Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Funion Gaga

Stress - you are ridiculous. Please leave me alone. I am happy and have everything I need to do well in this world. So, stress, you tell yourself and your buddies Guilt, Shame, Self-Doubt and Mad Crazy Pointless Worry to shush-yo-one-big-ugly-collective-face and get the hell outta town.

To spit in the eye of anxiety:

  • "Mistakes are the portals of discovery," James Joyce.
  • And for a nice ironic twist: the above quote may itself be a mistake, as Mr. Joyce is also quoted as saying: "A man's errors are his portals of discovery"
  • And perhaps, irony-on-irony, both the above are incorrect, as there's also this: "A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery."
Either way, life is an onion. Better stop crying and start peeling. Like the carnivores say: once you kill a cow, you gotta make a burger.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Exhibition Isms

Yet another reason to love this town: even our museum guards are exhibition-holding artists.

Hoping to Graduate From Guards to Gauguins, The New York Times
A group of Met guards... is stepping into the spotlight with a new art journal called Sw!pe Magazine: Guards’ Matter, and an accompanying art exhibit, which runs through Sunday at 25CPW, a gallery at 62nd Street and Central Park West... The drawings, paintings, comics, prints, poetry and photography by 35 guards give exposure to the largely unnoticed workers who protect some of the world’s greatest treasures, not to mention dispense information on the quickest route to Renaissance Italy or to the bathroom.

Really, does it get any sexier than tall, dark, handsome museum guards wielding easels? My mind is racing through Met-tastic hallways filled with brooding men and their walkie-talkies, every one recession-proof and self-editing, jacket-clad with paint-stained ties. To top it all off, they know the way to da Vinci and the ladies' room. Well, slap my Pollack and me Patron; Mr. Artist-Guard, I'm sold.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Starting Gate Zen

[BANG] And they're off!

The past two days have been a little insane. Welcome back to having two clients, I suppose. It's been exciting, though, to say the least, and I'm having a pretty good time with it, occasional heart-rate spikes aside.

Things are looking up for the little Cait & Associates - and making ends meet is very validating. I am so incredibly grateful for my past sixty days of sober vegan living. Whether it's bunk or not to the world, making very conscious choices about what I ingest and imbibe has deeply affected my outlook, attitude and energy. And not being hungover - ever - is maybe the single most amazing discovery I've made over the course of my (debatably) adult life. Incredible.

Positivity, social consciousness, healthy choices, man... Groovy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On Chaos and Stars

What an amazing time to be an artist.

Not to say I am one, but, regardless, I'm grateful to be surrounded by people who clearly, undebatably are. This past week, I've seen the upside of the recession - sure, there has been a mini-bounce in our economy (more  a slight lessening of job cuts than a full-on recovery), but even more silver-lining-y, there has been such an awesome surge of creativity in this city, as people have realized that the safe route is no longer so safe.

I've been rejected by quite a few MFA programs in the past couple of weeks, but I'm surprisingly okay with that. I see the bright side here - thousands of people are applying for 25 slots per school and that means thousands of people consider studying the arts and pursuing their creative dreams to be a viable alternative to slogging it out in an entry-level job or enduring the ridiculous rigamarole of over-saturated, interminable interview processes. And here I am holding two jobs that reward my writing interests while allowing me the time I need to, well, figure things out. So all you real 100% artists out there, you go on and do your thing - just, for God's sake, make the most of it. Make incredible art out of these crazy times. Make today's instability seem so beautiful we all become grateful in hindsight - as grateful as I'm feeling now.

As much as I would LOVE to be accepted by a grad school program, I would also, in some small and curious way, love not to. (And please note the difference in capitalization and italics.) Part of me loves this version of New York City, where the arts programs are completely flooded by willing disciples, where experimental theater is pouring out of every sidewalk crack, where art sprouts in repurposed spaces and makeshift performance dens. This New York City where I can spend the days tweeting for clients whose missions I actually believe in, and then the nights supporting the creative minds populating the boroughs around me, from the incredibly awesome Tax Deductible Theater to the recession-exalting Independent Art Forum.

