Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What's Not To Love: A New Chapter.

Book Shop Santa Cruz                    Blind Date With A Book

This is just about the sweetest promotion I've run across. The concept of buying a book without judging the cover makes me continue to believe in true love accented with leaps of faith.  To see merit in optimism by default isn't a bad fall back position.

Seeking Valentine gift-books gave an excuse to peruse the Book Shop.
Brown Paper.  Falling for the don't judge a book by the cover cause' ya can't see it rational of being non rational. The Blind Date with a book=pure brilliance.  Wrapped in brown paper, selected and wrapped by Book shop Santa Cruz staff. It's gotta be a slam dunk. Thank you, you creative geniuses.. I'm so pleased you are the orbit I travel in.

My old habit of buying books for the valentine's in my life harken to my days spent in Barcelona where April 23rd is celebrated as St.Jordi's Day books and flowers ala a male female exchange with the sentiment of love attached. Street vendors line the Barcelona neighborhoods along Passeig de GrĂ cia peddling books of poems, Catalan verse, fiction and everything else in between.
 Sadly the Capitola Book Cafe went under this week. Years of mismanaged ineptitude, brought a once great brand to it's knees. The death kneel began as garage sale items hawked next to best sellers- ebooks and kindles aside, true love in the indie anything world seems tough to shake unless you really f*#@ it up. Perhaps the once great brand will renew one day, it's my optimist heart on my sleeve time of year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life Tastes Better With A True Compass

Ahh..the winds of change. A welcome and soothing Psyche booster. Almost as good as yoga on the beach. What's the wind and why is it so timely you ask in a soft voice?

 It's the self actualization of a very simple perhaps universally held view- artists and creative types really do have more fun. Duh, certainly circumspect for the ADD crowd (yes, I resemble that finely tuned group of nanoattention span seekers of shiny shiny) and that is part and parcel why the art world offers a more well-versed version of fun.

For those of us in good company- you know who you are. The winds of change that sweep away the stiffy partners, the spouses of a certain socially challenged, chino wearing, spreadsheet evangelist-of sorts who can never seem to fully enjoy the lifestyle so diligently divergent from the norm that they must toll for ungodly hours to drink from the chalice of Sand Hill Road..

The list of you can't do, would'nt look right, falls right onto that UN-holy to drive the BMW laden with subversive messages aimed at a certain axis of evil.  My prattle is that the true axis of evil is the length that it took me to break away from the hydroponically- enhanced koolaid drinking cycle. My panache for Pinot has waned.

To save myself emotionally I needed to throw all that was controlling under the bus. That and the help of the paranoid camera hiding, email peeking -sneaking, cell-phone lurking presence that came along under the pretense of "needing to know."

Technology again comes to the rescue...this time in the form of tracking the dog. Just in time for the holiday shopping season! You too can track your canines' every pee stop to perhaps just the ones' your under surveillance spouse may jog in the a.m.  This is the best gift for the truly paranoid. Or extra loving canine person in your world. I would be remiss to not point out the true marketing opportunity for those that seek to know all, while doing all, for the sake of the color inside the lines folks that we all know and loath.

So as I lie awake breathing in a fresh breath of newly unmonitored breath, I must thank technology. But I also must thank the artistic company of community that has brightened by life. You have shown me how to be true to myself artistically and creatively.  And for that I thank you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ticket vs Text

My old habit of ignoring parking tickets has made my new year resolution list. Gone are the days of easy breezy ignoring those pesky reminders that you owe $30 dollars to the municipal fairy god mother of fill in the blank city or town. The beauty of technology is that they know where you live and work. The Denver boot is liable to make it's way to a front tire upon which it shall rest until the fines and penalties are paid in full. I've worn out my luck with the parking gods. These days, it's better to be safe and pay the meter vs. karmic kisses from the parking gods lest they feel fickle.

Enter stage left- the ability to pay for a spot on the street voila! via my iPhone. Groovy is as groovy does, and this my friends is the next best thing to 'free' valet parking...yeah ya gotta pay... no digging, scratching around for that elusive quarter that rattles around every where except where ya need it- when it comes time to feed the meter. My sandy-toed little city- Santa Cruz has got to be the unsung hero, at least when it comes to smart government. Parkmobile and a phone is your super power to pay for your street parking sans digging for coins. Thank-you city council members, you made my day today! As I rock star parked next to Jamba on Pac ave for my bright-eyed blueberry with whey protein this morning, I was greeted with a small sticker placed meter-side with the announcement of the ability to pay for parking via my phone. Finally- government making my little life a little bit easier.

