Friday, December 30, 2011

Dear Tim Tebow

Dear Tim Tebow, I'm not from Denver, nor am I a Broncos fanatic (but kudos for all those wins!). I've directed my letter to you because you have a direct line to Jesus. For 2012, I have some requests to share with The Big J:

--Kardashians Take Mars--can we send the sisters to outerspace? I don't believe TV signals can be transmitted from there, but they don't need to know that. They can lust for intergalactic fame and we won't hear a damn (oops! darn) thing about it.

--Lindsay "Not Marilyn" Lohan--this is a sad situation. Once a shining little starlet, her addictions have landed her in Playboy. She should pull a Demi Moore and hit up Iowa for awhile and then come back wearing a bikini in a 70's reboot movie, only to marry a 70's set TV star...oh wait, nevermind.

--L.A. douchebag men--Ahnold and Kobe can't keep it in their pants so let's just stop giving them attention, and worse yet, giving men ideas. If you're a man, you're a hunter and should be wooing ladies. Here's a tip: you have a tip...on your penis...and balls, which should give you the courage to ask a lady out. Don't say, "Hey, let me know when you're in my neighborhood," or "Here's my number, call me." If you want to be courted, date another man. If you want to get in a lady's pants, put in some effort. Work even. Remember, easily accessible vaginas belong to whores.

--Glee--this saccharine nightmare gives me diarhee. In fact, it caused Ryan Murphy to overcorrect so much he had to access his inner Satan with American Horror Story. I know you're not into Satan, so just cancel Glee and balance will be restored.

--Flavor-infused Vodka--I don't hit the bottle anymore, but I'm still offended by things like "whipped cream flavored Smirnoff." Really? 'Cause whipped cream offers so much...flavor? Have you hit rock bottom, Smirnoff? Do you drink too much of your own product? Is your product development team in the parking lot doing whippets? 

--Groupon, et al--We've all been duped and it's time to stop Satan in his deal-wielding tracks. How many people have lost out on restaurant deals, realized that steeply discounted skydiving is not a good idea and that dentists offering reduced rate cleanings are likely located in a strip mall next to Vivid Entertainment and known as the dentist of the porn stars (yes, Jesus, this actually happened to me, and thank you, because all STD tests were negative) 

--LMFAO--This band provides some catchy tunes...the first 10 listens. But frequent radio play every 15 minutes makes their lyrics less LMFAO and more IW2BMBO (I want to blow my brains out...which is a sin, so please help me from breaking a commandment)

--Courtney Stoddard and her creepy 51-year-old-husband--I believe in love, but make this creepiness stop. 

--Last but not least: please bring me a sweet wheaten terrier puppy, a non-douchey gentleman boyfriend, Kate moss' wardrobe, a juicer i can operate without cursing, health, luck and happiness for me, my family and friends, jobs for the unemployed and inspiration (as well as wins) for the funemployed.

Sincerely, all the best, with love,

Kerry Quinn 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Leaping Lass

At a shopping event at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, I snagged some swag, saw Bo Brady of Days of Our Lives (he was feeding his daughter) and was more than pleasantly surprised by a new line that they're carrying called A Lot To Say.

Made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, the line offers funny, pithy and inspirational sayings on t-shirts, iPad cases and more. I bought a pair of "Dream" panties. It says something along the lines of, "There are only 3 little letters between can and cannot." Part of the proceeds go to charity and I get the benefit of dreaming from my ass up. Not the most practical of purchases, but I'm not really being practical this week.

I accepted a job offer from a European agency that has a burgeoning office in LA. I'll be one of two people who'll be getting my entrepreneurial groove on. In order to do this, I had to quit my new, corporate (miserable) job. I'm giving up a bonus, health benefits for the next few months and potentially stability. A few years ago, I wouldn't have done this, but back then, I was too scared to dream. But now there's one more job open for someone who would love/appreciate/thrive in it. I'm not that person.

