Category: Talk


Musical (In Which I Talk About Diversity in Musical Taste)

I’m Sorry.

If I don’t start forcing myself to make time to write something here, I’m going to have to start every post with an apology. I’m like a sitcom husband who has to apologize before he says anything else.

Anyway, I was thinking the other day about the diversity in the collection of music I keep available to listen to at all times. I’m very spontaneous with my music choices, so I’m one of those people who prefers to keep every song I own handy so I can choose on the fly. I have a relatively full, 80GB iPod.  The range of music on there astounds me sometimes.

I don’t own every album by every artist I like, but it’s sometimes interesting to put the device on shuffle and see what comes out.  IT can jump from John  Lee Hooker’s version of “Boom Boom Boom” to Jimmy Buffet’s “Last Mango in Paris” to O.A.R’s “Shatter” to Notorious B.I.G’s “Going Back to Cali” back to Johnny Cash’s “Hey Porter.”  I’m about to turn 26.

You’d think my music player would be filled with Top 40 songs and hits from when I was growing up for nostalgia purposes. Instead it looks like I share my music player with 500 people and they all get to pick a an album or two and some singles. It’s just weird.

I take a lot of musical suggestions from the other Gent writing here.  If he recommends something I know it will at least be worth giving a listen to because we share a similar taste.  At least until I get distracted by some reggae or something.

I guess there really isn’t a point to sharing that my musical tastes are so all over the map, but it got me wondering; Do other people have such all over the map taste? Do other people routinely listen to BritPop one day and folk rock the next? or Psychadelic Rock then move on to Old School Blues? Or am I the only one?

Leave me a comment and let me know.  Maybe I am the only one.

-Chris

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Something I noticed not too terribly long ago, is that I have a relatively unique(calm down, I’m sure I’m not the only one, hence the qualifier “relatively”) combination of characteristics: I want to be the absolute best at something, but I am very, very unmotivated to do anything about it. Strange, I know, but let me explain.

I don’t want to be the best in the world. I don’t want to be the only person on the planet who knows, oh I don’t know ,how to calculate at what depth soda cans crush themselves in the ocean for example.  I just want to be the best at something, that all of the people I know, know.  Let’s say I want to be the best at darts. I don’t need to be a world champion or anything, but it would be nice to be the best at darts of thew people I spend any amount of time with.

Here’ where things get a little difficult. I don’t have any one thing that I’m anywhere close to that good at.  It’s not like I could just devote a few more hours a week at Activity X and I’d be pretty awesome a few months down the road.  I’m painfully average at almost any skill-based activity. Being average is a LONG way from being the best I know.

The next big snag is this: I have practically zero motivation to focus on anyone thing long enough to get good at it.  I tend to try to blame that lack of motivation on the fact that I tend to pick up the basic skills for most things relatively quickly. The trouble comes when I inevitably plateau after the initial spurt of learning.Without the obvious growth and progress, I quickly get disheartened. After that the frustration kicks in, which leads to boredom and eventually the abandonment of said activity for something else.

So, in short, I have a great desire to be extraordinary, and not much motivation or focus to get there. That tends to lead to quite a bit of disappointment. IT also lends itself to a sort of “Jack-of-All-Trades” sort of skill set when it comes to games, home improvement, cooking, and most anything that requires practice to be good at.

Maybe my brain subconsciously thinks a little like Allen Iverson,

“I know it’s important, I honestly do but we’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice man. We’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice. We’re not talking about the game. We’re talking about practice.”

Maybe my brain thinks it can be good at something without having to go through the painstaking hours of practice required to be truly excellent at something. Malcolm Gladwell mentions in his book Outliers(excellent book, by the way, although my wife doesn’t agree) that 10,000 hours seems to be the threshold for being exceptional at a particular task. I would guess I don’t have any more than a few hundred hours logged at any specific task except maybe eating, breathing, sleeping and reading. I can’t manage to stick with anything else for very long at all.

I don’t know whether it’s a motivation issue, or a focus issue or if I’m just one of a few people with a stupendous collection of characteristics that work together to undermine me. Whatever it is, it’s a frustrating combination of desire vs. something that ends in me being pretty good and just okay at a lot of different things and very good at none of them.

Maybe I just need to practice. Allen Iverson would not approve, but Coach Larry Brown probably would.

