Ahoy! And I hope it’s been a productive summer so far for all you Regular Creatives! It’s been a productive one for this one (points to self)… too productive. Lots of fun stuff, but also some of that side-hustle I’d been looking for. That, on top of fam, summer fun, and the regular full-time gig makes for a busy KB. Am I complaining that the creative side-hustle I landed is keeping my nose barely above water? I guess I’m just getting used to the additional grind of it, and the humbling learning curve of how to be productive and be a pro at balancing everything. It’ll take some time, and a lot of practice. But I’m in it to win it! If winning only means giving myself a chance to do something different, then that’s pretty good. If you’re working hard this summer, too, don’t forget to give yourself your own solid effort. And don’t forget to eat ice cream. Treat yourself.
I recently participated in a personality test / ice breaker at a mandatory team-building workshop where we were all asked to draw a pig on a piece of paper. Drawing? My kind of activity! We were given only a minute or two to draw. It wasn’t really supposed to be an artistic activity, so more time was spent talking about pigs than drawing them. Still, I really enjoyed the activity. Not just because of drawing, but because of what my pig drawing revealed about me.
I won’t give it all away, in case you want to try this personality test yourself. Here’s a website that has the activity instructions as well as how to assess your drawing to find out what it says about your personality.
Was the test accurate? Sure. While I don’t feel like I learned anything new about myself, it was a fun to be reminded who I was, some of my typical behaviors and tendencies, and fun to know that those elements are expressed in the things I do. Including drawing a pig.
Now, there were all kinds of people drawing pigs during this activity, ranging from all levels of personality, skill, and artistic ability. What I mean to stress here is that some people had zero artistic ability. Nevertheless, the way that they drew their pig said something about them. So really, this test is for anyone and everyone. There were all kinds of pigs drawn that day: bodiless, faceless, tailless… some ridiculously detailed, some so tiny, or hardly visible… some not even resembling an actual pig. It was fun to see what others drew up, and see the self-realization come across their faces as the results were announced.
After the exercise ended, I continued doodling. I imagined who the people might that would’ve come up with some really crazy versions of pigs, and what the more complex nuances of their interpretation would’ve said about their personalities. Cruel? Isolated? Hungry?
Give it a whirl. What does your pig say about you? Is it true?
So important these days to make sure I’m not turning into a stress-bot. It’s not easy, but it takes little reminders. I used to think that if I took up smoking I might actually take more breaks and get outside more. First try other things, I guess. An alarm on my phone that I set to tell me to stretch. Post-it notes-to-self to breathe. Not the most innovative or effective ideas. But better than nothing. The other day I looked down from my computer screen to a couple of goofball things at my desk. It was enough to distract me for a second and make me laugh a little. A sigh. A smile. A break! Some perspective to keep me from the crazy of work. A little moment of Zen. Definitely better than nothing. And it was enough to make me snap out of it, shake off some seriousness, and step away from my desk.
Take more breaks. They’re pretty great, and generally underrated. Whether full-on escapes from the cubicle, or just a second to close your eyes and let your mind chill, it’ll make for a better you in the long run. Be open to a little distraction. Only take up smoking to get outside as a last resort.
I’ll say it out loud (you know what I mean) — I’ve been terrible at keeping up with my blog. One of the reasons I started JLYBM was to have a regular creative practice and hold myself accountable for some sort of output on the reg. I can’t say that my life has drastically changed since then, to make an excuse for why I’ve been unable to keep up. Nothing’s changed much. Life just happens. Work is demanding, as is home and social life. There doesn’t seem to be enough time, and any free time is spent deservedly grabbing some R&R. Call it busy, lazy or tired, but none of those seem good enough reasons to give up on this personal pursuit to spend my time thoughtfully and meaningfully, as something for my mental health and mere existence. So let me call this a confession, a plea, a begging for forgiveness of myself for not letting my creativity be worthy enough of my time. I’m scum. Or, just human.
I had a pretty good momentum going at the beginning. Call it Bloginner’s Luck. I was inspired and perky with all kinds of new ideas and things to say. I gleaned a few things here and there about best blog practices that I still have yet to incorporate. The one most worth mentioning here sparked around New Year’s, when everyone was in a reflective, ambitious and hopeful frame of mind. It was in the form of someone’s blog resolution to “post more, write less.” It was a bit of a relief to read that, and aspire to do the same.
