via iChat is shown below. We covered so many topics, talked about all the important things going on in our lives - school, work, kids, boys and...well...you'll see. I have to warn you though, Anna and I have kind of our own language. We are "Agent Zoeys" after all.

video


Poor Bean was trying to get in on the action.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Etsy Makes Martha Look...Mediocre

I love Etsy. Like an I-have-to-stay-away-or-I-will-go-broke-love. There are so much fantastical hand-made goodies to find, from clothes to toys, art to jewelry. This is not your average craft fair. There are some seriously talented people with seriously cool stuff to sell. Right now Etsy is having a contest...so check it out and vote. Here's who I'm voting for:


by barkingbirdart (special affinity for fellow Portlanders)
who doesn't love a little self sufficient hedgehog?


by littlegirlPearl
this coat is so whimsically retro and happy!


by littleloveblue
mushrooms, felt, blue bells...I am one with the universe.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

MMMMARTHA AND ME



A subscriber to Martha's methods I am not. If I get involved in watching her shows or reading her magazine I don't feel that excitement to get up and organize - I get depressed. I am a lower than low maintenance gal when it comes to my house, my yard, my entertaining - wait...I don't entertain. So, it's very out of character that I came across this ccr...ccr...I can say it - just give me a minute...c...r...a...f...t!
I want to have someone make these for me make these and string them all over Bean's room. They're happy little balls of joy.

Here's the "How To" courtesy of Martha Stewart Online:

How to Make the Pom-Poms
You'll need tissue paper and 24-gauge white cloth-covered floral wire.

Hanging Pom-Poms
1. Stack eight 20-by-30-inch sheets of tissue. Make 1 1/2-inchwide accordion folds, creasing with each fold.

2. Fold an 18-inch piece of floral wire in half, and slip over center of folded tissue; twist. With scissors, trim ends of tissue into rounded or pointy shapes.

3. Separate layers, pulling away from center one at a time.

4. Tie a length of monofilament to floral wire for hanging.




Tuesday, August 19, 2008

NERDY GIRLS ARE DUMB SLUTS?

FIRST I JUST WANT TO CHANGE THE NERDY GIRLS TITLE...I DON'T LIKE THE WORD 'NERD'...NERLIES? GERDYS? (No, sounds too gastrointestinal) NERGILS? I'll sleep on that one.
I was perusing the Talented and Gifted Family forum and come across this article, Smart=Sexy. Smart=Sexy is a snartastical response by Jennifer Ouellette to the negative comments aimed at Phil Plait at Discover Magazine and his post here about supporting the Nerd Girls website. Many of the comments on Phil Plait's post are in response to his supposed chauvinism and whether or not the Nerd Girls are qualified to call themselves Nerd Girls. But here's my favorite comment:

"I am all about equality of all kinds. However, there is one line I wish to comment on. Not sure where you were going with it, so I will just add my piece.
'It (can be) hard to promote this. Society can sometimes just see women as sexual objects, which is unfair.' (Phil's quote)

It is not unfair that sometimes women are seen only as sexual objects. It is their wish too. If I walk down the street and can:
A- See your belly button ring
B- See what color/style underwear you have on
C- Do a 3/4 visual breast exam without you removing your clothes
etc, then that is exactly how I will see you, as an object for my sexually viewing pleasure."



SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!
I was told there were people in the world who blame women for their chauvinism. But wow, here's a real life example for me. I would have understood had he said "Hey, I'm a man and when I see a woman, I often see her as a sexual object," because at least he wouldn't be blaming his behavior on women and what they wear.

I know nothing about Phil Plait and won't comment as to whether he is chauvinistic. His support of females in the science industry is cool. 'Nuff said.

I do, however, get caught up in the topic of whether girls should concern themselves, as they are growing up, with makeup, clothes, jewelry and such other toxic items that might objectify them as...wait for it...FEMININE! And yes, the many double standards that us girls and women have to endure make me cringe and then other bad bodily things happen because I'm getting old. Really though, studies show that good looking people are taken more seriously than their ugly counterparts yet, admit it...many people assume if a woman is pretty...she must not be that smart. If a girl or a woman explores her appearance is she shallow? Is she asking to be objectified? Does it dilute her intelligence? Those are rhetorical questions.

My concern is this: How do we raise girls in this culture and era to find their identity and feel confident, happy, grounded without the fear that looking pretty too is just asking to be degraded?

