In Praise of Unconventional Career Choices

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Spring means many things – renewal, the promise of a fresh start, the fragrance of blossoming flowers – but for the under-20 crowd the only scent during this time of year is the reek of fear sweat and desperation.

Yes, it’s graduation season. Welcome to the real world, kids.

Appropriately, I’ve been chatting with lots of parents (as a 40-ish fellow, I know precious few college-age folks anymore) who have kids either headed to college or making their way into the real world. A common thread among those headed to college is “What shall I study,” while the folks leaving college are asking themselves, “What now?” Continue reading

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Monday Motivation: The Writer and the Altered Mental State

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Back when I wrote a weekly column for my home town’s newspaper, I took it upon myself to occasionally add a hefty dose of weird to my readers’ lives. Many times, this was accomplished simply by my being … me. I could take a while to list all the ways I never quite fit the male ideal for small town Southern life, but that would bore you. Suffice it to say that it seemed like many folks had never read anything quite like the things I wrote, and had a tough time placing me into a box that would make them more comfortable.

After a particularly freaky column – in which I remember invoking the power of George Clinton‘s Parliament-Funkadelic and its funk/sci-fi hybrid Mothership Connection to bring about world peace through a global funk invasion (really, it was magnificent, and for the life of me I can’t lay my hands on it) – one reader pulled me aside that day and said, “Whatever drugs you were on when you wrote this, I want some!” Continue reading

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Tuesday Writing Tip: Every Generation Has Something to Say

I’m a child of the late 1960s, which – if you do the math of generational pigeonholing – puts me squarely among what has historically been referred to as Generation X. Because we can with some clarity recall live in the final 30 years of the 1900s, we are the last of the true 20th century boys and girls.

The Generation X moniker comes in large part from the novel/short story collection Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland, and has since been used as both a term of derision/proud banner by those who view this demographic from the outside and those who belong to it. Continue reading

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Wednesday Writing Tip: The Best Genre is the Genre Mashup

This video, brought to us by the fine – and brilliant – folks at Postmodern Jukebox – is a stunning example of what I like to call a genre mashup.

Assuming you have any perspective on 20th century music and 21st century TV, it’ll be easy for you to get most of the references above. For those who need an education, here’s a brief breakdown. Continue reading

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Funky Friday: Finding the Funk in Surprising Places

Anyone who’s spent more than 10 minutes reading past posts from this blog know that I’m a fan of fusion – both literary and musical. Some of the best examples of both come when someone known for one genre or style tries something new, or just decides to incorporate elements of the “other” into their own work.

Musically, Prince is one of my favorite examples, since his funk credentials are extensive, but the Little Purple One also has an incredible talent for penning an infectious pop song when he feels the urge. Continue reading

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Because It’s Monday, Classic ‘Star Trek’ Characters Rendered in Pixar Style

It’s hard to recall that there was ever anything wrong with Pixar, but anyone who watched the short subject Tin Toy, which preceded the release of Toy Story by seven years, knows that the studio’s animators had a LONG way to go with figuring out how to render the faces of anything other than children’s playthings. Honestly, the hyper-realistic baby from that brief bit of animation way back in 1988 still kinda creeps me out, and if I had viewed this first at a much younger age I’m sure the negative effects would still be rattling around in my subconscious. Continue reading

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Funky Friday: Prince is Back, With Your New Sunday Morning Sexy Snuggle Slow Jam

I was raised going to church, and Sundays in the South were meant for the things Southerners hold sacred – the Lord, fried chicken and football. Continue reading

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