FUNemployment woke up my inner hustler and made me realize that life is too short, companies are not families and you've got to take care of yourself. So, I'm dreaming big, taking a leap and doing what feels right, instead of what looks good on paper.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I was recently stopped in rush hour traffic on the 101 freeway when I was rear ended by a car going 55mph. Just a minute before I was singing my heart out to "Midnight City" by M83 when I needed to hit the brakes. I clenched and said to myself, "Uh oh. 3...2...f$ck." I knew it was coming, but there was little I could do.

Getting laid off and searching for a job can feel like getting rear ended. There's little you can do except to brace for the worst, hope for the best.

Lucky for me, I got a case of whiplash (which is a lot more painful than you think.) I had to sit out the premiere of Leo's new movie "J. Edgar" and have been in the no fun zone until very recently. I realized that despite my pain, I had to get out there, have some fun and generate some positive energy. Negativity breeds like rabbits and can smack you hard, knock you sideways.

No matter how you're feeling, if you're upset by your job search, still frustrated about your layoff, the best thing you can do for yourself is to counter act the negativity and start moving into the positive light. Anything can knock you down at any time. You've got to pick yourself up and live to drive another day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanks. A Lot

Being unemployed during the holidays can make you feel like a native american amongst pilgrims (if you don't know your history, an outsider). Everyone is giving thanks for the blessings in their lives. So what do you have to be thankful for? That pink slip? The 23 emailed job rejections that you've received? The fruitless hours you've spent applying to jobs online only to hear nothing?
Yes, you should be thankful for all of these things and more. Your pink slip gives you the opportunity to use your day in new ways...hobbies, self-improvement, starting your own business. Your rejections give you feedback that can allow you to improve your resume, your cover letter or your application style. The hours you've spent applying are planting seeds. It may not result in a job this minute, but I've heard from companies months later about the position to which I applied or another one that's even better.
Besides, you can eat to your hearts content knowing you can work out every day for the next week to eliminate any guilt. You can kickstart your holiday shopping next week when everyone else is at work, including taking advantage of layaway programs at stores like Toys 'R Us. You can hunt for the best deals and hit each and every store at your leisure.
Enjoy yourself this holiday and appreciate all that you have going for you...not the one thing that you don't have.
Additional blessing: I was lucky enough to be a featured guest on Outreach Today's upcoming 11/23 episode Bringing Home the Bacon: Job Troubles, Career Setbacks or Unemployed???. For those listeners (and my faithful readers), get a special 15% discount on my eBook, "FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn" with coupon code GY75U when you purchase from Smashwords:
AND, if you want to listen to my internet radio interview, it's on Wed 11/23 at 1pm ET/10am PT on Voice America. Listen here:

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Mancow Show

This morning, I was on the Mancow radio show to talk about FUNemployment. I didn't have the opportunity to share all of my key points, so if you're a listener, here they are:

“Unemployment can be devastating, but it can also be an opportunity,” said Kerry Quinn. “After my layoff, I incessantly applied to jobs. But I also got my finances in order, lost 20 lbs, became an eBay seller, was an extra in a movie, wrote a book, took up photography, got myself on the red carpet of the ESPYs, learned to surf and volunteered with children in hospitals. And that’s just me. I’ve also chronicled the stories of others in my eBook.”

FUNemployed shares important information for dealing with debt, depression, job rejection and other challenges of unemployment, as well as the hilarious triumphs along the way. It’s a witty and inspirational must read for those who’ve been affected in any way by the economic downturn or know someone who has. 

If you have any questions or want some more specific information, please leave a comment. Thanks!

FUNemployed Holiday Tips

As we near the holidays, it's important to be able to enjoy yourself on a limited budget. Here are some tips:

1. Some stores (like Toys 'R Us) are bringing back layaway plans so payment can be deferred on purchases. The economy doesn't have to feel like a lump of coal

2. Want to look good for holidays parties? Find out when your favorite salon hosts training nights. Junior stylists and colorists practice their skills under the guidance of the masters for free or a nominal charge

3. Want to see the season's blockbusters? Sign up for test movie screenings in your area. Nothing quite like seeing movies for free and before release

Try to enjoy yourself and stay positive. Being around friends and family can be the best gift of all. Better's free!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rebel Yell

I've never considered myself a rebel. I was the obedient teacher's pet, the one who did everything right. There was an inner rebel inside, wanting to get out but I fought it. Alcohol helped keep me numb.