I grew up a (here it comes...look out) "Nerd", caring about my appearance, liking girly things AND boyish things. I learned as a 13 year old Amer-Asian girl that dying my hair blonde (which turned out orange) to look like Madonna was a need to explore how I felt about not being the stereotypical blonde, blue-eyed girl-next-door (literally) and a way to accept my Asian heritage and beauty among mostly Caucasian peers. I also piled on the blue eye shadow and pink lipstick 'til there was a shortage in the makeup industry, testing my perspective of what pretty was. And the mini-skirt I wore that one day, attracted the wrong kinds of guys, ew. All this while doing independent studies in calculus. These were extremely valuable lessons for me. THANK YOU MOM! I know it gave you arthritis.

Children will explore their gender identity - like my friend's 5 year old son who is curious about dressing up in a tutu and my daughter who wants to wear her brother's clothes one day and a princess costume another.

Let girls discover who they are without judging them. Let girls explore their intelligence while exploring their femininity. We can't make assumptions as to what it means from their perspective - then we're proposing we are all-knowing, and we aren't are we? You can't discount the psychological process of exploring one's appearance as part of exploring one's personality and identity.
Do people who criticize the exploration of femininity have children? Because there is a great lesson in raising kids: Some things are innate.
There are groups of people everywhere who are happy and confident with who they are and want to tell about it. GREAT! If we have a problem with that, we need to take a hard look at ourselves and ask, "What is it about me that elicits the need to focus energy on criticizing others' confidence and choices in appearance?"
I understand that makeup, nice clothes and jewelry do not make a girl. But if a girl wants those things that does not make her a sellout. We have too many stereotypes in this country. Men who like to dress well and use hair products are metrosexual...huh? Girls who wear baggy jeans and short hair are dikes...wha?
Are we assuming that the young women from NERD GIRLS were held down against their will, smothered in makeup and forced to pose for a picture so the blogger could make a point?

When we start dictating what girls should or shouldn't be doing with their appearance while exploring their identity...that's when the problems begin. Let a girl try out blue hair and focus on teaching her to be kind, honest and trustworthy. You know, girls will find a way, no matter what anyone tells them to do, to express themselves through their appearance. Boys too. It's a natural part of growing up. And if we focus on supporting their confidence, some of them will look back when they're 30 and say, "Why the hell did I wear all that makeup? That was a phase I learned from." And some of them might say, "Thank God I was allowed to explore my identity...I am a happy healthy adult because of it."

If a girl wants to declare that she is smart AND likes makeup, jewelry and clothes - and it makes her feel confident...THEN LET HER BE!

And as Jennifer Ouellette says in Smart=Sexy, "But just because some guys can be immature jerks is no reason to teach our young girls that therefore, they shouldn't wear pretty clothes and makeup because it's just asking to be harassed and/or not be taken seriously. If the guys' attitudes are the problem, why are we placing the onus for behavioral modification on the girls? We should be enlightening the guys instead, not making excuses for them ("That's just how men are"). Dudes! It's the 21st century! Evolve already!"
I second that emotion.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

DISPATCH FROM THE BITE OF OREGON

As my PR Consulting business grows, I am most happy with the new and exciting world of the music industry. As I dig deeper into the unknown that is Dan Reed and his career, I will chronicle my experiences in this blog. The following is a look at 1. J's shaky video hand (but I so love you for being my camera man!) 2. My amateur editing abilities 3. Dan's amazing concert at The Bite of Oregon at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Check out Jay Mack and his smooth rhymes...

video

ANNA CHRONICLES

i'm just now realizing how insane i am to move to one of the biggest cities in the world, by myself. i've been living here for 6 months, and i'm LITERALLY just NOW realizing how insane i am. woah crazy

i'm all alone in this wonderful city. sometimes i'm paranoid, sometimes i'm lonely, sometimes i'm excited, sometimes i'm disgusted, i'm all these different things every second of every day. but all the time i'm happy to be here.

i think my life is a mess right now. and i know exactly what i have to do to fix it. and i just can't figure out why i haven't done it yet. i don't know if it's because i'm scared or if it's because i am lazy. either way...earlier this evening i was feeling pretty sorry for my lonely self because of a million reasons that really don't matter but after about 5 minutes i decided to stop feeling sorry for myself (yay me!) and to start doing something (YAY YAY ME!). i always know i will feel much better after i do something. but for some reason when i feel sorry for myself i think i just want to sit and "feel the pain" and really i will feel much better once i do something. even if that something is as small as taking a shower. it really helps. i wonder why....
POSTED BY ANNA

Monday, August 11, 2008

GOOD GOD, IS THERE A LIFE COACH IN THE HOUSE?

