I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 146 - A Patch of Green

Daily Kup (A broken heart on Broadway for every star on the Walk of Fame)
Like any trite country song, we loaded up the buckboard, hitched our wagon to a star, and headed out of town during a blinding rainstorm ...if the buckboard is an SUV and the town is a Minneapolis suburb. The blinding rainstorm really was a blinding rainstorm however.

The studio was located in the Northeast Minneapolis Art District (http://www.northeastminneapolisartsdistrict.com/) in one of the huge old former Grain Belt Brewery warehouses.

Walking to the far end of the cavernous brick warehouse, we found the door with a paper sign saying, "This is it. Enter here." Inside was another dimension that only needed a Rod Serling voiceover to make it complete. Just inside the door we encountered a large table of sandwiches, muffins and platters of this and that. Sculptures and paintings were thrown randomly and a dappled, otherworldly green light filtered through a drape covering an open arch. The coordinator signed us in and inquired about any sports uniforms that we may have brought. We decided on the baseball uniforms from the big bag of things that I brought just in case. We were shown into an office to change. Suitably sportsy, we waited our turn on a magenta contemporary sectional sofa until we were waved into the green screen room.

The green screen itself was a bright green wall that curves seamlessly into a floor of the same color. There is a green T mark on the green floor in front the green wall where the models are told to stand. The director had the three of us stand together. I love this pose because it allows for the great instant weight loss trick of all time -- having children flanking the fat parts and only letting the skinny parts show. We were told to stare at the director's hand for 10 seconds as he held it in left, right and center positions. In between the hand-staring, we were to look at each other and smile and then look back at the hand. It took a lot of resolve to resist making a "talk to the hand' joke. Two different photographers then took stills with cameras the size of bazookas.

The director repeated the process with the two kids while I stood against the side wall and tried to will Princess Potatohead to stop looking worried. Her hair fell on her face and the director paused, wanting a clearer shot. My son, brushed the hair behind her ears, charming everyone and making a shot that I'm guessing might be used in the final product.

After the kids did their cute posing in front of the Big Green Wall (and not the one in the lore of the Boston Red Sox), the director motioned me to move back to the T mark alone. "Are you kidding?" It's an intimidating feeling to be standing out there alone in front of videographers and hangers-on. The stylist tried to brush my flyaway hair down. It was pasted into shape before the rainstorm but then assumed consciousness and would not be subjugated. With a shrug, we progressed. We went through the watch-my-hand thing plus some head turning and still shots. In my black jeans and T-shirt, I felt like a punk Nanny McPhee.

Since the agency, Vetta-Zelo http://www.vetta-zelo.com/, uses social media marketing and has clients that include Target and Coke, I was interested in knowing what would be done with the footage. (In a post-celluloid world, is it bit-age?) The director told me that the client was a Florida banking chain with 80-some branches. They will release the commercial on YouTube and shove it toward viral immortality. The agency will send me the link when it's posted and I'll post it here. That's not just courtesy on the part of the agency but part of the overall marketing infection strategy.

I had been unreasonably nervous about this whole commercial thing even though I volunteered for it. My stomach had been attempting to leave through my esophagus. I recently read a profoundly simple and simply profound piece of advice: Do what you most fear. Much of this whole experiment has been about stepping outside the comfort zone into the wide-open what-if. Doesn't make it any less scary. One more check-off on the bucket list.

We collected our free lunches and stepped back out into the world. It had stopped raining.

Good to the Last Drop
Fellow blogger and handmade art maven Kim Barron is participating in a show on Sunday at the Uptown Market in Minneapolis. Looks like a great time with food, artisans and locally grown produce.


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