Recent Sampling

We all know artists reduce, reuse, recycle music all. the. time. But they seem to be getting lazier lately. A few examples-

And I’m perfectly fine with this. I like all three of these new songs. Until some punk twelve year old mentions they’ve never heard the original. Or that Flo Rida did it first.
He didn’t kids, he didn’t.
And while I’m at it, Adam Lambert “reinventing” things like Tears for Fears “Mad World” and “Feeling Good,” a song which everyone but God has sung? For all their music industry knowledge, the American Idol judges have never heard of Gary Jules or Muse
Frustrating.

Indescribably Awesome

Rascal scooter, full-length fur coat… yes this is pretty much how I planned to spend retirement. All they need is one of those long Cruela DeVille type cigarette holders to smoke from and they will have achieved perfection. I plan on being the one on the left, the one on the right looks kinda like Dave Thomas.

Courtesy of My Senior Citizen Humor Blog, a blog I found while researching the 65+ Blogging demographic. Did I mention how much I love my job?

The Old Me Had Better Hair

Just spent a few minutes digging through old Xanga entries looking for a photo of my old room at my parents’ house for paint color-sampling purposes and read through a few other entries.

I was a witty little SOB back in the day. Scares me to think how much I’ve softened. Amazing how bright-eyed and cynical you can be at the same time.

I also took a whole lotta pictures of my hair back then. My favorite?

Aging Gracefully

Today I created a WordPress account. Don’t get your panties in a wad, I’m not going anywhere (I know you all just got used to the the new URL) but it got me thinking about blogging sites/utilities and how people tend to swarm around sites that are deemed acceptable for their age.

A Short Guide:

Xanga: For Ages 12-17
Blogger: For Ages 18-24
WordPress: For Ages 25-37

Of course you have things like LiveJournal, DeadJournal (does that still exist?), MySpace blogs and iWeb accounts, but if you want to be a real blogger with a real audience, those are your basic tools.

I figure 25 is a good age to transition to WordPress. Much like the transition to digital television, it will give me time to talk about it ad-nauseum for years before anything actually happens. By then, I may have actually figured out how to obtain my own URL and will no longer be a “new” McKechnie anymore.

For a look back at my pre-McKechnie days on Xanga (and coincidentally ages 17-22): Beautiful Chaos

Update: One of My Moms

Aaron’s mom just got some post-mastectomy tests back from the doctor, and they have let her know it is Stage 1 and they got everything and will not need to do any further treatment.

Can I get an Amen?

Now back to our regularly scheduled program…

On With the Slaught

Things That Happened Last Week:


Extreme Nerdiness. Have been found out for the nerd/geek/treckie I truly am, been made unofficial social media go-to and thus designated Twitterer for a client event and our agency. Yes, my job is to Twitter and blog. Don’t hate.

My First Video Project is coming to fruition. (Am now laughing to self because I’ve never seen “fruition” in print and am pronouncing it fruit-tition like “beautician” in my head and imaging Carmen Miranda dancing with a fruit bowl on her head) TANGENT. I was given an assignment to write a script, see the video through to production, and after a week in the production studio (yes how cool am I?) I made an appointment Friday with the owner of our agency to edit and approve the thing. SCA-RY. Went swimmingly. Insert sigh of relief here.
Special Events. We do advertising and PR and consequently have a lot of these. All week, lots of extra hours doing quite cool things (including getting to shake hands with both the owner of the Houston Astros and Brandon Backe, but I will perhaps blog on that later)
Personal Life. What personal life? Aaron has law school finals this week so I haven’t seen a whole lot of him. Luckily work has been going so great for me and keeping me busy that I haven’t had as much time to notice or mourn his absence. One of the truly wretched things in life is to have disparate amounts of free time in a relationship. (Also something good to blog about… gah, I need to quit slacking and WRITE)
Hospitalization. In the words of my lovely husband “both my moms are in the hospital”. Aaron’s mom found out about two weeks ago that she had breast cancer and had a full mastectomy on Wednesday. (Yes, I know, way to bury the lead but this is my way of being positive and convincing myself it’s not as big of a deal as it really is). My mom went to the emergency room Friday morning because of intense back pain. I spent most of last week asking Aaron if he was okay and being the only one to freak out later on. Some people are frustratingly strong people.
…and that my friends is why there was a whole lotta nuthin on my blog last week. Both the moms are doing good, recovering. Aaron’s finals are over a week from Friday, and the special events will die down about the same time for me. It’s a shame that whenever significant, read-worthy things happen in my life I never find the time to reflect and write.
I guess you will all just have to wait until things calm down so I can whip up a riveting story on what happened when I took Ruby to “get her nails did” at Petco today. 

