Month: January 2006

Ich bin ein pimp


So I’m lounging in front of the 12″ at my country house this afternoon, sipping bourbon, going to traffic school, when who should show up but Andrew Ward, photographer, and his lovely wife, Alex (or as SupahPimp likes to call her, AlexandraCreative). Not a total surprise, I suppose, as Alex was to become the newest owner of The BF’s old 17″, and the “country house” is actually The BF’s regular-usual house and he’d arranged the hand-off in advance and even maybe told me about it, but I was deep into Lesson 5 out of 155, “Interacting at Intersections!”, so I probably missed the old “hi” sign.

Anyway, since Andrew is a photographer and Alex is a web designer and The BF is a genius and I am a dork, our conversations always seem to go off on some geeky tangent; as we were conducting our business in the computer resale facility that The BF’s dining room office has become, talk naturally turned to RSS feeds and SEO, specifically, how to drive traffic to Andrew Ward, photographer’s website (which, coincidentally, was wholly designed and implemented by Alex I. Ward, sole proprietrix of AlexandraCreative). Alex, who has designed many lovely websites, was big on hidden links. Me? I’ve drunk the blogging Kool-Aid, and am all about the frequently updated content. I mean, think about it: if you were a spider, would you want something you couldn’t see, or lots of fresh, meaty content?

Just talking about blogs gave Andrew Ward, photographer, a big fat Irish headache; reading a bit of mine almost made his head explode. And when I suggested he tack on a blog to that terrifically-designed website of his where he sells modestly-priced giclée prints of his beautiful work…well, I think he actually stood up and adjusted himself. Or wait, did that mean he liked the idea?

Regardless, he got seriously fired up when he heard how a nowheresville burg like communicatrix lands me in the top of the search rankings for critical terms like “Colleen Wainwright“, “communicatrix“, and “how to kill a crab“. True, the name “Andrew Ward” is a lot more common than “Colleen Wainwright,” but still, your own website oughta come up in the first page of search results for your own name, right?

So to prove the power of blogging (and, by extension, communicatrix-dot-com), I am shamelessly pimping Andrew Ward, photographer (and his lovely wife, AlexandraCreative). Visit the site! Buy a print! Or just…I don’t know…visit the site!

Because hey, I may be a pimp, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to keep my bitches happy.


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What I learned on my trip to Chicago

  1. Airborne works pretty well.
  2. Chicago can still kick my immune system’s ass.
  3. No matter how light it feels in the store, the 12″ PowerBook morphs into an Acme anvil after two hours on your back.
  4. If you live in the Midwest, you resign yourself to a winter of frozen ears or Hat Head.
  5. Call me “pointy”.
  6. Regardless of your will to pass him by, Manny, the shoeshine guy from Atlanta’s, is stronger.
  7. It’ll cost you $8 per person, standing up.
  8. Not including tip.
  9. If I had to move back, I’d want to live in Wicker Park.
  10. I probably couldn’t afford it anymore.
  11. The best espresso in Chicago, oddly enough, may well be at the venerable Miller’s Pub in the Loop.
  12. The chicken Kalamata at Athenian Room is still the greatest entrée in all the land.
  13. Especially after five single malt pours at Duke of Perth.
  14. Great friends are not location-specific.
  15. No matter how many exposés they run on the filth that lives in a hotel bedspread, I’m still going to contribute to it.
  16. For better or worse, Dell’Alpe has cornered the giardiniera market.
  17. I really do miss public transportation.
  18. I really do love L.A.
  19. Everyone loves The BF.
  20. Break your shoes in first.


Shedding my ill humours


While my rancor towards a certain piggy software monolith is perfectly justified (viral marketing comment b.s. from monolith weasel-flunkies notwithstanding), I had found myself getting a wee bit cranky in general. Too much work is usually a good thing for me, especially when it involves a mix of the design and the acting varieties (the latter still pays better, by far), but too much holiday merriment and too much sunshine can only mean one thing: time to go to Chicago.

Right on cue, Chicago stepped up to the plate. When we landed here on Friday, it was overcast. When we left the hotel to train it up to Old Town for dinner, it was raining. When we got off the “L”, it was, I shit you not, hailing on us. And when we finally tromped out of the steakhouse a few hours later, it was snowing like Christmas at the North Pole.

How can you not love it here?

