when everything keeps klicking

Do you ever have one of those days when everything just clicks?  My friend LS gets that effect from Aderol, which is probably why he hasn’t slept in six days.

I ZipCar’d to Emeryville in the Beast Bay with Christian and Kelly to see the wonder that is IKEA: impeccable designs brought to you from Sweden, and made diligently by the hands of small Chinese people. I bought a fabric dresser, a creme brulee candle, and a small frying pan for less than a pair of new SkullCandy headphones I’m getting from Circuit City. Those motherfuckers are closing. Find the one nearest you and just buy a big ass TV. Buy three of them just for the fuck of it. Claim it. And show me your receipts.

Brunch at the neighbors, always a lovely bunch those folks are. French toast with homemade compote, a chicken sausage egg casserole that was definitely NOT kosher. My eyes then fell into my skull from building my first Flash movie, and I should sleeping right now to let them rest.

Something’s changing. And I’m not talking about my man in the White House (have you seen the new .gov website? Very 2.0!) I’m talking ad school. It’s clicking, it’s getting better, and we’re starting to produce better work. The ideas are getting better, there’s less crap coming round, and its quite enjoyable right now. The workload is getting only more intense with 5 classes, but we’re ACTUALLY WRITING nowadays, which is swell and reassuring that I have some semblance of skills with language.

And in a sick, weird, capitalist way –>it’s fun when your ads work.

Last night (was it just last night?) I wrote about change, and digging into ourselves and finding something that moves us, something that defines who we are, apart from work and family and city life. My initial thoughts are salsa dancing, travel, and mentoring others. I want to reconnect with a few kids I used to teach, and stay in their lives. Share in their wins. that sorta thing.

But ultimately, what do we remember? For me its those small moments of love, shared with others, over wine and food, walks for no reason and laughing like you just heard the funniest thing in the world. Its so fucking funny your ribs hurt the next morning and your stomach is full from dinner.

My plan is to build more of those. To have others in mind more. To give gifts without cause. To help others without expectation of anything in return. Because giving is the gift.

You are the prize.


Hope Never Died

Example of good Photoshop

Is it cold in Washington? I’ve been there just once. It was cold then in November, so I imagine its even colder now. Google says 31 degrees. That’ll be the high tomorrow when Obama delivers his inauguration speech. I’ll be in a Concepts class, pitching BOSE headphones and negotiating with the teacher to watch the discourse live.

But we all know what he’s going to say. We could skip it and still get the message. But we won’t, because we love what Obama has to say about us.

He preaches change, but CHANGE is just a word. It lacks substance when presented on its own. The word becomes an ephemeral slogan for T-shirts and branded on hats our politically active grandparents will unabashedly wear out in public.

But it worked. And when we think about it, it’s pretty fucking amazing for one guy in the entire world to do that to us. To win us over. Obama is a Master of the soft sell, and we all bought into it.  Well, more than half of us did. It’s his nature.

Obama wasn’t selling Obama, he was selling us to ourselves.  His campaign was corely based on realizing our potential, harnessing our strengths and join him. Believe that we can transcend the now and start anew. Knock down those mental barriers that stand like poison in front of us. Because we’ve got dreams. Ideas. Goals. Long to-do-lists. For the day, the week, this year and the next.  And we will pursue them, with full force and confidence.

Liberation. From old to new. From stagnation to self-mobilization. From danger to courage. From deceit to honor. Away from the past and towards a changed future. From fear to hope. His job was to hit every individual with that message, and encourage each of us to believe that we’re destined for something greater. That in the end, it’s up to US to shatter that wall of insecurity and meekness, to take back what’s ours: our ability to choose and decide how we respond, to believe that things can and will be different.

Hope never died, it just needed to be repackaged.

So the question I’m concerning myself with now, as it happens, is exactly that. What do I stand for? What do I want to fight for? What do I consider SUPREMELY important, and what do I want to share with others? Okay. That’s more than one question. Fuck.

We’re all good at most things. We’re all GREAT at one thing. Some are blessed with more, but think to those creative, inspired people around you: focused on a message, a mission, a quest to dream something, build it, then watch it crumble. Then move forward and do it all over again.

So now, while we’re still gripped by optimism, righteousness, and certain level of recklessness, let’s get started. No limits at this table. You set your own ceiling. The real question that’s on my mind is:

What do you want to accomplish with your life?

Why Hate on the Haight?

Why do homeless kids always have dogs?

My theory is that they’re trying to pawn off their own rancid smell on the puppy, which is complete animal cruelty, and I’m morally offended. Tell the PETA people to forget fur. Go after the gutter punks on Haight and Masonic, snatch the puppies, and put ‘em back in their cages for medical experiments and shampoo testing.

A few weeks ago, I saw a cute black Labrador in the arms of an older fellow who resembled a pirate, though I don’t think he did that intentionally. It was about as big as my laptop, licking the floor. I went to the store and bought some dog food, thinking he’d see past my hidden contempt and only the shining generosity.

“What the fuck is this?” he asks me.  He smells like rotten beets, smallpox, and scotch piss.