Advice on a Friday, Part 2

Pre-planning a mental list of people to call when you get a flat tire so you don’t have to do any manual labor. Maintaining those relationships.

When you think car trouble and flat tires, often the motto “be prepared” comes to mind. I’m sure you’ve gotten speeches from your parents before on what to do and what equipment to have and the difference between AA and AAA (although both often involve cars). Your parents care and they don’t want to get you in a bind, but they are going about it the wrong way.

If you really don’t want to ever change a tire again, I say you should be as unprepared as possible in the definition of the word according to your parents. Don’t have the right tools, don’t have the know-how. Don’t have AAA. Why? Because the more helpless and pathetic you sound on the phone, the better. And trust me, people can tell in such moments if you are disingenuous in your helplessness. 

The key- if people think there is even the smallest chance you can get out of this bind yourself, they are not going to drag their ass over to wherever you are to do manual labor on your behalf.

The second and most crucial part of vehicle maintenance is developing a list of potential technicians. The easiest and most obvious group to target would be the Not-So-Secretly-In-Love-With-You-Guy-Best-Friend. I’m sure the second your tire goes flat  your thumb will hover over the first digit of his number, but resist. This is a mistake. You may be helpless, but you are a classy broad who would never do anything that might suggest the remote possibility of the return of “favors.” And it is generally unacceptable to owe this person in your life anything. It makes you vulnerable to giving in to something you obviously don’t want.

ANYHOW, tangent that I will address later in “What to do when your BFF is not-so secretly in love with you”, but the point being AVOID THE URGE.

No, unless someone has already attained significant-other status, you opt for someone that never would want to be. You want the uber-platonic guy friend who neither of you have ever thought of each other in that way. Because when he is sweating and holding one of those iron T thingies you want himm to look at you and think “gah, only I know how to do this, I can’t believe you don’t and you disgust me” and feel superior to you, not think “yesss, I am going to score so many brownie points for this” and expect something afterwards.

Because for some people, feeling superior is the reward in itself. These are the people you need in your life for occasions such as these, because they require little outside maintenance. The In-Love Best Friend will try to milk that favor forever, the guy friend will settle for a box of beer next time you see him and a few jokes to the rest of the friend group about your fear of broken nails. 

I realize many of you may see this as shamelessly playing the Helpless Female card, that it is a step back in feminism, but then again you can always change that tire yourself. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting nice and clean inside the car with the air condition on.

Next Week: The fine art of call-screening and who not to delete from your contacts (it’s never about needing to call them in the foreseeable future, but knowing the incoming unknown number is NOT that person)

Plunder

There are few things that get my heart beating like the words “full-size sample”.  As such, I nearly had a coronary when this arrived for me in the mail today:

The kicker? I only bought three of the things pictured. The rest were FREE FREE FREE, mwahaha. I heart Sephora Insider.
I also love how they left a catalogue in the bottom of the box:
Oh look, there was actually something left in their store. Nail polish.