My plate is full. Overflowing in fact. And what do I do? Pile more on. But I NEED to do just one more important thing, she says while the foster dog is hopping incessantly on her hind legs making a repetitive noise not unlike an abused clarinet, the pot bellied pom-poo who's bark collar has turned her into a tibetan throat singer is...making that noise, the cockatiel is whistling obscenities at me and Bean has the TV blasting in her attempt to drown out the noise. Why do I have a foster dog? Because I'm trying to save the world one dog at a time. Why do I want to add more to my plate? Because I'm a glutenous, perfectionist task hog who thinks life can only get that much better if I just...So here's the list:

1. Write in my journal. I've enlisted Hasslebot to remind me of this everyday. So far I've deleted all the email reminders first thing each morning.

2. Start teaching a hip-hop class for kids and teens. Why? Because dance is in my soul, part of who I am, my method of expression - er...and I couldn't say no.

3. Use Wii Fit with Logue half an hour every other day. He's thinks it's cool and I'm in to the really hot trainer on there.

4. Join my friend Stephanie in September for the Cookie-ing Through challenge. My jaw just clenched and cramped thinking about Cookie-fying my life. But hey, it's only one month!

5. Stand-up Paddle as much as I can with Jay while the weather is still nice. We're going for the Laird Hamilton/Gabby Reece super cool couple look and image. Except I need to grow another foot and a half.

I think I need a life coach to help me find another 2 hours per day in my life.
But then I'd probably just spend the time watching my new favorite animated shorts, Miniscule. 'Cause when I'm feeling miniscule, you know like when your kid tells you your not fixing dinner at the right time, or that you forgot to feed her lunch? This'll help.



Warning: Bug death may be too upsetting for some viewers.

No Bean, they're not real bugs in real life.



Oh, and I really want to work on becoming a rock star. Thoughts?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My head rolled off my neck in New York

When I went to New York recently, I promised myself I would take some dance classes again. I haven't danced in a really long time. For someone who was a professional dancer for 13 years, not dancing has been a source of frustration, to say the least. I've been meaning to go to a class for the last five years and just couldn't fit it in my schedule! Actually, every time I tried to go to a dance class, aliens would swoop down, take me to their home planet and beat me senseless, then drop me back home unable to remember what happened.
Really, I'm just using sarcasm as my defense mechanism for feeling vulnerable. Dim lights, cue violins: For the past five years I've been held prisoner in my own body. I went from a professional dance career to an eating disorder and a subsequent neck injury that left me deeply depressed and wondering why I felt so cheated and crippled. It didn't dawn on me that my time dancing was something to be grateful for, not something to expect I deserved unconditionally without appreciating it or like freakin' going to the doctor when I couldn't move my head because it felt like it would just roll right off my neck, across the floor, off a cliff and then I'd really be screwed. No, it took me a while to be a grown up and take care of my aching body after years of neglect. But I finally did! (Thank you Dr. Sibel and the OHSU Pain Center). And the reward was going back to New York to do some dancing.

I left the Hip Hop class options in Anna's hands, but I jumped at her suggestion to go to some guy named Jonte's class. It seemed especially cool because apparently Jonte' was a Jefferson Dancer (I myself am an alum) a looooonnng time after I graduated and has choreographed for Beyonce among other celebs. I have always loved Hip Hop and somehow knowing that I was going to be 20 years older than most if not all of the dancers in the class didn't really bother me. I was going to DANCE! Get my groove on.

The class began...at warp speed...with moves like I've never seen on MTV, BET, SYTYCD...even in a porn movie - let alone gotten my body to do. But, holy flippin' sh*^! This Jonte' can dance. There were about 20 of us crammed into a tiny studio with no air conditioning on a 98 degree, 90% humidity day in Manhattan. You had your serious Hip Hoppers, all buck'd out with their baggy sweats, clunky sneaks and bad attitudes, your "Front Row Hoes" as I call them, just dying to be noticed and the rest of us in between. And in between I was glad to be because after all those head snaps and neck roll moves, the floor soaked with sweat and people flailing to do the choreography, I felt safe knowing that somebody would be there to catch my head when it flew off my neck. I was in PAIN. I remembered this pain. It was mind bending, brain wave scrambling, pulsating pain. And what did I do? Ignore it. Ha! Did I not learn anything after all?! It felt so good to remember what it was like to move my body, to feel like a young dancer rather than the old and crippled me I felt for so long. Then I fast forwarded to the present me, a woman with fibromyalgia, two herniated discs and arthritis in her neck... slapped myself a good one, and stood on the side doing the moves without moving my head. It was....sublime. Besides, after some ice, 26 anti-inflammatory pills, I was just fine.

