Mr. Mraz Teaches Love 101

Love ? I love love love you.

Photo By @Doug88888 @ Flickr.

This week I’d like to talk about love. Specifically, what Mr. Jason Mraz has to teach us about it. But first, look at these freaking girls:

Isn’t that the cutest/most awesome thing you’ve ever seen? That much talent so young…whoa. I could squeeze their little cheeks straight off.

Now that we’ve got that cuteness out of the way, let’s talk about how this song is basically all you need to know about what you should want in love. That’s right. Mr. Mraz just covered the whole kit n’ kaboodle in one pop song. Impressive, sir. Impressive.

So, let’s break it down. Here’s what you should be looking for in love:

Someone Who Thinks You’re Freaking Amazing

When I look into your eyes
It’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There’s so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

Do you hear that crap?! Those are like EPIC compliments. Big, gorgeous, gushing, not-at-all-gun-shy compliments. That’s how compliments should sound coming from someone who loves you. You should feel better than you think you are. You should be blown away. And notice that he didn’t say anything stupid like, “You’re keepin’ it tight” or “I love that booty” or some other trash. He’s not just ogling. He’s complimenting eyes and the soul behind them. He’s complimenting the person, not the body the person is in. A+, Jason. A+.

Someone Who’s a Kick Ass Friend

And when you’re needing your space
To do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

I am loving the crap out of this line. Not only is he supportive of the life/soul work people inevitably need to do, but he’s waiting, excited to see what happens. That’s what you want. Someone who’s waiting…waiting to see who you’re going to be tomorrow. Someone who’s convinced it’s gonna be good. You’re gonna be good. Love it.

Someone Who’s In It In It

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No, I won’t give up

Love is hard. Not the beginning, usually, but along the road, it gets hard. It’s hard because life is hard. We lose our cool, we’re selfish, we’re needy, we get depressed…there’s a whole myriad of things that make life and love a tough gig. So when you’re thinking about loving someone for a long time—about inviting them into the forever part of your life—you want someone who’s dedicated. Someone who’s going to hold on as hard as you will. Someone who’s gonna do that because “God knows we’re worth it.”

Someone Who Writes and Sings Pretty Songs

Just kidding. (But it doesn’t hurt. I mean, use what ya got, people.)

I think everyone deserves love that’s potent. Love that rips right through you. Love that makes you forget what came before and incapable of imagining anything better. Everyone deserves to be loved in that way that makes you cry when you’re happy. Love that makes you thankful to be alive. Love that you can only meet equally if you love with your whole, entire heart. Everyone deserves that. Everyone.

Here’s hoping love finds its way to you.

It’s Easy to Dream. It’s Hard to Do.

FAME IS FOR DOERS

Image by AMERICAN ARTIST BEN MURPHY, on Flickr

I watch a lot of TV. It’s time to admit it. Sometimes I like to pretend that I’m all modern and innovative and “above it all” (ohmigod, how obnoxious) because we don’t have cable or an actual television, and we just watch Hulu and Netflix on our MacBook Pros. Soooo progressive, right?

As it turns out, you don’t need cable to watch a billion hours of TV. Netflix and Hulu work just fine for that. And I’m like an addict. Once I get on a show, it’s like I can’t get enough. I can’t watch enough. I need to see what happens next. I don’t care that it’s midnight and I need more sleep than a hibernating bear—I NEED TO SEE IT!

Netflix is actually worse in this way. Case in point: on Netflix, you CAN watch 4 old episodes Grey’s Anatomy in one sitting, because they’re all there, just waiting for you. They even prompt you to click the “Next episode” button like it’s the most natural thing in the world. I wish they would get rid of that button and just put up a quick screen saying, “Who are we kidding? You’re not going anywhere. Just sit down while we play the next one.” Just so we can all be honest.

TV Shows We Used To Watch - 1955 Television advertising

Photo by brizzle born and bred, on Flickr

At least the cable company controls your consumption. They give you just a little at a time. They give you commercials so you can go pee or brush your teeth and stuff like that. They give you the opportunity for a little dignity.

(Story detour: one time when we actually had cable, we decided that we wanted to cancel it. Cable companies are NOT cool with this move. They think it’s weird. Plus, they like your money. So I called and said, “I want to cancel my cable service.” and the lady said, “How about we give you three months free?” and I said, “Well, okay…not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth, lady.” At the end of the three months I called back again to cancel it and they offered me another great deal. They’re like drug dealers, I tell you. Drug dealers with a call center. So finally, I just said, “I want to cancel my cable service because the TV is sucking my soul out.” to which the lady said, “Right away ma’am.” and we were done. Which proves once again, crazy works.)

ANYWAY, so I’ve been serially watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. We watched the first two seasons a few years ago, then just never picked it up again. But the first 7 seasons (seven!) are on Netflix, so, you know…I kinda watched many, many episodes in a row.

