Saturday, August 28, 2010

Omaha Music: Big Al

The Big Al experience is not for everyone. But it suited me just fine. I feel lucky to have experienced Big Al a couple of weeks ago after performing at the Omaha Arts and Entertainment Showcase in Benson. Big Al is intense. He swears a lot. And he spends a surprising amount of time making sure the audience knows how hot bassist Ashley Dawn is. But he also rocks. I thought it was really fun. Really Omaha.

You can experience Big Al for yourself here. NSFW.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jobquest 4: The First Call

Whenever I find a job I want to apply for, my greatest fear is that in the very instant that I discover the opening the company bosses will be meeting in a boardroom to hire a candidate less awesome than me out of abject desperation.

The scene goes something like this:

BOSS A: "What are we going to do? This Craig fella here has a marketing degree. He's well groomed. We just hire him?"

BOSS B: (crying) "I don't know. If we could only find someone with a Polish last name who speaks fluent Spanish and plays upright bass."

BOSS A: "Come on! That's a pipe dream. Where are we going to find an ace like that? Snap out of it! (slaps BOSS B)

BOSS B: "Fine. You're right. Let's hire Craig. He'll just have to do."

I called the company. The cool guy on the phone cheerily informed me that the position was still open and they were excited to check out my video.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Twins Update 28 Weeks

Happy Babies!
I went in to the doctor for my 28 week appointment today. (For those who are out of the loop on pregnancy talk, 40 weeks is considered a full term with a single baby, and 37 or so is considered full term for twins. If the babies aren't already here naturally by 38 weeks, my doctor will induce me at that point- which would be around Nov. 8. The countdown is on! Only about 9 more weeks to go!

The twins are looking great! Both are in a head down position. They are face to face and the entire right side of my belly is filled with a whole mess of arms and legs. I probably could have told everyone this without seeing the ultrasound because that side of my body is in constant motion. Baby Brother (the baby labeled A) is around 2 lbs 8 oz and Baby Sister (labeled B in ultrasound pics) is around 2 lbs. 6 oz. Both are growing nicely and appear to be right on track.

My doctor tells me that I'm doing very well with this pregnancy and my body is not showing any signs of extra stress or anything that would cause concern. This is always a question we ask him because as a mother of an 18 month old, I'm constantly chasing, catching, and picking Zeke up for kisses and snuggles. I manage to rest with my feet up for awhile every day while Zeke naps, so I will continue to do that. In the meantime, I'm relieved that bedrest and limitations are not a part of my pregnancy right now.

This week, we were able to get a few pictures of the babies' faces in 3-D! We were amazed to see how similar they look to Zeke in a third trimester 3-D ultrasound picture. I think we'll have some family look-alikes. Enjoy the pictures!

Baby Sister

Baby Brother

What animal is this?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jobquest 3: The Ad

On Monday, July 9th, I read a job post on Craigslist: Entry level position with small brand development / social media company in downtown Omaha. I checked the company website to make sure it was legit. It was. Very. Cool design. Great roster of clients. I think they call that a book in the business. Great book. Happy looking worker bees. I checked the ad to make sure none of the qualifications were prohibitive. (An unfortunate number of jobs in the fields of marketing, advertising, and public relations absolutely require job candidates to have degrees in marketing, public relations, or communications. Why is that? Aren't those things really boring to learn about?) Nothing in the ad about degrees.

The company seemed to be looking for someone creative, tech savvy, and cool. Advertising is an industry built on cool. Social media / brand development has a special place in this world. The deep freeze.

The company wanted three things: 1) resume, 2) salary history, 3) a 60 second video explaining why I would be a good fit for the company. These items were to be emailed to the given address.

Zeke and Papa on the Merrygoround at Henry Doorly Zoo

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

JOBQUEST 2: What? I thought you were a teacher?

Why switch career tracks at this stage of the game?

Why indeed. I enjoy being a teacher. I will always enjoy being a teacher. And here's something I believe about being a teacher: everyone everywhere has the opportunity to teach. At the supermarket you can be a teacher. In your home you can be a teacher. In your personal relationships, certainly, you can be a teacher. Being a teacher is a great thing to be. And I believe I have knack for it. Probably because both my parents, my wife, my sister, and my best friend are all teachers.

But the teacher track feels like a well-defined box to me right now. It's damn hard work, teaching, and good work. I know what a lifetime of hard work in the classroom yields: students recognize you twenty years later and thank you for teaching them how to write, or how to build a desk, or, more importantly, how to not be a jackass. I know this because I've shopped for groceries with both my parents. It happens. Often. It's a rich reward for Herculean labors. It's awesome.

But for me right now it feels like an awesome box. So my radar is scanning the horizon for opportunity and a chance for me to write a story where I don't already know the ending.

jobquest 1: craigslist

I troll Craigslist daily for job openings. It's a good place to find jobs in sales, marketing, advertising, and web-based media. I've never held a job in any of these fields, but that doesn't prevent me from thinking I would be really good at one of these jobs. That's okay, right?

Monday, August 23, 2010

JOBQUEST 2010: jobdance number one

I had my first close encounter with a company interested in hiring me over the past couple of weeks. In the end, they went in a different direction. It's okay. It was a fun process. I'm going to recount the steps of the job dance here over the next week or so.

The job was with an awesome brand development / social media company.

