Saturday, May 29, 2010

Conundrums and Commitments

The past week has seen me in a funk.  I am not quite sure I know why.  It has been a series of ups and downs.  Not necessarily a roller coaster, but picture riding up and down the cross streets of downtown Seattle.  Steep slopes both uphill and downhill.  Driving the up-slopes in Seattle always has me nervous.  Every time I have each of my feet on the brake and the accelerator.  I pray while I drive, making sure I time things well enough not to roll backward into the car behind me.  Then it's "Thank you God" while I breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that I don't have to worry.  Until the next time I drive into downtown Seattle. 

Thursday of the previous week onward had my apartment turned into Cupcake Alley.  I baked Red Velvet Cupcakes for a fund raiser at work last Friday.  I made Tuxedo Cupcakes for May Birthday Celebrations for work on Monday.  Thursday saw a reprise of the Red Velvet Cupcake for a Baby Shower at work.  All this baking, coupled with a crazy weekend had me off by a few beats.  I woke up Monday morning feeling really tired, and had the challenge of frosting 48 cupcakes into Tuxedos.  I had never done this before.  So it took a lot longer than it usually does.  That made me late for work.  I managed to drag my feet through the day, but I continued to feel like I was a day behind in everything.  On Thursday evening I took a nap when I came home.  It was only then that I felt like I caught up with the week, except that it was Friday.  I should have taken that nap on Tuesday instead :-) 

This funk that I was in got me thinking.  I keep talking about going into business for myself, but am I ready for it?  I keep hearing how good my baking and confectionery is, but what about everything else?  Will I be able to handle it all?  Will I fail?  Even worse to think this, but do I fear my own success?  What if it changes who I am and I become someone I don't like or don't even recognize?  I guess this is what they mean when they say "You have nothing to fear but fear itself".  Thankfully, the practical side of me took over once I had taken that nap on Thursday.  I realized that I was handling a full-time job along with all the baking, which I have done before.  When I'm in business for myself, I can pace things to my convenience.  I don't have to take on more than I can handle.  All my decisions will be based upon my ability to put forth the best of myself.  Nothing less than that will be acceptable either to myself or my customers. 

There were quite a few moments of elation during the week though, most of which had to do with the business.  The compliments that the Tuxedo Cupcakes received, even though I think I could more than improve on how they looked.  The fact that this guy on our team at work referred to my Red Velvet Cupcakes as "crack".  This same person placed an order for a cake to feed 45 people.  Within 24 hours of that order, I received four more, 2 from people I don't even know.  I must be doing something right, I suppose, for people actually wanting me to bake cakes for important occasions in their lives. 

By the end of the week I realized that a little self-doubt may actually be healthy because it is the kind of motivator I need to prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.  As long as I don't allow these moments of "Do I really think I can do it?" be the thoughts that become my excuse for not doing whatever it is that I am trying to accomplish, I am fine.  I think too that putting it down in writing for people to see is a way to commit to my goals in the long term.  There is an element of accountability in doing so.  As I continue on my journey of making my commitment a reality, I also commit to using this blog to provide everyone with an update on where I am in my accomplishments.

Please send your good thoughts my way, because they are a part of what drives me.

Thank you and peace out.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Family Guy - What's Not To Love?

Okay, I'll admit it. I made many, many futile attempts to watch the show Family Guy. I couldn't, I just couldn't. There were just so many things I found so offensive. The pedophile, the permanently horny guy, the political incorrectness around the handicapped ex-police officer and against the African-American just to name a few. Not to mention how irritating I thought the main character Peter Griffin was. So I'd try and then give up 5 minutes into the episode.

Then I subscribed to Hulu. While I am not the kind of person to be swayed by opinion, the fact that Family Guy was the most popular show on Hulu piqued my curiosity. I decided to give the show one more try. I still remember the first episode that I watched all the way through, titled "Padre de Familia". It was the one where Peter is made aware that he isn't an American citizen. I remember thinking to myself, "This isn't so bad!" and I watched two more episodes. That's when I began to look past everything I found offensive and noticed how enjoyable the show was.