I might have said before that I’m not a writer. The point of this blog wasn’t to be a writer. Somehow, despite being aware of this, I put this pressure on myself, that I have to write something worth reading. I inserted a judgement filter on my own creative outlet! So, basically, every time I approach blog-post time, I’m shooting down all the thoughts and ideas I thought were interesting over the past week or so. I’m worried that it’s not compelling enough. I start in on a topic and realize there isn’t too much to say about it. So then I post nothing. I forget that the point isn’t to have a lot to say about something, necessarily… but just to say it. It won’t be brilliant. It might not even be original. But it will likely be honest. And it might not be in some smarty-pants narrative every time. I think I also put pressure on myself because, let’s face it – blogging is a format primarily for writing. But maybe I know better than I think I do. And I shouldn’t feel like I’m limited to writing, even within this write-y medium. Especially if I’m no writer.
Okay. I’m still on board with this. I’m here, right? Humiliating myself a little, but maybe that helps? I don’t know what the road ahead looks like with this blog, but it can’t take shape without me. It’s going take a little more practice. I’ll make sure to stretch.
This isn’t a Netflix review post, but if it were, here’s a good review. I was catching up on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast the other day, listening to an interview with Neal Brennan. Do you know this guy? Most noted for his co-creation of Chappelle’s Show, he continues his comedy writing for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Inside Amy Schumer to name a couple. Netflix recently did a comedy special for his stand-up called Neal Brennan: 3 Mics wherein Brennan takes on a different format from what you’d expect on a comedy special. The literal “3 mics” each served different forms of comedy: one for on-liner jokes, one for regular stand-up, and the third for a more narrative comedy, where Brennan dives a littler deeper into thoughtful, emotional comedy story-telling, hitting tops like depression and father-son issues as subjects. An honest showcase tying humor with human-ness.
First of all, from a review standpoint — great special. This guy is hella funny, and his subdued, every-man delivery puts you immediately in the company of a friend who’s easy to listen to, relate to, and laugh with. Watch it. It’ll be fun.
Aside from its comfy, comedic content, I’m also responding to the actual format of the comedy special. The “3 mics,” Brennan explained in his NPR interview, was the best way to present his material and really share his talent in a way that set him apart… not to show how much cooler and different he is than other comedians (although, accomplished)… but that he realized that what he does creatively doesn’t fit in a regular format. He’s not just a stand-up comic, or a writer, or a story-teller the way David Chapelle or other greats are known to be. He acknowledges this difference modestly and thoughtfully, recognizing that the usual format wasn’t the right way to share his work, and he’d have to make it to fit himself.
Brave move, Brennan. And good show.
Okay, now go and watch it. For reals.
It’s been a while since I did a palette pull on some of my #coloroccurrence snaps. So many good color moments, despite the cold weather. This collection is a particular appreciation of the brown tones in my cozy, hot bevies, consumed in the cafes and restos I ducked into to escape the cold. Aside from the comforting browns are some other surprising hues that lend some complexity to the obvious palette usually captured at first glance.
Earlier this month I’d come across the news that one of my all-time favorite and quotable movies was about to have a milestone birthday. On 2/7/17, the movie Wayne’s World turned 25. TWENTY-friggin’-FIVE.
Appropriately, my reaction was, “No way!”
Way. I did the math, and it’s true. Can it be? Is this pop-cultural gem a quarter of a century old? Older than some of my co-workers, even? I laughed, I cried… I hurled.
Beyond doing the math, I flashed back to my memories of the movie when it’d first come out. The movie was a huge vocab-builder, and in an effort to be with it, I incorporated key slang words and phrases into my 6th grade vernacular like “Way!”, “Shyeah, right!”, “Mental”, “Schwing”… the list goes on, and I got them into rotation, whether I understood the phrases or not. Likely not. Nevertheless, to my 11-year-old self, this movie was among the first that was fun, silly, but not dumbed-down, which made it cooler for a kid like me to get it. It seemed age-appropriate, but more on the big-kid/ grown-up side. It was something of a coming-of-age. In addition, it also had an Asian leading lady for me to identify with, which strengthened my affinity for it. Zeng!
It’s certainly worth another watch, if you haven’t in the past 25 years. Make a movie night out of it! I’ve mostly seen it in clips here and there, when they’ve aired it on Comedy Central or VH1. To be able to watch it again in its entirety, and for this milestone, is a real treat. We’ve just recently graduated this pop-culture favorite in our house to Blue Ray from VHS over Christmas, so we had it available just in time to celebrate! Excellent. Still hilarious and fun to this day. Still part of the vernacular, I realized, after all this time, too.
Happy B-day, Wayne’s World. Thanks for everything.