Monthly Archives: September 2011

Study Break

I’ve been studying since mid-afternoon.  After my weekly work meeting, I sat down to tackle my one online course for the semester, AAS 101, Afro-American Studies.  As I watched my video lectures, I found myself thinking about my sweet, darling Uruites and our forced migrations…but after two video lectures, five loads of laundry, two chapters out of my books and a test tonight at midnight, I decided it was a good time for a study break.

After putting up piles of folded laundry, I turned on the TV. What did I find?  Sex and the City 2 playing on HBO.  Like Julie and Julia, it always reminds me that I need to write and get to the goods as to what has been happening.

I’ve been struggling getting to my 8:30 a.m. Electronic Media Production class.  As we all know, in the immortal words of my high school band director, Wayne Tucker, I’m a walking tardy.  Last week, the Las Vegas roadways were filled with orange traffic cones, and while they might have been a stark reminder of Uru, well, it was quite the headache as three lanes of traffic were squeezed into one.  Last Monday I left my apartment at 7:45 a.m.  I finally reached the classroom at 9 a.m.  The word “frustrated” didn’t even cover what I was feeling, but lucky enough for me, Doc L. just looked at me and said, “Shit happens.”  I was grateful for his latitude with me, he really does look over me with care.

This week with Scorsese was its normal fantastic stream of information that I soaked up, reveled in and made a part of my consciousness.  While I might not be crazy about getting pimped out to sell underwriting for the public radio station, he’s at least making it palatable and not so terrible to deal with.

Then, there’s Ace.  SJP and crew on Sex in the City 2 reminded me how grateful I need to be for him.  While I might not be thrilled with the character of Carrie (on so many levels) it still reminded me that Ace has been not only incredible, but like I said before, he’s my knight in shining armor charging up on his jacked-up, diesel-driven steed.

As I’ve talked about with him before, he’s totally in the business of taking all of my old painful memories and turning them into fresh, new, wonderful ones instead.  Yesterday was an amazing example.  Let’s go over the backstory, then you can judge for yourself if I’ve scored one heck of a keeper or not…

As we know, the Ex moved his girlfriend not but a mile and a half from my apartment complex back in the day when he was still living here.  Well, the corner of Rainbow and Vegas Drive has not been the easiest intersection to deal with for me over the last two and a half years and it’s because that was her corner.  The Ex could literally drive out of the apartment complex, take a left, drive a half mile, take a left and drive another mile and he’d be at her apartment.  Horrible, right?  Personally I think a guy that would do such a thing as moving his girlfriend not but a mile and a half from his wife should be taken out behind the barn and had the crap kicked out of him, if not worse, but alas, that is what I’ve been saddled with for a while.  I’ve allowed his poor judgement and lack of taste have power over me.  Every time I had to deal with that intersection I went around it, tried an alternate route or flat out just didn’t go that way.  Well, this is where Ace stepped in last night.

Making bad memories into good ones seems to be Ace’s specialty.  He’s taken quite a few thus far and made a conscious effort to change my attitude or re-write my memories of specific things.  He’s replacing bad things with good and I don’t see where there is anything at all wrong with it, in fact, I think it’s quite right what he’s doing.  On top of all of the memory enhancements or mood gearshifts, he’s making me be more active and I can’t thank him enough for that.

Almost every day after school for the last week I’ve been going out to his house and helping him with what he needs to do there, whether it be going through bags of vintage clothes that his father wants to get rid of, then taking them to the various vintage stores around town (a huge shout out to the awesome folks at The Attic in the arts district, go to The Attic if you’re ever in Vegas, it’s awesome…), to cooking meals so Ace can essentially cool his jets for a minute and catch his breath, even down to just making sure he’s had a great foot rub (he loves those and he has the world’s most beautiful feet so it’s a pleasure to rub them).  I kind of figure that every day I go out and help him, it’s helping him create his own safe-haven and his own little bubble of solace much like my apartment is for me.

