Month: May 2006

Cheering the Hell Up, Day 10: It takes a village to brand a communicatrix

beaneyeslogo

Spend ten years writing ads and another ten acting in them and you get very, very good at marketing…

Not!

Proof? When I started my little sideline graphic design business, I had the genius idea to name it “BeanEyes Communications”, impossible for people to fathom, vaguely embarrassing when they did.

That’s only the most obviously idiotic mistake I’ve made on my road to Financial Solvency Outside Of Acting. I’ve also isolated myself, underpriced myself and been generally clueless about promotion, position, networking and a host of other really useful aspects of marketing.

But I’m learning. With the help of a number of smart people, including The BF, several hotshot designers and my terrific marketing mentor, I’m overcoming my terminal cleverness and might actually have a viable business one of these days.

So RIP, BeanEyes. Long live communicatrix!

Oh, and happy June…

xxx
c

Cheering the Hell Up, Day 08: Searches, We Get Searchesâ„¢

searchesIt has been a long time, my babies. What can I say, except perhaps that absence makes the font grow harder…

home made lemonade stool softener (Google)

Just in time for summer BBQ fun!

.is there a patron saint for people of diets (MSN)

Um…Catherine of Bologna? No, wait, Jesus McChrist? No, no, I got it: Benignus of Dijon!

creamy snatch presents big gun (Google)

And people say the club scene has gotten tired…

flickr snatch shots (Google.com.ph)

I never get invited to join the good groups.

mercedes mccambridge techno (Google)

Enh. I liked the Joan Crawford remix better.

go take a long walk off a short pier (Google)

But don’t forget to leave a comment before you go!

xxx spinach movie (MSN)

I’m comin’ Olive…oh, I yam…I yaaaaam…

homemade pussy jello (Google)

Talk about not wanting to take the factory tour.

fantastic very sexy girl (MSN)

Uh-oh! Now are the foxes!

christians with ulcerative colitis (Technorati)

Jesus loves me/This I know/’Cause my colon/Tells me so…

xxx
c

P.S. I will be Cheering the Hell Up offline until Tuesday, May 30th. Have a great holiday weekend, and LET’S BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!!!

Cheering the Hell Up, Day 07: Why I love Global Warming

inconvenient poster

1. Longer BBQ season.

2. Incessant worry over impending doom excellent for weight maintenance.

3. Oceanfront property in Stockton!

4. Hurricane/tornado/storm coverage makes good swirly patterns on Doppler Radarâ„¢.

5. Heavy winter clothes aggravate delicate Celtic skin.

6. Disproportionately large feet look better in flip-flops.

7. Warmer weather = more cool summer salads.

8. Costs less to heat spa.

9. Costs nothing to heat swimming pool.

10. Turns earnest, dull politicians into superhot slideshow presenters*.

xxx
c

*Go see An Inconvenient Truth. If you live in NYC or LA, go THIS WEEKEND!!! It’s moving, it’s gorgeous, it will make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. Which you are, by the way, in case you didn’t know…

Cheering the Hell Up, Day 06: Coffee and Tuna Nicoise!

tuna

Sometimes you eat the bear; sometimes you meet him at Starbucks and you both get to eat (or at least have a beverage).

Yes, the communicatrix finally met internet giant Citizen of the Month, the one, the only Neilochka! For me, it harkened back ye old days of online dating, only we are both involved with other people and this wasn’t a date. But the strange, I-sort-of-know-you-but-I-sort-of-don’t feeling was the same.

Given that we’re both enormous dorks, you’d think we’d talk about…oh, I don’t know, dorky stuff, and maybe gossip about our readers (okay, his, since there are only five of you here and that’s hardly enough for a conversation). But mainly, we ended up talking about food, my wacko diet, the delicious rolls at a particular bakery in the Farmer’s Market that Neilochka had arrived early to consume so as not to torture me, why factory farming is evil.

