Monthly Archives: February 2011

And so the world shifts

Because it is, you know. Shifting. Morphing. It’s not only true at a societal, social, human level, but geologically the plates of the earth are shifting in a way and at a rate not seen in our lifetime. Or for many, many lifetimes. If you’re as spiritual as I am, you know there is no way your physical world can shift without your inner world – and that of those around you – following suit. Things are changing, people are changing. In as many uplifting ways as worrying ways. Systems are collapsing to make room for a better way of being. What we’ve seen in Egypt is just the beginning. The power of the people, of cooperation, of hope. I know I’ve felt it within myself – a shift in my cells, my heart. And it’s wonderful to see it reflected on a global level.

That’s why, when Julie told me about the documentary, I Am – currently touring the country along with its director, Tom Shadyac – I knew I had to secure my place in the audience. I saw the film when it premiered in Seattle this past Friday, and also participated in a Q&A with Tom afterward. It was incredible.

Check the website to find out if and when it hits your town. If you can’t make a screening, wait for it to hit Netflix. In the meantime, enjoy this preview. And never, never, never lose hope.

Yves Behar designs a vibrator

WOW. Where does he get off?! (Ummmm….)

And why the fuck can’t I figure out how this thing works? What is that little notch going on there? It’s like a vaginal shoehorn.

Tweet of the month (possibly year/century)

Courtesy of one Amy Ozols, who is a fucking brilliant, superbly hilarious writer for LNJF. Follow her on Twitter and share in the delight.

That Jeopardy robot is fucking with us. It got that question wrong on purpose so we’ll forget it’s going to murder everyone. 4:41 PM Feb 15th via web

Why women (not men) give birth

Dr. Oz butchered JF live on his show – i.e., removed a pre-cancerous mole from his hand. This was of course the best scene, when Jimmy pitched a HUGE fit while they injected local anesthetic into his hand. And I know he’s a professional performer, but I really don’t think he was faking it!

On a more serious note, props to Jimmy for taking care of this…people, it’s super important to go to the dermatologist every year for a head-to-toe skin exam. I have a number of friends who’ve had skin cancer, but thankfully these annual exams caught it early and they’re all happy, healthy, and covered in SPF.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Thank you, Daily Om…

…for I was about to spin myself into a “being the best” (i.e., perfect) frenzy – the best writer, business owner, even parent (WTF – this egg freezing to-do-or-not-to-do has thrown me into a major existential crisis – but more on that in a separate entry to come…soon). But the truth is that, over the years, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that ego and expectations often lead to disillusionment and disappointment. And by ego, I don’t mean behaving like a narcissistic egomaniacal j-hole; I mean doing things because they stroke your ego – like a job with a prestigious company or an over-the-top house or a title that looks good on paper, but none of these things really “make your soul sing.” Let me tell you – this lesson has hit me in the face like a wet pancake more times than I can count.

So let’s learn the lesson (again), shall we? To wit: these words of wisdom from our kumbaya friends at Daily Om (per Julie, who so graciously passed it along):

We often come into contact with the idea that our best isn’t good enough, as if this were actually possible. If you examine this notion, you will begin to see that it doesn’t make much sense. Your best is always good enough, because it comes from you, and you are always good enough. You may not be able to deliver someone else’s idea of the best, but the good news is that’s not your burden. You only need to fulfill your own potential, and as long as you remain true to that calling, and always do your best to fulfill your purpose, you don’t need to expect anything more from yourself.

It’s easy to get tangled up with the idea of trying to be the best—the best parent, the best employee, the best child, or best friend. If we try to be the best, we run the risk of short-circuiting our originality because we are striving to fit into someone else’s vision of success. In addition, if everyone is striving for the same outcome, we lose out on creativity, diversity, and visionary alternatives to the way things are done. On another note, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve, but examining where this feeling comes from is important because wanting to be better than others is our ego coming into play.

Letting go of the tendency to hold ourselves up to other people’s standards, and letting go of the belief that we need to compete and win, doesn’t mean we don’t believe in doing the best job we can. We always strive to do our best, because when we do we create a life free of regret, knowing we have performed to the best of our ability. This allows us to feel great personal satisfaction in all of our efforts, regardless of how others perceive the outcome.

The gift of gab

Somewhere in the depths of my parents’ home, there are cassettes (yes, the audio version…hello, it was the 70s) of a teeny tiny me spouting opinions and telling stories about my life. It started when my mother shoved a microphone in my face at eight months old, trying to record the odd chicken clucking sounds that passed for my early attempts at speech. By age two, she was pestering me to sing “Jesus Loves Me” while I repeatedly protested, “No,” “No,” and “Huh-uh, no.” Not long after, my older cousins commandeered the cassette player and launched into a game of “Nikki Say This, Nikki Say That” – also a wish that was never granted, since all I ever uttered in reply was, “No,” “I don’t want to,” and, in conjunction with grabs at the mic, “I want to do it myself.” (Hmmm – independent spirit + need to perform/tell stories = probably the reason my mother found three-year-old me at a puppet show in the mall after I wandered away from her (I hated pointless shopping even then). And more to her horror, I was NOT in the audience with the other children, who were patiently awaiting the start of the show. I was on the stage.)