It wasn't until my FUNemployment that I started to give the finger to convention. I'd done everything right: studied hard, went to a great college, got a job at the world's biggest ad agency and kept climbing the ladder. The only problem was that I was miserable. Doing everything right didn't feel right.

When I was laid off, it was expected that I'd jump right back into the job market. And believe me, I tried. The universe had other plans for me.

In my FUNemployment, I did a lot of fun things. I got healthy. Most of all, I found my inner voice. I decided that I was going to make the most of the opportunity and step out of my box. I look at writing and completing a book as a major accomplishment. Many people told me I was crazy, inquired about when I'd get a "real" job. Well, I've got one again and I couldn't hate it more.

Once again, I've caved to convention. I regressed after having found my true voice. I quieted my rebel yell and it's dying to get out. It doesn't help that I'm by far the most dynamic personality in a staid, conservative company that have been debating the merits of launching a Facebook page for 18 months. It would drive a lot of people insane. It makes my want to really unleash my inner Che Guevera.

Hey Che, let my writing do my yelling, all the way to my Amazon bank.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


You may have heard your parents wax poetically about protesting and lament that our generation just doesn't get it. Maybe we had nothing to be angry enough about. Until now.

Our country has the worst economy that I've lived through and I think I could say the same for my parents. Unemployment is holding steady at 9.1% and is estimated to be as high as 16% if you include the 99 weekers who no longer have benefits at their disposal. While Occupy Wall Street isn't specifically protesting unemployment, our banking system failures and bad decisions led us straight into this down economy and current unemployment crisis.

As I exit the Bank of America building for my lunch break at my new job, I've seen the protesters marching and camping out at City Hall in downtown LA. I know that they look at me like a financial services douchebag, but my heart belongs with them. Instead of expensed steak dinners and Obama soliciting campaign donations, job creation should be the biggest priority.

I enjoyed my FUNemployment and made the most of the experience. I strongly believe that it was the opportunity that I needed to rediscover my love of writing. I share my tips and tools for how to not only survive but thrive in unemployment. While I plot my writing career whenever I have a free moment between my 6 hours of daily meetings, I know there are lots out there that are dying to get back to work. Their minds are occupied daily with thoughts of that next job. Let's hope they get their chance sooner rather than later.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Beware Saying "Extra" Really Fast

While attending a loud gathering for volunteers of an organization that facilitates arts and crafts programs in local children's hospitals, I was regaling my FUNemployment tales. One item that I listed drew great interest.

Me: I learned to surf, wrote a book, took up photography and, oh yeah! I was an extra in a movie.

Him: You were in an x-rated movie?

Me: Yeah, I was an extra in a movie.

Him: Seriously?

Me: Yeah. I mean only the back of my head was on camera and it was tedious but I got an imdb profile out of it.

Him: Wow, I've never met anyone in porn.

Me: WHAT?! Who said anything about porn?

Him: You said you were in an x-rated movie.

Me: I was an EXTRA in a movie. As in I was in the background. Everyone was clothed. Nothing illicit, except for the acting. This event is for kids!?!

Him: I know. I've gotta get my mind out of the gutter.

Me: Yup.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Hallmark of Critical Mass

I've been blogging about FUNemployment since January 2010 and published my eBook in May 2011. I'm sorry to say that people are still living in unemployment and more are joining the ranks every month. Unemployment is not a blip on the screen.

What's really makes me certain? Hallmark has created a line of cards for the unemployed. You know that when a major company not known for its agility creates a new category, it's because it's a great idea (patting myself on the back) but it's also necessary.

So, if you've been laid off, check your mail. You may just get the "Things I don't know" card whose interior says, "Bad things happen to good people." Indeed.