If you haven't seen Jonte' dance, you are missing out. Check it out below. (He's the one in the striped sweatshirt who moves like no other human can)



If you want to watch more, I recommend the video labeled "Jonte" and "Jonte & Victor."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sleepless City Productions

Sleepless City Productions Official Blog

I want to introduce Noah Shulman, the phenom behind The Dictator music video for Dan Reed. Director, editor, visual effects...he's the s*@^!

Here's some behind the scenes photos from the video shoot.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dictator

I do PR for Dan and I know, you're thinking "Great, just another selfish promotion on a blog." But the catch is, I don't do PR for Dan because I want the work. I do it because he has a purpose with his music. I do it because behind every word he sings is a passion for humans to have peace...from the core of his being he embraces the concept that we all want to be safe, to have love, to have health, to not be scared, to not be abused. Dan is powerful and yet eloquent and I can't see the music world without him. I believe we can make our world better, I believe in the good in all of us. I believe Dan's music is a path to a better way, therefore I share his work.



How can you make a difference?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Welcome to the 21st Century of Design



Since Jay works in product development and design for a rather large company, he gets exposed to some great...stuff. The above object was a piece in an exhibition at the FUEL Collection in Philadelphia called Scripted by Purpose last September. All participants were restricted to two rules: 1. All entries had to involve a scripting technique (you know like computer programming code) 2. All codes and custom tools must be displayed next to the work as open source. (Yeah, I don't get that part either)

OK, so like, I was good at math, am addicted to NUM3ERS (In my next life, I'm going to be an FBI forensic mathmetician), I can hold my own helping Logue with algebra homework - wait, does that count? Suffice it to say, math is cool and to see design and architecture utilizing mathematics and coding to evolve the design process is even cooler. But, that's as techie as I get. Here's an exerpt of the foreword from Neil Leach, one of the contributors:

"The apparent primacy of these codes opens up the possibility of modeling systems through digital means, and with it the possibility of using digital means to breed structures. An emerging group of young architects is using the technique of ‘scripting’ – the manipulation of digital code – to produce radically innovative architectural environments. A new generation of structures is being created, that recognizes the potential of the computer not just as a sophisticated drafting and rendering tool, but as a potentially powerful tool in the generation of designs themselves."

About the submission:

biot(h)ing is a research-design laboratory whose structure derives from particular linkages between various disciplinary and technological nodes, promoting intra-specific creative relationships which in turn serve as a transformative tissue for the design process itself. An algorithmic articulation of the relation between the corporeal and incorporeal i s biot(h)ing’s attempt to engage with complexity.

Dude, brain freeze. I really just wanted to post this 'cause I likey the picture.

The Best Conversation I've Had Ever

Yesterday, Bean and I were driving to work (my little children's clothing boutique) and we started talking about her hair. Now just remember, this child is 8 years old.



Me: Honey, I think if you're going to grow your hair out we should trim it.

Bean: Yeah, ok.

Me: I could do it, but maybe we should have Bob at the Barber Shop next to our store cut it real quick.

Bean: Bob? BOB?

Me: Yeah, he used to cut ladies hair at the MAC club, you know where Jujube belongs?

Bean: BOB at a BARBERSHOP!?

Me: Yes, honey, I just think it would be quicker than mommy doing it.

Bean: Mama, THIS GIRL IS OF THE AGE WHERE SHE WILL NOT GO INTO A BARBERSHOP TO GET HER HAIRCUT!

Me: Yes Maam.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Social Consciousness Lives!

I was just getting settled in to write my most fabulous and insightful review of Pixar's latest film Wall*e, when I happened to come across my new friend and fellow blogger, PR Mama's similar post. What can I say? She just said it better! (bitch)
Therefore, I humbly stand aside and give you this:
















Must-see moment: Wall*E meets Saturn’s rings (via L.A. Times)



Dispatch from the Edgewater NJ Multiplex

While Professional Me has been exposed lots to the usually unpleasant inner workings of the entertainment industry, Private Me still finds it possible to watch a movie in open-mouthed, awe-struck, teary-eyed wonder. You know what I’m talking about — the burning of Atlanta in “Gone with the Wind.” The massive Imperial Stardestroyer rumbling like some prehistoric beast into the opening frames of “Star Wars: A New Hope.” Dorothy stepping out of her tornado-tossed house into a vivid Technicolor Oz. Hell, I even go ga-ga watching dead Patrick Swayze push that penny towards Demi Moore’s face, as that one impeccable tear wells and spills down her (as-yet surgically unaltered) cheek…

