Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ho ho ho!

In preparation for this year's holiday, I have spent too much money, bought a gazillion decorations, mixed one CD, decorated one tree, written zero cards and baked zero cookies. I've also managed to ignore my blog almost completely. On the flip side, I feel like I've gotten a truck load of work done at the office, despite the fact that the inbox is so full I can barely send email and my to-do list is never-ending. And I'm probably behind on something even as I type this.

Speaking of work, after everything I said about all the losers I had to screen and interview for this position I'm hiring? I may have found someone. I don't want to jinx anything (or, um, post anything in any way unprofessional *ahem*), but I will just say this: this person BROUGHT IT. Seriously, y'all. I'm thrilled. I hope our offer is accepted, for reals.

On that happy note, I'm going to cut this short. The preparation for the holiday is nowhere near complete. But since we didn't do cards this year, here's an oldie but goodie for you to enjoy.
Image hosted by
Ho ho ho!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Aw, yeah

Okay, so a friend of mine posted this fun link to a site that makes a slogan out of your name. Examples of what the site was cranking out for various names:
"My Anti-Drug is Dustin"
"Shake the Bottle, Wake the Kelly"
"It's the Bright one, it's the Right one, it's Nicole"
"Nobody Does It Like Steven"
"Behold The Power of Matt"

Cute, right? Yeah. THIS is what it kicked out for me:
Image hosted by

Aw, yeah.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

punk rock sanctuary

Attention rock and rollers: if you haven't been yet, you have until next Halloween to get yourself to the original CBGB in New York. After a long battle between landlord and club owner, the club was given a last-minute reprieve, and granted a 1-year extension.

In case you're not familiar, CBGB is not just some random letters splayed across the faux-vintage t-shirts of wanna-be hipsters everywhere. The club, who's name actually stands for "Country Blue-Grass Blues" played host and witness to the American punk and new wave movements in the 1970's and 80's. It was instrumental in uplifting the careers of Puffpiece favorites like The Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, Talking Heads, and more. It was a punk rock sanctuary in a disco-saturated New York.

Today, it continues its tradition of booking up-and-coming, little-known acts that can only otherwise be found listed among indie scenesters' myspace friends. And it will continue to do so for just under a year at its original address.

Personally, I've never been to CBGB and I find it makes me very sad. I've only ever spent four days in New York in my life, and while I really wanted to check it out, we had a million other things to do while we were there as well. Here's hoping I can get out to CBGB in 2006 before it moves, and here's hoping you'll see me there.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Right on.

I have come to realize that, as I'm driving home after a long day with the music blaring, singing along and doing my own brand of The Car Dance (my version* involves rockin' the shoulders, a little head bobbing, and the occasional "wave" motion with the hand that's not on the wheel), more often than not I will get busted by another traveler on that long commute home while jamming out to the Prince classic, "Sexy Motherfucker."

That said, tonight's buster? Gave me a big ol' thumbs up. Right on, dude. Right on.

*I have to ask: What's YOUR car dance? I know you've got one.

Friday, December 02, 2005

you can't work for me

Dear potential job applicants and interviewees,
Hello. I have been going through resumes, reading cover letters, and chatting up potential new hires for quite some time now. At this point, I have a little advice for anyone else who'd like to be considered for a job working for me.

1. Punctuation matters. You tell me, "I promise you don't have to look at any more resume's after this one!" And yet I do. Do you know why? Can you see it? Obviously not, because you just left it in, glaring and wrong and insulting and honey? PASS.

2. Spelling also matters. Understand the difference between there, their and they're. Don't mess up your or you're either. Its and it's are two (not to or too) totally different things. If you can't get it right? Then I'm going to have to worry about double-checking every written piece you put in front of a senior executive or client, and baby, I so do not have time. PASS.

3. Format your resume. You're applying for a sales and marketing position. Sell yourself for god's sake. By the way, you know what I want to do when I see a bunch of random, un-matching fonts on the same resume? Send you a little note that says, "ARIAL, dumbass!" And also PASS.