We also talked about cooking and learning how to eat properly which, unless you’re a ga-jillionaire, involves cooking. Being a straight man, Neilochka never learned to cook; being a man-like straight woman whose mother hated cooking, neither did the communicatrix, at least, not until she was 31, jobless and married to a different straight man who also didn’t know how to cook.

Sadly, I can’t really teach anyone how to cook; all I can do is make lame-ish suggestions based on my own experience. And in my experience, it’s helpful to start out with a few VERY simple recipes (i.e., not stuff from The Silver Palate) and branch out from there as you gain confidence with handling food and understanding which flavors go well together.

Today’s non-lession was inspired by the tube of anchovy paste I picked up at the French grocery store in the Farmer’s Market. Generally, anchovies, sliced, dressed fishies, are a component of a delicious French salad, Nicoise (which just means “in the style of Nice”, which is where there are a lot of goddam fish). For most of us, anchovies are just a punchline involving pizza and truly, truly disgusting, but they do have a nice, salty, robust flavor that adds a certain I-don’t-know-what (translation: je ne sais quoi) to a dish. And anchovy paste, which removes all recognizable traces of the fish it came from except for the picture on the box, is a great way to add zip without triggering the gag reflex.

Nicoise also usually involves boiled and cooled, skinned (or not) red potatoes. These are not SCD-legal so I skip them now, but if you like, go ahead and boil yourself a batch of the baby ones (they scream as you drop them in the water) and halve or quarter them to add once cooled.

SALAD NICOISE (adapted for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet)

1 can water-packed, solid albacore tuna
2 hard-boiled eggs
2 cups haricot verts*
2 tablespoons capers
10-15 Kalamata olives (optional)
10-15 cherry tomatoes (optional)
2 cups lettuce, washed and torn up (I like spicy mixed baby greens)

DRESSING:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4″ squirt anchovy paste (totally optional)

Steam the haricots verts in a little water on the stove until just tender-crisp (not wiggly!) and let cool.

While the beans are cooling, chop the eggs into 1/2″ sized pieces. (Don’t worry, they don’t need to be perfect.) Drain the tuna well. If you’re using them, pit and cut the olives into quarters and halve the cherry tomatoes.

Arrange the lettuce in a wide, shallow bowl or on individual plates (this recipe makes about two servings for piggy me). Layer the cooled beans on top of the lettuce, then flake the tuna from the can with a fork on top of the beans. Strew the chopped egg and capers and olive pieces on top of the tuna, in that order (looks best!). Arrange the cherry tomatoes on the side of the dish.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a little bowl with a fork. Pour the dressing on the salad and eat!

See, Neilochka? Even you could make this delicious, healthy salad as easy as un, deux, trois!

xxx
c

*long, skinny, French green beans. Trader Joe’s sells them bagged and frozen; you can find them fresh at some markets. You could substitute regular green beans in a pinch, but the haricots verts are soooooo much better you shouldn’t judge the recipe till you’ve tried them.

Photo by bzibble via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

Cheering the Hell Up, Day 05: Complete one incomplete task, however imperfectly

pixframe

I have a series of frames in my bathroom. One holds a picture of a glass half-full, a cover from the New Yorker on my mother’s birthday the year after she died. Most of the rest of the frames are empty, or hold the “For Display Only” shots of nameless brides and sunlit couples and price tags, not because I am lonely and friendless, but because I was always waiting to find the perfect item to place within them.

Similarly, I had long been in possession of a striking, horizontal frame filled with black-and-white shots of attractive people from the 1940’s and 1950’s. For at least six years, it has stood propped up against various walls. I almost consigned it to the Goodwill pile a few times but something stopped me: mainly the fact that I am a congenital pack rat, but also the charm of this frame, which I just knew would look perfect when it finally displayed the exact perfect black-and-white shots of my own attractive family members from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Then two weeks ago, crisis struck in the form of a video shoot at my apartment. My office area, one of the “locations”, was looking very dingy and cluttered and needed some set dressing triage, stat. I cleared a few postcards off of the wall and, on a whim, laid them out on the frame. Not bad, they were sweet, childlike illustrations of animals and worked together thematically. But there were two spaces left.

