I don’t want to sound like a cranky old coot, but sometimes I wish the internet would just go away already.
I think I have done pretty well embracing all the fabulous new technology that’s out there. And not just because it’s part of my job, but because I genuinely enjoy making my life more exciting, less complicated, faster, slower, louder, softer, or whatever the “tech du jour” is promising me will happen. Also, I like being hip. (Or “down with it” as we hip people say.)
But lately I am feeling like all the fabulous new technology out there simply enables me. Because I am a pop culture junkie, and I need to get my info on.
I need to know what LiLo, the Pop Tart and Fed-Ex are doing. I need to know about Pearl, the Chocolate Rain guy (and any and all ensuing parodies), and the dramatic squirrel. I need to know that Michael Scofield is back in prison, but a different one, in a different country, and that it’s the band Feist in that catchy new iPod commercial. I need to know that the familiar-looking actress on HOUSE the other night was Kay Lenz, from the 1974 “hippie” movie, BREEZY (directed by Clint Eastwood!)
Keeping up with it all is a full time job. Plus, I already have a full time job. That’s two full time jobs, and frankly, my goal is to not work at all.
Still, I need to know these things. Why? Because, what if someone, somewhere should make a reference to something in pop culture and I don’t get it? That would make me uninformed. Out of touch. Irrelevant. And possibly – old. Noooooo! Please, ye Gods! Anything but that.
And so I soldier on. Each day I visit the 30-plus blogs I have bookmarked, starting with Pop Candy, one of the most uber of all the pop culture sites. I open every e-mail from Very Short List containing the day’s must-see video or CD or book. I steadfastly track down the details about two and a half year old Zahara Jolie-Pitt’s $1,150 handbag.
And at some point, perhaps, I will collapse, exhausted, on the couch, unable to process one more bit of information. And then, I may briefly consider the thought that perhaps my brain has absorbed everything that it can possibly absorb, and I have, indeed, become old. At that point, I may turn to Rick and say ” I can haz Geritol.”
Actually, I was just reading an article about this very phenomenon on a really cool site the other day …
Rick and I received the following phone call the other day –
“This is [NAME OF BUSINESS]. We are calling to tell you that we are not allowed to call you, because you are on the “Do Not Call” list. If you really do not want us to call you, we will not call you. But if you would like us to call you to tell you about exciting new products and services, please call us and let us know. Otherwise, we can not call you.”
I … what … but …
Since the folks at [NAME OF BUSINESS] seem to have a hard time grasping the concept of the DO NOT CALL list, I have put it in a more simple way that may make it easier for them to understand.
Do not call me on the phone.
Do not call me at my home.
Do not call when I’m alone.
Do not call when I’m in Rome.
Do not call when I’m at play.
Do not call me when it’s day.
Do not call when I’m at the park.
Do not call me when it’s dark.
Do Not Call means do not call.
Do not call my house at all.
- Niche: Pronunciation: nee-shh
- a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted;
- a specialized market
The other day I said to Rick, “Rick, I need to find my niche.”
He said, “The one in college or the one who wants to be an actress?”
“No. My NICHE. The thing that I do best. My specialty.”
“Oh,” he said. “Well, you’re pretty good at writing on the internet.”
“I know! And the best part is – there’s NO ONE ELSE doing that right now!”
He narrowed his eyes. “Are you trying to make sarcasm your niche? Because you’re pretty good at that, too.”
Actually, this niche thing is not just me. We’re both trying to find our niche(s). Or our nichi, if you will. Not to be confused with Nietzsche, the German philosopher, who was known for being pessimistic and probably would have told us not to bother.
But Rick’s comment made me think. Is your niche something you love, or is your niche something that you’re really good at? Because that’s not always the same thing.
When I was a kid I spent a lot of time dancing around my bedroom to Broadway musicals. I blasted GYPSY and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and WEST SIDE STORY. I choreographed elaborate routines, with a lot of leaping and jazz hands. I was a Shark. I was a Jet. I was the entire town of Anetevka. And when I sang, I was loud and clear and full of emotion. And totally out of key. As much as I love musicals, I will never appear at a theater near you. I am a horrible, horrible singer. (And I ended up marrying a recording engineer. Ah, the irony.) Musicals, alas, were not my niche.
