I Know You Are But What Am I

In the name of all things petty (except you, Tom Petty, you’re okay) I have to say here and now that I once loved but now hate the Spearmint Baby “My Top 10 Baby Names” blog idea.
Why?
Because since everyone has decided to participate and share, they’ve brought to light the fact that in addition to Rainn Wilson, they too are planning to steal My Super-Secret Baby Name. And multiple other names I like, including my dog’s name which thank GOD I beat someone to the punch on at least that one.
Reality is cruel.
I am nowhere near as unique and creative as I believed myself to be, like back in 1984 when EVERY woman in America independently yet simultaneously decided they would name their child Ashley. Then six years later BAM. Seven little girls in the same kindergarten class have to permanently add an initial to their names to avoid confusion.
While I’m at it, reality is also cruel because after months and months of eyeing it in the grocery store I finally bought this:

It smells like heaven and it claims to be hypoallergenic. But six days of using this on my face has proven otherwise. If you get it in your eyes it burns like hell and my face is breaking out like I’ve been rubbing it with Crisco every night instead of something that claims to be keeping my pores clean with “pineapple enzyme.”

Yeah.
In completely unrelated news, expect a blog entry soon with my top ten baby names.
If you can’t beat them, get it in writing.

The Most Interesting Thing I’ve Learned in Law School So Far

If you think I’m not in it, I beg to differ. I attend law school night school, instructed by professor Aaron. Much like TMZ’s Harvey Levin, he gives me the highlights.

Favorite thing yet:

At a late 1970’s American Bar Association seminar in New York, Richard “Racehorse” Haynes explained how to plead in the alternative:

“Say you sue me because you say my dog bit you. Well, now this is my defense: My dog doesn’t bite. And second, in the alternative, my dog was tied up that night. And third, I don’t believe you really got bit. And fourth, I don’t have a dog.”

Now we know where they all get it from.

In the meantime, read this

I feel like one of the subjects on the show Hoarders who can’t sell their old house because it’s filled to the brim with clutter. Still need to vacate Blogger. Will make every effort to flesh out the site. And come up with another way to say “flesh out” that doesn’t sound so… grotesque. In the meantime, read this post from my current home to get a sense of why I’ve created this site.

Up and out and on to better things!

Kerbey v. Kirby

I’ve always been enamored (though never fully committed in belief) with the idea of astrology and personality. How the planets swirled and stars aligned the day each of us were born. Whether our first few months were filled with falling leaves or rising temperatures- and the corresponding dips and swells in human mood and activity that defined the world of our infancy.

September just feels cerebral.

And even though the ritual in my family is to head north for the autumn- back to school, back to Austin and all things burnt orange, I would argue that like me, Houston is a September child.

The four-year summer of my life was filled with late nights at Kerbey Lane Cafe, weekends on the river, wiener dog races in Buda. The highlights of the year were things like ACL Festival, SXSW. Even with its quiet moments Austin is never without song- it had a way of making work never feel quite like work. Life was one big trip to Mozart’s or Spider House, serving both study-time and fun, coffee and alcohol. An eternal rabbit hole in the tightly-woven plans of the ambitious.

In Houston I start my days on Kirby Drive, passing Armadillo Palace on my way in to work- the last standing monolith of quirkier times. I listen to Roula and Ryan on 104 instead of music. I attend Social Media Breakfasts and HiMA conferences. Houston is all about words and action and putting to use the whiley artistic impulses of hotter times. There’s creativity, but it’s captured.

Museum District Day is this Saturday, my birthday. A classic Houston affair. It’s artsy and fun but in a way that pushes stale hot air and brushes leaves off the trees. Houston has the feel of a beginning-of-the-year assignment in elementary school that makes you thoughtful. Hopeful.

Sometimes I think I’d love to go back to the wonderland of Willie Nelson and shopping on South Congress in the middle of weekday afternoons, but as September settles in and my 24th birthday pulls near, I can feel that the Houston/Austin competition is really more of a battle of my younger and older self. Of how I’d like to live and who I’d like to become, and when I stop fighting it I realize that September is good for me.

Into the Ether From Whence He Came

Remember in this blog post how I talked about the idea that the creation of art has a lot to do with this need and struggle to bring something ethereal into physical existence?

Two days later I saw this interview and for the first time since I first heard his music, witnessed the years of genius and absurdity, the continuous media spectacle, the dubious facts and speculations surround his death- I found myself in awe of Michael Jackson.

Minute 8:10 through 8:55.

Oprah: “Most of us spend our lives trying to figure out what the purpose of our being here is. What do you think yours is?”

Michael Jackson: “My purpose? Oh boy… I think to give in the best way I can through song and through dance and through music. I am committed to my art. I believe that all art has as its ultimate goal the union between the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine. I believe that to be the reason for the very existence of art and I feel I was chosen as an instrument to give music and love and harmony to the world.”

Absolutely fascinating.

Say a lot about him, but the man got it. He got it. Art is about the struggle to pull down to earth a piece of divinity. Maybe it explains a little bit why those with the best view of it seem the strangest in a world with a distinctly horizontal perspective.

Faux Fall

soooo I was taking a peak at one of my favorite blogs, Inside the Loop this afternoon and came across this fabulous collection of fall items perfect for those of us who live in places that well… never really experience fall. Unless February counts. Does February count?

Anyhow, was thinking to myself “wow, I am SO in love with everything in this picture” then looked down at my own outfit and thought “okay, yeah, probably why”
Exhibits A-C: (note my unwilling “photographer” was making lewd comments as he took these pictures, hence the weird face. Sadly, this is the best picture out of the set…)

And I just threw in the lunch box because, well, nothing says fall like a black and red plaid L.L. Bean lunch box.

Is your name Jennifer? Do you hate cake? Let’s Talk.

This Friday, September 25 all three locations of Dessert Gallery are giving away a FREE slice of Jennifer’s Birthday Cake to anyone named Jennifer, in celebration of the owner’s daughter’s birthday (who by this time you should have figured out is named Jennifer). Found out about this through a great blog called Cheap Eats in Houston.

I am not named Jennifer. If the turnaround time on a legal name change was less than 24 hours, I would attempt it. If you are a Jennifer who doesn’t like cake and has about 20 minutes to spare on Friday, let me know, I’m sure we can work something out.

I should also note that if you are, we can never, ever be friends.

Who doesn’t like cake?

See Related: Bacon.

Writer’s Block

It happens when you most expect it.

Because believing what you are writing is not good enough, is not what you meant or wanted to say is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The more I think my writing is not good enough, the less I write. If personal blogs are an act of ego, I’m feeling a bit shy.
Think I need to go back into absorbing mode. Breathe with me- good words in, bad words out.

See Me For The Nerd That I Am

If I could bring one thing back from the 90s it would be Natural Wonders.

Yes, the store at the West Oaks Mall (and many others) that sold things like rainsticks, adopt-a-whale packets and compilation CDs of instrumental and world music.

To compare it to the Discovery Store would be an injustice. To eleven-year-old me (not to mention twenty-four-year-old me), it was paradise. Heaven on earth. In whitewashed America, in a gallery of things uniform and expected, it still held mystery and oddity.
Question- Is there a store today that even comes close? Help me fill the void. In case I ever get the hankering, I’d like to know where I can find incense, a color-changing mood pen, a compilation CD featuring Enya or the Gipsy Kings, and a little inspiration.

One Year Ago Today

For me it was a week or so without power. Some fallen trees at the end of my parents’ culdisac and a downed fence that meant our dog had to be chained up to the swing set in our backyard. Blocked streets and a hot apartment that rotted the food in our refrigerator when the power refused to return after nine days. Ten.
A minor inconvenience when just down the street, in the places I learned to boogie board and find the perfect hermit crab- the hour down the highway I roadtripped to in high school were all experiencing this.
I say I can’t believe it’s been a year because in all honesty it could have been longer to me. Things returned to normal by about late October, with only a few hotel marquees and tarped-over rooftops reminding us all of the force of God we encountered.
I can’t believe it’s been a year when I know for many people it was all yesterday. Things are still messy and lives are still displaced. Even with a year in between, it still feels like September 13.

Why I ‘d Like to be a Photographer

I have a ritual.

Every night before I go to bed, I turn off the lights, click on the lamp on my night-stand and I stare at the walls. I stare at every object in my room. I take time to admire the beauty of every simple little thing individually. I empty my mind. The whole process takes about twenty minutes and I have no idea why I do it. I suppose I find it calming. Pleasing. I drink in the beauty of things not particularly beautiful, then flick off my lamp and try to sleep. 
I want to be an artist because I see things. I see pieces and objects and instances where I want to capture them exactly how I experience them. Exactly how I witness them in my mind. I wish desperately for those images in my mind to transfer to something more permanent. Tangible. For a while I tried acrylic painting but my skills never reached the point where I was able to translate the masterpiece I saw in my head to the canvas covered in smudges.
Sometimes I think I know what it must be like to be unable to speak. Unable to communicate what you wish so desperately to convey because you just don’t have the tools.
I always imagine if I had the right tools I could do it. If I had enough paintbrushes, enough tubes of colors, special lenses or computer programs. Maybe then it would leak out. Squeeze out and resemble the original.
But I know better. It takes training. It takes focus. It takes years and years of practice and learning and struggle and even then an exact translation of the art in your head will never be realized.
Truly great artists are not great only because they see art, but because they fight the physical in order to bring out the ethereal. They are able to bring such apparitions across the divide so that we can all catch a glimpse of what they see.
As it stands, writing is the only thing that has come close. When I write, I can mostly get out what I want to get out. But there is so much else brewing in there that just drives me nuts. Makes me want to scream and try to take short cuts. Makes me believe a light tent, a friend who knows HTML and trips to Michael’s are the solution to all my problems.
My new camera mocks me.

