Sunday, August 29, 2010

happy sunday!

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
-Jack Kerouac-

Friday, August 27, 2010

the best kept secret..

So I wanted to do a posting on one of my favorite art projects ever created, PostSecret. I'm sure I am one of millions who have been impacted by this ongoing exhibit and thought I would do everyone else a favor and introduce them if they haven't already indulged.

A little background:

The project was founded in 2005 by a man named Frank Warren. At the start of this project, people thought he was insane - a man standing in the streets of Washington D.C. handing out blank postcards and introducing himself like this, "Hi. My name is Frank. I'm collecting secrets." Every postcard he handed out was addressed to himself and included postage. And he didn't ask you to send them to the blahblahblah headquarters or some P.O. box. He asked you to send them to his personal home in Germantown, Maryland. The project seemed to be crawling at first - most people were apprehensive to join in and release such vulnerable information to a stranger. But slowly, people began to catch on. To this date, he has received millions of postcards all decorated and formatted uniquely. He receives so many postcards per week, that he posts new secrets to his website each Sunday. Whether it's a deep skeleton from someone's closet or a small detail someone's too embarrassed to admit, Frank collects these secrets of all shape and sizes. But he doesn't KEEP their secrets. No, he releases them to the public. These secrets perhaps help other people who are fighting the same demons. Or perhaps they provide a certain amount of release to the senders - getting something off their chest without nessescarily owning up to it. Frank also publishes collections of these secrets in book form. So far, five have been released. They can be picked up from most book stores for around $30 to $50 each. This might sound like a big investment to some, but it might help to know that all profits Frank receives from the selling of these books goes to a foundation also dedicated to helping humanity, 1-800-SUICIDE. 

My personal experience with PostSecret:

In the fall of 2008, Frank Warren visited UNCW to give a talk to students about PostSecret. He opened the talk with how he got the idea to create PostSecret and the struggle to get the project off the ground initially. He was such a down to earth guy with a smooth conversational way of speaking to such a huge audience. After he finished explaining exactly how his project started, he began to give us a series of anecdotes from his experiences ever since.

One funny story that he shared with us still sticks out in my mind: Someone had mailed in a secret on a bag of coffee (I forget now what the secret even was). Later, while giving a similar talk to a group of students on another campus, he mentioned this unique secret to the crowd when one student spoke up. "How was the coffee?" As it turns out, the sender of the mysterious bag of coffee was sitting right in front of Frank.

Frank Warren has gone and done something great. He has taken several piles of blank postcards and used it to impact millions of people. For such a remarkable man, he was also a humble one. After his talk I stood in line with my copies of his books in hand. I had been following this man for several years and finally got the chance to meet him! I remember telling him that he had taken art and used it to heal people's lives and that I'm sure he can't understand the impact he's had on so many. His reply was that perhaps I could go and do something better.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

confessions of a cat parent.

I'm a cat parent, not a cat owner or a cat master. Call me the crazy cat lady if you want, but the two grey tabby cats that run around my house with bells around their necks are more my daughters than my animals. They love to play with grocery bags, bottle caps, moths that are flying by on my balcony, and any other fragment of trash that may be lying around. As much as they love these things, I constantly feel like a dead-beat Mom whenever my friends visit and notice my cats playing with garbage. So I've been trying to spruce up their toy collection. I bought some fuzzy balls with catnip in it - they stared at them at first and sauntered away with the look of disappointment painted from whisker to whisker. They turned their pink noses up at the multicolored assortment of jingle bells I toss for them to chase after. Now, let me remind you, these items are MADE for cats. But my girls won't have a thing to do with it. Inspired by their love for the crinkly noise that grocery bags make when they play with them, I recently added a new toy to their collection - one I was just sure they would love immediately. It's called a crinkle bag. For all you non-feline folks out there, this is a cloth bag (in my case, cheetah printed) that has an open end for cats to crawl into. The best part - the material inside the cloth makes a crinkly noise whenever it's touched AND it's infused with catnip, so it's supposed to attract them in. It was around $20, which is more than I care to spend on a fuzzy bag but I just knew that when I got it home they would both chase each other to it and fight over who got to lay inside of it first. Cecelia just thought it was wierd. The hair on her back stood up when she heard the crinkling noise. Needless to say, she wasn't standing in line to use it. I somewhat conned Phoebe in at first, but I think my overexcitement and high expectations for her to fall in love with it freaked her out. Well, it probably didn't help that after several minutes I was literally PUSHING her into it. So, long story short, the crinkle bag was an investment that now sits in the box of the other neglected toys. And the cats are still waiting for me to go grocery shopping so they have some fresh bags to play with. Lucky for them, I got new textbooks from just the other day... they've been fighting over the box ever since.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why I Didn't Let You Buy me a Drink

So I recently stumbled across a rant posting on Craigslist entitled, “Why I Didn’t Buy You a Drink”, written by a deeply frustrated man in, I believe, Salt Lake City. He explained how annoying it was when women who spoke to him for more than ten minutes in a bar expected him to buy them a drink. It was just short of two pages long (single spaced) and the eloquence and crude sarcasm of his tone was highly entertaining – just ask my co-workers, I read it to all of them! Lately, I myself am becoming more and more annoyed at the pathetic attempts of shallow flirtation passed on to me when out with my girlfriends. And I decided that maybe a good old fashioned rant would do some good (it worked for the guy in Salt Late City). So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen…