Many may sneer, as they contemplate the mundane routine of street parking. For the non-bourgeois (and we know who we are) this new technology makes the day a bit smoother, a tiny bit less frantic. Text messages sent from parkmobile will be the civilized love note alerting me of my status before it runs out.

Remember, it's the little things that make life easier. The app, btw...it's free. Thank-you city of Santa Cruz.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The ole adage from many a sage: If it's not broken.. should be tattooed upon the foreheads of the powers that be at The Gap.

This week the crusty company tried to re invent itself. The A-ha moment came when the company finally realized it could only really change the look of khakis from ugly to uglier, then back to original ugly all with the help of a zillion dollar marketing campaign. The brilliant brains behind the brand this week unveiled something that makes the clothing look event more exciting, a new logo.
No surprise, the re design was met with the same enthusiasm one might experience pawing through the sales rack. Sales have flat lined, send in the khaki and white coated ER staff looks like the paddles are needed to resuscitate.
The stock was once a shining star on the NASDAQ. Sad to say my proxy vote faded along with my appetite for shopping at the ever morgue like environ a long time ago. Maybe it was the irritating way the bright shiny pony tailed followed me around re folding sweaters.  Once a great source for jeans, company sales numbers faded and the stock dropped after that last brilliant re-design: Denim the death rattle for Gap. Forgot to mention it's signature white shirts are still available. Too much excitement for you and your wardrobe?

I've got an idea, sell tea. Why you ask? Parent namesake The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company is currently trading at three bucks and change.  Khakis are no longer the draw perhaps selling Tea could be the much needed breath. Otherwise there's always a way to re invent khaki: adult diapers covers, matching oxygen canister covers, wheel chair and Prius seat covers.

It's gotta be better than what's currently on the sale rack.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The World Could Use More

The clock tics toward November 4th. Meg Whitman must do her own dishes now that it's come to light that keeping indentured servants runs afoul to her current campaign strategy. While Ms. Whitman is enjoying her Palmolive moment let's take a moment to contemplate the local template.

In many ways living in a new zip code every few years affords me the opportunity to re tune my internal radar and reassess my own political compass. My true North has come closer to center than I ever imagined possible. I suppose I shall blame that upon the current quagmire of the state of CA but also federally the political malaise runes deep on both sides.

What's a girl to do?

Leaving the his and her Bentley crowd of Los Gatos, landing in the northern hemishere of Labatt's swillin maple leaf flag wavers where long held assumptions faded along with my memories of California sunshine. Toronto has a shiny urbane surface with all it's left wing leaning health care, gun shy non-moose hunters and non deadbolt securing hockey fans. Maybe this change of latitude would offer a shiny new socialist bent but alas the only plus was the fast track lane for the globally elusive swine flu shot. Not really worth the cold northern latitude and lack of sun but one could wear mink, which is always a plus.

Fast forward to my current zip code. Why do my Green Party roots feel rather republican..gasp. How can that be?  A pro-business stance and fiscally conservative pessimism in the current quagmire. Local theater aka the SC city council locally gets a bitch slap from the University Ivory tower crowd if even a whiff of non-compassion is spread around concerning the local homeless and ever growing transient population. The mer whisper surrounding capitalist concerns from locally owned business is met with politically cool contempt.

Maybe the Ivory tower crowd believes that the local sales tax base is simply fairy dust.

While I can't wrap my brain around the entirety of the macro that is my Olympic sport of choice to bemoan, may I offer up a sweet micro morsel of hope and compassion. Yes- two wrapped in a delicious package both savory and sweet.

Free empathy.

Yep- free. As in gratis, no charge. How is this gonna help the world you wonder? It's the little things that count and on a truly micro level the best hope is to be found on a Saturday afternoon at a small table usually set up in front of The Gap on Pacific Ave in downtown Santa Cruz. When I initially walked by and looked at the tiny table, the gentleman focused upon the woman in the chair in front of him. I noticed the tiny artistically printed sign no larger that a Cliff Bar that read Free Empathy.  I needed to turn upon my heels to backtrack and check that I did not mistake the true task of the seated smile. Sure enough. As I walked by again I was offered a seat. Human nature is funny when confronted with something not considered everyday. My first thought as I glanced around- Is Alan Funt hiding inside the Gap store with a camera..not sure if it was a prank or perhaps just uncomfortable thinking on my part. An introduction was followed by a seated deep breath. A calming voice noted how nice it was to see me today and if there was anything he might help with.