Despite offers from my plugged-in friends to procure tickets to various carnivals, cultural events and carnivals masquerading as cultural events, I stood firm: I am here to stuff my face, see my friends, and purchase enough giardiniera to last us through the next trip back. This being Chicago, home of bar on every corner, or, more accurately, four bars at every intersection, there has also been a considerable amount of sport drinking, but the BF and I are kind of maxed out on alcohol now, so we’ll probably just glut ourselves on Italian beef and Kalamata chicken (oh, god…that chicken…) for the rest of the stay.

What has been most lovely about this here stay (why is this visit different from all other visits?) is, I won’t lie, having the BF in tow. (Or, on some occasions, being in tow of the BF.) Partly because it is wonderful being able to close the circle between your old friends and your new, but also partly because that boy takes some A-number-one photographs with his fancy-ass camera.


Photo of me wearing all of my clothes at once by the BF.

Color me open source

Dear Microsoft:

Go fuck yourself.

Seriously: go take a long walk off a short pier. Better yet, how about taking a running leap off a rocky cliff into a huge, gaping void and on the way down, shoving whatever loose, dangling appendage happens to be handy up your greedy, corporate ass? Because really, you should feel as much pain on the way to your ultimate demise as you do when you reach the terminus.

Whither this rancor? I’ll tell you, dickheads.

I’ve been using Microsoft products since 1996, when I grudgingly dumped the superior WordPerfect upon rejoining corporate America buying a LEGAL copy of your product each time to use at home.

I have refused to put illegal copies of Office on other people’s computers, even though I question how much you people play by the rules when it comes to corporate ‘fairness.”

I’ve continued to support Microsoft even as your buggy templates and bloated programs ate away at my hard drive and terminally crippled my data.

I’ve even defended you to the Microsoft haters, that ever-growing contingent of the righteously indignant, because of the remarkably almost-perfect mail client, Entourage.

But today, I couldn’t launch Word to work on a document.

I couldn’t launch Word because I had my almost-perfect mail client open on my 12″ PowerBook, which sits two feet from my PowerMac G5 desktop, which I use, HOLD THE PRESSES, HERE, in tandem.

That’s right: I have the audacity to want to have my mail client open on one networked computer as I work on a Word document on the other, which is, apparently, a violation of my license agreement, a practice which makes me the electronic equivalent of crackheads who slit throats for a fix or bearded, gold-earringed, parrot-toting seamen of old who say “Yarrrr!” a lot.

So you know what I’m going to do when I get out of this work hole I’m in right now?

I’m finally going to download that copy of Open Office I’ve been meaning to check out.

I’m finally going to move my email into Mail.

I’m finally going to switch all of my non-essential work documents to text, like the hardcore geeks do.

And then I’m done with your tired, mistrustful, greedy, no-support-giving, distrustful, disrespectful assholes.

Yes, the corporate world will continue to use your shitty output and yes, I’ll probably have to keep using it, too, at least for the time being. I do PowerPoint presentations, yes. I’m forced to deal with Word and Excel and the rest of your buggy, shitty, unsupported-for-mac output.

But I promise you this: for every time I actually use one of your products, I will tell two people not to. I will turn them onto open source and Mac-based alternatives. And yeah, my blog only gets 150 unique visitors per day (now) and yeah, I only know a couple of thousand people anyway (now), but you know what? I’m one of those mavens old Malcolm Gladwell‘s been yakking about.

And besides, even though my own hit count isn’t great, it’s still better than your products. And something tells me I’m not alone in my dissatisfaction with the Microsoft ethos. I have a feeling if I tag the hell out of this post, and if I tag it with enough popular (yet salient) search terms, and if I link the shit out of everything in the body of the post, it might just get picked up. It might just go wide on the interweb. And who knows, maybe my insignificant flash of anger will be the tipping point (thanks again, Mr. Gladwell) that pushes you off that cliff, following crappy Suitcase and crappy Quark and all the other greedy, distrusting, software leviathans that are surely (oh, sweet baby jesus, let it be true) in freefall right now.

Because it’s time to put customers first again.

Because it’s time to put corporate greed behind us.

But mostly, because you and the majority of your products suck some serious ass.

Oh, yeah…one more thing:


No image courtesy of the evil empire’s stringent copyright enforcement.

The dreaded dread

lips anguish

My name is Colleen, and I am a procrastinator.

(Hello, Colleen!)

It has been four years since I balanced my checkbook. I recently renamed my backlog of unread New Yorkers “The End Table”. My closets and drawers and to-do lists have cruft so crufty, they’ve developed their own cruft.