Ladies, we’ve all been there. You’re out with a girlfriend after a hard day at work. You’re really not trying to impress anyone, just catch a small buzz to settle your mind after a day full of stress. Or maybe you’re being the “wing man” to that friend – accompanying her to a certain place for support when she’s trying to flirt with that one guy you’ve been hearing about non-stop. She may be playing her hand at the single poker table of love, but not you. You’re minding your own business and sipping politely when suddenly, you awkwardly catch the eye of an unattractive and sweaty drunk guy who looks too eager to stare back at you. You quickly turn your head to make it obvious that the long gaze was merely an accident. But it’s too late. He’s now walking over, or whatever you want to call that half strut / half stumble type movement he’s projecting. Once he gets to your table, he sort of leans over and whispers with his hot nasty breath something corny and expected. Ugh. Here we go. You look at your friend with the HELP stare, but nothing can save you now. For the next ten minutes, you answer all of his surficially stated questions making sure to over-exaggerate how bored and inconvenienced you are by his approach. But he doesn’t get the hint. Maybe you’ll drop a line here and there about your boyfriend. Or maybe you’ll lean over and grab your girlfriends’ hand – to act like you aren’t even attracted to his gender. But pretending to be already taken or a lesbian is rarely a plan that works. Instead, the creep is challenged to try to win you even more. And no matter how much you’ve implied that you would rather him not stand beside your table chatting you up, he still lingers. You’ve known this was coming and it’s happening now, he wants to buy you a drink. At first you’re polite about it. “No thanks, I’m fine.” But that only works with a select few. The others try to push, “Come on, just one drink won’t hurt anyone…” You’re looking for the emergency exit. You want to grab your girlfriend and bail, no matter if you’ve closed your bar tab or not. This is where you need to break it down. Whether you hurt his feelings or not, a few things must be explained.

Why I Didn’t Let You Buy me a Drink:

1.) I don’t really drink that often and I’m small. Therefore, I have a pretty wimpy alcohol tolerance. These two Blue Moons I have already consumed are getting me pretty happy as it is. Your gift of a tequila shot or mixed drink will get me too drunk. And I’m not here to get “too drunk”, I’m here to unwind.

2.) While you probably owe me $5 in cash for the 10 minutes of my life you have wasted that I’ll never get back, if you buy me a drink you might assume that I am in debt to you. And perhaps you think a good way for me to pay that off would be hooking up with you later. This simply will not work. Even if you didn’t look like an unemployed wash-out who still sleeps in his mother’s basement, I’m a girl with integrity. And I don’t just hand out sexual favors like Valentine’s Day cards, especially in exchange for some cheap well drinks.

3.) Despite all of the above mentioned, I am in a very serious relationship. I can’t stop thinking about my boyfriend long enough for you to tell me your name. When I drop his name and title in our conversation, your reply is, “Well why isn’t he out here with you?” The answer is simple my petty new friend: he has a JOB. Unlike you, he cannot make a living as a barnacle on the side of a dive bar. Plus, this is girl’s night. And he, unlike you, knows when to give me space.

4.) The spilt margarita on your shirt and the way you’re lighting your cigarette backwards tells me this is not your first drink. Single drunk men like you spend their whole nights trying to hit on women like me, and for all the wrong reason. You should probably go home, sober up, and try online dating. Or maybe an online education. It wouldn’t hurt to try both.

5.) You’re too pushy. When I say I don’t want a freaking drink, I mean it. I’m a hard working girl who has my own cash for when I think I need a refill. You should probably save your cash anyway for child support, your phone bill, or a new wardrobe that doesn’t make you look like a homeless man.

To the men in my audience: nothing personal. I’m sure we girls have a way of being pathetically annoying at times too. But the next time you offer to buy a cute girl a drink at the bar and she negates, consider yourself lucky. At least you’re saving money and time on a girl who probably isn’t interested in you to begin with. To the ladies, if that pesky guy won’t stop offering you a drink, let him order one and give it to the bum washing windshields in the parking lot on your way out. That’s one way to let him down gently and pass on a good deed all at the same time. Maybe now’s a good time to invest in a cubic zirconia encrusted fake wedding ring. I hear you can score them from Target for around $15. It’s a small investment that could really save you from stupid moments like this.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

here goes nothing...

While I have been planning to write a blog for about four months now, it seems that an insomniatic spree is what eventually had to drive me to actual boiling point. I have always admired the blogging world, it seems to open a door to writers that perhaps hasn't existed since the death of pulp fiction. Even though I am a little less than four months from obtaining a B.F.A. in Creative Writing, I can't seem to find a place to put words on a page. Well I guess I'm not being totally honest here - there have been millions of blank Microsoft Word documents used for private sessions of free writing that have been somewhat successful for me... but somethings missing. And I think I know what it is. I need an audience, whether it's one person or a crowd, to experience the writing process with me. So thanks for being here.