Over and over in my life, it seems that the right thing will fall in my lap when I least expect it, but only when I am ready for it. Sometimes my guard is down or my spirits are high (same thing, really) and I let that sucker waltz right in; sometimes I have an agenda and the thing couldn’t penetrate my well-intentioned defenses with a battering ram.

On this particular day, I was preoccupied enough with my task to get out of my own way. And as my eyes swept the imperfect wall, they lit upon my beautiful calendar by Nikki McClure. I remembered that I’d saved an old one, loving her perfectly imperfect woodcuts too much to dispose of it along with the year (and, yes, being a pack rat).

Sure enough, there were two months with animal scenes which, with a little (gasp) hacking away at their structural integrity, would fit…perfectly.

I’ve been enjoying the feeling of flow more and more in my life, so much so that I now look both for ways that I might be stopping it and ways of letting more of it in. For me, a huge part of getting with the program is patience, and learning to live in process. But I’m realizing now that a perhaps huger part is letting go of some ideal of perfection. Because some really great things can happen when I’m not busy steering my boat towards the mist-enshrouded, golden shores of the Isle of Perfection. And when I let things just “happen”, they tend to unfold in a way that I’d describe as…

Well, perfect.

xxx
c

Cheering the Hell Up, Day 04: Making Breaking Up Less Hard To Do

mourning

First off, for you alarmists out there: no, nothing’s wrong in Paradise. The BF and I are still happily “The BF and I.”

But I recently made a new friend who recently broke it off with a boyfriend and it got me to thinking about my own past breakups, oft necessary parts of Getting To Happy, but not always fun in their own right.

No advice is one-size-fits-all, so consider everything I’m going to say like a pile of stuff at an outdoor flea market that you can either pick through lazily out of interest or ignore wholesale for the smelly, superfluous pile of ca-ca it is.

Also, this advice is mainly for chicks because, despite all of my efforts to be very manly, I am a chick. If you’re a dude…well, maybe #3 & #4 cross the gender line, but basically, I don’t know. The best advice I can give is go seek out some dude advice. (Do dudes even give advice?)

For you ladies, read on…

1. Do more hanging out with women right now. GREAT women, who inspire you. Not “girls.” And especially not catty girls. It is also fine to hang out with gay male friends who love you and will tell you how gorgeous/fabulous you are. It is even fine if they are catty, as long as it’s about the right stuff and makes you laugh.

2. Avoid like the plague anything that makes you feel old/ugly/loser-esque/etc. For me, this means all women’s magazines and other lifestyle porn (except maybe JANE and Oprah’s magazine) and supertrendy L.A. hangout spots. It is also very good to avoid people who are at all unsupportive or even just well-meaning but have their heads up their asses. Keep your force field as clear as you can of human detritus.

3. Ditto news of anything that makes you feel depressed. This includes “important” but devastating coverage of Darfur, chimpy, peak oil, etc. Quickly skim headlines to make sure the world isn’t coming to an end today, then move on.

4. Do lots more of what is unusual and fun for you, provided it is of a creative and inspiring and active nature, and not a passive, consumer nature. Consider spending less time (and money) at the store and more at sites like Inspire Me Thursday and 52 Projects. Be with friends (the good ones, the positive ones) but do as much of it alone as you can. Let yourself rock out aloud with the joy of it all.

5. If you haven’t yet, consider reading He’s Just Not That Into You. Yeah, it’s annoying and cheesy and embarrassing for a variety of reasons, most unintentional. But you don’t have to buy it; you can read it in about a half-hour standing up in the aisle at the bookstore (after my last breakup, I read it in a Borders I don’t usually frequent because I am a gigantic pussy). And like it or not, it distills the truth about women taking crap off of men like nothing I’ve ever read.

Of course, nothing heals like time. But a bit of awareness during the healing time might prevent future repeats. Sticking your head into a tub of ice cream feels good in the moment, but doesn’t do much to evolve you from emotional knuckle-dragging.

Besides, ice cream is off-limits if you’re SCD

xxx
c

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