Remebering that small film loop of classic Peanuts comic strip. Lucy at the advice booth caddishly awaiting Charlie Brown. Thankfully Bar Lowenberg is as far from a Lucy type character as one could ever find. Sitting on the receiving end of such a gracious and free service felt divine. 
We discussed what brought me to Pac Ave (taking candid pics of people) and how my bike ride led me to park and explore the street on such a balmy Saturday eve.
Sharing with my empathy filled friend just how beautiful it was to find him here. Sparking a hope that this free empathy idea could sweep the globe, benefiting mankind with well intentioned good will. This is the real fairy dust.

The over scheduled, over subscribed crowd that resembles most of us these days could really glean a simple understanding by simply sitting down..

Look for Mr. Lowenburg on Pac Ave next time you find yourself there and do the world a favor, sit down. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why I Opt Out

I'm not one to believe in conspiracy theories. I do believe in keeping a confidence however and like letter writing this art of conversation seems to be on the same extinction list as the drive-in theater.

Privacy is formed from the root privy. To be privy to information. The etymology of the word privacy is suggestive. As always, I have been driven by this need to know. Call it morbid curiosity to tease out the idea of meaning. Not just words but in life too. Can never be too clear on context.

Selective is another word with an interesting root. The self selecting group of social media users of facebook has seemingly morphed from just a handful of Stanford knobs to 500 M strong at last count.

Do you all know something I don't.

I remember what a big deal it was when deep throat, the top secret source for Woodward and Bernstein was sought out. Thirty years later, when the source was reveled it felt like a let down. I can only imagine that affect of lost mystique upon those close to the saga.

The song clouds in my coffee  was an ode to a mystery man of such large ego. Really Carly- an auction, for the answer?  Did we really need to know?

It's this need to know that I find so puzzling. Why have we become a nation of need to know-ers?

Is it the reconnect that is so attractive in the minds' eye or simply the idea? I have zero interest in seeking out everyone I have ever known. I have done a decent job of keeping up with those I truly care about and  make effort to see them at least quarterly..unless something really obscene blocks that effort (18+ hour flights are my personal cut off.) So why this inane drive to "friend" people? Are we so lame, so over subscribed, over scheduled, over looked that we must distill our caring and concern down to something as impersonal as a web connection.

Differentiation between person/thing seems now non-existent. Products are now part of the party. The comfort of my fave ice cream brand can now play a role in my social psyche.

Talk about the network of socially maladjusted.

Friendships with Coke, Sara Lee, and  Ruffles have nothing on my semi secret 3 a.m. rondevue with Ben and Jerry - a menage a tois where I am the sole recipient of unmentionable deliciousness and here I draw the line. I don't need to be friends with chunky monkey. Discretion please.

Maybe my years of working in media, sitting in focus groups (I've sat on both sides of the mirror, thank you) have me questioning motives. Is all this reaching out, with little effort or reasoning an indicator of our overly scheduled lives? Wanting an escape. But too lazy to make any real effort, like cook a meal or open a decent Zin. 

Data mining and aggregator sites will continue to become more sophisticated. Why? because that data of all our habits, clicks, pics whether personal or professional can glean a great deal. Big companies will continue to pimp for such privilege, unless of course they don't need to.

Think friend with benefits.

This weekend while attending a real live cocktail party I was approached by an acquaintance that I truly was happy to reconnect with.  We chatted with sweaty glasses of Pinot Gris in perfectly manicured Mano y Mano while the bugs buzzed in the back ground and the moon rose over the manicures backyard. It was the quintessential reconnect. Great conversation, with a pitch perfect evening to enjoy the company of others. The first words she purred "why had I not kept in touch on face book?" which I answered I don't use facebook. I imagined smoke pouring from my ears as neural brain synopsis secretly smoldered contemplating all we had once had in common.

I tried to be as polite as I could but my not so recessive genetic opinionated tic called the whole facebook idea a thankless mind fuck. Adding that I saw it as a seemingly sad way to spend ones' time. Also I added that something so widely discussed like the minutia of life as fodder for fostering friendship seemed stupid. But that's just me.  Oops, I guess my foot in mouth disease makes for uncomfortable cocktail chatter.

Rhetorically using facebook is no different than using a rewards cards from retailer's like Longs, or Safeway.  After all- retailers can't possibly offer me anything without knowing a bit about me. Yet time and time again based upon a complex cocktail of details, buying habits and marketing juju they seemingly guesstimate what I might like. This is where the facebook mania helps big brother.

Conspiracy theory, No.  Creepy?  Yes, but if you don't care/don't share/lack good judgement the stakes are a bit higher than receiving instant print coupons for a competitors' shampoo. Why does this logic not hold any sway over the 500M "friends" that exist today?  Lemmings don't use logic suppose it's safe to say, nor do they find it creepy.