MEAGER BEGINNINGS: I grew up with my father in Point Breeze, just south of Buffalo, NY, with short, occasional stints to visit my mother in NYC. Your typical high schooler, I snuck out nightly for beach keggers, nasty cigarettes and to hang out with bleeding-heart musicians, writers and artists. This continued until my father eventually, in an effort to wean his only child, threatened the options of college… or waitress shoes.
REDIRECT: In 1988 I studied English at SUNY College at Fredonia. Suffering from the parental threat to “teach or starve,” I turned in 1991 to the dark side of graphic design and graduated with an Associates Degree from Erie Community College. I was then sentenced to serve four years stripping (the handling of film and layout IN ART, you piggies) for Buffalo’s Waterfront Printing.
REDIRECT: In 1997 I bolted, traveling the world as a Continental Airlines international flight attendant. Japanese temples, Peruvian markets, Shakespeare tickets in Stratford, Ecuador Carnival, Quito’s political street riots, Italian Espresso and Da Vinci sightings were part of my daily routine. This glamour can be yours too for the small cost of… yep, waitress shoes.
REDIRECT: Dating a rock dude (using flight passes to follow tours yet failing to “keep him honest”), I was inspired to independently educate myself in web design and public relations within the entertainment industry. My one-woman company, AtticFox Design, was officially born in 2000, although it had been an operational sideline since 1998. My first client was Rykodisc Records representing the (now defunct although occasionally reunited) Ominous Seapods. All of this was made possible thanks to the recommendation of Johnny “Z” Zazula, the man responsible for discovering Metallica. (I met the guy only once but he seems to be a great judge of talent.)
REDIRECT: Rocker Dude and I landed in New York’s Capital District after being evicted from our illegally rented apartment thanks to a New Jersey zoning law. September 11th occurred two months later. Then we broke up.
REDIRECT: I witnessed the WTC attacks in person from the window of an FAA hijacking class. The last trip I flew was on September 18th, 2001, returning those English families stranded in Halifax, Nova Scotia back to Birmingham, UK. Upon my return to US soil, I accepted an unpaid, company offered leave… for several years.
REDIRECT: Downsizing apartments six times in six years and selling my stuff to eat, I landed in a rickety farm house in Rensselaerville, NY. There I adapted to the constant shift of temp work as a:
- Lab Assistant – counting insects in leaf litter for an ongoing salamander study at the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve
- Dung Beetle Harvester – picking bugs housed in a crusty pile of their own poop off willow bushes in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine
- Farmhand – wading knee deep in chicken shit over the course of two weeks… all for $30
- Summer Science Camp Assistant – cracking the whip on a dozen 11 year olds famous for smooching in bathroom stalls, sleeping with the fishes (a favorite bedtime prank) and sinking rafts
- Rensselaerville Art Program Assistant – Filling in as needed, I glued my fingers together more efficiently than the children I worked with
- Wildlife Presenter – This began and ended when I displayed 3 screech owls, otherwise known as “Messengers of Death,” to the Elders at the Iroquois Indian Museum. I was asked to leave and take my bad omens with me… but not before the crow tried to mate with me
- Model (of the clothed variety) – for painting and drawing classes at The Arts Center of the Capital Region
- Commercial Extra – for the same Arts Center of the Capital Region
- Remote Software GUI Developer – for the federal government offices of OMB and the BIA through CTACorp
- Freelance PR Chic – promoting a variety of acts such as Paul Green’s School of Rock and Project/Object featuring Frank Zappa Alumni Ike Willis, Napoleon Murphy Brock and Don Preston. (Note: Ike Willis refuses to take interviews during “Matlock” and Nappy seems to spend gobs of time in laundromats.)
REDIRECT: In the summer of 2004, Continental said “shit or get off the pot.” I went through PTSD therapy and recertified within the same building where I saw the attack. The company greeting began:
“Welcome back! As flight attendants, you are the last layer of defense between a terrorist and the cockpit. Who can list seven items on board the aircraft that can be used as a weapon?”
Training ended with distribution of the Employee Assistance number… in the event that you turn to booze or drugs for occupational therapy. Ill prepared to perform daily bomb sweeps over morning coffee, or smash wine bottles to slice a suicide terrorist, this job was no longer for me. I was recertified and resigned within the same week.
REDIRECT: I dissolved my design company and enrolled at Albany, NY’s College of Saint Rose. There I revisited the derailed dream of earning an English degree while tutoring politics and literature. In April ’07 I was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. In October ’07, the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies scouted a post from my Brain Drain blog and published it in Vol 4-3, alphabetically inserting me between the BBC and New York Times and entering my name into the ISSN catalog for eternity.
Aside from school, I received an education in “life & coffee” while working part-time at Slow Jed’s Mud House, earning “Bonehead Move of the Month” for hopping into a customer’s car I believed to be my own. In June ’06 I made my film debut on the History Channel. The 13 part documentary on the Revolutionary War captured a few glimpses of me throughout 5 episodes posing as both a middle and lower class colonial woman. I was hopeful for the Oscar but, unlike the rest of my life, that would probably be outrageous.
A PERSONAL BEST: After a three year courtship, truly a Match.com success, Tim and I were married in June 2006. We still fall into that disgusting honeymoon phase so beware of spouting romantic drivel.
In May ’08, I graduated suma cum laudi. Having worked hard for every semester’s 4.0, I earned the stack of Dean’s List awards collecting dust in my closet. I was also awarded the Outstanding Senior Award and the Professor Swaminathan Award for earning the highest grade point average of my class in English Literature. (I am of the firm belief that actually I earned the latter because I was able to pronounce it.)
REDIRIECT: In the midst of papers and exams, and a cruise to Alaska, I spent the year preparing to volunteer in Africa through Village Volunteers. From July to August, I worked in Have, Ghana at EDYM Village, an organic farm that teaches the community how to preserve the Weto mountain range while strengthening economic resources through sustainable farming practices. I also helped to prepare the Have Community Library for service and delivered 70 pounds of supplies to the children at the RC Primary School. You can see a video of my visit with the children.
I invite you to read more about my travels on my blog, CULTURE TREK.
REDIRECT: Coming home from a life changing experience in Africa to a crumbling American economy, I shelved my degree along with my Dean’s List certificates and resume. Working for free, I began writing and designing a quarterly newsletter for Village Volunteers, beefing up their new website plans and learning the ways in which social media can promote an organization I truly believe in. I was eventually contracted as VV’s Print and Social Media Consultant, working long hours for peanuts on a 3 person payroll, determined to expand the reach of this good work as much as a one person PR army can.
In the mean time, I’m building my new company, Mixed Media Matters, offering blog and web design services, newsletter design, WordPress consulting and, as a Jane of all Trades, any other odd internet job folks need. I’ve also dusted off my old blogs and added a few more to the mix, monetizing them for a few extra bones.
WHERE TO FIND ME:
- Mixed Media Matters, Inc. : offering digital and print design as well as content solutions
- This One Wild Life: life with domesticated, fostered and adopted pets, the occasional wildlife and a couple of people – Facebook, Twitter, Google+
- Be the Change for Animals: Advocate for animals by supporting one cause per week spending just a few moments and never a cent – Facebook, Twitter
- The Brain Drain: investigate culture through the lens of literature, film and art
- Culture Trek: a journey of research, commentary, and action taken to explore, educate, fight poverty and combat discrimination
- Guest Blogger at Village Volunteers: humanitarian topics
Kim Clune and Social Media: