A bilingual sign I haven't seen

I've seen this sign at only one drugstore (or "chemist", as Brits say) in Chicago, and it's probably there because it's in a big tourist area and up the street from the German Consulate. I just had to take a picture because it's rare for me to see, plus it's refreshingly bilingual in languages I don't usually see together in the city.


Lyrics to the WKRP closing song

Interesting timing: just after I did my last post about putting a dream to the side, I ended up having a series of intense work days, including some dream work, and I was way too busy to do anything but sleep (barely), work, and eat (sort of). Now that that the wave of work has receded (because of Thanksgiving), I've had the time to look around Facebook and elsewhere online, and saw this amusing video that tries to decipher the closing song of WKRP In Cincinnati. Enjoy!


Some good advice I can't find

I've been searching for an article that gives advice to creative people (artists really) about pursuing their dream vs working at a regular job and doing the dream on the side. I remember finding the article online last year, and assumed I'd be able to find it again, but I can't! I've done all kinds of searches for different time periods, and have been to all types of sites, but haven't had any luck--which has made me frustrated.

So I will share the helpful advice that I found in that article: basically, what they said was not to give up on the dream, but to have some kind of day job, even if it's just part time, because the stability will make you feel a lot better and more grounded instead of enduring the ups and downs, and consistent disappointments, of creative pursuits.

It was one of the best tips I've read on the subject, and I found it to be true, because I did what they said. Even though I probably won't be able to fully live "the dream", I feel great because I'm appreciated, paid fairly, and really enjoy the regular work, which helps to offset the utter disappointments of the dream.

In the search to try to find that helpful article, I found another one that advises people to get a regular job, and to find the dream there. Essentially, "Do what you love and the money will follow" is rarely true. He says:
Following your dream isn't all it's cracked up to be. Fact is, most wannabes aren't happy. In addition to the constant rejection, they feel unproductive. And when hired, they worry that they're just one wrong word from being unemployed again.

Even if you manage to land a longshot dream career, it may well turn out to be less than dreamy. You may be treated poorly: low salary, no job security, unreturned phone calls, etc. That's because bosses know they have little to lose. Coveys of wannabes are in the wings panting for your job.
I agree and can relate. I landed what I thought was a "dream" job, which didn't even pay a salary but a low hourly wage with no promise of an increase (and they eventually decreased everyone's pay anyway), and I was yelled at regularly, ignored, gossiped about, lied to, and eventually used. In another "dream" pursuit, I never attained much despite my efforts, and was even yelled and sworn at. At one point, I felt afraid that anything I said or did that was not deemed acceptable would lead to me losing what crumbs I had. And it's true that some folks in charge allow bad treatment and lousy pay because there are several people wanting the same gig who are willing to put up with the junk.

But once I decided to put the dream to the side and primarily pursue stability, everything instantly improved. Sometimes I'm disappointed that the dream can't be attained, but meanwhile, I have no complaints about my work situation--pretty much every aspect of it is great. I'm not giving up the dream, I've just accepted it as a sliver of what I do instead of trying to get it to happen more substantially.

So if you're wondering if you should put all your energy into a dream, put a time limit on it, and then assess what you're experiencing. If you feel consistently insecure, unappreciated, underpaid, and unaccomplished, find the dream in other work you can do well, and your life will be way better!


What I wanted to tell T Bone Burnett

I was in St. Louis this past weekend (a *great* place to visit) and ended up staying in the same hotel as T Bone Burnett, who's done a ton of stuff in the music business and beyond. He's not only a prolific musician but a very successful producer and writer who's won all kinds of awards.

Anyway, I was eating breakfast in the hotel restaurant and noticed this guy sitting near my table who kept looking my way. I couldn't figure out what he was looking at, because I'm certainly not famous, and after he was done eating, he walked up to a table near mine and introduced himself to T Bone Burnett. Wow, I had no idea he had been in such close proximity to me, eating and talking to a guy who looked Hollywood.

I didn't say anything to T Bone because I wasn't interested, but I still thought it was cool that he was so close, and I could even hear his conversation :D When he and Mr. LA left the restaurant, I immediately went online to find out more about him. When I read about everything he'd done throughout such an amazing career, I thought, "Wow, he makes me look like such an underachiever."

I kept thinking about that: not only am I an underachiever, but most people probably are compared to him. Later, I got on an elevator at the hotel, and there he was! Just me, my husband, and him. I wanted to say something! I wanted to tell him, "Congrats for achieving so much. I feel like such an underachiever!" But I didn't. I just stood silently, waiting for the elevator to arrive at my floor.

But still: what he's done is incredible and that is great!


An interesting tattoo

There's a guy who I often see working at Trader Joe's, and he has this tattoo on his arm: it's the Russian word for "capitalist". If the iron curtain still existed, the irony would be obvious.


In conversation with

I often see the phrase "in conversation with" at all kinds of literary and cultural events, and even in some places in the media. I saw on Wikipedia that it's a show on BBC Radio (though I couldn't find it at the station's site).

Here's an example of something I usually see: "John Smith in conversation with author Jane Doe". I've seen that phrase so often, I'm starting to think it sounds pretentious.

Why can't they just say "John Smith talks with author Jane Doe"? It's more direct and not so distant-sounding, as if they're trying to sound like they want to remain removed from any actual activity. Maybe they think it's too pedestrian to say "talks with", but it's better than using the haughty "in conversation with".

Maybe I'll start to use that phrase to replace the more mundane English that I use daily. For instance, yesterday I was in conversation with my boss about a student. I was also in conversation with a coworker about some CD's. Tomorrow I will be in conversation with someone about a website they want revised.

Yeah, that sounds like fun :p


Why wouldn't anyone like the Wizard of Oz

I've had a long week, and I still have a long work day tomorrow, so I've been relaxing tonight by watching The Wizard of Oz on TV. I've seen it many times before, and remember being scared of the Wicked Witch when I was a kid, but now I find the moving charming and entertaining. It's not a complex story, but I really enjoy the fantasy, the colors, the simplicity, the positivity...and the actors are fantastic. The three guys who played the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion all had extensive backgrounds in theater and vaudeville, and Judy Garland was great, too. Even though it was made over 70 years ago, it still seems fresh. And even though we have better effects and sets now, including digital capabilities, the technology they used doesn't seem dated or rudimentary. I accept its simplicity rather than pay attention to what's lacking. It's just a great movie, a true classic, and I think it would take a cynical or jaded person to not appreciate its artistry.


Jordan writes about China

A couple weeks ago, I was walking down the street and fell. Immediately, a couple of people ran up to me to see how I was doing. I was bruised but okay. But I was really glad that strangers cared to check up on me. The same wasn't true for a two-year-old girl who was killed in China. After a couple of vans hit her, *no one* helped her! If that happened where I live, *many* people would run to the toddler to take care of her ASAP!

Well Jordan, who currently lives in Malaysia but spent a year in China, posted the story he wrote for my anthology (read it for free, he's on page 23) as a response to the tragedy.