4. Make eye contact in your interview. Seriously, have you never done a job interview before? Why are you always looking to the left? Is there a bear dancing with a juggling midget on that side of the room? Do I have some sort of disgusting creature dangling from my nose that you can't look at or you'll vomit? Do you think for even a minute that I'm going to trust you to perform well in client meetings if you can't even make eye contact with me? No? Well, you're right. PASS.

5. Try & stay positive, dude. If I ask you to describe your ideal work environment, and you take the opportunity to rip on the crappy office you're in now, there's a small chance I won't be impressed. Furthermore, don't bitch to me about how much you hate poor communication at work. EVERYONE hates poor communication at work. Communication at work sucks. Everyone thinks their communication style is superior, and even if it is, things will still slip through the cracks. It happens, you deal. When you try and blame poor performance or missed deadlines on bad communication, however, then that tells me that you are either a blame-shifter or you just have a piss-poor attitude when it comes to rolling with the punches. So, no. PASS.

6. Prepare answers for your interview question basics. I don't mind when people tell me they've heard a particular question repeatedly, nor am I surprised. I am, however, very much surprised when I discover that you don't have an appropriate answer prepared. What are the basics? They are:
-Tell me why you're interested in this position. (I want to know that you REALLY WANT it, not that you just need to escape your current hell of a job.)
-What job/projects have enjoyed the most? (I just want to make sure the things that blow your skirt up jive with the position for which you're interviewing.)
-Describe your ideal work environment. (See above.)
-Describe your ideal job. (I don't care if it's "rock star," as long as you can articulate it. If you can't, then you have no direction.)
-Why are you leaving your current position? (PREPARE. THIS. ANSWER. If you tell me it's because your boss sucks, then I'm immediately going to wonder if you're going to bad-mouth me when you're ready to leave this job. Your boss might truly suck, but you gotta at least go with the tried and true, "I'm looking to grow professionally.")
-Is there anything else you can tell me about yourself that we haven't already covered? (Yes. Yes, there always is. Here's the thing: job interviews are the ONLY TIME that you get to sit in front of someone and basically say, "I rock. I'm the shit. I'm amazing. I'm everything you wanted, and more." Or whatever. Do not sell yourself short. Take the opportunity to drive home the reasons for why you're awesome, whether I invite you to or not. I mean it.)

7. Don't bullshit me. I'm a sales and marketing professional: I am a goddamn bullshit EXPERT. The only jobs more experienced at bullshit than mine are that of publicist and lawyer. Have you ever heard the expression, "Don't bullshit a bullshitter?" It's excellent advice. My bullshit radar is FINELY TUNED. If you don't have the experience I'm asking about, just SAY SO. By all means, add that you're hungry to get it, that you look forward to training, that you have related experience that you think lends itself to that particular area, or whatever. But if you bullshit me? PASS, PASS, and oh, by the way, I will probably also tell every other department that might be hiring to also go ahead and PASS.

Follow my advice, kiddies, and we just might have a glorious future together. I'm not really that much of a hard-ass, I promise. But if you think you can get a job peddling laziness and mediocrity, well. You could probably work for the Bush Administration.

But you can't work for me.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


As a weirdly appropo follow-up to my thoughtful entry on my musical history and passion, I would just like to say:

If those bitches in the EPC don't stop playing the BEP's "Hump" song (loudly, repeatedly), I am going to slap them.

(Incidentally, I should have slapped them yesterday when I happened upon them watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off in the lounge, and all I had to see was one frame of Matthew Broderick in a fedora kissing that chick in the white fringe jacket to be all, "Right on! Oom bawmp bawmp--Chick, chick-a chick-ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" and THEY were all, "Is this, like, an OLD movie?")

Mix of the Month: November

The November mix is different from all the others I've done, and you're not going to see the tracks listed here. But let me tell you why.

We finally finished our house, and by "finished," I mean that we got it to a point where we still have projects to do, but it is not only livable, it's beautiful. The big things are done. It's a lovely, happy, welcoming sanctuary. So far, the only picture available online is on mAc's blog, but there are more to come.

What does this have to do with the Mix of the Month? Well, to celebrate the completion of all of our hard work, we threw a party. I made a playlist on the iBook for this party, quickly dragging in every party-appropriate song we had in the library, importing a few party songs we didn't have. After dragging them all in, de-duping a couple repeats and hitting shuffle, my 2005 Party Mix was complete.