-Chris

Well then… (In which I have no excuse for my absence)

Well there goes my perfect attendance record.

I don’t have a doctor’s note, and my mom never even called the school. I have been truant and now I’m paying for my tomfoolery.

Basically I said “I’ll do it later I don’t have much to say” for the last two weeks.  Well, procrastination is an art, and I’m the next Caravaggio, or Van Gogh, or Van Eeyck, or Durer, or Donatello, or Da Vinci(Depending on your medium and style preference.)

Usually my procrastinating only serves to make my own life harder and give me something to complain about in the process. Now that I’m married to a beautiful, wonderful, sweet, and most of all, patient woman(Hello Dear); and I’m trying to write a blog for people to read; and I’m basically trying to act like a real, live adult; I’m finding procrastination isn’t really working out like it used to(Readers with an English background, feel free to mark up that last sentence with your red pens.)

Though I don’t deserve it, I hope you’ll forgive my absence and chalk it up to the dangers of reading the rantings of a madman on your fancy magic box. I also hope this can tide you over until I find something of real substance to talk with you about.  I promise I won’t try to pace myself or hold out for a slow day.

-Chris

 

It has been brought to my attention that a certain reader of ours doesn’t really know what it is that I do when I go to work each day. This made me realize that while our current reader base is small, there are probably more of you that don’t know what I do. Let’s start from the beginning.

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away…, I graduated high school and went to college.  I figured I would end up getting some sort of a business degree or maybe getting a little crazy and teaching high school English. I chose Ashland University because it had just recently built a new College of Business building, and was well known for it’s College of Education. They also gave me a decent scholarship so I figured why not?

My freshman schedule was mostly core classes, with an economics class thrown in for good measure. I figured only one thing out in this first year of college, in regards to my higher education; If I had to sit through more business classes like Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Statistics, I was going to be a miserable person for my four years of college.  It also got me concerned about whether or not I would be able to handle a job filled with that sort of information. So, in a effort to explore some options, I registered for Drawing I and Computer Art I for the fall semester of my sophomore year.

I was in love. There was something special about creating art that I just couldn’t get enough of. I decided to Major in Fine Arts with a focus in Computer Art. I finished out my college career with a Minor in Marketing, and having taken classes in everything from Computer Graphics, to Printmaking, to Ceramics.

After I graduated, the opportunity came along to get a job as a custom logo designer when necessary, and apply those logos to team apparel. I work at a retail store, but it’s really all about the group orders we handle. We supply team apparel to swim teams of all different kinds. We do the suits, the caps, the warm-ups, and just about everything else that goes along with it.

So I was hired to get the custom logos that teams requested onto the swimsuits and the warm-ups and anything else we can get a logo on. We now do t-shirts and other items related to the official team apparel. I was also hired because sometimes teams don’t know what they want a logo to look like.

The majority of the time, what I’m doing is pre-press work. I get the images in the correct file format for the printers, and cleanup the art work. Lot’s of schools and other teams have a logo they use, it just needs to be on a swimsuit or cap. Once in awhile, I get to do what gets my eyes to glitter. I get to design something new.

Sometimes I get to take an existing logo and build something similar. They just want an updated look of some sort. Sometimes they just want something that incorporates the team name or mascot. These times when I get to take a team and give them a clean design that people can look at quickly and say “I know that team.”

Yes there are times when there isn’t really art to be done and since I’ve been here some things have been added to my responsibilities. I take orders and make sales on the register, and plenty of stuff that everyone else does too.

That’s the relatively long-winded version of what I do at work. I’m sure I can answer more questions if you have them.

-Chris

I have left each and every one of you very high and very dry.

As I’m sure is the case with just about everyone, life has gotten in the way and kept me from writing to you and sharing… Well whatever it is I share here. Work has been hectic and Not-Work has been crazy.

Every time I thought about sitting down to write something here, I would think to myself “Maybe later.” Of course, “Later” never came.Now that I decided to write you all something, I’ve nothing to write about.

I made the spontaneous decision to sit down and spin a yarn and there’s nothing to spin.  By definition, making the “spontaneous decision” to write about something means I couldn’t possibly have planned what to write about in advance. Let’s take a minute and think about something together, shall we?

(thinking)

Coloring.