Kerbey v. Kirby

I’ve always been enamored (though never fully committed in belief) with the idea of astrology and personality. How the planets swirled and stars aligned the day each of us were born. Whether our first few months were filled with falling leaves or rising temperatures- and the corresponding dips and swells in human mood and activity that defined the world of our infancy.

September just feels cerebral.

And even though the ritual in my family is to head north for the autumn- back to school, back to Austin and all things burnt orange, I would argue that like me, Houston is a September child.

The four-year summer of my life was filled with late nights at Kerbey Lane Cafe, weekends on the river, wiener dog races in Buda. The highlights of the year were things like ACL Festival, SXSW. Even with its quiet moments Austin is never without song- it had a way of making work never feel quite like work. Life was one big trip to Mozart’s or Spider House, serving both study-time and fun, coffee and alcohol. An eternal rabbit hole in the tightly-woven plans of the ambitious.

In Houston I start my days on Kirby Drive, passing Armadillo Palace on my way in to work- the last standing monolith of quirkier times. I listen to Roula and Ryan on 104 instead of music. I attend Social Media Breakfasts and HiMA conferences. Houston is all about words and action and putting to use the whiley artistic impulses of hotter times. There’s creativity, but it’s captured.

Museum District Day is this Saturday, my birthday. A classic Houston affair. It’s artsy and fun but in a way that pushes stale hot air and brushes leaves off the trees. Houston has the feel of a beginning-of-the-year assignment in elementary school that makes you thoughtful. Hopeful.

Sometimes I think I’d love to go back to the wonderland of Willie Nelson and shopping on South Congress in the middle of weekday afternoons, but as September settles in and my 24th birthday pulls near, I can feel that the Houston/Austin competition is really more of a battle of my younger and older self. Of how I’d like to live and who I’d like to become, and when I stop fighting it I realize that September is good for me.

Jumped the Shark

There is a landmark episode of Happy Days in which Fonzie jumps over a shark tank, after which Happy Days took an irrecoverable ratings dive. The following things have reached a similar popularity pinnacle:

1. Futura is out. It’s been years since my fellow advertising students and I (and most of my creative teachers) used it in every imaginable scenario, presentation, ad we could get our hands on, but now that IKEA has finally dumped it I think it’s safe to call a time of death. Currently, Helvetica and Verdana are having their day in the sun. Serif is making a comeback in a small way- we aren’t starting every new weblog with Courier anymore (or sending out my resume in Baskerville) but sleek is out, and the more amorphous half-serif style similar to that in “Keep Calm” posters (but with a little more serif to it) is what I think you can expect next.

2. Peanuts are passe. I’ve recently ended a ravenous affair with almonds and pistachios, but they’re getting just a little too accessible. Almonds are the thing to pair with chocolate and dried fruit in the granola industry and it’s becoming overkill. Pistachio people are just too damn quirky to lend longevity to the fad.

Pecans are the new thing to be covered in chocolate. Brands like Max Brenner have begun carrying high-end products with down-to-earth pecans at their center.

3. There are always things that despite their popularity, I will continue to consume, but the long-reigning sushi fad has been hovering over the shark tank for what feels like decades. No pun intended. Right now everything is all about scary, dark foods and unknown meats from traditional European recipes. Places like Feast are becoming the new It oddity, but they will burn out in minutes. Things light and breezy like Mediterranean and equally mysterious as Feast (but with less items like blood pudding) like Ethiopian are popping up as the new go-to night starters.
4. While the mention of the recession itself is as tired as Conan’s broken-faced wax Fonzie, Cable TV is becoming a long-standing essential people now call into question. Nipping at its heals are Hulu and Netflix– Hulu is the end-all right now because it is free and it is, well, awesome. But once we all survive the recession haze I think people will once again realize the value of a comprehensive, almost-free subscription service with benefits worth paying for over a “we only have a few shows right now” freebie.

5. Although it pains me to admit this, gourmet cupcakes are on the out. Like their coffee house predecessors before them, they served their purpose (and corresponding addiction) well, but consumers have turned to less guilty pleasures now that the practice of placating recession woes over sugary treats has begun to show up on our waistlines. Frozen Yogurt IE the crack dealers down at BeriPop and Sweet Lola, are capitalizing all over Houston.

MythBusters: The Myth of the Ubiquitous Dessert Gallery

Up until about two days ago I thought Dessert Gallery was EVERYWHERE.

Took a look at the company website, did a little research and discovered that no, Dessert Gallery isn’t everywhere. It’s only in three very strategic locations- within 4.8 miles of my parent’s house, 1.8 of my apartment, and 0.9 of my office:
Yes, lightning does indeed strike thrice. The cupcakes are stalking me.