Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Can't Hear You

I can’t hear you. I’m sorry because I know how inconvenient this is for you.  I see your eyes roll when I say what? Or, Pardon me, can you repeat that please? I feel your annoyance at my inability to hear through walls or over loud music.

Usually by the third time I say I can’t hear you, I am annoyed too. I’m annoyed because though I am the one that is deaf, you are the one that does not listen. Your diction is so poor I don’t even know what language you are speaking. But it doesn’t matter because I can’t hear you.

I can read your lips if you move them. If you take the food or whatever out of your mouth or control your lazy tongue and wrap your lips around your words I can usually make out what you’re saying. Not if you are talking to the floor, to the sky, your computer, your book.

 I’m sorry I can’t hear you.

 I know how inconvenient this must be for you. My bionic ears merely allow me to hear what is clear and in front of me. I can’t hear you running up behind me so I sometimes scream with fear when you fly past me. I’m sorry that scares you.

If I were blind, would you walk up to me with pretty pictures and say look at this? Maybe you would. It seems like your style.

I’m sorry you have to raise your voice a little and use proper diction when you are speaking to me. It must make your life so difficult- I can’t imagine.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Losses & Gains

This week started on the wrong foot when Steve Jobs died. I was expecting it- like all of us, but it was a jolt felt around the world anyway.

Steve Jobs actually did affect my life in a profound way.  Around 1994 A good friend of Nick’s dad worked at Apple and gave Nick a prototype model computer with a color display. I remember sitting at Nick’s desk at his dad’s house and trying to figure out how things worked when my then 9 -year old son told me I was using the mouse wrong. It was then that I decided to master the Apple computer.

Soon after that incident, I enrolled in Computer Graphic Design school, while still working full time. I would get up at 5AM and not get back home until 10PM Monday through Thursday. I had no computer at home to practice on so I lagged behind most of my class. When finally I couldn’t stand my job any more, I quit and spent all my days and nights at the school. My work improved, and while I would never call myself a great artist, I mastered page layout and some complex Illustrator and Photoshop pieces.  It was the beginning of a new life for me.

After graduation, I found work as a production artist. I freelanced for an advertising agency and then created Nika Design, my own company. When business faltered, I sent my resume to one agency and was immediately hired by Ernst & Young to lead the Creative Services Team in San Francisco. That job grew to leading five Bay Area offices and training other managers across the country.

That day I sat at my son’s Apple Computer was a pivotal day for me. Thank you Steve Jobs.

Then, later this week we lost another Giant- or Raider, I should say. Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders died this week too. I met Al in 1978 or 79 when the Oakland Raiders trained at the El Rancho Tropicana in Santa Rosa.  I managed the restaurant that year and John Madden, Tom Flores and Al Davis would sit in the same booth every morning at 6AM and discuss their business while their players were shaking off their hangovers from the night before.

Al was a strange guy. He seldom looked at my staff or me, I think because he was preoccupied, not rude. His hotel suite was filled with exercise equipment (I learned from room service) and he only wore jogging suits all training season.  I don’t recall him being particularly kind or generous like John Madden and Tom Flores but I do recall his presence. He was impossible to ignore.  He led a bunch of wild men into the super bowl and they all, coaches included, wore their rings with pride.

My life was not changed by Al Davis, but the lives of many football players and the game of football itself were changed forever by this freethinking, rebel of a man.

So, here’s to two giants. Two men who followed their passion and their dreams and who both demanded excellence from themselves and the people around them. May they rest in peace. 

Finally, I want to say thank God Amanda Knox has been found not guilty and is home in the US today.  More than anything I’m appalled by the people here in the US that were so ready to believe every stupid rumor, lie and exaggeration written by the press regarding this case.  People without any knowledge of the facts decided Amanda was guilty because some rag of a newspaper said so. 

Anyone that had done a modicum of research would have been able to see that this case was a mess from the beginning. It was the kiss with her boyfriend that made her the devil. Did anyone see that kiss? It was three quick pecks, the kind people who care about each other give each other when one or both are upset. It was not a tongue swallowing, passionate, I can’t wait to get you in the sack kiss.

Fortunately, justice prevailed. Unfortunately, some people will stick to their ridiculous convictions and not let the facts get in the way of their messed up thinking.  Amanda Knox is going to have to live with stupid people forever- I hope she stays strong.