So add “Wall*E” to my list of wonder-inducing, tear-inspiring movie experiences. Visually stunning, funny, sweet, suspenseful — and all without benefit of much dialogue to speak of, mega A-list celebrity voice performances, Disney Channel hyper-promotion, or Happy Meal trinkets. (Although I will say, my son and I hot-footed it right from the movie theater to the nearest Blockbuster to rent the Nintendo DS version of the “Wall*E” game…so am not completely immune to the siren call of tie-in merchandise…)

And the movie happens to have a message. One that I’m sure some jackass right-of-center pundit will jump on as irresponsibly pushing a liberal eco-nazi agenda on the impressionable minds of today’s moviegoing young (remember all the “Happy Feet” brouhaha?)

Puh-lease. How about this message? Earth is a pretty great place to live. Litter really stinks. It’s easy not to litter, which is one way to keep Earth a pretty great place to live. Easy soundbite for the 5-year old in my house to digest, and pretty non-partisan at that.
For more on “Wall*E” and the marketing (or non-marketing) genius of Disney/Pixar, check out this terrific post from Seth Godin. (Thanks to Jon Cronin for the heads-up.)



Thank you Stephanie!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The neurotic, evil, spaz of a dog, Chloe


I was reminded yesterday of why I call our dog, Chloe, the neurotic, evil spaz.
For one, it came to my attention that in the thesaurus, "black" is a synomym for evil (OK, that's WRONG and is a whole other discussion for another time - believe me I will get to it...BUT, I didn't write the thesaurus and I am ONLY applying this to my dog...so no racist accusations necessary) - and Chloe is a BLACK Doodleman. Note to self: off our other black dog before it's too late.

B. Chloe was sitting on the couch on the floor with half of her body on me, as usual, chewing on a sock, when holy SHIT! Read: sharp stabbing pain. She bit my leg! I turned to her in horror and disbelief looking for answers. Her eyes just said "dude, I seriously thought that was the sock."
I can see the similarities completely--sock: black & fuzzy...leg: peaches, cream & fuzzy perfectly smooth. Don't think you fool me for one second you devil child of a dog.

III. Later, I heard that all too familiar grunting and snarfing sound that always makes me jump to attention and beeline for the kitchen--and there she was, with a whole stick of butter in her mouth, drool rapidly pooling under her, looking at me like "Whaddya gonna do now? He he."
The following slapstick routine ensued: She ran, I chased her, slipped in her drool, fell, regained my composure, tried to act all bad-ass, caught up to her and...
cowered as she growled and I watched her eat the butter. CRAP! Literally.

Then I remembered Caesar Milan. We love his show because it reminds us we're not the only neurotic dog owners, I mean owners of a neurotic dog. Being the quick witted, eloquent gal I am, I'm all, "Chloe! You're such a....a...ffff...Baaad dog! Baaad Baaaaaad Dog!" At least for the moment I felt like I was taking control (I know Caesar, I know, I suck).
Trying to draw from all the obedience training I'd been taught, I got down to her level and told her that what she's done is not only sick and wrong but I won't be smelling her farts later when she's in her time-out, NOT enjoying the evening fun and games. Oh, shoot, isn't that a parenting technique from Supernanny? Whatever.

I blame this all on my husband myself. As Caesar Milan says, "A bad dog is the reflection of the owner, not the dog." Well I say, she looks nothing like me!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thank You. Kind of.

This card, from Pretty Bitter Cards, took the words right out of my mouth. The sarcasm is so right up my ally, it's like the writers said "Here Claire, take a load off. We know just what you want to say." I'll be buying of few of their Dirty Doilies Cards too! Here's an excerpt from the Thank You card:

Wow. I can't believe you. Most of the time when people do something nice for me, I just brush it off, but this time, it was different. You really surprised me--like that time I walked in on my parents doing it. That was awkward...This was better than that. It was, you know, special. And I guess that really is a reflection on you. I mean, not that you're special or anything. You're kind of a pill.

See, now you know, I'm not that nice of a person...

Monday, June 30, 2008

ok, okAY HERE I AM!

