Monday, June 13, 2016

Minimalism and the Fine Art of being a Pretentious Bore

Those that know me best know one thing about me - I love my stuff, and, boy, I have a lot of it. I am a proud collector. I own a toy collection going back with some items over forty years. I have a massive DVD/Blu-ray movie vault and enough pictures and posters to cover the walls of your local Applebee’s.

Now, look, I know that my tastes in decor probably aren't mainstream, and, I also understand and respect those who choose to live life with considerably less 'things'. But let's get one thing straight right now - your voluntary lack of personal property does not make you a better person than me.

I realize not every minimalist is a raging, self-fart savoring, social media peacock with an unquenchable need to thumb your nose down at someone for hanging onto their childhood baseball card collection. This rant is geared towards those who do.

In recent years minimalism has become in many circles viewed as an aspiring practice. On the surface, I myself agree with some of the ideas of rejecting rampant consumerism and materialism as a way to cleanse oneself. The problem is - I am a person that gets comfort from objects. I love walls full of color, and a home full of nearly every representation of things, times, places, stories and people – fiction, real, or otherwise, that have in some way touched my life. When my wife and I have gone house hunting over the years I don't just see a house - I see the vacant walls and rooms that represent an empty canvas just waiting for me to color with my mountains of organized chaos. There are few things that give me more enjoyment than decorating, and redecorating my 'man cave' again and again. Creating a room with a plethora of nick-knacks is a challenge, a challenge to create aesthetically pleasing displays without making the room feel claustrophobic or overly cluttered. My problem isn't with minimalism as a practice, it is with minimalists who, like many vegans, see their way as not only the right way, but any other lifestyle as a socially unacceptable disease.

One more thing- collecting within reason, is not hoarding. Until the day I have stacks of trash piled to the ceiling, along with thirty shitting cats navigating the maze that runs between the couch and the kitchen of old pizza boxes and newspapers and a freezer full of mummified thanksgiving turkey from 1999 - I am not a hoarder. But enough about me, let's talk about you, Captain Minimalist.

Let's talk about your one bedroom apartment or your boxcar-sized micro house and your self-restricted one hundred items.  Let's talk about the fact that you probably not only lack the basic tools to cook for yourself anything beyond a frozen pizza or a screw-driver to change out the batteries in a smoke detector. Let's visit the fact you probably ask the people in your life to borrow their shit… A LOT. You see, that doesn't make you enlightened, that doesn't put you on some intellectual, other-dimensional plane where you can levitate lotus flowers or some shit - it just makes you at best an annoyance and at worst a sanctimonious man-child-douche.

Fine Mr. Self-Promoting-Minimalist, you want to call me a hoarder, cool, but, conversely that makes you a hobo. And no, Boxcar Willy, you can't borrow my vacuum cleaner.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Television and the Art of Early Childhood Impressions

Man, have I watched a lot of TV in my life. Oh sure, because of that, I now make an okay living in the industry itself, but, looking back at my childhood it sometimes staggers me how much potential brain power I wasted downloading into my spongy young mind useless bits of Americana. For whatever reason, a great deal of that memory is loaded up with late 70's and early 80's commercials. While I realize this exercise is not by any means original, now, today, because of the magic of the Internet, I can spit out all of these memories from the deepest depths of my early childhood all over this blog.

Let's begin with a little ad put out by the U.S. Department of Ag. geared towards children for consuming dairy. After viewing this again for the first time in decades, I'm guessing it was the catchy tune, and not the crappy-looking,  wanna-be-muppets that kept this sucker stuck in my brain for over 30 years.

Wow, see, play that a few more times and it too will be stuck in your head for the next half century.

 Okay, so, moving on, the next couple are actually pretty famous and I'm sure most people born between 1970 and 1980 are going to remember these. The camp value alone here is off the charts. This first one put out by the ABC Television Network ran for years on Saturday mornings and it preached to kids not to 'drown their food.' A lesson to those who know me well I have certainly taken to heart as an adult.