Life on life's terms, world. And ain't this the life.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sleep with the Fishes

Okay, no more centipedes. In case you're interested in topics that actually relate to my blog's title, here's a little story about modern-day work culture (the author is unknown):

An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.
Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."
The tourist then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"
The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."
The tourist then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."
The tourist scoffed, " I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"
The tourist replied, "15 to 20 years."
"But what then?" asked the Mexican.
The tourist laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."
"Millions?...Then what?"
The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dear Centipede

I've been on a mental rollercoaster today... The day itself has been good - considering that included a trip to the dentist, that says a lot. Still, my mind is racing round the same boring track it's been racing round for nearly a year: how many ways did I wrong you, past platonic/professional/romantic relationship people?

Maybe it's because I've found some zen with my income, my body, and my friendships that I'm flipping over any and every stone fearing/hoping to unearth poisonous centipedes. Very poisonous centipedes. Very poisonous centipedes that I previously tortured and so they are not only very (very) poisonous, but resentful and - here's the absolute worst part - 100% entitled to both their poison and their resentment. Does that make any sense?

Now you see what my internal monologue has been like...

Culpability's a bitch. Especially when I realize that, even discovering everything I did wrong, each of these situations (and one in particular) still would have ended in total disaster. I could have just walked out, integrity, if not emotions, relatively intact. But no. I was so graceless in the rubble. So sadistically akimbo, knotted into a wrecking ball, hurling destruction at every wall, all the while screaming, "Why's it so messy in here?"

Centipede, these are the rocks I have hidden you under. You have a hundred little pieces I'm uncomfortable with. And here I am, un-balled and flipping over your refuge, coaxing you out and into the light, so I can look at you in the sunshine, freak the f*ck out, and realize I can't stomp on you without feeling guilty.

Oh dammit.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Bellybutton, or Self-Discovery Rocks Part ii

In the interest of me me me, here is a completely new launchpad list of what I might really like to do with myself sometime between tomorrow and when I die:

  • Take some time to join up with a Brooklyn non-profit to organize workshops for disadvantaged teen girls. These workshops would teach local girls how to turn their natural social media fluency into a promotional tool, a networking outlet and a marketable skill. Eventually, in this hypothetical utopia, I'd then take a few of the more interested girls and partner them with creative non-profit organizations, neighborhood art spaces, and Brooklyn-based businesses invested in the immediate community, giving the young women key in-the-field experience and exposure to new community role models and giving the local organizations some additional social media marketing guidance and manpower. The ultimate goal would be to found and direct my own spin-off non-profit that would do this on a much larger scale in communities throughout Brooklyn, teaming up with a brand sponsor like Palm (as their Smartphones would be a natural tie-in and brand loyalty is strongly increased when brands adopt clear, positive social causes) and create collateral spin-off materials (inside-look blogs, video podcasts, etc.) that would raise funds, increase awareness and inspire similar start-up organizations nationwide. Yes.
My bellybutton thanks you for your time, and it hopes you enjoyed basking in its sunshine.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lotus Eaters, Navel Gazers

Self-discovery rocks.

I recently registered for a dating site - not because I'm looking to date, oddly enough, but because it operates on a very cool model that I wanted to check out - sort of the crowd-sourcing of online personals. Basically, when you sign up, you say YES or NO to about 10 hypothetical dates. You also answer a few most basic questions (i.e. Do you smoke? Do you drink? Are you a lady?) along with about 3 questions regarding who you're looking for (Gender? Age? Religion?). Then you propose an ideal date (i.e. "Bake vegan cupcakes and play kazoo to the animals in the Bronx Zoo," "Eat lotuses and stare at our navels," or whatever) and when you'd like to do it ("June 4th," "this week," "whenever") and how much correspondence you'd prefer before the actual date (i.e. a few phone calls, a text, nothing but an RSVP email).

Then, based on your basic preferences from those early YES or NO date scenarios, you're sent some other person's date suggestion to reject outright or explore further. If you choose to explore it further, you get their contact info and, shotgun fired, you're off.

