Chainsaws and Manatees

Sitting here at the cafe. Almost 9pm. Ron is on his way to Amsterdam.

I’m my father’s son: I spent my walk around Lakeview (to Home Depot) calling everyone I could think of. My dad usually does this on Sundays when the coming work week is approaching (granted, he’s retired now). Had a fantastic slice of pizza and a so-so salad at Pompeii (Wellington/Sheffield), a Sicilian bakery and restaurant. Also had a canolli. Yum. Yum.

Today is Super-Cookie Saturday with 2 massive cookies consumed in the last hour. Here at the cafe (Argo, Broadway/Briar) they have these cookies the size of a small mammal that are very very good. I rationalize that if I eat cookies now then when I go to the grocery later on tonight I’ll be able to think clearer.

My afternoon naps are getting a bit explicit – well not explicit – indulgent? What’s the word I’m looking for – when some good goes a bit too far (like eating 2 cookies)… if sleep could be gluttonous – not really sloth since I’m not sleeping because I’m lazy. Hmmm… anyway I need to get better at setting the alarm because I’m liable to sleep for 3 hours and I wake up and all the lights are off and it is dark outside and the cat is smacking me in the nose to refill his food dish.

I started work on a super-duper super-secret happy-fun project. I’ve got some programmers out of India working on it right now. I also have been doing a Star Search for great WordPress designers to send clients and referrals to. I have a secondary super-duper Andy’s-so-smart project percolating in the back of my cortex.

I spent last night doing HTML and CSS mock-ups for the first super-secret project. There is something soothing about doing XHTML-compliant HTML. It is like a strict puzzle – it isn’t as loose and forgiving as regular HTML. I’m wanting to do all formatting in the stylesheet so I have to be cognizant of adding IDs to all the elements.

I wrote a long long post about the Matt Sanchez thing but I waffle back and forth if I should post it.

I have fun planning. I like the interlocking segments of a well though-out plan.

I need to get some lamps. I’d gone to Home Depot to do that but I didn’t want to go through the whole ‘How do I get this delivered?’ conversation for some reason. Maybe I’ll drop by again tomorrow.

I’m not completely sure that combining my person and professional blogs has been a great idea. I’ve considered media approaches like restricting the front page to business-y posts and keeping the full-Andy through the feed. I have to keep in mind that newcomers to my blog are newcomers to blogging and don’t always get that the post at the top of the homepage isn’t the most important – just the most recent. I also don’t feel like I can be as mean and uncensored as I want to be on my professional blog.

It was very mild here in Chicago.

Watching American Idol always makes me want to go back into vocal training. I’ll never forget the pleasure of coming onstage in a quiet blackout, the reflections of eye-glasses of the audience in front of me and hearing that opening drum roll and crash, spotlight on me – decked out in a tux and freakshow clown makeup – and audible gasp – and then the familiar Weimar-inspired hooks and I get to sing those famous words… ‘Wilkommen, Bienvenue, welcome!’ So fun and probably my best memory of stage performance ever. For a few hours a night for a few weeks I got to fill the shoes of one of the most coveted men’s roles in the musical theatre oeuvre.

I am conscious that I need to get back to my writing. Not just blogging. But daily writing. Writing is it’s own reward. I know that some people think that writing out negative feelings or thoughts only reinforces them – I find it purging. I can usually be in a completely foul mood and write an hour or so and then the next day I wonder what the hell I was so pissed off about.

I recorded a segment for Wayne‘s project of motivational messages. My motivating message was that I don’t think that we see the failures of the successful easily enough. I probably tinker around with ideas and websites and even register domains and start projects, flushed with the excitement of a new project… only to find my interest wane or sanity checking in to realize it was a dumb idea in the first place. I think creative recovery is one of the most important skills we can teach our kids and ourselves. You will fail – sometimes. But the quicker you bounce back and get back in the saddle, the better. Ron and I fanatasize about our little girl being on American Idol and that if she gets voted off that she needs to lose gracefully – be gracious – and then she can cry her eyes out on the way home – have some ice cream – and then get up the next day and start her recording career anew (between my theatre background and Ron’s passion for beauty pageants, I think we might have to have heavy tranquilizers – not to mention the spelling bee fantasies we have for our future son). I think American culture has taken the cue from sports of the sore loser – the thrasing angry athlete that resists the reality around him and acts out his tantrum for himself, his fans and the camera around him. Americans don’t like losing (ergo Vietnam wasn’t a failure but ‘withdraw with honor’ – probably the same thing Iraq will be sooner than later – and then again in Iran).

A lot of the discussion around The Secret movie is enlightening and exciting. I did get reamed out by a few emailers wondering how I could deign to attach myself to something I wasn’t completely supportive of – that I should ‘stick to what I know’ (ignoring that I’m a trained life coach with a license to teach Thomas Leonard’s Principles of Attraction and have used The Artist’s Way techniques – heavily influenced by Attraction principles – for over a decade). Or others questioning my use of an Amazon purchase link on that PDF (of which I’ve to date made a whopping $4.32). Others doubt the sincerity of my skepticism and that it is all just a facade and a well-calculated concoction. Of course my adolescent reaction inside is to say Oh just please fuck off already. But I know that is just the inner brat being misplaced. But as Andrea and I have discussed before – if you aren’t getting critical emails like this you probably aren’t going out on a limb enough.

So many people in business think that being ‘good enough’ is some sort of apogee. One of Andrea‘s final tenets is ‘Create a Bold Outrageous Provocative position in your market.’  But we were IMing a few weeks ago and it seems that maybe that needs to come right after choosing a niche. You don’t choose your BOP simply because it is provocative – it is connected to your passion – your soul – your deep yearning and your reason for being in business. But to have this pusillanimous take on the world around you seems like such a waste of time. There was a guy in our acting program in college that had all of the animosity of a manatee. Don’t you just want to smack a manatee? Or the misguided copulations of panda bears as they try to put Tab A in Slot B and fail over and over again and then wonder why they are nearly dying out (granted there’s the whole man-made degradation of nearly everything…). You sort of wanted to poke him with a stick to see if he’d react because he was so docile. I know I sometimes have all of the comity of a chainsaw but harmless people are exactly what Douglas Adams meant in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy where the entry for Earth is deemed ‘Mostly harmless.’

There’s a certain ferocity you have to have in business. It doesn’t mean you’re rude and mean – just insistent. Tenacious. I’d use the word fierce but ever since drag queens/supermodels have co-opted that word to mean having more mascara than necessary. But ferocity is something to cultivate. Maybe others would call it a ‘can-do attitude’ or ‘Be Proactive.’ Maybe it is my passive-agressive side that likes the side-jab when nobody is looking. Sort of like when my grandmother would ask my dad (then, a wedding photographer) from the backseat on the way to Bob Evans ‘Why are all these photographers so fat!?’ and he’d bite back: ‘Only the good ones’, (of course her son – my uncle – is also a then-rotund wedding photographer)

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About Andy Wibbels

Andy is an award-winning blogger and author of the book Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Wired, Business Week, Forbes, and other national and international media. He was worked at several San Francisco startups including Get Satisfaction, SAY Media, InMobi, Keas, and Mindjet. Currently, Andy is Director of Marketing at Lucidworks. Tw · Fb · G+ · Li

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