Yesterday my day was pretty packed.  I had been busy ever since he had cooked me lunch at his house (an awesome, super-healthy turkey burrito) and I had gone to the stylist to get my roots covered (the grey is getting sooooo bad…*cringe*).  What I came back with after two and a half hours with the stylist was a head full of curls that threatened to make me nuts (I stopped doing curls after my last perm back in the very early 90’s).  He laughed heartily as I went into a really funny, cynical tirade about crack whores and Tammy Wynette wannabes.  But as I ranted and raved, he sat there with this huge smile on his face, complimenting the country/western, crack-induced ‘do on my head.  He liked it and well, I just couldn’t do it.  He laughed heartily as a stray curl decided to enrage me by landing squarely between my eyes, then he chuckled harder as I gave it a nasty glare and blew it out of my face like an angry quail.  His laughing made me laugh, and he truly made a nightmare hair day into one to laugh about.  The funnier part of all is that my tirade came one day after the hanging basket incident where a front yard stumble over a set of empty hanging baskets next to his garage saw him punt a couple of not-very-pristine baskets (minus the flowers) and go into an angry, cynical tirade of his own.  Sufficed to say, I came home and put my head under the faucet after my “hair-raising” afternoon and we now have a great example of two birds definitely flocking together.

Sufficed to say, after the week we both had, we agreed we needed to get out and have a honest to goodness date.  Well, as we were trying to figure out what to do, he asked me if I had eaten, and well, I hadn’t and he had been munching all day, so he took me over to my favorite sushi place and watched me as I devoured an order of ebi (shrimp), a cucumber roll and a California roll.  After that, we couldn’t decide what to do, so we ended up unintentionally at the corner of Rainbow and Vegas Drive at a bar that a friend of his manages.  As we approached it, I started getting a little anxious and since he knows the story with me and that corner, and as he realized what he unintentionally did, he offered to stop, go around it, reverse course, go somewhere else or do whatever it took to make me comfortable again.  As I looked into his panic-stricken eyes, I made an executive decision, I was going to get through it, just like he had helped me get through quite a few really bad PTSD episodes and triggers before.  I looked at him and my voice shook as I said, “Hey, we’re replacing bad memories with good ones right?  So, I’m going to try my best not to let it rule me.”  We pulled into the parking lot of the bar and went in.  Not so surprisingly, as the evening wore on, the drinks started to flow and the laughter just didn’t seem to want to stop. I forgot all about where I was and the stupid corner that the bar was located at that had traumatized me for so long. By the time the really bad karaoke singers drove us out of the joint, I could have cared less where we were, and as we pulled out of the parking lot, I looked at the street signs on the corner, then looked into the beautiful blue eyes of Ace and effectively said goodbye to another bad memory.  I can now drive past that corner, think of Ace and realize one simple fact…

Everything is as it should be.

Is he a keeper?  You decide.

But enough of my study break, it’s time to go back to the books, hurry up, finish my studying, and take my test so that I can have the whole day with Ace tomorrow without a care in the world.  Every day with Ace is a very good thing and each day is filled with tons nutritional value that has me leaping over old wreckage and replacing it with happy memories.


Yeah.  Isn’t life supposed to be that way?

By the way all you single gals, if you get a chance, find a guy like Ace…you should see him in the kitchen…OMG, he so rocks with a chef’s knife, he’s teaching me things about cooking, kitchen organization and all sorts of other things that would make any woman swoon.  He’s such an awesome cook.  He even grows his own tomatoes that are so floral in taste that he could seduce whole nations with them.  *swoon*  *faint*  But you can’t have my Ace, so go find your own, I highly recommend it.

For Ace, I’ll post a great song of the day, one I think he needs to hear just as moral support for all the times he’s put up with me being moody, Sting’s “All Four Seasons.”

