One of the best parts of being involved with the Ultimate Blog Challenge is the blogging ideas that other challenge members write.  I recently met Debra Jason, a freelance copywriter who has been in business for 24 years.  She writes about direct marketing and you can read about here on her website.  http://www.writedirection.com.  Her first blog post for the challenge was a list of things her clients and customers might not know about her.  I thought that this was a fantastic idea, although I must admit that compiling the list was harder than I thought.

So, here is my list of 10 things you might not know about me.
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1. When I was young, an octopus bit me.  How many people can brag about that?  Apparently, even little tiny octopi who live in tide pools don’t appreciate being picked up by kids.  I don’t remember the full situation, but I believe that my family and I were in Southern California.  The little guy wouldn’t let go, either, until my dad put my hand back down into the guy’s tidepool – he jetted away.  He’s lucky I didn’t try to eat him, even then I loved sushi.

2. My brother is incredible.  I think he helps and inspires more people in a single day than I’ll help in my whole lifetime.  Recently, he released an album.

3. I have an MFA in theatrical scenic design from The Ohio State University.  You can see my silly online portfolio here, and on January 12 I showed off some of my 2d work on this blog.  The best part of my graduate degree was the writing EXCEPT for my final thesis, which for some reason was like pulling teeth.  I particularly enjoyed working on a lengthy document about Czech stop motion animator named Jiri Trnka and also a look at animation from a feminist standpoint (which then goes on to really rip apart Disney, which I’ll do again below, and some of the Japanese animation).  You can see them both here, but the feminist missive really only loads if you have Internet Explorer.

4. I love animation.  You probably figured that out from the above projects, but I think Pixar’s Ratatouille is about the most perfectly crafted animated movie ever.  On the other hand, Brave was a perfect plot disaster, and I mainly blame Disney for it because the movie itself is really beautifully animated.  I just hope Pixar can recover now that its out of contract, and yes, last night I know it won an Oscar.  You can throw your bone into the fight about it on my facebook page, but I’m not going to allow a discussion on it here.  But what kind of company takes a story about a strong, independent girl and takes her independence away in order to give her a happily ever after?  Oh, right, that would be Disney.  Lets face it, we meet this strong, smart, wonderful girl and then add a witch into the mix, who of course is ugly because otherwise why else would she live out in the middle of the woods without a husband?  Then, we penalize that same girl and simply make her life worse and worse until she thinks that she must repair the whole family unit by being docile and sewing?  There’s more to it, of course, and stitching the tapestry together in the end is not what repairs the family, but by the time we actually get to the end of this train wreck, I was so angry I would have walked out of the movie theater.  Good thing I saw it at home.  But… back to Ratatouille, in the words of Pixar itself (via food critic Anton Ego).  In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.  So, take my views on Brave with a grain of salt.  Again, if you want to throw in your bone with this discussion, head on over to my facebook page and see what friends and I discussed on my status.

5. I love to write.  If I didn’t have the best career in the world (all beads, all the time), I’d want to write and travel.  And write about traveling.  And travel while writing.  Fortunately, this blog allows me to do just that, and many of my best selling tutorials were written while I was traveling, on a laptop I borrowed from Barb.  You can learn about a theatre trip I took to Prague (see my comment about my MFA, above) here.  And two trips I took to Arizona here and here.  And then, there are my beading and marketing tutorials, which you probably already know about but are available here.  I have more travel posts planned for 2012, so keep your eyes on this blog!  You can actually sign up for an RSS feed, too.

6. I had an amazing grandmother.  She was amazing for a lot of reasons, and I miss her.  She was super smart and savvy and loved living in Manhattan.  But what makes me think of her just now is the walking out of movies idea I posted above while talking about Brave.  Its sort of a family joke that she would walk out of movies.  She and I saw part of What Dreams May Come together, which she left because it was unpleasant and she decided she was too old old to watch things that were unpleasant.  She left The Lion King because she disliked the idea that Disney was teaching our kids the Divine Right of Kings.  And she left Little Mermaid because lets face it, that gal gives up everything in her life to marry some guy (even if he is a prince) and that’s a whole bunch of crap, even for Disney.

7. Did I mention that I love to travel?  I’ve been a lot of really wonderful places in this world, including unforgettable trips to Japan, China and Norway.  Prague, Paris and Kyoto are the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen.  And some day, I’d love to go to Australia.  I’m pretty sure that those guys on the travel channel and cooking channels who get to go all around the world and get PAID to either eat great food or stay in the most beautiful places in the world have it made.  On the other hand, that guy who goes all around eating gross stuff?  Uh, no thanks.

8. Speaking of food, I love good food.  And I love to cook.  Its really the only “domestic” thing I’m good at doing.  I’m pretty sure I got this skill (and the color theory I use everyday when I design jewelry) directly from my mom, who is a fantastic cook.  And… we’re back to Ratatoille, where one of the defining moments of the movie involves making a southern French country recipe involving squash.  Based on the few moments of recipe preparation shown in the movie, I tried a variation of the dish.  It was wonderful.  So was a recent experiment involving brie cheese, honey and sugar-cured bacon.  I was raised Jewish, but there’s just too much good food in the world to keep Kosher.

9. I have a coffee addiction.  The morning for me starts and revolves around a mug of coffee and the internet.  Fortunately, yesterday I heard something on TV about how coffee drinkers have 10% less likelihood to have depression.  Which makes me wonder about all the folks in Seattle, where depression is really high and so are coffee shops.  And I know my coffee thing is really a problem, plus I know that the afternoon headache I get when there isn’t a morning cup of coffee is as uncomfortable for other people as it is for me.  A couple of years ago I treated my friend Barb to my morning issue when I spent a full 10 minutes searching for a mug in her kitchen cupboards when there was a full rack of mugs immediately next to the coffee maker.  How did she expect me to see them when I hadn’t yet had morning coffee?

I love purple, fringe and beads.  That one is a throwaway and sort of a joke, so it doesn’t count.  But if it did count, then you’d know 3 more things about me.

10. I am rich in good friends and wonderful family.

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