Sunday, March 27, 2011


Mendicant [noun] (mehn dih kuhnt)
  1. Beggar

While having a rather serious conversation about "The Next 10 Years" and what, preciously, that decade should yield for a career - prowess? Longevity? Joy? High blood pressure? - it was (somehow) determined the optimal profession to enter and master is one that will deem us indispensable in the occurrence of a Zombie Apocalypse

Ahem.  If you're looking at things pragmatically, that is.   Clearly, being a mendicant isn't an option.

I'll admit that this may have been an attempt at subterfuge, trying to take the intensity of "What am I going to do with my life?" down a notch or two.  However, you must admit that the concept does have legs and makes you wonder: If all of society collapsed, what skills do I have to survive and thrive?  

I don't know about the rest of you, but my survival is currently banking on a mean French Toast and basket weaving.  It is for this reason that I'm fairly sure I'd go out with the first wave of Zeds.  It was nice blogging with you all.

And yet, there are careers and hobbies that would serve this state of cannibalistic chaos well.   In fact,  I can think of my top 5 that have roots in today's society but could rise to the top when all else shatters.

  1. Outdoorsman: The most obvious of them all, the man or woman who has a knack with weaponry, an eye for moving targets, and a sense of the natural world will thrive in Z-Day.  Today, this person may be a weekend hunter, a Scout Leader, or a member of the armed services.  Tomorrow, they're John from Lost.
  2. Farmer: Known for being hard workers, farmers, again, have a sense of the land - they have a large knowledge base of animals, plants, and the impact of the weather.  Many farmers also act as their own mechanics, so when your cross-country Hummer breaks down in the middle of Z-Ville he or she will come in handy.
  3. Chemist: Think explosives and fuel - we need both.  The first for tight situations, the second for transportation.  However, an academic need not apply; we need someone with field experience.  A bonus if the chemist once took a class in pharmaceuticals.
  4. Medical doctor: Without a shadow of a doubt, people will get ill or hurt.  A doctor will be invaluable to a group, particularly if that doctor is a surgeon. Lost is the perfect example of this need.
  5. Electrical engineer: Yes, when the Zombie Apocalypse hits electricity will go dwon, but it doesn't have to stay down.  An electrical engineer can build a generator, fix flash lights, or set-up a communications network.  A good engineer will also be able to harness wind, solar, and water to provide energy.  
There.  The Top 5 Careers that will help you in the  Zombie Apocalypse.  ... sadly, my job is not on that list, nor is it connected to any in a tangential manner.  Okay, how about a bonus Career for the list?

     6. Renaissance Faire'r:  Basket weaving!  Candle making!  Butchering!  Campfires!  Clothing construction!  Grog and pub songs!  All handy skills for the human survival convoy. 

Is your job on the list?  Did I miss something big?  Make the case for how indispensable your chosen career will be come Z-Day and maybe I'll add it to Bonus section. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Talon [noun] (taa luhn)
  1. Claw of an animal, especially a bird of prey

I have returned from South by South West (SxSW) with the satisfaction of a once-hungry hawk with a hare locked in her talons.

I ventured to Austin with a goal to see it all: go to every panel on social media regulations, legality, measurement, and gaming that I could, eat at every out-of-this-world restaurant, food truck, and hubble I see, and embrace the weird that is this capitol city in Texas.   With a smidge of pride, I can say that I accomplished my goals everyday - panels and foodie opportunities bowed before me!  The weird I sought, however, remained elusive.  A local told me that I wasn't really seeing Austin during this week.

"This isn't Austin," she reported as we waited in line at kebabalicious on Commerce Ave., "This is the convention - Austin is much, much weirder."

Drat.  How was I going to find that touch of weird I so craved for this trip when everything had an aura of "convention" around it?  Sure, those giant Fandango mascots waltzing up 4th was strange, but very SxSW.  That "I wear my sunglasses at night" dance party?  Sponsored, no doubt.  And that trip to Emo's for Steampunk Burlesque?  Emo's is legit, but this was an interactive event after all.  Hm.

And then: I saw it.  While waltzing home from a late, late dinner, my cronies and I spotted what we thought was just another pedicab.  But it was not a pedicab: it was a rickshaw runner, carrying three people, and going at a decent clip down the street.  I stopped dead in my tracks and asked my group, "Is that really happening?"  Without a delay, a man riding in the ricksaw shouted, "Oh, yes! This is really happening!"

My mission couldn't be more clear: To fulfill my weird goal for Austin, I needed to get myself on a rickshaw. 

One day passed, and then two and three. It was the very last day of the conference, my crew was fairly certain we'd leave without another rickshaw sighting.  And then, we saw Steve, stretching outside the Convention Center after our last panel.

It was a miracle of Austin - and I filmed it.

Steve took us down alleys, into traffic, across intersections, and right to our hotel's front door.  And you know what?  There's no standard fee; they live on tips!  For fulfilling my final goal, I tipped in an obscene way and still thought I underpaid.

I now sit at home by my fireplace, reminiscing about the week away, and I'm satisfied with what I accomplished.  Even if it was only for a brief moment spread over seven days, I had a piece of the knowledge, ambition, and weirdness of Austin in my talons, and it felt pretty good.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Collusion [noun] (kul loo zhuhn)
  1. Collaboration
  2. Complicity
  3. Conspiracy

I wish my Brain would stop acting in collusion with Reality.  The two of them talk, you see.  My eyes scan a glossy, register a fashion ad and my Brain begins to think.  But why should it do so on it's own?  It pulls out its brand new iPad 2 (because, clearly, my brain has obtained one - and has hidden it from me) and messages a trusted friend, Reality.

Brain: Hi, Reality
Reality: Oh, Brain! How r u?
Brain: Good, good.  Been looking at this magazine ad and was wondering if we should expect it to look good on us. [Pic attached]
Reality: WOW 0_o
Brain: So, you think we'll look like that, too?
Reality: Ummm...sure, sure.  BTW get that iPad 2 I sent?
Brain: Yeah, love it!  Thanks so much! But, do you really think we should get it?
Reality: You deserve it!  :-)
Brain: Awwww! Really? Stop it. 
Reality: Would I lie to you? ...
Brain: Too sweet!  Oops, need to get back.  TTYL!

My Brain then give me its input: "Look at how glorious that model looks in that chartreuse and mauve zebra-print jumpsuit!  If she looks so jaunty, surely we will, as well.  Get it!" In that moment, my expectations are high.  Why would my Brain lie to me, after all?  It is me.

And yet.
My Brain has also been seduced by the idea that Reality won't lie to it, thereby allowing said "friend" to slap this occasionally media illiterate gal across the face.  But I doubt Reality's only confident is my Brain - I bet many other Brains chat with it, as well.  Brains that gift it cruises and massages and front row Knick's tickets; Brains that ask it to conveniently forget to let other Brains know that chartreuse and mauve zebra-print jumpsuits look good on no one, save for well lit, overly Photoshop'd, and paid spokespeople.

Thankfully, with the influx of media literacy in schools, most of us take marketing with more than just a grain of salt - we grab the whole container.  Our Brains are trained to be weary, to analyze all resources, and then come to a conclusion.   However, even when we know better, we still do it: We trust.  We see past the make-up, the .12 cm font, the paragraphs of disclaimers, and choose to move forward with faith that it'll be different this time - this time it'll work for us.

This instance of trust in the advertising brings me to my most recent example of Brain/Reality collusion: 

An e-mail sent the weekend before my first Bon Jovi concert, urging ticket holders to "Arrive Early - No Opening Act." Be there at 7:30 "SHARP," it extols - we're starting with or without you, it screams.  Fast forward to March 1 at 7:30 PM: Nothing.  7:35 PM: Nothing.  7:55 PM: Ditto.  8:00 PM: De Nada.  Finally, after sitting in my seat like a good fan for well-over an hour and a half, the show starts at 8:15 PM.

The marketing lead my Brain to believe; Reality showed me otherwise.  Never again - until next time, that is.