I know that I have to let go and let David, but it’s hard sometimes, I won’t lie. I leave just a couple of messages in “in”, you know, where I can see them. I might make myself the occasional daily checklist of errands and such, not trusting my collection and retrieval system. I have drunk the Kool-Aid, but I sort of fake-drank it and went “mmmm” and kind of spit it out when no one was looking.

You see, I like closing my eyes and covering my ears and going “lalalalalala, I can’t hear you!” It makes me livelier in public. It is oddly comforting in private, even though I know it is bad for me and makes it also hard to watch Project Runway and answer the telephone.

But you can live in denial a long time, my friends. A long time, indeed. Hell, usually if I could just wait long enough before turning around that phone call or replying to that email, the problem would pack up its tent and go away. Of course, clients like for you to return calls inquiring after your availability or that project you said you’d finish two weeks ago, but really, how much income do you need? Not much, if you don’t ever balance your checkbook.

Yesterday, though, I hit rock bottom. I’d been holding off on telling my writing partner that, for a variety of reasons, I just didn’t want to work on our two person show, #1 & #2, anymore. I mean, how could I tell her? I might as well stab her through the heart and tell her I hated her and she was un-invited to my birthday party. Because this would kill her. Or our friendship. Or both.

She had gotten back from her holidays four days ago, though, and I’d had one stay of execution already when she begged off of a meeting, claiming exhaustion. I’d put off our get-together until the end of yesterday, a long day filled with its own bouts of foot-dragging and humiliation and potential disappointments. A good callback fueled me with the fire, I guess, along with that Airborne I’ve been popping like Tic-Tacs since everyone in L.A. has the plague right now. And I must have been filled with the spirit of David because once I was in the door, I only had a half a grapefruit, some cheese, and 15 natural segues before I blurted it out:

Speaking of wondering what projects you want to focus on for the rest of the year, I don’t think I want to work on the show right now.

L.A. Jan stopped cooing at her cat, Mister, for the briefest of moments and said,

Yeah, me neither.

I think today might be a good day to start at the bottom of the list.

Who’s with me?


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Illness as meditation

oj smallI had a smallish chunk of communicatrix carved out of my shoulder yesterday. It’s not a particularly alarming event; given I get more sun walking from my front door to the car than most of my ancestors got in a lifetime, these occasional hinky patches of skin are to be expected.

What is alarming, and annoying, and frustrating, is having the lines of my physical limitations redrawn so abruptly. Like any ‘illness’ that descends swiftly, there’s no time to adjust from being the together, go-go me who can burn through a to-do list with amazing speed to the sad-ass gimp who is continually making adjustments and compromises to get by. Instead of just reaching for a can of tuna, my Quasimodo-pressure-dressing hump and I have to wait for my left hand to drag the stool to the shelves, step up and grab it, then hand it off to the (gimpy, for all intents and purposes) right hand.

One of the most annoying aspects to my five-month recovery from Crohn’s disease was having to sleep on my back. (There was simply too much gastrointestinal activity to risk stomach sleeping.) Last night, my hump and I had to sleep not only on my actual side, propped up with pillows all around like a baby on a king-sized bed, but on the wrong side. Suffice it to say it was not one of my more restful nights, and was mainly filled with odd dreams of attending a veddy British country wedding, with lots of pomp and changes of clothes. What-ever.

On the other hand, the hump is a good reminder to see things differently. Of necessity, I must slow down. And it’s prepping me for the even more annoying task of being almost better: while the hump comes off tomorrow, I still have to baby that shoulder for the next eight days if I don’t want to rip it all open and bleed on the furniture. Having a governor preps me for driving without one, which is a good thing when your tendency is to live your life with the pedal to the medal.

So I’m going to an audition today as a meter maid with a hump; after that, I’ll head over to the printers (slowly) and play graphic designer with a hump. I suppose later on, I’ll see if I’m up to play humpy freakshow at the Trader Joe’s, and figure out what kind of dinner me and the hump can put together without using the cast iron pans. (I don’t know; I’m thinking scallops in some kind of lime, chile and butter sauce.)

And in between, or during, I suppose I should say, I will probably see things I haven’t seen, and hear things I haven’t heard, just because I’ve slowed down enough to see and hear them. With every move, if my experience so far is any indication, I’ll appreciate the movement I do have so much more, just as when I was imprisoned in the IBD ward at Cedars, I relished the few hundred feet I could walk outside in the courtyard every day, rolling my IV stand alongside of me.

Audition. Printer’s. TJ’s.

Hell, they’re as good as Disneyland, when you get down to it.