Friday, January 29, 2010

Tough Stuff

I hate these kinds of situations. The ones that force me to choose between complacency and taking action.

There is a dog (diagonally) across the street in a garage. It's been there for - I don't know - days, I guess. It yelps and howls and cries and it makes my stomach turn. This is not the sort of thing I can just ignore. If an animal sounds like it is suffering, it's way worse than a crying child to me (Sorry Moms and Dads, I know I am supposed to value human life more than animal life, but my heart aches way more when I know a helpless animal is in distress. I have compassion for people, too, but just not in the same "tear my insides to shreds when I hear it cry" sort of way as with dogs. I am not sure if this makes me a bad person. It probably does.) So, last night I just couldn't take it anymore. I walked toward the house to check things out. I approached the garage door where they have the mail slot. I peered in and called out to the dog. It was silent. Maybe it was wagging its tail. Maybe it thought, "For crying out loud, someone is FINALLY here to help me!" But, of course, there are laws. You can't just pull up your neighbor's garage door without expecting to be sent to prison on B & E charges. I looked into the home. There appeared to be a television on. My first thought was that these people left it on to make thieves think that they were home. But then I thought, "Wait. What if the person who lives there had a stroke or heart attack. Shit." So, I wandered back to my house not knowing what to, but knowing that I had to do something. I immediately went to my next door neighbor, Jen's house. She is extremely sympathetic to animal causes. She was like, "Let's call the police. I'm not afraid." And so she did. But the animal patrol person was off for the night, so they said they would send an officer to check things out.

We don't live in a posh neighborhood, so I was already skeptical as to whether or not they would send anyone. Then, I started thinking - what if they do send someone and the people get in trouble and decide to target me and Jen (this is where the dilemma comes in). She has 2 cats and dog of her own and of course, we have 2 cats. What if we find a big brick through our windows?

The garage is attached to the home, it isn't separate. This is good, as it means it is likely more warm this way. And who knows? Maybe the animal is well fed, but left alone all day by someone who, because of this crappy economy, has to work 2 jobs to make ends meet? Maybe the dog isn't even theirs? Maybe the dog is ok, but has terrible separation anxiety. All these scenarios run through my head, and yet the dog is still yelping. Like, right now as I type this.

I contacted my uncle, who is an officer for the Animal Rescue League in Mass. He knows the staff in RI pretty well and basically said that we did the right thing by calling the cops. They keep things anonymous. He told me to let him know if it persists and that he would make a call to the RI ARL. I think we might have to do that. What else can we do?

A car finally appeared in their driveway and we haven't heard any yelping since. The car has left, but who knows? Maybe the dumbasses finally took care of the dog. We will keep our ears peeled.

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Happy Birthday, Dad!

My dad would've been 59 today. Ten years went by really quickly. It's hard to believe that we lost him in a pre-911 world.

I won't post anything sappy. Just that I'm thinking of him, as I do most days. Happy Birthday, Jim!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In Hot Water

I must first start by apologizing to the beauty editor at Bust Magazine. She very professionally emailed me this morning, letting me know that she did, in fact respond to my Joan Jett soap query. She even forwarded the email to me. She suggested that it might have gotten sent to my spam box. I checked the folder and lo and behold, THERE WAS HER EMAIL! Along with MANY OTHER important emails that I had been waiting for. Of course, I now feel like a total ass. She didn't get pissed, although I am sure she was (I know I would be). Instead, she was kind and even offered to get in touch with me through Etsy, if her response got bounced again.

Emily A. has since taken me off of the advertising email list. I am guessing that she has a few choice words about me.

You gotta realize, though, that between the Craftacular snubs and solicitations for ads with seemingly no response to my query, I was a little miffed.

Huge props to Bust for finding this blog and responding to my post so quickly. I have no idea how they found it (I always think I am complaining to a handful of friends who read this blog).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What a Bust

So, I have sort of a bone to pick with Bust Magazine.

I always thought of them as being a hip magazine for the modern feminist/liberal thinker. And I still think their content is great (though I must confess, I haven't picked up an issue in a while). When they held their Spring Craftacular earlier last year, I happily applied. And they happily took my application fee and I was happily denied entrance into the show. No biggie, I thought, I applied a little on the late side. I'll try again next time. So, when they started accepting applications for their holiday show, I applied straight away. While applications started flying in, they sent out emails to the applicants to advertise in their brochure. They (I still can't believe this) had the gaul to say something like, "even if you don't make it in the show, think of all of the EXPOSURE you'll get." It was a little more than $400 to advertise in the brochure. Do you even know your fucking audience, Bust magazine? Crafters make fucking crafts for a living. They don't have $400 in fucking pocket change just sitting around looking for something to do. They ended up extending the application deadline (no doubt to throw more money into their pockets). This is a really crummy thing to do to vendors because the holiday schedule is nuts and you want to cement it as quickly as possible. I, along with countless numbers of people, did not get in. Oh, well. The table fee was more than the advertising fee for the brochure.