By age 4, I had the wild imagination of a budding writer – not to mention only child – and the adenoid-laden voice of Edith Ann. Put them together and you have a storyteller in the making. I’m fortunate that my parents recognized this and nurtured it; both the cassette player and microphone became near-constant companions of mine on family trips, as I holed up in the back seat of our Buick LeSabre and narrated my way through treks to Disneyland, Yellowstone, and the Badlands. While some parents of my fellow Gen-X’ers avoided the “Are we there yets?” with travel bingo and Slug Bug, mine were assured peace (and, let’s face it, road trip entertainment) by helping me channel my inner Garrison Keillor and setting me free to gab.

I’ve been asking my mom for years to find these recorded bits of hilariousness and, so far, she’s come up empty-handed. So when Julie sent me this today, I was grinning ear-to-ear. The only thing that could give me more deja-vu chills is if this little girl was propagating from a puppet stage in the middle of a mall.

(P.S. Yes, that photo above is me, circa 1981 – and FYI, that’s a scan of an actual, real-deal Polaroid, not some silly Hipstamatic iPhone app. I have no comment on the fuzzy purple slippers. Let it go.)

Narration of nature the way God intended

Ross Mathews meets Nat Geo.

Take your stats and shove it

This just arrived in my inbox, courtesy of Seattle MINI’s e-newsletter. Sort of odd content-wise, but they do write some interesting non-car-oriented stories, which, as a marketing wonk, I find is an effective way to connect with your target audience on a personal/emotional level (as opposed to just telling them about your product, which gets to be seriously yawnsville after a while). This is what I tried to do when I wrote the KIN Scoop (RIP….and sigh).

At any rate, #26 on the list gave me pause:

“Tickets to SNL are notoriously difficult to obtain with random drawings being held each summer. However, if you do win, don’t expect to be sitting front and center. Floor seats are reserved for friends and family of the host, cast, crew, and musical guest. Ticket winners sit in the balcony.”

In 2007, my buddy Christy won two of those notoriously-difficult-to-obtain tickets and invited me – a nearly lifelong SNL addict, comedy junkie, writer, and performer – to be her guest. We arrived at 30 Rockefeller Center on a blustery, cold November evening, excited to see Brian Williams nail his hosting gig with his impeccable dry wit (incidentally, his was the final show before the notorious writers’ strike, which sidelined television for three months). We were seated in the very back row of the balcony and couldn’t have been happier about it because WE. WERE. THERE. The cameras were set to roll in five minutes when an NBC page appeared at the end of our row, pointed first at Christy, then at me, and motioned for us to follow her. After some brief hesitation as to whether she was seriously summoning us – and WTF it could be about – we left our hard-won seats and followed her into the hallway.

“We’re upgrading both of you,” she announced. “But you won’t be able to sit together. One of you is going to the floor – who’s it going to be?”

I just looked at Christy. “Ordinarily I’d say we flip for this one. But dude….I have to go down there.”

“I know, girl. GO.”

And with that, the page grabbed my wrist and pulled me into the stairwell, where we flew down the stairs, emerging backstage (which is actually located across the stage, under the balcony). I rushed past cast members’ dressing rooms, gaping at the names on the doors – Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Will Forte – and brushing Lorne Michaels’ shoulder as the page pulled me onto the floor. As we careened toward those coveted few rows of floor seats, someone shouted, “60 seconds” as the crew rushed around, finalizing the set for the cold open. Suddenly, I was just steps from that infamous Studio 8H stage and wondering where I would be placed. The page dropped my wrist and pointed to the inside aisle seat of the very first row. Front and center. Literally.

“That’s you,” she smiled.

I think I thanked her, but I honestly don’t remember anything other than sitting down in slow-mo, someone shouting, “30 seconds,” and turning around to locate Christy – now seated in the front row of the balcony. She gave me a big grin and a thumbs-up, but all I could manage was to mouth, “Holy shit.” The lights went out, a cue card guy perched himself nearly smack in my lap, someone called out, “And five…four…three…two,” and Amy Poehler and Darrell Hammond appeared – right in front of me, in character as the Clintons at a Halloween party. Over the next 10 minutes, Horatio Sanz, Will Forte, Barack Obama (!), and Brian Williams all took their marks within 10 feet of where I sat. Alternate reality? Yes. Yes in every way.

So what do I think of #26? I think it’s a pertinent reminder that there will always be people who discourage us with the “odds” and “stats” about why something is impossible, unattainable, even illogical. But if you love something enough – and you’re true to yourself, and you believe in yourself and your talents, and you let passion, rather than ego, be your guide – none of it, none of it, NONE OF IT matters. No matter what.

Bootlemania!!

As if this ad wasn’t enticing enough (marketing geniuses at MINI: kudos to y’all), I totally fell in love with the new MINI Countryman at the dealer today – and not just because the showroom model was red with black interior (though that always helps). I’d been under the impression that it would be some fo-duddy suburban vehicle meant to appease moms who’d really like a MINI Cooper but there’s no way in hell they could squeeze all the necessary kid-stuff into its teeny tiny boot.

Well hell, was I WRONG on that call. While there’s still not exactly ample trunk storage, the Countryman is indeed being touted as a “family vehicle,” and people, this is MY kinda family vehicle – i.e., an extremely sexy one (oxymoron? I think not). Though I haven’t taken it for a test spin, it really is quite the sweet, sporty-lookin’ little ride. If and when I’m in the market for a four-door, all-wheel-drive vehicle, this will definitely be a top – if not *the* top – contender.

As for this TV spot, Confucius say: “Red MINIs + sexy Italian men = sure-fire recipe for supreme happiness.”