At Post Haste we’re pursuing work in many different areas. Travel, cooking, music, movies, home decor, paintings of dogs on velvet. We have many interests. Sometimes it feels like we’re scattering ourselves in a lot of different directions, but I think that’s what you have to do when you’re niche hunting. Because maybe you don’t find your niche. Maybe your niche finds you. One day you realize you keep getting hired to write about paintings of dogs on velvet. There’s a reason for that. You’re good at it. Other people want you to do it. For money, even! And the more you do it, the better you get at it, and soon, you’re the expert and you’re known as the “go-to” person for paintings of dogs on velvet, and it dawns on you that that’s your niche.
Who knows what my niche will end up being. Whatever it is, I’m excited about the journey, because …
Could it be? Yes it could!
Something’s coming, something good.
If I can wait!
Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great!
Remembering my friend’s father.
John Talignani, Staten Island, NY
Passenger on United Airlines Flight 93, 9/11/2001
I’m in the process of “editing” my closet. This means I’m going through and getting rid of everything that doesn’t look good (dress shaped like a circus tent? I don’t think so.) Or that doesn’t fit (hmmm… must have shrunk in the wash.) I’m being brutally honest, because I’m tired of walking around in clothes that don’t flatter me. Some of my clothes mock me outright, which is really annoying.
So far I’ve got a bunch of bags going to my favorite thrift store, Out Of The Closet. The profits go to support men and women afflicted by AIDS. I always feel a little guilty bringing my rejects there, as if I’m saying “This shirt is HORRIBLE. Enjoy wearing it!”
The few things I have left hanging in my closet now are pretty nice. And I’ve never worn most of them. I do this thing, where I “save” the good stuff. “That would be perfect to wear to have tea with the Queen. I can’t get it dirty.” (Note to Buckingham Palace: Still waiting for invitation.) Or “This makes me look amazing! I should save it for … something important.”
Why isn’t today important? Why do we save the good stuff? What are we waiting for?
One of the best “tips” I learned from a great writing teacher was not to save the good stuff. I know you’re thinking – she studied writing? And you’re also thinking, what do you mean? It’s like this. If you have this amazing explosion that you want to happen on say, page 10 – move it to page 1. What this does is force you to come up with something else even more amazing for page 10. Keep doing this and pretty soon you will have an entire story that is so amazing you might even sell it to Sandra Bullock and get to visit her on set and everything. (That last part could possibly be my own thought, and not something my teacher actually said.)
We don’t “save the good stuff” when we’re working with clients. We don’t say “I have the most amazing idea for your campaign. Let’s totally ignore it and do this one that’s not nearly as good.” If we did that we wouldn’t get hired any more, which would mean we wouldn’t have any money to go to the mall, so we couldn’t buy any more clothes to wait to wear. This is a vicious cycle that must end now!
So, don’t save the good stuff. Drink that bottle of expensive champagne tonight. You know – the one you’ve been saving for “something important.” Open that little box of fancy chocolates – the one you’ve been saving for “something important.” And wear that amazing shirt that brings out the color of your eyes and makes you look like a movie star. Do it today. ‘Cause the Queen ain’t sending no invitation, but today is FABULOUS! Today is important. What are you waiting for?
It means the world has not burst into flames and there may be hope for mankind. It is eleventy billion degrees today and I hardly have the energy to type … please … send air conditioning and sorbet …
Fall … I remember fall. Will it ever come again? I can not face a lifetime of capris and ballet flats. If that is what climate change means, we are all doomed.
Must … hydrate … cannot think.
I have lost track of the days. Am I hallucinating or is this really what’s on TV? Nothing but reality shows? Please … help us … I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.
I will attempt to venture out to Starbucks for a Frappuccino. If I don’t make it … please … someone … finish the blog. I implore you. For all that is good and decent in the world. My password is …