I love watching little kids color. Everyone has a different technique. Some kids are very concerned with coloring inside the lines, and some just go nuts. Some kids make sure the colors are realistic, and some just want to see a blue duck.
It’s not that these tendencies reveal some deeper meaning about the children. It’s just cool to watch how young people don’t have preconceived notions about how it’s “supposed” to look. It’s really that they haven’t had adults telling them how things ought to be yet. It’s kind of fun to watch them just express themselves in the way they want.
There’s not really a point to this like “We shouldn’t ruin children’s creativity.” It is more about “Remember how much fun coloring was.” Seriously, the next time you’re having a little bit of a rough day, or you’ve been wiped out for a few days, just sit down and color a picture.
You can print them off the internet if you don’t have a coloring book. It doesn’t matter if you want to color with markers, or crayons, or colored pencils. Just color any picture you want, however you want. If you want to make the duck blue, make it blue.
I think you’ll be surprised how nice it is to do something you know how to do, without feeling like you have to do it the way someone else want you to do it.

-Chris

May I introduce myself…

That’s hardly a fair headline because Chris here has said nothing but nice things about me, and as it turns out I’m late to my own party.  As is already established, I’m Eric.  I’m not much of a talker and I had planned to make my first post a drawing.  That drawing is nearby and nearly finished, yet it’ll have to wait just a little longer before I can throw it up on the wall, as Chris has so eloquently put it.

I work for a small commercial animation studio and am at the mercy of project schedules and deadlines.  Which means whenever the wind changes I must set aside pet projects and put my nose to the light table and assist the other talented artists at the studio to make sure all is completed on time.  If there’s anything I’ve learned from my brief experience with the blogging way of life is that I’m relatively lazy.  Or as time ticks by blogs wait neglected.  That being said I hope I can do a bit better here, though with the better half of this blog posting much more regularly I don’t suppose any of you will stray for lack of content or interest.

Keeping things short and sweet I now must fly, but soon I’ll be back with some silly drawing in tow.

Cheers

Blog awards! The rules are as follows:

The Rules
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 other bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

 

Thank you to Erica for my (our) award. She’s a special person with a truly unique outlook on the world and our place in it. She taught me a lot in a very short time in college, and it’s a privilege to have her around.

This blog is a baby and I need all the help I can get making it grow.

 

7 completely random things about me (us):

1. I have a metal hip. Stainless Steel and Titanium. Mostly Titanium. I set off metal detectors. Discuss.

2. Eric just got to meet Kareem Abdul-Jabar because of a work project. This is especially awesome to the rest of us because of the photo, in which Eric (who is not short but has never been described as tall) is next to Kareem. This photo is hilarious.

3. I have an absurd amount of old video games and old video game consoles. I dunno if it counts as a collection, because I have them so I can play them, but there’s a LOT.

4. Eric recently had a dog that had his own Facebook page. Leo Dog-Meister. He’s still there, but he doesn’t post much. I assume this has something to do with his mediocre understanding of the English language and his lack of fingers and opposable thumbs.

5. I love to collect things. This has not resulted in hoarding or anything of that nature, but it’s probably a bad idea to describe to me anything of a collectible nature, especially if it has an alternate purpose. i.e. Matchbox cars which have a set number and can be checked against a list. I may try to collect… whatever it is.

6. Eric is one of the only people I know who left college and just decided to follow his dream. The dude got up, moved from Central Ohio to Chicago, Illinois to draw funny pictures, or moving pictures or whatever pictures he could. Nice work sir.

7. British Comedy amuses me more than it should. I can’t get enough of Monty Python, or Eddie Izzard. Something about it just makes my day better.

Pass It On

Ok, for this part, I’m a little stuck.  I’m new to the whole blogging thing, and as such, i don’t have a lot of people to pass awards on to. All I’ve really got at the moment is Eric’s blog for his artwork that he’s had for a little bit. It’s just kind of his place to throw some art against the wall and see it stick. Some great stuff there.

 

That’s all I’ve got for now. If either one of us makes some new blog-friends we can hand out more awards later!

-Chris

Thursday (In which I rant about the world around us)

I have failed you.
I’ve been attempting to have a new post every 2 or 3 days, because I know that this blog is new, and it will be awfully hard to earn new readers and maintain the few we have without a relatively consistent stream of content. Also, who wants to wait 2 or 3 days for something? That’s unheard of in this day and age.