Now, if you don’t like the show, just shush for a second, okay? I just want to say that the writing is brilliant (brilliant!). Sure, there’s the occasional unbelievable response or plot hole—some unconvincing element that likely arose from talent leaving or needing time off or something—but by and large they deliver on every. episode.

What I love about the show is that it always has a theme, it always weaves little life lessons. It deals in fears and struggles. Grey’s Anatomy finds all of those intimate moments where we keep our words silent for fear of facing them, and it intrudes upon them. It unearths the mess.

But it also looks for beauty among the dying, diseased, and broken. The hospital has to be the perfect metaphor for our lives—lives in constant states of repair, remission and relapse. Lives without a known ending. Lives full of mystery and defeat and hope. It’s the perfect metaphor and the writers of Grey’s are freaking nailing it.

As I watch episode, after episode, after episode of this cursedly good show, I find myself dreaming…I want to write those words. I want to write the words that inspire thought and introspection. I want to write words that remind us all of our humanity and of our connection. Words that remind us that grace can be as battered and bruised and defeated as a dying man, but it can still fight its way back to life. I’m a writer, dammit, and I want to write those words.

But in order to write those words, or any words, I’ve got to get my fingers on the keyboard. I’ve got to force myself to get something on the page. I’ve got to force myself to churn the work out. I’ve got to grab the creative fairies by the toe as they flutter through my mind at inopportune times, and scribble their thoughts down on notecards and napkins and post-its. And then I’ve got to be a freaking adult and make something of them. It’s easy to dream. It’s hard to do. I need to do some doing.

How to Write Drama Like a Hollywood Pro in Three Easy Steps!

1. Write about some people.

Guy on the Go Bus

This guy would be a fine character. He's even all thoughtful looking. Image By wmacphail @ Flickr

Just any people. It doesn’t really matter. All the drama will be taken care of in steps 2 and 3, so don’t try to get all artsy. Just write about your mailman, or hairdresser or a guy you saw on a bus once.

2. Sprinkle a little sci-fi on it.

Just a little. Like everyone’s normal, but then there’s a magical black puff of smoke that eats people (wouldn’t that be weird?), or maybe sometimes when one of the characters eats salt he can see in the other people’s souls. Or maybe someone has farts that cure cancer. But he only finds out about it by accident when he eats some bad tacos and visits his grandma in the cancer ward and then everyone’s cured. Just a little sci-fi’ll do ya.

3. Remove all critical and/or relevant dialog. Replace with “acting” faces.

tim usavage

Actors should make faces like this, but not say any words. No words! Image by diegodiazphotography @ Flickr

This is the most important step. Any time two of your characters are having a discussion and something absolutely imperative comes up, make sure that the character with the critical information, instead of sharing it, makes a sad face, or looks scared or opens her mouth for a second, but then closes it. When none of the critical information necessary for success/healthy relationships/normal societal functioning is communicated, everything goes to hell. And that, my friends, is drama.

For added instruction, I will now demonstrate these techniques.

A Story – Boring/Normal Version

Sondra, who is the head of a corporation, has been dating Mark, the head of a different corporation. Mark gets a phone call, learning that his young sister, Suzy, has a mysterious illness and is expected to die within the week. Mark, being so upset, goes to see Sondra. They embrace, and talk about how this news makes them feel. They decide that family is what is most important, and they both decide to take as much vacation time as they can to be with Suzy. On the way over to the hospital they listen to NPR, but then turn it off so they can think in silence. A week later, Suzy dies and they attend her funeral, where they reflect on their lives and decide to volunteer at the hospital once a week. The end.

The Only Story That Will Ever Matter – Hollywood Version

Sondra, who is the head of a corporation, has been dating Mark, the head of a different corporation. Mark gets a phone call, learning that his young sister, Suzy, has a mysterious illness and is expected to die within the week. Mark thanks the doctor, hangs up, looks at a picture of himself, Sondra, and Suzy, then quickly turns over the picture, and gets back to work—ignoring the fact that he just received devastating news.

Meanwhile, Sondra is giving a presentation to the board of directors. Mid-sentence, she collapses onto the table, spilling her water, then stares off creepily while whispering, “Suzy.” A moment later, she straightens up and continues with the presentation. Even though EVERYONE in the room is thinking, “Holy sh*tballs, what was that?!” no one says a word.

Sondra and Mark are having dinner. Suzy is weighing heavily on both of their minds. “I’ve been thinking a lot about Suzy,” says Sondra nonchalantly over her tortellini. “Really? Why is that?” asks Mark. [Note: this is where the characters would normally share the interesting/important information from their lives. DON’T LET THEM DO IT!] Sondra opens her mouth for a second, then closes it, then says, “Just because. We should have her over for dinner.” Mark nods, makes a very serious face, then opens his mouth a little, then closes his mouth, then nods again.

