Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening day and some other bits!

Hello All,

Tomorrow, or I guess today is opening day for baseball season.

I've never been much of a fan of the game, but I do love all of the peripheral drinking that goes on whether it is at a game or just sitting in a bar "watching" it on TV. As I've discussed here before I do like a cocktail now and again.

I live in Chicago right near Wrigley Field , the home of the Chicago Cubs and I like to think of this as the silly season.

Everyday I walk my wife halfway to work. I turn around and she continues on. Then she walks home. Some days I meet her on the walk some days I stay at my desk, it all depends. We call it the silly season because we used to walk our great danes Hank and Pearl to work a lot during the year and if there was a game on things got silly. Any time you walk by a bar full of people having a good time with over 300 lbs. of dogs people are bound to comment.

The dogs have both passed away, but it was funny to hear all the requisite jokes. "Hey, you got a saddle for that thing!" "Damn, that dog's big!" "Can I get a ride?" No, seriously, dunk dude, I never thought of that! Annoying, but now without the pups I do kind of miss it.

So baseball is here, Spring can't be too far behind so I guess my thoughts will turn to advertising.

Used to be the springtime would bring a little extra work through the door. Clients apparently would get antsy and need to ramp up the pitches, refresh the pool, some folks would go on vacation. Things would just speed up a bit. It was nice.

This year things are picking up a little. Not as fast as past years, but I do think people are loosening their wallets a scoche. A lot of big accounts have certainly started moving around. Could be good news for many of us on the front lines, but I try never to get my hopes up. We'll see is always a healthy attitude.

Got a nice note from my friend Steve the other day about turning this blog into something helpful to others which is what his blog does (you can find him @ His company is dedicated to driving new business for agencies and I like a lot of his thinking. Check it out if you get a chance.

 I think it's a good idea, helping people. I spent a lot of last year trying not to get bogged down in politics and doing a bad job of it. (Sidenote: if I post crap on my FaceBook page you can hide me and don't have to listen to me, but stop trying to pick a fight with me if you disagree with my viewpoint. I don't jump onto your page and post my leftie ramblings so don't do it to mine. nuff said. Sidenote over) Of course, I'm still looking for what exactly it is I'm doing here, but if someone thinks of something let me know. I'm definitely gonna work with Steve's ideas and new topics are always good.

Helpful hint #1: Don't blog in the middle of the night.

Although I'm not really sure when I'm supposed to do it. I started tweeting and I'm still a little unsure what to do there. Everyone seems to retweet fantastic articles, which is great except I can't seem to find the time to read them all and retweet them to others. I have two novels I'm supposed to be reading right now, so I can design their book covers, along with work (which as I said has picked up), taxes are coming (I've already had the accountant file an extension prophylactically), man, it's busy.

I suppose I shouldn't complain. I could live in Libya or some other hotspot that's getting the crap bombed out of it.

Helpful tip #2: Stop complaining.

Honestly, I'm not a coal miner or a revolutionary, I'm not getting shot at in Afganistan or Iraq and I'm pretty sure my wife still likes me so what do I really (and most people in this country) really have to complain about?

That's enough helping for now.

Here's a pretty picture:

George Bernard Shaw. A very good writer. I like his plays a lot. He also makes a good subject for a drawing.

You may have noticed I did not (and will no longer) state that I am changing a subject before doing so. As I heard a long time ago, "Seques are for babies." Of course, "Segways" are for tourists, but I digress.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Father, forgive me for I have sinned...

At least that's always the way it started when I was a kid. Confession, that is, for those of you who may not have gone to Catholic church when you were a child. I didn't go much and to say I'm a lapsed Catholic would be a slap in the face to every other lapsed Catholic on the planet. And no, this is not a religious post for I am not a religious man.

My sin has been letting this blog go fallow over the last few (okay 4) months. My sin was one of sloth I suppose against the new media of the world and myself. My sin has been learning to make time to actually sit, read, understand and comment on the world around me. I could say I've been busy, but most nights before I go to bed I generally waste a good hour or two reading HuffPo or playing Mahjong or doing something else equally wasteful.

Last year I challenged to myself to draw 100 pictures in 100 days and to force myself to sit here , day after day and record whatever came into my oversized bald melon. It was fun, but it was also a lot of work. After that I had a lot of trouble getting back into it. I wasn't sure if I had anything to say. I'm still a little unsure. I'll tell you right now I'm not sure I have "found" a voice yet, but I have decided to once more pursue this social media angle and see what comes of it. No apologies, just a lot more rambling. If you tune in great. If you tune out, s'okay. If you freak out, not really my problem.