I'm going to examine my experience not getting a job in some detail. Probably too much. Here's a sneak peak:

--what is a brand development / social media company?
--developing a winning attitude (or RADitude!)
--video introduction production
--sneaky maneuvers
--shopping for interview pants
--my feelings
--shopping for second interview pants
--my feelings
--maintaining a winning attitude (RADitude!)
--the healing process
--onward, upward, everything happens for a reason, total positivity wrap-up /// joyfully embracing the next step in the jobquest with a totally positive RADitiude

What animal is this?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Omaha Music: The Mynabirds

We heard the buzz about The Mynabirds all the way from Honduras. We put them in the to-do list as soon as we got back. Last week we took the whole family on a field-trip to see the band at Lauritzen Gardens. Rain forced the concert indoors, but it was still a swell time.

The Mynabirds:

Everyone enjoyed the music. Karine and I ate fried chicken. Zeke put some stickers on his face.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Art: Joanna Newsom

It's not the worst thing to be an artistic weirdo. We've written here about a lot of different things. But I don't think we've ever written about Joanna Newsom. We love her music. When we have time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Economic Recovery: Personal Greenshoots

I found myself trapped inside a micro-economic koan these past few weeks. I really wanted to buy a new tie. But Karine said I had to wait for a job interview to buy the tie. I couldn't get a job interview because we are in a slow growth cycle and consumer spending is low. But I am a consumer and what I really want to consume is a new tie. But because no one is buying ties (not even me) the economy is stagnant and no one is hiring. I want to participate in our economy. I want to be the change in economic growth that is going to ultimately result in some business hiring me to expand their workforce. So I figure maybe if I buy the tie first it will be the fluttering tremor of hope that leads ultimately to an earthquake of economic recovery. But Karine says no. We are practical people and we don't buy ties in an effort to move markets and create jobs.

So I just had to wait. Until now. Tie shopping today. Real tie shopping. Not pretend tie shopping like last week. Because I have a job interview.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Big Dreams: Lake Atitlan

This is Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. This picture was taken from a resort called Lomas de Tzununa. We'd like to go there every year for New Year's. A dream is a dream. Maybe not this year or next. But a dream is a great thing to have.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday Night

Thursday night I will be camping at an undisclosed northern Minnesota location with this man. He's a swell fellow and a phenomenal drummer. More importantly, he invented the Slap Chop.

Morning Run

I had quite a breakthrough some time ago when I realized that I didn't have to listen exclusively to heavy-metal while running. I've got myself I pretty sweet mix these days. Here's a sample from this morning:

The Black Ghosts -- Full Moon The
Weezer -- In the Garage Weezer
Massive Attack -- Angel Mezzanine
Calle 13 -- A Limpiar el Sucio Calle
Ganjasufi -- Ancestors A
HEMP -- Army of Me Army
Blond Redhead -- 23 Blonde
Hot Chip -- Colours Hot
Lil' Wayne -- American Star

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Omaha + Grain Silos + Art = Stored Potential

Omaha is marketing itself these days as an oasis of whimsy in the heart of America. Omaha is actually a Sioux word that means across the current or upstream. We're just a bunch of up stream paddlers here in Omaha.

That's why projects like Stored Potential make perfect sense here. Here's the plan: Cover a colossal set of unused grain silos near downtown Omaha with art. Then serve dinner to 500 people at the base of the silos. It's happening October 3rd.

This project is so breathtakingly awesome I can't believe it's not on the front page of the Omaha World-Herald every day.

Find more info, artists renderings, and blog here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

TEDx 2010: Omaha

TED Conferences are supposed to blow your mind. These conferences are purpose-built to spread ideas that redefine for us what is possible and remind us that finding solutions to human problems is a joyous enterprise. TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) Conferences work as inspiration catalysts for entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, educators, policy-makers, and just plain folks. They are awesome.

And -- because all things awesome either start out, pass through, or end up in Omaha -- we're going to have our very own TEDx Conference in October. TEDx Omaha will be held October 16th, 2010 at the Durham Museum.

TED events are organized around 18 minute talks and performances by innovative artists, thinkers, and doers. The most mind-blowing talk I've ever seen is this one, delivered by Ray Kurzweil.

More on TEDx Omaha: TEDx 2010: Omaha

If you are concerned that maybe you spend too much time on the Internet, spend some time on the TED site and learn about 8 million things you didn't know about our world: TED TALKS

Belly Pic, Twins Edition: 25 Weeks

Check out previous belly pics HERE.

Boris Revisted

Speaking of Boris. It's a bold name choice for a newborn in the United States. But it's perfectly adequate for an awesomely weird sort-of metal band from Japan. They look cool enough to name their children whatever grandma names they want: Eunice, Edna, Blanche, Bernice.

I'm not saying you'll like it, but you can check out a sample video here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Baby Name Rejects for Twins: Boris and Eunice

We finally bought ourselves a new baby name book over the weekend. We had been using a hand-me-down published in 2000. That was before the name Braden was even invented, I think.

Our new book provides a host of enticing names to consider and reject. Case in point. There may be a young couple out there who are cool enough to name their boy-girl twins Boris and Eunice. But not us.

It's super hipster right now to wear your grandma's glasses. But you've got to be capable of passing on to your children deep freeze of residual coolness if you're going to give your child your grandma's name.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Omaha's Third Place: Neigbborhood Swimming Pools

Omaha is a special, special place. One of the things that makes it special to me is its network of neighborhood pools. In the District -- that's what we call our part of town -- most elementary schools have swimming pools across the street. As a kid I spent nine months of the year in school, the other three I spent at the pool across the street. The pools aren't managed by the schools; they share only a name and a parking lot. A volunteer board oversees pool finances and hires lifeguards.

Community. That's why you want to live somewhere.

What do I mean by third place? Find out: TEDx Omaha