I realized that Peter is portrayed as annoying buffoon for a reason, mainly so you can appreciate how much work it is for everyone in his life to just endure him. His wife Lois puts up with all of his shenanigans and really stupid ideas, like when he decides to take on the MTV show "Jackass" by sliding off the roof in a shopping cart. Their children Chris and Meg have the same relationship you see in so many homes, where the brother makes his sister's life a living hell by picking his nose and touching her with booger fingers. There's also Stewie the evil baby, whose ultimate life goal is world domination, but first he wants to kill his mother. Last but not least, there's Brian the dog, who somehow manages to father an illegitimate human child.

In addition to the main characters are a brilliant cast of supporting characters. While I don't condone pedophilia in any way, you have to laugh at Herbert, who is so old he needs a walker to go anywhere. Then there's the evil monkey that lives in Chris' closet, the giant chicken that shows up every once in a while and fights Peter, Lois' highfalutin parents and the town Mayor Adam West, voiced-over by none other than (who else) Adam West. And that's exactly what is so great about the concept of this show. For all their political incorrectness and equal opportunity offensiveness, the writers of the show come up with one-liners so witty and humorous that it may take more than one viewing of an episode to get everything that it has to offer. The other thing I love are the literal depiction of the analogies written into the script, like in this one about the lonely old widow.

Then there's the music. There are little tidbits thrown in, like the melodic conversation exchange between Brian and Lois in the episode titled "Brian Wallows and Peter Swallows". Apparently this is a nod to a scene from the 1962 movie "The Music Man". Who can forget the family's driving song, "The Rose" done in four-part harmony, with just a hint of pathos? The other cover that I love is the music video that Stewie makes for Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do, I Do For You". If you watch really closely, you'll notice that this is a compilation of scenes from popular music videos. But not only does the show do an excellent job of covering popular songs, the music written specifically for the show is amazingly good. Not just the lyrics, but the score as well. Original scores for the show like "420" about the legalization of marijuana, "Road to Europe" where Brian and Stewie perform in order to create a distraction and steal a camel, and of course the numerous scores done by Peter are sheer musical genius.

So when I think about the work that goes into the making of one episode, including script writing, animation, voice-overs (creator Seth McFarlane does Peter, Quagmire, Brian AND Stewie) and music, I can't help but marvel at the end result. If you happen to read this and you are a fan of the show, I would really be interested to know your favorite moments.

PS: Most of the links above are from hulu or youtube. I would recommend opening each link in a separate window. Also the one for "The Rose" is from an unfamiliar source, so please don't open it if you're unsure about potential harmful content

Friday, May 21, 2010

The End Of The Silence

I don't know if anyone has wondering where I've been. My last blog post was on March 20th. That was almost two months ago.

So why the long silence? A few reasons. I was working on a project that was going live on April 1st. Yes, I've wondered too as to why someone would pick a program to launch on April 1st. Think about it. If anything went wrong and I let them know, how much credibility would my notifications have? But I digress. All went well and the program was successfully launched. In addition to other work-related issues that I will not bore you with, life just became busy. Truth be told though, I didn't think anyone was really interested in anything I wrote in my blog and I didn't want to come off as seeming too self-absorbed.

Then came this post on my wall on Facebook. It said, and I quote: "I want to follow you! Not like Jesus, but your blog, Susannarama! What happened to it, sister?!" It was posted by my cousin Rachel, one of my most favorite people in the world. The post made me chuckle at the "Not like Jesus" part. It also got me thinking, "Why not?" I love to write. Someone out there seems to want to read what I write. I have much to say about much. I haven't lost my muchness, I'm still as muchy as I was before, if not muchier.

Yes, I did watch Alice in Wonderland during my hiatus. But, as I was saying, I think the very purpose of the blog is to have your very own little corner on the internet where the thought in your mind become pictures through the words that you write. This is my blog. This is all mine own and nobody can take it away from me. I invite everyone to come and take a look at the pictures that are my thoughts. You may just take a glance and then leave, or you can stay a while. Either way, I think I'm back. But it's no longer Susannarama, it's SimplySusanna.

This one's for you, Rachel. Thank you :-)