My wife is an experienced blogger. I have friends who are always blogging. I like to read what they have to say and find interesting tidbits everywhere. I also find stuff I don't need, nor care about, but to me I enjoy the process of finding so whatever I come up with is a win for me.

For you, maybe not so much.

Subject Change!

I showed at an art show a couple of years back. Nothing big, a very large group show here in Chicago called "Around the Coyote". It was my first show and I was all proud of myself for getting in there. I sold a few pieces, not much, but enough to make me smile and pay for a few beers. Good show I say!

One thing that sticks out in my head from that weekend was something my wife said. I'm not sure exactly what the words were, I have trouble remembering things exactly, but the gist was, "Well, looking at your stuff I'm not sure what your point is." She didn't mean she didn't like my art, or didn't see a "point" in creating it, she just didn't see my "voice" coming through on the wall.

See, I had nudes, sketches, some abstracts and a bunch of other pieces all over the wall. I understood exactly what she meant and as someone who loves to buy art and look at pieces in museums I totally "got it". The entire wall was a jumble. It could have been a gallery showing ten different artists for as much as they had in common.

The problem is that's exactly how my brain works. It's hard to explain to people and some might say it's a form of ADD or something, but in my mind I'm always thinking of something. Not something specific, not something that would save the world, cure cancer, help the poor, make a million dollars or even how to get through the day.

It's a jumble that skips and slogs from one point to the next with no clear direction. Sometimes there are distinct end points like a job. You are asked to get a certain bit of work done, design this, concepts for that, strategic positioning for the other, whatever. You set out to begin the task and you know where you need to end the task. If you followed my work process on a map it would look like I was on a Sunday drive with my, "We're not lost, just a little misplaced" mother. I lurch this way, I turn that way, I clean a kitchen, I read the paper, work on other things and I flop around until I get to the end. I always get there and everyone seems happy with my work, but I'm pretty sure if they watched it happen inside my head it would scare the shit out of them.

It's one of the reasons I called this blog, "Bits and pieces of a fractured mind." It's kind of the truth.

Subject Change!

What the heck is up with Libya? I know people are getting hurt and I feel for them, but man, I'm not sure we want to be a buttinsky again in another international conflict. I saw a post from a friend the other day that said a Tomahawk missile costs $600,000 dollars. That's a lotta money raining down on The dictator there. Just a thought.

Speaking of politics, I'm not going to go into too much here. It's too easy to set people off. I'm going to try to stick to design and art issues, but every now and then something will come out of my head. It's not there for debate really, it's just what "I" think at that moment. If you would like to debate I will have cocktails with anyone who wants to debate, but I won't do it on the internet. Email me and we'll work something out.

Subject Change!

I saw this the other day, and wondered, "Really." Is everything an argument now? Some designers create artwork and sell it to raise money for the Red Cross in Japan and we're debating whether or not this is the way to help?

Seems to me, if my house was on fire and my neighbor decided to sell tickets and beer to people while they watch, but then donated all the money to me to help me rebuild I wouldn't think twice. He was trying to help. He isn't a fireman, he couldn't put out the flames, but he did what he could and I was the beneficiary.

That's the way I look at it. Artists can't fly over to Japan and help reset a nuclear reactor. Well, they could, but my guess is would be the best looking most dangerous freakin' place in the world and would still blow up, but it would probably make a very interesting statement as it did so, but that's not the point. They're doing what they know how to do and finding a way to make it work. They should be commended, not derided.

Some people brought up the comment of what you do with the poster or artwork. Should you hang it in your home? Is it a testimony to your goodness for buying one? I don't know. I think they should be put in history books to memorialize the moment. Back in the day they used to create memorials years after something happened and people raised craploads of money to do it. These days you can do it in an instant and send it all around the world in seconds. It's pretty powerful stuff if you think about it.

They didn't raise money to create a memorial they created a memorial to raise money and help people they don't even know. Wow.

At least that's what I think.

Comment freely if you want otherwise I'll see you back here very soon. I will try to be here once a week, but I may get sidetracked as I said earlier.

Back to where we started, who might one confess to about social media neglect? Mark Zuckerberg? Jack Dorsey? Ashton Kutcher?