I take this lesson with me every time I go to Chipotle and order up a steak burrito with extra rice, steak, and just a little bit of cheese. Sure, I get looks from the staff who just assume I'm some bland-tasting gringo, but, to them and everyone else who thinks salsa, sour cream, and guacamole are fine toppings listen to the damn lifeguard and don't drown your food!

Turns out I'm not the weird one after all.

Here's another one from ABC that I have actually quoted during business meetings...

Nothing will get a grin from your co-workers faster than proclaiming when an 11am meeting is running long that "I'm so hungry, I can eat a wagon wheel."
Yeah, I keep 'em stitches.

Well you'd think with all these dietary PSAs rattling around in my skull for over three decades I'd have turned out to be a great eater - wrong! Unfortunately, the junk food pay ads were far more convincing.

Did you see that cowboy?! Now there's a real man! You see, my Dad worked a lot when I was kid, so I don't remember him much before the age of twelve, but this rootin', tootin', bad-ass-son-of-bitch, I remember like it was yesterday. Yep who needs Dads with male role models like the Hubba Bubba Cowboy.

Speaking of cowboys...

This commercial came out when I was a little older, according to YouTube right around 1985, which would have made me ten. That seems about right, considering that when I first saw it I thought those kids where a bunch of dip-shits. Everyone knows that the cream filling is pumped into those delicious turd-shaped cakes via those amazing three orifices  a long the cake's underside - mental imagery that would serve me well when I lost my virginity some years later.

Okay, believe it or not, I actually spent a lot more time as kid watching PBS especially when I was very young.

I don't know why, but that simple jingle is one of the most comforting chimes. I hear it, and I feel like I am being wrapped up in a blanket and held by my mother. To me, it might be the closest thing to being back in the womb. I can close my eyes and still see the darkening basement of my parent's house in Great Falls, Montana, with its dark wood paneling as the sun would fall fast in the late-afternoon winter sky, and I would be washed over by the warm soothing glow of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

Then of course there's this... And, like this needs any introduction.

 I do remember thinking that the kid screaming "Wampa!" was probably in special classes at school. That said, the ad gurus at Kenner sure knew how to peddle their plastic crack. So much so I'm still hooked. Not to worry my wife thinks a man with Star Wars dolls is totally hot.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

To Seek Agent or not to Seek Agent...?

Okay, so I bought this happy little fellow last week - Jeff Harman's 'Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents. First of all, I've never heard of Jeff Harman in my life, if anyone else has please feel free to enlighten me. But, the dude did manage to put together a 800+ page book listing a massive collection of literary contacts. From what little I've gathered on the subject, at this time, it would be most advantageous for me to seek representation - aka an agent. Since I have little knowledge on how to negotiate a contract with a publisher (should this pie in the sky event come to pass) I probably will need someone legit who can do just that on my behalf. I've read the average commission for an agent is around 15%, some are higher some are lower.
Google literary agent and see what results pop up. Uh-huh, some pretty shady shit. Yep, I'm guessing if someone wants me to pay them for representation up front they aren't operating in good faith. Hence the reason I dropped $30 bucks on this book. Who knows if it's fools gold or not, but, at least it had some good testimonials on the back.
By the way, anyone ever have tequitos at 7-11? Absolutely delicious.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Well, so a friend of mine recommended I get some kind of web presence in the works for the fore running to my attempted release of my novel. In this early phase there isn't much to say except the sucker is written and at this point I'm just waiting for the last of the major edits to be returned from sunny Arizona where my mother resides. The woman (who also happens to be an English Prof) has been editing my writing since I was in the second grade, so I figured why stop now. Above is the hard copy of my manuscript which I printed out at roughly $35.00 worth of damn ink. As I move into the submission phase of my agent search I hope to hell that any interested parties (if any) will want an e-mailed copy, otherwise I might have to take a second out on the house.

Stay tuned... In the weeks to months to come I hope to utilize this space as a place to update and document my progress as well as any random musings I might have. :)