Still, I thought I would try to give Bust another chance. I offer a Joan Jett tribute soap in my line and I thought they might have some interest. I kindly and professionally emailed the beauty editor about it and it seems the query has dissipated into the ether. But here's the kicker. I get emails from a person who goes by "Emily A," who obviously works in the advertising department. This is an actual email. No fucking shit.

Reserve your spot now before they're all gone!!!!!!
The Men We Love Issue only comes around every 2 years so it's a keeper! A huge hit with subscribers and a great newsstand draw!
The funniest actor from the hottest show on TV is our cover boy - Tracy Morgan! And the rest of the NBC Thursday night comedy line-up will be right there with him!
It's a can't miss! So, don't!
xoxo Emily

The subject line is: Space close next week!!!!!! 2/4/10

Let's forget for a second that the email is a little heavy with exclamation points. The type is small and CENTERED! XOXO? It's like this was the last thing that Emily A had on her "to-do" list today.

I am just really fed up with Bust Magazine. I feel like many of my customers are readers of this magazine, but, for some reason, I can't connect with them without dropping a ridicuous amount of advertising money. And I am subjected to Emily A's grammar school emails asking for me to advertise in their next issue. Maybe I am just not what they are looking for.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Andy Warhol

So, there was a program on today about The Factory and Andy Warhol. I've been to the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. I've watched the millionth-part series on Andy Warhol on PBS. I've seen several of his films and many of his works. And I still think he's a mother fucker.

His artwork is great. I KNOW.

He had a way of getting people to converge. I KNOW.

He was a little geeky kid who blossomed into an American icon. I KNOW.

But none of these things made him a good person. In fact, I think, deep down inside, Andy Warhol was soulless. I don't get how he can spend every waking moment of the day with Edie Sedgwick (ironically, she died the very day I was born) only to appear emotionless and disinterested in her death. I don't understand why a person with great influence in the contemporary art scene might tell a newcomer that they are the next best thing only to forget who the fuck they are the next day. Andy Warhol hurt people. He used people. And they used him. It was a fucked up time. There was nothing magical about the Factory days as far as I can tell. Some great talent was born then, but it had to work its way through drug overdoses and shallowness and pretentiousness and people who silenced their humanity for the sake of being close to the great Andy Warhol. People who forgot about compassion and love, people who were motivated only by looks, status, jealousy and a selfish desire to be famous. It was a toxic place.

So, yeah, that's how I feel about Andy Warhol. He's not unlike most brilliant artists. Picasso was a dick, too. But I get so pissed when people talk about Warhol like he was some kind of god. He wasn't.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Started a New Blog Today

It's called, I Would Rather Eat Out of the Garbage. It's a collection of funny review snippets from If you find any good ones, send them my way and I'll post them.

Just another way to procrastinate.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Like a group of college freshmen who were rejected by Harvard and forced to go to Brown...

I think moving to Providence was one of the best decisions that we could have made. I have a pretty good relationship with my gut and have developed a keen sense of knowing when something is terribly wrong or perfectly right. Life in Providence has been kismet on so many levels. I'd probably bore you with the details, so suffice it just to say that despite the scariness of being self-employed and living with my mother's cancer nightmare, I am really quite happy.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crosswords, Soap and Haiti

I am a huge fan of crossword puzzles. Every week day, I must complete The USA Today Crossword (and the Word Round Up), as well as the LA Times Crossword and the one on (I don't particularly care for the technology they use for that one, which is always why I do it last). My favorite part of the morning is digging into the crosswords. Jere has suggested that I move on to Will Shortz's crossword on the NY Times site. You have to pay to play, but apparently, it is more challenging and the design of each puzzle is very clever. I am considering it.

So, some good news on the business front. I am getting a full page in The Providence Monthly. Next month! I met with the editor a week ago to drop off some soap for the photo shoot. She is a very hip gal and I immediately felt comfortable talking to her. The Providence Monthly (they also publish East Side Monthly, SO Rhode Island and The Bay) is in a funky location in Olneyville near this yummy Cuban restaurant we just tried called The Cuban Revolution. We went to see The Halloween Iron Pour at the Steel Yard in this area of the city last fall.

