Dec 30, 2014

In which I also narrate something boring and mundane

My kids are addicted to watching other people narrate playing video games on You Tube.  My ten year old's aspirations aren't pop-singer or movie-starlet but to become a You Tube Vlogger.  My four year old opened his hand knitted Stampy Cat hat Christmas morning and exclaimed "I'm going to wear this ALL DAY!" While I get wearing a hat you love all day the watching of these shows... I just don't get.  I don't watch videos of people narrating drinking beer and playing cards. Though now that I type it I do realize there is a whole series of poker shows with announcers and card by card commentary and a whole industry of sports shows where nonstop barking about the exact actions you are seeing on the screen with your own eyes, is the preferred.  Why don't they just play the game? Why listen to people blab on about their virtual adventures? Why fill the house with an odd niche of voices having one sided conversations with themselves about mining and building and skins and esoteric nerd references that only I am old enough to get?

Dec 19, 2014

C.J. Campbell

Have you ever heard a song on the radio, gotten goose bumps and thought... that song is going to be big?

I went to my local story night.  I went by myself.  Just like the first time I went to roller derby, all the people I asked to accompany me backed out or got sick before I went, and I wanted to go so bad - I went by myself.  It was fun.  It's always been a treat to me to put my headphones in and cue up This American Life  to listen to before I clean.  I imagined some of the people would be good and some would be nervous. That was true, but I was not prepared to hear someone's voice and get goosebumps. I did.  This chap told a story that made me laugh, genuinely hard, and think, genuinely deep.  I was happy about having gone.

I went back the next month to hear more people and there was the guy again.  I was sort of excited to hear him tell another story.  I wondered if he was a one hit wonder or if his voice was going to hold and what would come out would give me goosebumps again.  This time he made me cry.  Sitting right there in the middle of the back row, trying to be all inconspicuous and cool, he said things that reached way down into the bottom of my belly and made me want to jump out of my chair and scream "ME! He's talking to me! That's me!" I couldn't wait to see the video later of the story he just told.  A week later I messaged the curator of the space and asked when the video would be up.  He said they had problems shooting and the videos wouldn't make it to the light of day.  I spent time trying to remember the story he told and no matter because it's the voice that does it justice.

There's nothing like watching an artist do what they do well, no matter how many time you re-sing it... you just want the artists' voice. So, I went and heard him tell stories a third time and this time I asked if he wrote them down. I asked him for a card, or a blog, a something. He did write. He has a blog.  He has a book.  That was the beginning of this...


I'm helping with this campaign and I am honored to say I'm making the book cover.  As you can see the project is fully funded and then some. So what.  Buy a copy.  It is really excellent art coming out of this desperate place here in the Midwest.  This is the flower that grows in the crack of the sidewalk, the beautiful that grey cement, empty factories and honking cars can't stop.  It's the guy that can make the most hardened middle-aged lady with mascara on, both laugh and cry in the middle of a small crowd of strangers. Go buy it.


The Zen of Beard Trimming: Stories of Punk Rock, Poverty, and the Search For Peace by C.J. Campbell

"Like a modern-day Candide, writer C.J. Campbell started his journey to achieve peace in the bosom of a safe environment with a well-meaning adviser to guide him, and like Candide, he journeyed out into a world where everything went wrong, sometimes in hilarious ways, sometimes in excruciatingly heartbreaking ways, but always in entertaining ways. Seven years of his travels are painstakingly detailed in his memoir The Zen of Beard Trimming. Punk rock meets leaving Christian Evangelism meets Scandanavian models meets a mismatched cast of unlikely characters and scenarios in a fearless, brutally honest chronicling of the time-honored search for (meaning, love, peace, an apartment, food, and a damn microphone that works)."

Dec 2, 2014


Some days I feel like I kicked ass.  This day I managed to; get two kids to school and home safe and clean with homework done and snacks/lunches packed, finished an illustration of someone's house, calculated shipping to France, went to the dentist, got two fillings, hit the hardware store, the copy shop and the grocery with a numb face.  Cooked dinner, vacuumed, did a load of laundry all before leading a Girl Scout meeting while simultaneously entertaining a four year old boy at the meeting.  I'm still trying to catch up from when I was sick, so some some days this week have extra things in them, so they look like today but with added phone calls, errands, laundry, coffee and staying up late. Sometimes when people say I should sit down and try a new show on TV or I really should read the book their telling me about I feel like kicking them in the shins.

Human Limits