Remember Pop-up Books?

Today I had a meeting with my friend Pam, who is an artist and book publisher. She has created pop-up books about the Kentucky Derby, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and a garden in Chapel Hill. These make great gifts for children and adults, and all books ordered directly from Pam are signed.

According to her website:

The first movable books appeared in the 15th and 16th centuries and were actually used for astronomical, scientific and medical purposes. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that movable books became widely available and were subsequently targeted to appeal to children.

For more information, go to

Grace becomes an art collector

Grace's Robot
Today we went to Local Folk Art Show that was comes to town every year. Some of the biggest names in folk and outsider art display their work. People like Sam “The Dot Man” McMillian, Miz Thang, Clyde Jones and Big Chief were there. I chatted with the artists I bought work from when I attended the show two years ago.

Anyway, there was guy named Mark May, who produces folk art robots out of blocks of wood and recylcled metal objects like keys, nails, bolts and bottlecaps. We looked at his display and Grace was really entranced by these. She spent some time looking at them, and we managed to move on.

When we were across the room, Grace told me that she was not looking at anything else until I got her a robot. I told her we could go back and look at the robots again, but that doesn’t mean we were going to get one.

She started looking at various robots, and I discovered they were more expensive than I had thought. I tried to push her towards the $25 models, but Grace being Grace, she liked a particular robot and was not to be swayed to any other cheaper options. The girl has good taste and knows what she likes. And if she is interested in art, how can I say no. Since I had already thought $25 was okay, what’s the big deal if I went to $35. The above photo is the one she chose.

We got home and Meg asked me, “I don’t mean to be judgemental, but why did you spend $35 on this?” The unstated part of the question was a block of wood with sharp metal objects for a 5-year old. The story above is the answer. And I didn’t buy anything for myself.

Will I really take any job?

When you search online, looking for job openings, no site is too insignificant. Even if there is only 1 job listing, but you get that job, then the site is a success for you.

Today I found that the Durham Bulls AAA Baseball team is currently recruiting for Wool E. Bull, their family-friendly mascot. The requirements ask for special skills like juggling or riding a unicycle. Acting experience is preferred. Some of the jobs I have looked at prefer an MBA.

The scary thing about this is that I actually have mascot experience. When I was home one summer during college I was the Orange 107 Rooster for my parents’ radio station. This orange furred rooster suit was made by the same company that made the San Diego chicken. This was before every team had a mascot, so it was pretty unusual to see a “professional” mascot, or at least a professionally made, custom costume, at events sponsored by a local radio station.

My two fondest memories as the rooster were playing in a Special Olympics softball game and appearing on stage with German headbangers, The Scorpions.

Think of the fun I could have as Wool E. Bull. I better not tell Peter about this job opening. He would want me to take it.

My Saturday

Draft post to follow. More detail and photos coming.

Peter competed in the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, where a raced a small wooden car that he made with Meg.

Peter had his breakout basketball game and scored 10 points. His previous high in a game had been two points.

Grace and I went to a Father Daughter Valentine’s dance. I got her a corsage and took her out to dinner. It was the first time I had to read the menu to my date. The dance was fun, although we did not dance much. I’m not much into the limbo and she is not into line dancing. She did dance with her friend Lauren quite a bit though.

Back to Zero

After having two phone interviews for two positions, I am now back to zero actual positions that I am being considered for. One position was put on hold and the other has chosen to move forward in the interview process without me. I need to email them to find out why, but my guess is that they had some folks who were a better fit.

When I told Grace I was back to zero, she asked me how many I started with. I told her two. It was sort of a surreal conversation because I did not give her any context, but she kept asking questions.

I am still meeting with people and expanding my network, but not much has materialized from this process yet. I am also trying to ramp up my “on-line applications,” so I can at least get in the running for some things.

I also need to broaden my search beyond open positions, and seek out companies that might need my services.

On the old company front, I’ve been speaking with my old boss, and he may be putting something together that would include me, but even he acknowledges that it might not be the best thing for me to do. But of course that assumes I have some other options. At this moment in time my calendar is pretty clean.

Miles Davis in Kindergarten

Grace came home with a picture she had drawn and I asked her what it was. She said Miles Davis. I asked her if she knew who he was and she replied that he was a jazz musician. And so was Charlie Bird Parker, she added.

I thought this was pretty cool, so I asked her if she listened to their music. She said a little bit. I made her a CD of Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool to take to school today. She said they listened to it all day.

Job Search Update

The job search is going okay. I got 2 interviews very quickly. I had a 2nd Round Interview with one company on Friday. I also had been waiting for a call back on the first interview I had. Everyone seems to want to do phone interviews first, which I think are great. I can sit at my desk, easily take notes (which I can’t really decipher later) and have their web site up on my computer.

One of the jobs is Account Manager for a Market Research firm that works with Fortune 500 companies. The other is the Marketing Manager for a Mail Order Company’s Web Site. Today I found out that the Mail Order Company will not be filling the Web Marketing Manager position at this time, but shuffle the responsibilities among other group members. I think that is a mistake, even on an objective level. People will focus on their primary job, not the web site.

I have been out of a job for a month now, and I still am just barely getting started on all the things I was looking forward to doing. I don’t really miss going to work, but I miss having a job. A job defines much of who you are, even if you don’t identify with it too much. I was Director of Marketing for a toy train company. That had great cocktail party value. Now I’m just another guy looking for a job. Don’t get me wrong, everyone is very nice and very helpful, but I no longer stand out in a crowd.

I have been very busy between job hunting, and household errands (although not enough around the house, according to Meg). I seem to have changed my focus a little bit. I really am trying to build my network of contacts, instead of “looking for a job.” This way lots of other people know I am looking and can pass on leads or referrals to other contacts. This is much more satisfying than sending resumes into the “Monster” black hole. I have to do that too, but it is very frustrating. It is much more fun meeting people for coffee for 30 minutes to an hour, than sitting in front of my computer all day. And I like coffee.

Peter Gabriel Hits the Big Time

NEW YORK (Billboard) – Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” has become the official theme of World Wrestling Entertainment’s upcoming “WrestleMania 22,” nearly 20 years after the song hit the top 10 in the United States.

The tune is heard in TV and online spots for the annual live and pay-per-view extravaganza. The ads began airing earlier this month and will continue through April 2, when “WrestleMania 22” touches down at the Allstate Arena in Chicago.

WWE fans logging on to are able to stream “Big Time” — the song and its accompanying video. The site also spotlights Gabriel’s best-of CD (“Hit”) and DVD (“Play”) collections.

Grace the Dancin’ Fool

The other night we were getting some movies from the video store. Our video store of choice is a great independent, alternative place that happens to be next store to a rock club. There’s a pizza place on the other side. You gotta love Carrboro.

We came out of the video store and the band was doing their sound check at the rock club. This meant there was loud, thumping music working its way out the door. Peter put his hands over his ears and hurried to the car.

Grace stood on the sidewalk wiggling her hips back and forth. Baby, she was dancin’. She had a big grin on her face and said, “I like it. When are you going to take me there.”

All I could do was smile. My 5 year old daughter wants to go to Cat’s Cradle, the premiere music club in the Southeast. Bands like REM played at an earlier version of the place when they were coming up.