You can check out the Hallmark selection here:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Passion is so in fashion

"Do what you love and the money will follow," said by someone(s) successful.

When you're unemployed, it's hard to figure out which way to turn. I found myself going in several directions...job apps, book writing, social media consulting. It's the "I'll throw everything against the wall to see what sticks" approach. I know from speaking with my fellow ex-employed that I'm not alone. One friend (I'll call him "D") was applying to jobs, created a plan for a new business and pitched local businesses to get consultant gigs. We'd commiserate about our collective exhaustion but figured there wasn't any other way.

How about instead of putting a lot of effort into many areas you focus on one: what you love.

I've been reading Gary Vaynerchuk's book "Crush It!" where he stresses focusing on what you're most passionate about. If you love what you're doing, it will come through...people will be turned on, word will spread, business will grow. If you love bread, create a blog, do some podcasts, become an authority and the result could be opening your own eshop or writing books or having your own internet show. However it results, you've made yourself the bread guru. (And it doesn't have to be could be robots, shoes, funemployment or wine (like Gary)).

Following your passion means being yourself, not what everyone wants you to be. I think this is something that I've struggled with. "D" struggled with it too. If you're considered successful in one vein and then it's ripped away from you, do you say what everyone wants to hear? Do you dare to embrace your passion if it wasn't what you were doing before layoff? People wanted to hear that my life was over after my layoff. Well, I wrote an entire book challenging that notion. Some people weren't happy about either development (writing and funemployment). D faced criticism when speaking about his business idea. Eventually, neither of us could be inauthentic about our experiences (believe me, it took some time to get there!)

If you're applying to jobs and getting frustrated, think about what you love to do. Figure out a way to share it with your unique personality. Try blogging, podcasting, vlogging. The worst that can happen is no one follows you. The best thing that can happen is that it takes off and you end up with a whole new career.

Dedicated readers: Get 15% off my eBook "FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn" with coupon code GC49Y at Smashwords through 9/30.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Interview? Or Interrogation?

I like to think of interviewing as dating. Employers can sometimes think of it like their opportunity to interrogate candidates.

Take a FUNemployee named Matt. He had two interviews recently. Going into it, he was prepared, calm and armed with questions. Too bad that he never got a chance to ask even one.

He was grilled by his interviewers who were trying to determine if he was a good fit for the job and the company. While he felt like he successfully answered their questions, he had little clarity about what his role would really be.

When you're FUNemployed, a company looks at Matt and thinks that he has no leverage. He'd be lucky to have a job, from their perspective. While this is true for many, there is something to be said for both parties liking one another. There's nothing worse than an employee starting a job and realizing it's nothing like what they expected. No one wins in that scenario.

Here's my tip of the day: if you have questions and don't have time to ask them, ask if you can follow up with the interviewer via email or your HR contact to ask your questions. Showing engagement and interest can work in your favor. Having all of the information can only help everyone in the end!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Evolving Back Into A 9-5 Worker

Like a kindergartner heading off to their first day of school, I was worried about my first day at work. I didn't have the Sunday Night Blues/dread that I used to have before I was laid off. It was more of a worry about adapting to a conventional schedule again. Essentially, I've been my own boss for 2 years. If I wanted to work from 12-10pm with a nap in there, no problems from the boss. If I wanted to mess around all day, no problems from the boss.

My new company is very structured. In the past, I haven't thrived in that kind of place. But I also took on too much work and too much control. I'm not the chief here which could be liberating. It could also be confining. I must remember that I don't want work to be my life anymore. I learned how to appreciate life again. Adapting to my new schedule and work environment will take some time. Especially a 7:30am start time. I will likely be tired for awhile. Having the ability to exercise regularly, eat dinner at a normal hour, meet up with friends and go out on dates will feel a lot more balanced. When I get that first paycheck, I have a strong suspicion it will all fade away!

Friday, September 9, 2011

"How Did You Get Your Job?"