I like this idea a lot - the idea of actually seeking out someone with shared interests in the most practical sense. So I'll see what happens... But the reason I bring all this up is not to make you think I need to get out more. Nope. I bring this up because something interesting happened to me when I was filling out the text box for "Your ideal date would be..."

What interesting thing happened, you ask?

I had no idea what to write. I had no idea what I would enjoy, and (being the ever-dogged hedonist even in the face of all these new and healthy choices) I figured this befuddlement must reflect a lack of self-awareness.

Who am I? I'm not sure. I'm finding out. I have a ways to go. But dating sites world-wide be warned: I'm working on it.

Oh, and as for the death imagery in the last post, well, the story continues to unfold....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Here and Now

I'm kind of liking the pace of things right now - which must mean one thing: change is comin' round.

I'm not being snide or negative. I'm not belting out "Ironic" with three dopplegangers in a mid-sized compact car. I'm not even bringing out my twelve stone tablets of Murphy's Law. But I have noticed that when things start to feel settled, the still air is growing charged with electrons.

Call me batsh*t crazy, but I have noticed some signs lately - little grace notes from the universe that seem to reflect and presage what's happening around me. Normally this is great benign reflection fodder. Today, though, it seemed the world was repeatedly cautioning me about death.

In snippets of overhead conversation, chance page openings, friendly confidences, and daytime tv topics, death has come up again and again this morning and afternoon. I don't feel I'm channeling it. I'm certainly not introducing it as a conversation topic. But still, every hour or so, BOOM, there it is: some unsolicited mention of death.

Maybe I really am batsh*t crazy.

Now, don't get me wrong; I don't think the universe is warning me about literal death (knock knock knocking on heaven's wood door). However, I do I think I'm being warned of metaphorical death. Non-literal death. Current status quo death.

A change is coming; I can feel it.

I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

On God, Obama & My Bottom

Last night at a meeting, a woman spoke about "left-handed gifts" from the universe. For her, the most recent gift was losing her job, because it gave her the time she needed to focus on physical and emotional recovery from a pretty bad health crisis.

I've been thinking a bit about this. "Left-handed gifts." Now is not the worst time for me to be semi-employed. I can pay my rent (thank the heavens and knock on wood) and I suddenly have the time to explore the city, pay attention to my own mental tangles, make new friends, and take on passion projects.

However, I sometimes wish these "left-handed gifts" included health care. I've scheduled my first uninsured teeth cleaning for Monday and it's running me a good $160. This is a vast improvement over the first estimate (which included charting and x-rays) of $500. Still, neither is exactly a $25 co-pay.

At the end of the day, I am grateful to be able to afford this, even if it's more than I'd like. I'm grateful to be whining about preventative care and not unavoidable surgery (incredible amount of heaven-thanking and wood-knocking here). But all this gives me pause, too.

I cannot imagine being uninsured and living a risky life. The chances I took when I knew I had insurance to cover (and mend) my behind were ridiculous. Such risky behavior would be just plain insane should I exhibit it now that I'm insurance-less. Yikes.

Would universal health care put me back on the wide and wobbly road towards mayhem, that garden path of beast and grape? Doubtful.

But am I grateful I have a much stronger hold on my mindless self-destruction now that I'm uninsured? You bet my super-safely-padded bottom I am.

Vegan Oreos & Sleepytime Tea for all!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Permanent Press Cycle

Hmm. Fell off the face of the blog-earth there for a minute. Maybe it was that article? Anywho, to make a long laundry list short, here are my thoughts on the last post:
  • This is a terrifying time to be an employee in a threatened industry (or really in any industry) because you have no leveraging power. I've been a fan on unions for a while now, and you can see, in troubled times, how much more important they are. A good re-read of sentimental socialist lit like The Grapes of Wrath never hurt no one.
  • I am so delighted to be my own boss right now. Sure, it can be terrifying, but when I remember some of the conversation I overheard when at a larger agency - and some of the stories I hear from industry friends now - I thank my lucky stars I can pay the rent working in my PJs.
  • Marketing Daily has far too many niche editions. It's too bad they are all so damn interesting. I can't believe that one woman is behind the bulk of them. Yowzers. And hats off.