“What the fucks it look like dude? It’s your dinner.”

Another story.

The street rats that floated in from Maine and New Hampshire looking for adventure. The ganja mistress selling pastries to crowds at corners. But the environmentalists are the worst. Eco-chic activism at its most annoying.

Lanky, organic cotton yoga pants and hemp short sleeve button up, red weathered beanie he got as a gift from a Sherpa in Machu Picchu while volunteering with orphans, and a short, ragged beard. Meet the Greenpeace salesman. There’s something uncomfortably wrong about making commission off of signatures for the environment.

“Hi! Do you have a minute to care about the environment?”

Ugh. That line always kills me.

Say YES and you’re in a fucked discussion that usually begins like this: “Well, what we’re trying to do is simply this…Do you know about the baby whales dying in the China coast? It’s terrible…What’s your name? Oh, you’re Jewish? I met a guy who lived in Israel and worked a Shepard…If you could just sign here and become a member and show your support…”

So usually I just go with NO.

Then I run away.

a time for peace, a time for war

It’s been a while since we talked politics…I posted this on jewlicious earlier today.

It’s nothing new to say that Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak, anxious over Netanyahu’s recent rise in the polls –and pretty website – are using the current conflict to gain a hard line advantage over their opponent. Many commentators have said it, both leaders have earnestly denied it, and so it’s not farfetched to contend that the two seek to ride the wave of public support for Operation Cast Lead into the Knesset. Barak, absolutely. With Livni, more gray area.

But personal politic aside, could there be a bigger strategy unfolding right before us, with Operation Cast Lead as catalyst for a more moderate Arab leadership to emerge? Try and follow this chain of logic:

(1) Hamas disintegrates under Israeli military pressure and abandon by its so-called allies in the Arab world. Labor wins in Israel.

(2) Palestinians say goodbye to extremism and fall in love with moderate Fatah, a clear win for Livni and brokered by the Obama-Clinton dream team, eager to make an early success.

(3) This change gives more weight to power players in the Saudi and Egyptian government, many of whom are critical of Iran’s fiery rhetoric and fearful of extremist sentiment growing in their own countries

(4) Ahmenijhad loses the general election in June, Iran chills out on its quest for nukes, and the world remains happy until the next shit storm arrives

That’s a pretty big gamble. Huge. Idealistic.

But this isn’t just about defending citizens from rocket attacks. There’s something bigger happening. Netanyahu wrote: “There is the need for the regime to disappear once and for all. The required initiative is to put them out of the picture.” And Livni herself told Sarkozy: “At the end of the day, Hamas is a problem not only to Israel but to the entire Palestinian people.” Israel wants to redraw the map, both politically and militarily. Livni has to win to stay in her seat of power, Israel has to win to rebuild public morale, and so Hamas will need to be decimated to pave the way for a fresh start.

And what will THAT look like? Remember how things fared in Lebanon II: a relentless attack by the air, with infantry sent in only on the last two days. Hezbollah emerged victorious and stronger than ever. The IDF is locked and loaded at the gates, its boys ready to fight. A serious ground assault and sustained occupation is inevitable. Believe it. Gaza is cruisin’ for a bruisin.

The question is, and has been: Will it work? Why do countries believe that the sword can change hearts, and turn enemies into friends? How much artillery will Israel need to fully sway the Palestinian people to ditch their current leadership and cooperate?

I don’t know. But my guess, a shitload. Either way, Israel is going ALL IN in on this one, as the world waits to see what card she’ll pull next. Get ready for some red.

watch the coldness set in

The adventure has subsided, at least for a while. Paper planes dropped me in San Francisco, airport downtime used to draw up a mission statement with my goals for the quarter.

It’s helpful to write things down – one element though, is not talking about a project until its executed, so hold steady till there’s something tangible in my hand, or in my head.

Weirdness followed with the family: Andrew + Karen + Joe + Lindsay + Kirby + Levi for dancing and mad hatter weirdness. pasta. 6 hours of sleep.  air mattress. life conversations. scarves and fashion shows. dinner @ b star.

My head is heavy from ginger beer and energized from their beet salad, slowing down with some flying lotus and water drawing in the bathtub. I’m finally home. Home has changed.

The city is much colder now than before I left. I’ve lost that someone to keep warm with at night. It sucks. now there are things I miss, feelings I can’t describe to someone else or pay to replicate.

its 47 degrees and supposed to rain tomorrow. But I will still go outside, with a bittersweet loaf of bread that surrounds my heart. even though the score didn’t end up exactly in each other’s favor, we did it right. And we didn’t even have to bring out the pairing knives.

Israel’s air force wages war in Gaza. They say 400 civilians die. Tzipi Livni, badass in line for PM, says there is no humanitarian crisis. There is nothing to stop. And no ceasefire. My guess? Those troops won’t hold at the edge of the line for much longer. Boys are going in, and people are going to die.  The Middle East embroiled in conflict – what else did we expect?

the water is running. bath salt sounds so perfect right about now.