Archive for the ‘Random thoughts’ Category

Almost old enough to drink (the blog turns 20), almost old enough for kindergarten (my blog turns 4)

January 30, 2014

Birthday cupcakeNormally, I would just post a news item to the Book of Faces and be done with it. But this one? Nah! That wouldn’t do it justice. It has to be answered in the form of a blog post:

Not sure of the exact birthdate, but the blog turns 20 this year. And all of us who have used this medium to share some of ourselves should give credit where credit’s due.

Until I read this story from the Guardian this morning (and thanks to Jim Romenesko for tipping us off via his blog), I hadn’t given much thought to how the weblog began or who invented it. I mean, do you think of Gottlieb Daimler when you sit behind the wheel and turn the key? I wouldn’t be able to pick Justin Hall or Meg Hourihan or Dave Winer out of a lineup if my life depended on it, but wherever you are, thanks much. Maybe my life would be a little different, and not for the better, had there not been a blogosphere.

Read on …

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Humility

May 30, 2013

B-W meditationI started this just-past Memorial Day the way I start most Mondays — with my usual week-opening read: Peter King’s newest Monday Morning Quarterback on SI.com. Being a holiday week, and a light news time in football, King went heavy on other things besides the usual news: Memorial Day, a look back at Brian Urlacher’s just-ended career … and snippets of commencement speeches.

And one excerpt struck me.

It was from author John Green’s address to the newly minted grads at Butler University. His words, obviously, were meant for a few thousand college kids entering the work world at an awfully tough time to be entering the work world, not someone going through a whopper of a mid-life crisis after being discarded by the work world. But the passage that King ran with could easily have been written about my life:

” … You are probably going to be a nobody for a while. You are going to make that journey from strength to weakness, and while it won’t be an easy trip, it is a heroic one. For in learning how to be a nobody, you will learn how not to be a jerk. And for the rest of your life, if you are able to remember your hero’s journey from college grad to underling, you will be less of a jerk. You will tip well. You will empathize. You will be a mentor, and a generous one. …”

During my way-too-long struggle to find a full-time job these last four years — one that has brought me quite a few times to the brink of losing my sanity and/or pondering ending my life — I’ve often thought, in my most lucid moments, that maybe this is one of the big lessons I’ve had to learn these past four years: humility.

That’s way too simplistic, though. Or is it? And what constitutes humility and what constitutes ego and conceit, anyway?

The battle rages on.

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The carcass is still alive, or why you won’t see me at City-Wide Open Studios this weekend

October 18, 2012

First a shirt factory, then a newspaper, now a newspaper and an art gallery, at least for the weekend. Photo: Thomas MacMillan/New Haven Independent.

City-Wide Open Studios is New Haven’s annual (15th) autumnal art cornucopia, where dozens of artists throw open their doors, literally and figuratively, to thousands of visitors over three weekends in October.

And for the first time in nine years, the prodigal daughter, returned from California, was able to partake in CWOS — the L.A.M.P. Festival, whose pretty lights lured the moths of the art world to downtown the first Friday night of the month; and some of last weekend’s gems at one of the festival’s anchor sites, the studios at Erector Square. (Let’s just say you sometimes appreciate things more when you move away, then return …)

But I’m taking a pass on this final weekend (Oct. 20-21), the traditional Alternate Space portion of their program. No way in hell am I going. (Apologies to Colin Burke, who did his damndest to try to get me to see his camera obscura, which will be in an old delivery truck in the parking lot.) Too painful for me.

This year’s alternate space happens to be the New Haven Register building. The artists have pitched their figurative tents and canvas and other media where — until March, when the Journal Register Company contracted its printing and distribution to The Hartford Courant — the printing press and the mailroom were situated and people were gainfully employed.

It’s the place where I crammed at least 25 years’ worth of work into 11 1/2 years, producing the Weekend section and interviewing hundreds of legendary and not-so-legendary performers as the entertainment editor/music writer. (It was two and a half full-time jobs in one 55-to-60-hour week for one wretched paycheck.) It’s a place where I worked my ass off, a place where I did a damn good job for too long despite a lot of obstacles, a place that almost killed me, literally. (In this case, a brutal case of sleep apnea that started percolating in New Haven and exploded three years after I moved to California.)

And now, it’s being used as an alternate art space for CWOS. That’s usually reserved for buildings where the business is dead and gone — say, the Smoothie Building, in between its days as an undergarment factory and an overpriced apartment building; or the Armstrong Building, the striking, stilted, early-’60s structure along Long Wharf, after its days as headquarters for Armstrong and Pirelli Tires and before becoming a vacant ornament at the entrance to the Ikea parking lot.

In this case, though, the carcass’ heart is still beating, if ever faintly. As someone who gave her all to newspapers for three decades — and most especially in that place — I don’t know whether this weekend saddens me or just plain pisses me off.

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Lesson (re)learned at a wedding

September 19, 2011

Went to the wedding of two wonderful people, Jay and Brooke, last evening. They held it at a friend’s beautiful, estate-sized, ’50s-vintage ranch home east of here, with a sprawling, tree-canopied and gorgeous back yard where the ceremony took place. The bride was radiant to say the least, the groom was dapper and the guests were gorgeous.

And the dinner was also outside, under a chandelier hung amid a perfect sky and perfect temps. And during one of the toasts, Heather, the maid of honor — like Brooke, a local theater person of renown — told of their bonding moment, during a production Brooke was directing a few years ago. Actually, the two of them acted it out:

Brooke: Why does everything have to be so harrrd?

Heather: Because if it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth doing!

And as we laughed, I kinda realized that this has been the story of my life the last three or four years. And it’s probably a good way of summing up many of your lives, too.

So I came away with a pretty nifty gift of my own from the wedding …