Smart and Pretty, Geek Chic

So here is the moment I must confess I read the wedding blog (even though I am running up on my first anniversary here) Green Wedding Shoes, so that I can tell you how I found this beauty:Yes, I covet it. I need it, I want it. Can’t possibly live without such an archaic piece of technology. No surprise from the woman who once impulse-bought a Strawberry 1999 iMac she had absolutely no use for. (I later sold it on Craigslist due to desk space issues, but the eight months or so we spent together were delightful).Anyhow, the original 1926 typewriters today are about $350. Which I suppose is not unreasonable (if you can find one someone is willing to sell) but a little out of my league for something so purely ornamental. My next step in the sequence of crazy was to go to the current Royal website and see what was up.

Horror. Chagrin and horror.
Really? You went from that to this? I know there’s something to be said for functionality, and I’m sure these ugly ducklings can type circles around the ’20s beauties, but come on. I know Smart and Pretty seems like a myth, that maybe you think people won’t take you seriously if you don’t appeal to whatever market still needs them, but if you’ve got it, why not flaunt it? Why not produce them in colors again? Expand the market? I would buy one brand new knowing full well I don’ t have a use for it just to acquire something that lovely.

And because it would match my phone, which also happens to be a reproduction. 1960s phone purchased in 2002.

Yes? Yes.

Advice on a Friday, Part 1

In my post Nobody Likes You When You’re 23 I offered up advice on a lot of things I have experience with. This may have been premature. I don’t think I’ve ever written advice on anything. In general I think it’s just good to listen and refrain from preaching, unless you are either of my younger sisters, then you get the full gambit of Lauren sayings.

So I will speak to you as if you were my own misguided, well-meaning (don’t hate me either of you) younger clones:

1. Roommates. Always do a walk-through. Not of the place you will be cohabitating until passive-aggression do you part. The place they are currently living. Take a tour of the conditions they currently live in, pay very, very close attention. Are there clothes on the floor? Dishes in the sink? How does it smell? Is there anyone else living there that could be cleaning for them? Do they refuse to let you enter certain rooms? Is it dusty? Does their toothbrush have a holder?

Most importantly, when making this appointment, do they delay you? Do they tell you they need time to clean? If so, this could either mean they are OCD perfect approved and wouldn’t want you to see one throw pillow out of place, or else they are a slob who needs time to drag six bags of trash down the stairs and create a walking space large enough for you to squeeze through.

Other factors to consider: Are they a morning person? Do they have a drinking problem? Do they have a boyfriend? Are they a loner or do they invite people over a lot? Will they want pets?

If you can’t answer all these questions to your liking, sign a short lease.

2. Flawless Skin. There are about a million things affecting your complexion, two of which are genetics and luck. About 5 of the other 999,998 are:

  • Moisturizing. I could not emphasize this enough. Even if you think you have oily skin, every time you wash your face you put some lotion on it, woman! Take the bad oils out, put the good ones in. Depleting your skin isn’t doing you any favors. While some people like to nuke the acne, it’s balance that matters most.
  • Consistency. Wash your face! I eat like crap, I love greasy food, I NEVER drink water. I am terrible. But I never, ever, ever skip washing my face twice a day. It’s like brushing your teeth. Even if you drink coffee, and especially if you do, you brush because all is not lost against yellow teeth. Same with your face.
  • Cut out the Grease. When I was a teenager my mom made me grow out my bangs so they wouldn’t hang in my face and make my skin breakout, because we all know your greasy hair can clog pours. But what happens when you go to sleep? You lay your greasy-haired head on your pillow and roll around on it and your face smushes against a pillowcase that you just rubbed your hair all over. WASH YOUR PILLOWCASE. More often than you do your sheets. Just throw it in once a week with the rest of your laundry. Especially if you shower in the morning and not before you go to bed at night.
  • Don’t touch your face. Your hands have oils. Stop the cross-contamination.
  • Allergies. Doing everything right and still not getting anywhere? You could be allergic to one of the millions of things that come in contact with your skin. Allergy offender numero uno? Laundry detergent. You wash your face and the slate is clean, then you wipe a clean towel all over to dry your face, and irritate it with the fresh dose of soaps and scents and dyes. Shampoos and Conditioners are your number two culprit. They clog your pours like a mofo. Got bacne? Change your hair routine immediately.

