mommy blogs killed the SASE

Remember my SASE project? Well, I got a response from Kikkoman pretty quickly, actually. I was waiting to blog about it until I had another self-addressed stamped envelope to send out, thinking I'd format the posts for this series in a to/from fashion, reporting on anything I'd received and ending with the next SASE to go in the mail. But, man, SASE requests on product labels and elsewhere are hard to find! There is usually some contact information, of course, but the closest I've found to anything like Kikkoman's label are websites for more recipes. Bo-ring. I want actual stuff in my mailbox, people! I don't have time to peruse your website and pin my favorite recipes!

And the grumpy part of me that reads too many mommy blogs, meanwhile, has to wade through countless "reviews" of free products that these successful bloggers receive EVERY WEEK! It's not that I want free stuff, per se, and I like my project in that there are really no strings attached, right? Kikkoman is not expecting me to blog about what they sent, though it is a form of outreach and advertising. But I do wonder if companies have directed those efforts to folks who are likely to write a fairly glowing review and reach a greater audience. As a reader, let me tell you, it gets old after awhile, reading about your free wardrobe service or the cruise your family took, like watching celebrities walk the red carpet in multi-thousand dollar gowns and accessories they're given for free. It's just thinly veiled advertising.

Anyway, enough of my grumpy old man impersonation. Here's what Kikkoman sent, a lovely little recipe book with some tasty snack suggestions. I put Neal to work right away on the Aloha Trail Mix.

That's it for now! I'll keep looking for SASE requests. In the meantime, in a continued effort to get stuff in the mail, I've re-started a blog project that never really got going back in my Boston days. It's called Check Your Gauge and if you like to knit or crochet and have a little bit of extra yarn laying around and a wee bit of change for postage, you should check it out!

PS - I've also resumed the Makery but under a different guise: geeky beaky, the "softer side" of Color Bird Studio. Felt phone cases for Android + Mother's Cookies inspired products for now. Stay tuned for more projects in 2015!


burning bridges: artists in offices

There's this book called Artists in Offices. It's been on my Amazon wishlist for awhile now. To be honest, I'm not totally sure what it's about. I suspect it may not actually be about artists working in offices, although I know so many creative types, like myself, who've found their professional way through a series of cubicles. There is a book about that. It's called The Artist in the Office. I should probably read it. It took me awhile to reconcile my sort of stereotypical notions of who an artist is with my obsessive-compulsive tendencies (and truth be told, I've met many a fellow print designer who defies the messy, disorganized artist stereotype). Nearly a couple of decades, actually.

I was 19 when I got my first real office job. Okay, I was about a month away from my 20th birthday, but still. Technically, I was a mere teenager. After only three months, the bakery gig was wearing on me. And that afternoon eclair snack habit was doing me no favors.

I liked the idea of working in an office, you know, wearing nice clothes, spending time in an elevator on a regular basis, complaining about rush hour traffic, taking coffee breaks, that sort of thing. I worked 32 hours a week in a group of law offices in the now trendy uptown area of Oakland. A few months after I got this particular job, I resumed my undergraduate studies at a community college. How I managed that workload while attending 4 to 5 classes each semester is a bit of a mystery to me now, but I think part of what made this work was that about 20 of those hours were spent answering phones. When the phones weren't ringing, I was free to study, do homework, etc.

For the other 12 hours, I assisted the office manager - updating the law library, helping her with bookkeeping, running errands, that sort of thing. I loved it. Eventually I was recruited by the immigration firm to spend some of my hours working for them. One of the partners in this small firm would later offer me a full-time position, one of two times I turned down a full-time job offer in order to pursue a mix of other, some might say more creative, certainly less lucrative opportunities. I don't regret that decision, per se, but I do ponder the sensibility of it from time to time. But I was young and fresh out of college and, anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.

This position is also where my love of dance began. Well, other than dabbling in just about every dance genre as a kid. One of the lawyers in the office was on the Board of Directors for Savage Jazz Dance Company at the time and occasionally he'd offer me free tickets to their local performances (poor college kid that I was). My mind was blown. Watching these particular contemporary dancers was like nothing I'd ever experienced before - athletic, sensual, beautiful. All that good stuff. And in a, I don't know, sincere way that has, over the past 17 years or so, proven to be pretty rare.

Not a bad gig.