In Bloom

I have to say, I had a trying day today.  I’ve been putting a lot into my various projects, between school, work and relationship stress lately, it’s been a handful that has worn my patience down to the nub.  I just feel like I’m putting in a lot and not getting much out of things.  But, you know what, let’s not discuss that, it’s a waste to dwell on it.  Instead, let’s talk about good things and how patience can win out even when you think you’ve wasted your time, spent energy needlessly and felt undervalued.  I like to believe in the “what you put in is what you get out” theory when it comes to setting myself to task and getting things done, so I think what I’ve done on my balcony lately is a great reminder to myself that things take time to come to fruition.

Amongst all of my running around lately, I made an executive decision to beautify my home environment to make sure I had a built-in stress reliever.  I think when life likes to tear you in 15 million directions it’s good to have a nice area that you’ve built for yourself that takes you away from the stresses, rigors and other mind-numbing stupidities that life never fails to offer.  What’s better than coming in to a wonderful flower-filled area after sitting in bumper to bumper traffic surrounded by not-so-clever drivers after school?

I took my very bare balcony which only housed two succulents (a jade plant and my aloe vera plant named Pepé), and turned it into a floral haven that is a work in progress.  I found a wonderful little table for a very reasonable price along with another chair for my balcony just in case I have visitors.  Everything on the balcony right now seems as it is centered around the color red.  Anyone who knows me knows that the color red is not usually something I decorate or deal in, I usually work in blues.  But I like red, it’s rather nice, it has the flavor of fire and passion, and also it says, “Sit and stay for a while” in a very comfortable tone.

I also picked up a couple of window boxes for the balcony as well, but as my apartment complex doesn’t allow anything to hang off the balconies, I had to mount them facing inwards and I filled them with blue hyacinths that I’m trying to convince to give a quick bloom before the weather gets too cold.  I love the smell of hyacinth, they’re just so calming and peaceful, so when everything is in bloom it will attain the balance I always try to seek, similar to the sun and the moon, or more appropriate to the desert, fire and ice. It’s my way of balancing my inner warrior by introducing a bit of the poet.  It’s also an exercise in patience, waiting for everything to balance out and create a harmonious whole.

But, I have to say, my favorite in all of this is when I look out my window and see a small pot of Fireball Gerbera Daisies.

Aren’t they wonderfully cheerful?  I love Gerbera Daisies, they’re always so big and they make me smile when I look at them.  They’re my reminder that all the elements in the universe work together for a reason, that out of chaos, there is always beauty to be found.

So, on Wednesday, I got dirty once again, planted my hyacinth bulbs, mounted the window boxes and placed my daisies on the table.  It’s just so lovely.  I’ve never been much of a balcony gardener, but it’s nice to know that when I get home I can sit in my little area surrounded by what I like to see and smell so that I can find my zen and get a few moments to clear my mind before the usual suspects come and drag me back into my hectic life again.

So, for those of you needing to get your zen on, I highly suggest that you take a moment to find what makes you bloom.  It might be a full day of rest, it might be a few hours of just watching the world around you, or it might be just a moment sitting among flowers that you planted yourself.

Either way, you’ll find yourself in bloom.

Let’s enhance our zen by taking a deep breath and giving a nod to our beloved technology with Daft Punk’s “Adagio for Tron.”

The Fall 2011 Semester Begins…

Ok, now that we’re through the summer, and Labor Day weekend has come and gone, it’s time to talk about school once again.

This semester, I have some real dreamboat classes, I’ve got a guy to hold me through the sorrows and the triumphs and I’ve got a job to go along with it.  As you probably can guess, my gaming time (even a game of solitaire) has been cut down, cut off and well, simple for the facts, there’s just no time.

For those of you who are curious, I have found my blue-eyed friend a moniker.  I’m just going to call him “Ace.”  Basically you can look at it this way, he’s my ace in the hole, he’s aces at making me feel better and it just fits, so Sophmorites, meet Ace.  Yay!  New character!  But what am I talking about, we’ve got a whole list of characters to introduce you to for the fall semester, so let’s get started.

This semester, which started on August 29, has been an outstanding rush so far…let’s go over it one by one…

I have three classes this semester on campus and ALL of them are located in Greenspun Hall at UNLV, so guess what, no having to walk a mile and a half across campus for anything except maybe a trip to the library, and even that doesn’t seem likely.