In conclusion, you don’t have to do everything right to have great skin, just a good number of the tons of things that can make a difference.

…and I think that’s all for today. More advice next Friday.

What The Easter Bunny Left Behind

Aaron and I just took a walk with Ruby and as we’re trotting down the sidewalk, Ruby paused, sniffed, and started gobbling wildly at something in the dark.
This happens more often than I would like, and more often than not it is poop she is gobbling down. Horrifying, but normal to find in an urban grassy area and relatively harmless. This time Aaron and I dropped to our knees and wrestled open her clenched teeth to discover what we could only guess to be dinner sausage. Dinner sausage that was laying out in someone’s front yard like a lost and abandoned Easter egg.
Aaron and I continued on our walk confused and partially stunned, while Ruby recovered from her strip search. We figured she ate about two inches before we got it from her. Would she be okay? How long had it been there? Was it poisoned? Should we turn back? What if there were blades in there like bad people do to halloween candy?
We continued on our walk for about as long as it took for us to begin to second guess this whole incident had even happened, decide we needed proof and return to revaluate the danger level. Looping around we forgot exactly which yard it was and dawdled long enough for Ruby to rediscover the remaining sausage.

So for anyone watching from their windows, we are two adults forcing a ten pound dog to the ground, performing airport security type-maneuvers, then racing over to a street light with greasy, meat-smelling hands to inspect what looks to be a large turd.
The things you do for your dog.

Hell Freezeth Over

Most of my deplorable eating habits circulate around the love of condiments and the need to find something to put them on. As a rule, I don’t particularly like the “staples”; things like bread and lettuce and crackers… and bread a couple more times. Shredded cheese, sour cream, chocolate syrup, vanilla frosting, dressings, dips, and buttery sauces, these are the reasons I eat.

This evening, in search of something on which to slather a good helping of Leo’s Italian salad dressing, I put together something rather shocking: Romaine, edemame, baby tomatoes. I felt this needed to be documented for proof and posterity:

Rather good, I must say. And I felt good about it, too. Nevermind the leftover shells and cheese and 3 Musketeers bar I chased it with…

31DBBB Day #7: Show Some Link Love

Creative Candy: Links to Odds ‘n Ends and Things I Find Inspiring

My Role Models:

1. The Queso is a good place to start because she is the one that put me up to all this 31 Day Challenge mess. Our fearless leader, soon to be a fearless work-at-home mom, Laura, pioneered the blogging/twittering way for our PR department.

2. Amy Krouse Rosenthal lets you read her work online, which is more than you can say for most real “I get paid for it I don’t give it away for free” writers. Read it, love it, envy her as I have for some time.

3. The Little Red Writing Shop is the brainchild of my creative copywriting professor at UT, Maria Rivera, who first introduced me to Amy K. and in general the idea that your creativity is a muscle you can exercise, tone and build to your liking, instead of going at it haphazardly as I always have.

4. Lee Woodruff’s bio reads exactly as I would like mine to read. Except ya know, without all the parts about her husband’s tragic brain injury. I suppose that is why we can’t envy others and must be thankful for what we have, because sometimes in setting our sites to acheive everything we’ve always wanted, we may lose the things we always took for granted.

My Indulgences:

5. Knack Studios I just plain love. Love, love, love. Wished I lived there, kinda glad I’m not so if I ever try it someday I can be new and exciting to all my lovely unsuspecting Houstonites out there.

6. Design Sponge is perhaps one of the most well-known design blogs out there- for a reason. It is absolutely wonderful. Although I have at least 12 others on my google reader, I would argue that if you have it, you need no others.