It contains 179 songs, or over 11 hours of music. I am SO not typing that up for y'all, no matter how much you beg.

It's not like I didn't have specific criteria for selecting songs--I did. I picked out dance songs, happy songs, groovy background songs, funny conversation-starting songs, and current singles spanning multiple genres, thus giving guests with a wide variety of tastes something to enjoy.

The funny thing is, I've been listening to this mix since I made it (to and from work all week and I still haven't gotten through all the songs), and I like every song. On the one hand, of COURSE I like every song. On the other, there are 179, and they are all over the map.

It's moments like this when I realize how lucky I am to have had such a musical upbringing. For those of you who don't know me well, I played the violin for roughly 20 years, starting out as a Suzuki student in Evansville, IN. I got pretty good, actually. Good enough to kick out a couple Mozart violin concertos, learn Vivaldi's Four Seasons (both violin parts) and lead the second violin section of Denver's Young Artists Orchestra the year we tackled my all-time favorite orchestral work, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

Why on earth did I stop? Well, here's the thing about the violin: it's really, really hard. You have to play every day just to maintain your level of performance, and you have to practice several hours a day to really make that instrument sing. I never had the patience for it. Seriously, I'm lucky that I had any talent at all, because 9 times out of 10, I did all my practicing the day of my weekly lesson or orchestra rehearsal.

So, at a certain point, I stopped getting better. I actually remember what I was working on when that light bulb went on: Concerto No.1 In G Minor For Violin And Orchestra, Op.26, Max Bruch. Oh, man. Do yourselves a favor and go get a recording of this concerto (there's a lovely recording with Perlman performing this, and Mendelssohn's violin concerto in E minor, on Amazon, although on this piece I kind of actually prefer Joshua Bell's slightly edgier approach). It's so sensational, I can't even deal. The first movement alone makes my toes curl.

But I couldn't play it. Try as I might, I could not make this concerto work on my violin. And I really tried with this one. I loved the music so much, I was desperate to make it sound beautiful. This piece was my passion, not to mention my comfort on rough days in college. I'd have to be kicked out of the practice room in my dorm after quiet hours on some days, because I'd just devote so much time just trying to get it right. I'd stretch my fingers on the octave chords, do the runs over and over... At the end of all my hard work, I basically go to the point where I could make the first few bars of the intro kick ass, but the rest just sounded... not bad? But not good enough.

That's when I realized it was probably a good idea to think of other areas to where I could redirect my passion for music. I was never going to be good enough to master my favorite concerto, much less have the patience I'd need to master everything else I'd have to learn in order to play professionally. Not to mention, there were all kinds of things I didn't want to have to play, and when you're in an orchestra you kind of don't get a choice. They don't care if you find Mahler overbearing and boring if that's what's on the program.

Today, I find that it makes me sad to think of the concerto I never mastered, and my beloved instrument collecting dust in the closet. It's not out of the question that I'll bust it out again someday, especially now that we have a house and I don't have to worry about my squawks being heard through thin apartment walls. (I'd love to play my violin in a band, as long as I'm being honest.) That said, I am far more happy than sad to have had those 20 years playing the violin. Are you kidding me? What an amazing gift! Not only did I enjoy experiences and met amazing people I never would have otherwise, but it gave me an appreciation for ALL music. So much so that it remains a huge part of my life.

So much so that I make a party mix of some of my favorite songs, and it's over 11 hours long.

One last note (ha ha! I kill me). I recently discovered that my old violin teacher, the one who graduated me from Twinkle to Tsaichovsky, has a little web site. There's not much too it, but look at what I found on her quotes page:


"NOT because I expect you to major in music.
NOT because I expect you to play or sing all your life.
NOT so you can relax or have fun

BUT - so you will be human
so you will recognize beauty
so you will be closer to an Infinite beyond this world
so you will have something to cling to
so you will have more love, more compassion,
more gentleness, more good ... in short,
more life.

Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living
unless you know how to live?"

Author Unknown