Speaking of this day and this age, what age are we in now? The 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s have sort of blurred together from a cultural standpoint. I know that there are significant differences in almost any area you care to point to, but there seems to be less of a division than when you look at the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

Maybe there’s just certain time periods where there are a series of smaller shifts before a large jump changes how we look at things. Nothing has really been the same since the 80’s introduced home electronics and home computers, has it? Since then everything has moved at such an accelerated rate, and a lot of things have kind of squeezed themselves together in a way that they very nearly exist as one continuous event as opposed to a series of changes.

What do we get to identify with? Are we the “Digital Age”? Maybe the “Age of Social Media”? I sincerely hope we’re not permanently linked to the rise of social media. I honestly believe that while it’s useful, social media will ultimately cause more problems than it ever solved. It’s already begun, what with Twitter being used in lieu of an actual media outlet to announce things, and Facebook being more important as an advertising tool than a way to connect to people you’ve lost touch with.

You can blame the corruption of useful tools into advertising channels on the desire for everyone to have more money all the time. It’s a shame that Facebook started as a way for college students to connect about homework assignments and class projects, and has ended up being an ugly quagmire of social tools that serves mainly to cater to youth with a limited attention span.

I don’t want to sound like some sort of crazy anti-social media hermit here. I use Facebook to get in touch with old friends that I don’t have any other way of contacting. I use Twitter to make a more direct connection to celebrities and sports figures and keep up sports news. I just feel like it has all gotten a little out of hand.

With the change in direction most social media has taken, it concerns me that it might all be a runaway train headed for a brick wall of no privacy, and essentially a digital version of telemarketers calling every night at dinner. The trouble is, the information they have won’t just be an email or a cell phone number, they’ll know where you live because you’ve turned on the “My Location” feature, Or they’ll know what your entire schedule is everyday because you “Check In” every time you go somewhere. It’s all just a little scary.

I guess, at the end of the day, I’m just worried that we’ll be the group of people that caused the collapse of society and we’ll have to move to an underwater city that attempts to be utopia and ends up being more like 1984.(The book not the year)

That’s the long version of why I should probably write more often.

-Chris

Things You Should Like

Here are some things I think you should like, whether in the Facebook induced digital button format, or by exploring them further and maybe even purchasing something.

ART

Stephen Silver

Character artist, and the creator of Kim Possible and Danny Phantom. He creates some phenomenal characters. Really fun stuff.

Skottie Young

Comic book artist for Marvel. He also has a lot of individual project that are stunning. He’s recently been working on a comic/graphic novel version of The Wizard of Oz. Check him out. Very whimsical.

Music

The Decemberists

A wonderful Folk/Alternative group for those of you who don’t mind odd instruments and complex lyrics. They just released a new album last week. It’s a little closer to a mainstream sound and might be a good place for a new listener to get started. They’re a great group for writers/teachers/lovers of the English language, or anyone who likes fancy words.

Vampire Weekend

A very catchy Alternative/BritPop group. A little strange, but I promise the songs are just difficult to turn off. I’m surprised I like them, but once I heard them I had to hear more.  For a reference, they did the song “Holiday” from all those Christmas car commercials. I feel like I should point out that “Holiday” is not actually about the Holidays. Also they don’t really have any songs about vampires, or weekends.

Everyone should enjoy the same things I enjoy.

I’m just kidding.

Kind of.

-Chris

Test 1, 2… Test, Test, 1, 2, 3…

Ok… Alright… First post.

Well, short version of why I decided to start this and drag my good friend Eric (sometimes referred to as Meister) along; Inspiration.

Nothing is is better for inspiration than having somewhere to put stuff and having someone to bounce your ideas off of.

So here we are. I’m trying to find a long-term career where I can be creative; Eric is attending a premier for a project that he took the lead on. I’m married and just bought a house in a quiet area of town; Eric is a bachelor living the big life in the Windy City. You could say we’re at different places in life.

We’ve been friends since college and wanted to challenge ourselves a little by starting a blog. Hopefully it will give both of us a place to get feedback on some things, bounce some ideas around, and who the hell knows, maybe we’ll get famous while we’re at it.

Cheers.

-Chris