7. TasteSpotting is, put quite simply, porn for foodies. I dare you not to drool. 

8. Chuck Palahniuk. We all know who he is, but what’s news to me is that by joining his website you gain the possibiliy (no matter how small) that he may read, give feedback and publish your work himself. Seductive offer, no?

9. Oak Alley, aka Tara. I have a lot of ideas on how to build my dream home, but more than anything else, I would just like it to look like this. It’s my mental happy place, even though I have only been there once when I was about thirteen on a family roadtrip to Destin, Florida. Who knows, any place you stop to break up 13 hours in a minivan with your family could inadvertently become your happy place. But the pictures don’t lie- it’s not your typical truck stop.

10. Koren Zailkas is the best example I have ever encountered of how real, raw, honest writing can completely draw you in in a way no amount of fancy language or elaborate plots ever can. Her website is absolutely fabulous, her book Smashed is absolutely devastating. Devour both as soon as possible.

My Ambitions:

11. BeneFit. Because I can’t live without it and never have I loved the branding of anything more. Actually contributing to the branding seems an unimaginable thrill.

12. Mediarology is also some eye candy (fueled by my undying love of Hello Kitty), with a two-women-one-dream start up story similar to that of BeneFit. Convinced I have multiple women in my life who would be amazing business-partners-in-crime, I hang on to the dream of starting my own business like this.

13. Hucksters is wonderful because they are all creatives, even the people that print labels and schedule conference calls. I love that mentality. I also love that when I first moved back to Houston and was living with my parents looking for work, my mom leaned over my shoulder to say “hey, is that your website?” when I was on their homepage because it looked so similar to something I would do. Love you, mom, but my portfolio site is not quite there yet.

14. Adult Swim may leave you with the impression that it is only for techno geeks and the teenagers they play WoW with, or else people on drugs because so little of it makes sense, but I refuse to believe it is anything but brilliant. I would love to be a fly on their wall. Creativity that raw is so rarely seen, even if it is not your taste you have to appreciate it.

Nobody Likes You When You’re 23

I’d recently been told there are two main groups in the blogosphere (a word I say with disdain but have yet to find an appropriate alternative)

1. Mombloggers and the chic desperate housewives that relate to them
2. Technogeeks and the teenagers they play WOW with

Being neither, and spending the greater part of last week lamenting and deciding which seemed less vile (technorati it is) I’ve decided to give myself a good slap in the face and readjust my locust of control here. I am in control of the destiny of my blog. I can stay like I am or offer something useful.

So I made a list of ways in which I am useful. Here’s what I got so far:

Post-teen, pre-women of Facebook, I am you, only two years from now. I know (almost) everything you don’t.

Where and when and how to study abroad,
how to properly screen potential roommates and how invaluable your own parking space is.

What it’s like to find a job, the internal struggle between intellectual merit and relying on connections.

What key words to look for when accepting/rejecting a cocktail (IE any fruit used in the mix must be named individually, any blanket term such as “punch” is a red flag).

What you will regret two years from now, what you wish you knew, what other people are too stuck up to tell you.

What purse goes with which shoes. How to tell if your best friend is not-so-secretly in love with you. What to say when he knows you know.

The bullshit people tell you about getting a dog. How to patch up apartment damage after said dog with whiteout and fight The Man on security deposit terms. How to be an asshole when you’d rather not.

Pre-planning a mental list of people to call when you get a flat tire so you don’t have to do any manual labor. Maintaining those relationships.

The fine art of call-screening and who not to delete from your contacts (it’s never about needing to call them in the foreseeable future, but knowing the incoming unknown number is NOT that person)

Craigslist as a lifeline- for weekend projects, for shopping, for entertainment. For employment, if you are really brave.

The secrets to flawless skin despite stress, greasy food and a generally questionable lifestyle.

And finally, my infamous “Aim Low” speech, a tool which has been used to transform the crazed, overstressed minds of countless overacheivers.

Pick one, and I’ll write about it first.