Later Sondra finds herself compelled to wander the halls of the local hospital. She finds Mark hovered over Suzy’s lifeless body, crying. “Mark?! Wha…?” Sondra sputters, confused. “I…” starts Mark, but Sondra holds a finger up to his mouth. Mark turns for the door, having made serious faces. Sondra puts her hand on Suzy who, against all odds and rules of reality, twitches oh so slightly and says, “Mark?” Sondra opens her mouth to call to Mark, but then doesn’t. The end.

See how that works? You could probably write something normal that actually happened to you, then just go back with a black marker and take out anything that seems even slightly important. And add magic. Reality – common sense + mystery = drama. The point is to work the audience into a fervor with their desire to see the characters communicate like rational humans.

Feel free to add your secret spices to the pot, folks. It’s for the arts.

Workin’ Hard for the Money

work=awesome

Work = smiley faces and lightning bolts.

I like working. As I mentioned before, it’s WAY easier than taking care of a kid. When you work, you get to hang out with adults and have conversations and you never have to say, “If you don’t use your manners you’re going in time out!” or “Not in your mouth, please.” It just doesn’t come up. Instead, you talk about the weather and things you like and then you get to do things that, hopefully, work out really great and then you feel awesome about yourself and everyone gives high fives and drinks brandy. (I actually haven’t been in an office since 2008, so maybe the brandy part is wrong, but the rest of it is right.)

Lately, I’ve been doing some work for some friends of mine, Paul and Amy Reams at Reams Photo in San Diego and I have to say, it’s awesome. A) I get to work for friends, which could be super weird and awkward but isn’t. It’s great. B) They’re RAD people and it makes me happy to help them. C) I can buy this track suit and look ab-fab if I want because they pay me in gold bullion. $40.80 worth of gold bullion.

I’ve always liked being a helpful person. I felt the same way when I worked for Rich and Susan Seiling at West Coast Imaging/Aspen Creek Photo several years back. A lot of my hours went to taking things off the Seilings’ plate, trying to make their lives easier and their business more successful. I like that. It makes me feel useful. I always thought I’d make a great personal assistant because I can buy lattes, put things on the calendar, and say, “Those pants make your butt look A-MA-zing.” really, really well. I could probably do all three at once. I know. I’m impressive.

So, with my fuzzy, helper feelings in abundance, I wanted to take a moment to highlight my past and present employers and what I did for them.

Reams Photo

Paul and Amy are rad (though I already said that). I’ve been helping them with their blog, and some social media/marketing stuff which is fun, but the SUPER FUN thing we’re working on is a contest that’s going on right now! I worked on this cute little graphic and helped them put the rules and stuff together. You all, you can win your whole wedding/engagement package from these people and they kick ASS at wedding photography. Plus, you get to use Pinterest, which is what you’re doing with your time anyway, right? (Right? Or is that just me?) If you’re getting married before February 14, 2013 you should go enter. For realsies. F-U-N. (And isn’t my graphic so adorable? I’m kinda in love with it.)

Inspired by Love Contest

Look, I made that graphic! And this contest is super awesome.

West Coast Imaging

Winter Oak Trio, Half Dome by Rich Seiling

I have this photo by Rich in my bedroom. These people don't mess. Image © Rich Seiling

I was at WCI (one of  THE best photographic printing studios in the country) for nearly a decade and did a TON of stuff for them over the years (like a swiss army knife of doing things) which was great for me, because I love learning new things. I mean, I worked in shipping, then prepared files for printing, then did printmaking, and worked on some applescripts (nerd) and a bunch of other stuff. It was fun, and hard, and enriching, and great. If you’re a fine art photographer or just want to make a print that will bring people to tears with it’s awesome-ness, call these folks.

Aspen Creek Photo

I helped the Seilings launch their sister company, Aspen Creek Photo, back in 2007 (I think, right? Hard to remember). Aspen Creek is kinda like the fast-casual version of West Coast Imaging. They make superb photos with super high quality materials (some of the same ones that are used at WCI) but aren’t quite as picky-to-the-nth-degree-obessive as WCI, and their prices are a bit lower as a result. A great option for photos you love and need quickly, but that you won’t be sending to the queen (those go to WCI).

And that’s it for sharing time, friends! Take a few minutes to visit these fine folks and give them truck loads of money. They’re good people AND they’re some of the best in their fields. Gold stars all around!

Tag Cloud Band Names

Hey guys. Stephen and I are sitting here, laughing about my tag cloud after a couple of glasses of wine and watching “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” so I thought I’d let you in on the forest of secret thoughts we’re having. It’s a magical forest, you all. Buckle your seat belts.

Tag Cloud

This is all you need to come up with a super awesome band name. You're welcome, internet!

Dangit. The photo isn’t uploading. Try #2:

Okay, there it is. My tag cloud. And held within its fertile loins (eww) are the seeds (oh, come on) for a fantastic band name. Here are some to get you going:

  •  Benjamin Franklin Candy
  • Dylan Failure
  • Truth Turkey
  • Killer Whale Lies
  • Kevin Bacon Kids

Pretty great, right? Don’t say I never gave you anything. I did. Right now. G’night, ye lads of…erm. Something.

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