Sorry it has taken me so long i know i'm lame. SORRY!

i'm on my roof laying in the sun i'm sweating because it's so sunny, luckily not humid, yet. it's my day off and i'm going to a ballet class in a bit. (i'm saying all this to make Claire jealous and then she WILL come visit.) i'm listening to Adele, you should listen to her if you don't already.

So as Claire mentioned i have been crazy busy. Yes, i know everyone is but i HAVE been.

i had five college girls come visit me, so counting Grace and i there were seven nineteen year old girls in an apartment in New York City. it was crazy. i didn't really sleep...at all. it was kind of hard to balance what everyone wanted to do/ hard to spend time with everyone/ hard to stay focused at dance/ hard to stay focused at work/ hard and impossible to have alone time (which is something i've gotten used to having since i moved here) it was ALSO hard to not spend money when we went shopping (i think i spent the most...shoot) which is partly why i'm broke
BUT i got a lot of super cute things and they were ALL good deals...i have a serious problem...i blame my mom.

Anyway i LOVED having the girls here. i miss them all a lot! We went out and a great time.

One of the True Joys

Logues's school has a phenomenal dance program (thank you Sara, for all your hard work, dedication and for inspiring these kids to move). In fact, during middle school, all the students have to take dance and tap. The philosophy is that it taps into different creative AND critical thinking parts of the brain. I love that! Being a former dancer myself, the hairs on my neck stood up when I watched my first born perform in his first dance piece. I admit, I was nervous. Would he trip over his own feet? Does he know how to keep time to the music? Would he decide he was too scared and sit out?

This is a child who wouldn't do team sports, or sports at all for that matter. So, no packing up all the rain gear into the suburban, standing in the freezing cold to watch the weekend soccer tournament. And I admit I'm not feeling the deprivation one bit. Nope, no soccer mom here and no Suburban either. BTW, I like my Prius in all it's 48 MPG fabulousness, snub snub. But, every mom wants to see their child in the spotlight of some sort...whether it's a science fair, spelling bee, piano recital or Karate promotion. Something where you can say, "See there, that's MY kid." But Logue just never wanted to venture into that spotlight much. We had to bribe him with Legos to perform in his first grade play as a bug in "A Bug's Life." What is it about us parents needing to dress up our children and put them on display? I think that'll be another post.

The wait seemed like the checkout line at Costco on a Saturday. I was breaking into a sweat with anxiety, (oh wait, that's my normal everyday occurrence) when finally, after some deep breathing, I calmed down, looked up, and there he was, in all his glory, dancing his heart out!
Look out, another stage mom has been born.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

There is Another Author Here...Somewhere

I've been bugging Anna to write more. I felt the world needed to get to know her better, read more posts from her--as she is my co-author here on Agent Zoey. I totally understand she's still getting settled in the big city, getting all SJP on me (minus the Manolos) and with her dance classes, acting classes and work, it's all very hectic. So, I conjured up a little interview to get her creative mind whirring (and to get some dish on her life in NY as it's been 19 years since I lived there, I have to live vicariously through her). Here's how the interview went:
Me: Yo Chica! What's the down low on the NYC foshizzle?
Anna: ------
Me: Ahem...So, what's your favorite thing about New York?
Anna: ------
Me: Ok, um, what's your least favorite thing about New York?
Anna: ------
Me: Did I lose ya somewhere back at hello? Was it the slang? 'Cause I can tone it down. Chillax and all.
Anna: ------
Me: Do we have a bad connection?
Anna: ------
Me: Uh, are you there? Anna?
--New phone call--
Anna: I have three friends visiting and the apartment all to ourselves. At 3am in the morning we turn all the lights off, crank the music and dance.
Me: (To myself) I gotta get my ass to New York.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Logue is a Writing Genius

I love the fact that Logue's end of the year self reflection essay at school was full of snarcastical (combination: snarky, sarcastic, fantastical) quips that even I nor Jay knew he had in him. We are so proud of our son snubbing his school...

OK we're not normally this jaded BUT when your kid's school suspends your 7th grade kid for a bogus plagiarism charge for a WEEK, doesn't talk to the kid first about the "crime", doesn't talk to the parents at all, threatens expulsion to an otherwise extremely compliant, rule-following, A and B student and questions the kid's entire body of work because the kid copied and pasted some facts (not opinion or fiction) and left it in a different font and font color so the passage sticks out like a sore thumb as if to say "here, look! Over here is where I plagiarized! Make sure you don't miss it!" --breathe, mom, breathe--
IT IS ASININE! -- to say the least.
But whenever I get that anger bubbling up, working it's way to my fingers that want to type a really nasty email to the school (like the "You Suck" short and sweet version of an earlier post), I read Logue's essay and all is right with the world.




Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dad

I'm late saying "Happy Father's Day" to my Dad. Not because I forgot, but because he was in France, mad cycling with Erickson Cycle Tours in Dordogne. He rode 600 miles with 40,000 feet of climbing, for two weeks. Yep, my Dad rocks! I won't give away his age (let's just say he was of the average parental age when I was born, and I'm celebrating the first anniversary of my 36th birthday soon) but while most men are on the couch watching Tiger score another birdie, my Dad is on his bike.



This isn't the only reason Dad rocks. He is my real life Superman. Graduated from Stanford and Stanford Law, Dad is my encyclopedia, dictionary and thesaurus of life. I never went through the phase where you find out your Dad doesn't know EVERYTHING. He does. He won't admit it...but he does. Dad is more intelligent than I can comprehend, speaks several languages, cooks fabulous food, knows about great wines and restaurants, the ins and outs of all things technological and if I need to buy a car...he's the man.
He's probably hating that I'm saying all this...Hi Dad.

My Dad has always been my champion. When my career path was going the polar opposite of what most father's hope, Dad cheered me on. Becoming a professional dancer was not a lucrative dream and yet Dad always gave me positive reinforcement. I will never forget the time I was scared to death to tell him I was getting married at 23. He was half asleep when I went to tell him and when I did, he said, "Cool, let's go celebrate!" Dad proves his unconditional love that way over and over again. You'd think he'd get exhausted with a nut like me! Dad has always been generous with his time, advice, encouragement and accolades. He's kind, diplomatic, practical and has a fantastic, dry sense of humor. He's there when I need him, or when Jay needs him, or when my Bean and Logue need their Papa. Sniff.

I love you Dad....Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Correspondence

The adult version of me and the 10 year old version (who's still stuck in me) are at war. It's not so much a multiple personality thing...which might be better since then I could score a ticket to a little vaca in arts and crafts and green jello heaven.
Not so much... It seems to happen when the chips are down and there is so much floating up there in the vast configuration that is my brain and BOOM! I digress. My somewhat witty, articulate thoughts burrow deeper into my cerebral cortex and all that's left are the ingrained thoughts of my much, much younger self. And it's funny, those childish thoughts, emotions and urges just seem to take over. I can't be held responsible for things like calling the neighbor, "grumpy-pants-meanie-old-man" or telling Jay (husband) he's not my BFF anymore.

Of course this started happening after many years of being passionate about my Highly Gifted, teenage son, Logue's education and running into many administrative road blocks. I have read a trazillion books, consulted for countless hours with child psychologists and education specialists and done enough research to have earned myself a degree in child psychology. I have written enough letters, emails, dissertations and education plans to put together a Master's Thesis on how to educate children.

Sidebar: Children should be treated as individuals in school-- not cows in a herd.

So, maybe it's the exhaustion of beating my head against the wall that's pushing the intelligent, grown up me aside when I try to complete an arduous task such as writing a thoughtfully composed letter to Logue's school.

I've started...It goes something like this:


Dear Logue's School Administration, (Names have been withheld from me to protect their wellbeing privacy)
First and foremost, I would like to impress how many wonderful aspects of the school Logue has experienced. The school has many passionate educators who have conquered the arduous task of disseminating a quite challenging curriculum.
However, I am writing to present my dismay with the arbitrary use or misuse of policies and procedures. I expect a school where the philosophy is: "...based on the research of noted educators, especially Howard Gardner, whose work on multiple intelligences revealed the importance of arts-infused curriculum for the benefit of all students," to be apprised of the multiple needs of those types of students.
A private school that touts accepting "bright and highly creative students" with one of the most exorbitant tuition rates in our area is not above criticism. It is a school's responsibility to take the emotional welfare and individual educational experience...

That's about where my brain said SCREW IT and the ten-year-old-me wrote this one:

Dear Logue's School Administration,
You suck.
Most Sincerely,
Claire

At least I didn't swear.

(No Anna, I didn't REALLY send it)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

One Girl...

Admit it. You have said to yourself at one time or another, "One person cannot change the world." Some even say it's hopeless, there's too much to change...
Put those notions aside for a moment and visualize the possibility of hope.




This is a challenge. Go to Girl Effect and donate something, anything--for one girl.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Can't Breathe

Do you ever feel as if you're not in sync with the universe? Like Sara Bareilles says, (paraphrased) your head is underwater and people are telling you to breathe easy? Take my experiences recently, for instance...(poor, poor me).

The other day my neighbor decides to tell me that my daughter is missing too much school (they have no idea Bean's had major health problems)--Huh, OK, thanks? How do they know...I don't even know where to start, but this is strange on so many levels.

A family member, in an argument says to me, "Yeah, well you're on Prozac so YOU have issues"--True, but need it be said? I think not.

My son, a 7th grader, was suspended for a week for "plagiarism". (I put it in quotes because it is such an insane accusation.) He copied and pasted a quote from the internet, left it in an blatantly different font than the rest of his paper, and forgot to cite the author's name...and they called him a cheater, a plagiarist. I voiced my disappointment with the school's ruling and now they won't talk to me--REALLY? Did that REALLY happen? Oh, and then he had a panic attack because he was told he could be expelled-- He will be living in a bubble from now on.

Bean, my daughter, was diagnosed with Low Panic Fear Index Asthma. No, she can't just have regular asthma. You know how kids will tell you their most instinctive needs like, "Mom, I'm hungry," or "I need to go to the bathroom," or "Hey I can't breathe!" But with her condition, Bean will turn blue and pass out before she realizes there is a problem. DANGER WILL ROBINSON! So it's been like this: Me--Can you breathe? Bean--Yes. Me--Are you sure? Bean--Uh huh. Me--Can you breathe now? Bean--I think so. Me--What does that mean? Bean--Mom. Me--Yes? Bean--Leave me alone! Me--OK, but can you breathe?


So, while pitying myself instead of pitying myself, I try to remember what else is going on out there in the world that's greater than my woes. Music is my therapy and if any lyrics and music capture the essence of what is more important than me, myself and I, it is those of Dan Reed. Dan Reed's new album: Coming Up For Air is being released soon. It is my favorite "remember to breathe" ritual.

Friday, May 23, 2008

How do dreams come true? Step 1: Admit what they are!

It's about a half hour past midnight, I'm in New York and tonight I realized (again) that I'm not doing what I want to do, what I came here to do. Before I moved here people kept asking me what I was going to do in New York my answer was pretty shitty. "um I'm going to work and live and see what happens" well time to stop beating around the bush (ew I hate that I just said "beating around the bush"). "I'm here because I want to be on Broadway!" There I finally said it. It's been my dream forever. I love performing but that dream seems so cliche to me that I can't stand telling people that's what I want to do.

posted by anna

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Bean

About 8 years and 3 hours ago you were born. I won't bore you with the 36 hours of labor, your head getting completely stuck, my dilation going backwards and delivering you finally via C-section. Nope. I just want to say to my baby girl, Happy Birthday! You are such a special spirit. May that spirit live on in you forever. May your soul be fed with so much love you will never want for any. May you always find peace within you to draw strength from. This will allow you to share your gifts with the world and pay it forward. Reap the rewards of giving, Bean and happiness will not be far away. Love, Mama


Friday, May 16, 2008

Random Thought

I drive a Prius, not because of my love for fancy, high powered, status vehicles--

Nope, I drive a Prius because I like to stealthily sneak up on pedestrians and...MEEP! Scare the bajeebes out of them.

By the way--come July when gas is $20 a gallon and everyone is stuck riding their kid's scooter, or skateboard to work I'll still be able to drive!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Found this at work...

Warning!
Please if you do not want to get hurt, Please read this!

do not: do a hand stand when in bubble shoes!
do not: do a cartweel when in bubble shoes!
do not: run in bubble shoes!
do not: skip in bubble shoes!
do not: run down stairs in bubble shoes!
do not: sleep in bubble shoes!
do not: take a bath in bubble shoes!
do not: take a shower in bubble shoes!
don't: take a nap in bubble shoes!


Next to this note I Found the bubble shoes (made out of bubble wrap) that Bean made.
She had them ready to sell at my store for $5 a pair.
(I followed all her spelling, punctuation and formatting to the tee)

So I ask...er, what CAN you do in bubble shoes Bean?
Are you trying to tell me I'm an evil, rule enforcing, tyrannical mother in your own way?
Is this transference?

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Life With a Teenager So Far

It's been 6 weeks, 6 days, 15 hrs and 41 minutes since my son became a teenager. I have survived!
Apart from the occasional "Just leave me alone!", it hasn't been too terribly bad. All I can say right now is that I hope my son grows up to be as radical, confident, outspoken and funny as this kid in the video. I'd even take the hair!