For Fall, I’ll be talking about a new professor to the Sophomore who I’m just going to call “Scorsese.”   Trust me when I say that when it comes to the ad world, the professor who I have for two classes, Journalism 332 (Media Planning and Buying) and Journalism 463 (Integrated Marketing Communications Strategic Planning), is the ad world equivalent of Martin Scorsese.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s of the same stature and reminds me strikingly to the real Martin Scorsese, just minus the big glasses and bushy eyebrows.  He’s an uber-genius when it comes to the ad world, he’s done his time at the agency level and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a OneShow Pencil stashed away somewhere.  The thing that really gets me about Scorsese is that simply, he retired from the ad world because it wasn’t fun for him anymore, so he got out and he’s teaching because he wants to be there for all of us who are learning the craft.  I can’t speak highly enough of Scorsese, he rocks on so many levels.

At first, 332 didn’t really float my boat.  I’m in Media Planning and Buying because I NEED to learn how to plan and buy media for my job.  However, right out of the gate, we got introduced to a woman from the campus radio station who informed us that we had to sell underwriting for the radio station.  Ok, remember when you sell advertising for a radio station, you can sell it, BUT when you are dealing with a non-profit radio station such as NPR or, in our case, the campus radio station, you’re asking for sponsorships and inviting people to underwrite the programming.  Basically it’s the same thing either way, it’s just that with a non-profit, you can’t actually “sell” anything.  It has to be worded super-carefully.  When she got up and asked us to provide five leads as homework, I sat there thinking to myself, “WTF?  This is a planning and BUYING class, not a selling class.”  I’m not comfortable in the least going out and soliciting.  That’s not me.  I got into advertising because my work gets seen over a huge audience, not me walking up and personally asking people for money.  The prospect of actually having to “cold call” people absolutely grated up and down my spine.  After class, I looked at Scorsese and said, “I’m not happy about this, because this is definitely NOT what I signed up for.  I don’t have to do it, do I?”  He looked at me and said, “You have to do it, it’s part of the class.”  I just simply looked at him and said, “Ok, for you I’ll do it, but I’m going to be gnashing my teeth the whole way.”  He shrugged and said, “Sheri, my teeth are already ground down into nubs.”  So we know that Scorsese isn’t thrilled about it either.  But, to my sheer relief, on Thursday in 463, he told all of us 332’ers that the homework she assigned was cancelled and they’re going to be doing things differently.  So, time will tell.  However, it doesn’t skip the fact that I want to take the radio station lady out behind Greenspun Hall and launch her out of a cannon.   Not an auspicious start to 332, but I adore the TA (teaching assistant) that Scorsese has for it, who I’ll just call JJ.  JJ is a real doll, she’s a graduate student who seems to love the craft as much as I do, so I’m looking forward to what I’ll be learning from her.

463 though, that’s a whole different enchilada…IMC Strat class.  OY VEH.  This, my friends, is the food of the gods.  NOM!!!  I have 463 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, my only class all day and oh, how I wish it WOULD last all day.  Last Thursday, Scorsese began his lecture, he talked about things that I have only dreamed of discussing, the blood and guts of analysis and creating great strategy.  I sat in my seat and swooned.  At 11:15, he looked at the clock and noted that he only had 15 minutes left in the lecture and I almost wept, thinking to myself, “No!  No!  Keep going!  Who cares about the time?!?!”  Oh I could have sat there for hours on end just hearing him talk about the craft.  It was serious swoon time.  I engaged in the subject matter and I began to wax poetic thinking to myself, “It’s all about pushing it and sculpting it so that all the strat, execution and all the rest gel into a wonderful, heady perfection, where the creativity looks at strategy and instead of arguing, they become a symbiotic whole and where angels sing of a campaign’s lasting impression on popular culture.”  I’m obsessed with what I do.  I love advertising…it’s just so…*SWOON*  It’s as beautiful as Ace standing at my front door holding a handful of white daisies…it’s just so awesome…  It makes me smack the vein in the crook of my arm like I’m jonsing for a shot from the ad gods…

But enough of my obsession with my ad classes, let’s get to the rest:

Along with 332 and 463, I’m also taking Journalism 202 (Electronic Media Production) with Doc L.  Now, for those of you who are new, Doc L. also fills in as my undergraduate advisor.  He’s the man who made this semester possible for me because he nursed me through getting accepted to my major and who signed off on me getting into 332 and 463 this semester.  He’s also awesome and he’s got a tremendous sense of humor.