On a philanthropic note, since I am not exactly swimming in cash these days, I am going to be donating some soap to Haiti. It goes through a wonderful organization called Clean the World. I plan on shipping it off this week. As I previously stated, I will be organizing the Rosie's Place Soap Drive this year, too. Official announcement goes out tomorrow.

The Haiti tragedy is so mind-blowingly horrific. On a spiritual level, it makes me question all kinds of stuff. I am fairly agnostic, but I am also what I would consider "open to the possibilities" of whatever. I would like to think (most likely because my dad died so young and my mother is in such poor health) that there is another place we transition to after our bodies die. That there is some sort of greater purpose to life beyond what we see. Every time I start getting sucked into this state of mind, something like this happens. Thousands of people get taken out in a few minutes. How can you possible reconcile that? How does that fit into this lovely notion that we are all here for some huge, logical reason? Because there is nothing logical about an 8-year-old girl who finds herself suddenly without a family, a home or much of a chance. Not that I think that there is a lot of logic behind recreational dog fighting, the Holocaust, 911 or Jonestown. I don't know, I just can't make any sense out of it and like most everyone else, I feel really helpless. Maybe the soap I donate will help a little.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Kathleen Hanna's Blog

I am a big fan of Kathleen Hanna. Her body of work is impressive, but I enjoy her personality and perspective on life more. I really admire her dedication to feminist causes and I am truly envious that she had an opportunity not only to meet, but to work with living legend, Joan Jett.

Kathleen has a blog and she posts pretty regularly. Mainly photos and videos of amusing things she finds and sees. The blog doesn't accept comments, but I think this is pretty smart. She would probably get a million and might not always have the time to post thoughtful responses. Blog maintenance is very time consuming for a famous person, I would imagine.

My annual soap donation for Rosie's Place is just about upon us (on my 3rd year now!) and one of the future goals I have for the drive is to ask a person like Kathleen to give it some visibility. Kathleen ... if you are out there, hit me up!

By the way, I read that Le Tigre is working on a new album!

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Getting Back into It

So, after my last event, I basically hit the wall. I thought my feet might fall off and I found myself unable to complete simple sentences. I needed a break. But before I had one, I had to jam all of my holiday shopping + card making + decorating + baking into four days. Then, I took one glorious week off. Jere had the week off between Christmas and New Year's off, too, so our days were full of cozying up on the couch and marathon Boggle playing. It was heaven. Seriously.

Yesterday was my first day getting back into the groove and I've been dipping one toe in at a time. It wasn't until about mid-afternoon today that I felt a huge whoosh of inspiration. Ideas and excitement started washing over me. Valentine's Day gift sets, a limited edition chocolate and champagne soap, a new unisex design for the permanent collection and my 3rd annual Valentine's Day Soap Drive for Rosie's Place. Couple this cluster of ideas with office and studio organization and I've got a full month of conceptualizing and cementing plans for the year.

Did I mention taxes? A touchy subject for me, actually. I started getting excited about the 7500 dollar 1st time buyer's tax credit until I realized, again, that I am one year shy of qualifying. Only 2 years had elapsed in between the time I bought our current house and the selling of the condo I had with my ex. I sort of forgot this, as I attempted the same this last year. Argh! I read, though, that unmarried couples who jointly own a home (which was purchased within the qualifying period) could have an advantage. If one of the two owners is a true 1st time home buyer, then that person is eligible for the credit. So, one of my big "to-do" items is getting Jere on the mortgage and deed pronto (or possibly refinancing with him) so that we can split the credit. That's more than 3000 buckaroos each, so we are taking this pretty seriously.

We are thinking about getting married this year. We've been together for four years now, so I think we might be ready. I heard that my ex remarried, like, right away! Wowzers. I've been in a stable relationship for some time now and I am JUST starting to feel ready. Details to follow on this as we, um, plan them, I guess. We have one thing finalized for the wedding, which is a surprise. We've had this little piece in the works for a while now and we can't wait to realize it. So, this could be the year that we do.

I've decided that this is going to be a real "take the bull by the horns" sort of year for me and my business. Last March, I was full of energy and passion, but I felt that I had no direction. How could I? It was the year of the playing the the proverbial sand box. Now, I feel as though I have a base, so I am more confident and eager to start spreading my seed all over the fucking place. And I am predicting lots of risk-taking in my future. I'm going to be kicking out the jams, people.