Friday, March 27, 2009

Responsibility Fail

Several of you guys know that I do a lot of writing/research on the topics of parenting, pregnancy and child care as a part of my job. This leads me to some interesting and HILARIOUS shit on the Interwebs.

Today, I was doing a child care search about babysitting and sitter ages when I came across the always-so-entertaining Yahoo answers.

Question: Is a 15-year-old babysitter really mature and responsible enough to care for kids? (Well, it wasn't quite that coherent, but I gave you the short/intelligent version.)


Yes, getting knocked up at 14 is the epitome of responsibility.

I love my job.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm suddenly thirsty...

If left to my own devices, this is what my kitchen would look like.

Dear Dave: thanks for feeding me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Please explain

Here's something I just don't get:

Tilda Swinton.

What is her appeal?

To be fair, I've only seen her in one movie. She was fine in it, I guess. I may have had a hard time getting past the pastiness to judge fairly.

Just to make sure I wasn't going to be A Huge Asshole here, I actually Googled Tilly (let's call her that) to see if she has some kind of condition that accounts for her strange appearance and/or life choices. Nothing. So it looks like I have free range to make as many harsh comments as I want.

Let's start with the complexion. I think there's a fine line between "porcelain white" and "Casper-esque." Tilly falls in the latter category, as if her life is a constant audition for a role in the next Twilight movie. It's borderline sickly and I don't get it.

And let's not forget about her fashion sense. For reasons I can't fathom, fashion critics think she's edgy and avant guard. I think she usually looks like she was dressed in the dark by a manic 8-year-old who thinks that wrapping yourself in a ratty blanket sufficient for the red carpet.

What's with the nude-colored theme? It's not exactly helping with the whole washed-out look.

It's not just her looks that are odd, though. Her personal life like some freakishly well-adjusted Jerry Spring show. (Is that reference still relevant these days? Eh. I'm old school.)

First, there's the father of her twins, John Byrne. He's an old guy in his late 60s who is described as her "permanent partner." I think he just putters around the house, painting and taking care of the kids while she slinks around the world with her 30-year-old boyfriend. Don't feel bad for Byrne, though -- he's got a girlfriend too. Everyone knows about everyone else and, somehow, they're all cool with it.

Um, okay?

I think I just need someone to explain her appeal to me. Maybe her appeal is that no one actually "gets" her, like we're all just watching some alien life form float around our planet to see how it adjusts to Earth life. I don't know.

So, what am I missing here?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hating on spec work

People on Twitter kept talking about SXSW and spec work this weekend, and it got me thinking about that type of industry and the implications of working for free.

I'm going to start this off by saying that I'm not a graphic designer. I'm not even that visual at all, really. However, I AM a creative in the sense that I do freelance writing on top of my 9-5 (shocking, based on the drivel you read on here, right?) and I think that this project-basis experience qualifies me to speak on the whole spec work debate.

Oh, it doesn't? Eff it, I'm commenting anyway.

You see, I'm of the mindset that the truly talented creatives never have to work for free. Even when I first launched my freelancing business, I never started a project without securing the deposit first. My time was (and is) more precious than that -- most professionals feel that way about their work.

Sure, you can ask your friend to write up your company press kit, edit your resume or craft a cover letter, all for free. But you'll probably get a very different result than if you paid a professional to complete the same tasks. Basically, there's a reason why we charge for that kind of work. We consider the tiny details that non-professionals don't even know about. This is true with graphic design as well.

I understand that for those just starting out and for students in the creative fields, building up a portfolio is more important than getting a paycheck. So I don't necessarily think spec work is evil. From a newbie/student perspective, it can have a self-serving, important purpose.

I also understand that with this economy, businesses are looking to cut costs and have turned to spec work as one way to do that. Fine.

What I resent is the implication that any old jackass with Photoshop can be called a "designer." Or that anyone with a hobby thinks it so easily translates into a professional career.

I said I'm no designer, but I do work closely with one and, over the last few years, I've seen exactly how little I know about the intricacies of graphic design -- something you only get to figure out if you're consistently learning from someone who knows what they're doing.

From kearning details to font choice to careful image placement, there are so many decisions that real designers make when creating a piece. Not only that, but the true professionals understand how the target audience further influences those decisions and also understand how to make a logo/online design that will work in other arenas, including letterheads and print pieces.

The point? A lot goes into graphic design. More than someone without training can understand.

Yet spec work encourages people with no experience, no background and quite possibly no talent to tout themselves as professionals with the same level of skill as those who have been trained. It's not the same. And if you think it is, you're just proving my point.

So, can we please stop pretending that spec work generates the same level of quality as a pool of trained professionals?

The whole "you get what you pay for" manta is an over-simplified cliche in this debate, but it still rings true. If you're serious professional, you can get paid for your work without having to wonder if that paycheck will come your way. Don't sell yourself short, and don't waste your talent on a client who can't understand the difference between a hobby and a career.

Okay, getting off the soapbox now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Odd couple?

After a few too many beers and some greasy food on Friday night, I learned something that I have never, ever considered.

Suz was the one who pointed it out.

Dave and I are an odd couple.

Dave immediately agreed.

I did not. I stared at them. I made my classic confused face. I scowled. I protested.

"No we're not! We're so similar!" I blurted out.

"Are you KIDDING?" Dave asked.

Suz added, "No. False. You guys definitely look like the odd couple."

"Nuh uh!" I said, ever so eloquent.

"Yes," Suz continued. "When my friend saw pictures of you two for the first time, she was like, 'They're engaged?' Most people just wouldn't see it."

"What? No, we totally look like a well-matched couple," I said.

Dave said, "Elle, look at me. And look at you."

I looked. "Okay, and?" I said.

"And look at how you're dressed versus how I'm dressed," he continued. "You wear nice clothes, look cute, very clean-cut. I dress like shit. I always wear a hat. I've got the piercings. I haven't shaved in a while."

I don't know if I grossly overestimate Dave's put-together appearance or underestimate my own. (Yeah, let's go with that. I'm simply MUCH more put-together than I think I am. Totally. MILES AHEAD OF DAVE.)

But, really, do you guys see it, this "odd couple" thing? And, People Who Know Us In Real Life, did YOU ever think that?

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm only funny to myself

Another classic conversation with Dave over IM.

Dave: what is your plan tonight

Me: Getting a drink after work. When are you done tutoring?

Dave: idk

Me: idk, my bff jill?

Dave: we start at 4. i don't imagine it will be more than 2 hours
Dave: so no later than 6

Me: Why must you ignore my brilliance?

Dave: sry
Dave: lolz
Dave: g2g
Dave: po

Me: ttyl

Dave: cya

Me: Okay, we're done here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You see it, right?

American Idol's Nate with our own drunk Angie.

I just don't understand the kids these days.

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