Journalism 202 is a hoot.  The first thing that caught me off guard is that there are NO books for the class!  It’s a lot of note taking and great discussions, but overall, a week in, I’m in love with it.  From my viewpoint in the cheap seats, even though my destiny is probably not going to be having a lot of time inside of a studio or the production booth, I’m enjoying it because it gives me a viewpoint into how things get done in a television studio.  Monday and Wednesday mornings find me focused on every word that comes from Doc L.  Mondays are dedicated to lecture, but my lab on Wednesdays is three hours long, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and letting us out just in time for me to run up the hall for Planning and Buying with Scorsese at 11:30 a.m.    

Last week’s lab time for 202 had me learning about all sorts of different lights, from flood lights, Fresnel’s, ellipsoidal’s and Videssence lights (which Videssence is basically the Kleenex of lighting, it’s a specific type of fluorescent light with special baffles in them so they don’t change color.  Lots of people make them, but they’re just known in the studio as a “videssence”).  I learned about the pipe grid that hangs above the studio and holds all of the lights, and I learned why studio ceilings, far above the pipe grid, are so high.  Now in what seems like the ultimate common sense answer happened to elude a lot of people…the ceilings are high so that the heat from the lights can rise and not heat everything up to a hysterical level.  Pretty cool right?  Then we went over how the whole production area at Greenspun Hall is actually housed in neoprene so it floats and doesn’t conduct any type of noise.  It literally carries no noise in that production studio, it’s almost creepy how insulated it feels, but at the same token, it feels remarkably safe.

In lab I got to drive a $60,000 camera.  Holy cow, one look at the Sony cameras that are rolling around on pedestals in the studio made me afraid to even touch them.  They’re almost like a car!  Trust me with how expensive they are, it’s amazing that they have handlebars like a motorcycle, even complete with switches on the handles.

What came next though, I didn’t expect.  After a break, Doc L. took us into the control room.  I’m not going to go on about the endless banks of buttons, dials, screens and the sheer amount of technology that would have my technology-fearing mother faint dead away, I’ll just say this:  Doc L. showed us the Technical Directors seat and all of the gadgets and gizmos that go with it.  Instead of giving you details about how intimidated I was by all of the buttons, I’ll just give you this, the Pixar short “Lifted.”  When you see the little guy looking at all of the switches and so forth, think of me on a Wednesday morning.

I’m not even kidding, looking at that bank of controls for the first time had me feeling just like that little green guy.  As soon as I walked in the control room, I became that little green guy, knowing inevitably that I will NOT be able to handle those controls fluidly until I get a lot more time with Doc L. who seems so at home amongst all of that technology.

As you can see, I’ve got two interstellar professors this semester and it makes going to school every day (Monday through Thursday) a real treat. The class that rounds out my 12 credit hours for this semester is AAS 101, also known as Afro-American Survey I, which is my multicultural class required in my core curriculum to graduate.  It’s an online class, so I can squeeze it in whenever I have time, which is a good thing.

So there we have it…the fall semester in a nutshell.  I’m looking forward to every day I get to spend with Scorsese, Doc L. and JJ.  I know it’s just going to be incredible.

Let’s dig up an oldie but goodie to theme out this semester.  PR is killing advertising, I’m being put behind video control boards, and I’m learning how to use media to my advantage… and just for fun because the last time I listened to this song I was an 8-year-old schoolgirl.  (Remarkably on September 9th, this song will be 32-years-old.)  The Buggles, “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

Happy Fall 2011 everyone!