Since I've got my job offer, the most frequent question that I've been asked (other than "What is it?") is "How did you get it?" I wish there was a secret.

Actually, I take that back. I got a job at a company that is established, yet only recently embraced digital marketing. Their mantra is to forge full steam ahead--quickly and decisively. That's why I have a job today.

When you're unemployed, you have little to no leverage. Companies can choose to take their time with you because they feel like you'll be around if there aren't any better options. Some companies won't even consider you if you're unemployed. I think it's important to have freelance gigs or something that you're working on to help defray this discrimination. Technically, I'm still in the interview process at several companies. They chose not to pull the trigger because they didn't feel any pressure.

Another warning sign: beware the "newly created job." I interviewed for three of those. No one has been hired for any of them. While the position may be needed, if there isn't someone doing that job now no bean counter in the world is going to allocate funds in this up and down economy.

My best tip is to keep your ears to the ground. Read industry trades. If an ad agency wins news business, keep your eyes peeled. (This is generally a sign of change within a company so it applies even if you're not in the ad biz). If a company has better than expected earnings, check out their careers page. If an industry is hot (anything tech & digital would qualify) learn who is leading the pack.

I got a lot of interviews from applying to online job postings. I think I could've been smarter earlier by doing what I wrote in the paragraph above and set up job alerts at target companies (I did this for the job I got).

Recruiters, meh. I got nothing from them, other than some inside scoop. It's worthwhile to talk to them, but if they were to get you a job, the company has to pay them. The company already has enough resumes. Don't rely on the middleman to get you a job. BUT they may give you some ideas about companies that may be hiring. You know what to do...Go get 'em tiger!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Last Stand

Today was my last day as a FUNemployee. I start full-time employment tomorrow and I feel tranquil. I don't feel dread or anxiety. I feel ready to get back to work.

In reviewing at my FUNemployment list for any last ditch items to complete this past week, I can't find any that I felt compelled to do. I wanted to go horseback riding, but the universe is blocking it. I've been trying to do this one since February and every time it gets cancelled. I made one last ditch attempt and it failed.

I wanted to ride the ferris wheel at the Santa Monica pier but that doesn't need to happen now. Ideally, I'd do that with a boyfriend. I could do it alone or with a friend but that just doesn't feel right.

I could've tried to take a last minute getaway, but travel requires energy and I was better served in resting and relaxing here. I've done a lot of activities, accomplished writing a book, learning how to write a press release and do publicity, went to the ESPYs, was an eBay seller, landed freelance projects, was an extra in a movie, lost 20 lbs, became a vegan, quit drinking and smoking for good, got my debt under control, went to a movie premiere, reset my priorities, went on some insane dates, learned to surf, visited Santa Barbara, saw some great concerts (some even for free), took up photography and learned to enjoy life again.

There's nothing more to accomplish.

My road to employment has arrived at its destination. I will continue to post about FUNemployment. Less so about my own experiences, but those of others and tips for how to survive that I learned along the way. I will keep all of the lessons that I've learned in my heart and my head as I move into emPLAYment!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Take Me To The Rivers

As I'm wrapping up my freedom/FUNemployment, I decided to take in one last TV show taping. What started with a Chelsea Lately taping a few days after my layoff should fittingly end with another E! show: Fashion Police.

I went earlier in the summer and met Joan Rivers and chatted with one of the writers of the show. It was an intimate experience and I definitely felt like I was part of the show, instead of a trained monkey forced to clap. Joan is hilarious so there is no question about genuinely laughing.

This time the set was more raucous and lively. There were 2 guests: Zanna from Marie Claire and Amber Rose (she dated Kanye). Joan went to town on the Jersey Shore cast at the MTV Video Awards. Melissa's son was in the audience. I sat next to an eyelash mogul and a Medieval History professor at UCLA. I chatted with Kelly Osbourne whose outfit I loved. The show should be really funny. We ran late because Joan was on quite a few rolls.

For the Amber Rose fans, she is gorgeous in person, has two people in her entourage, did not talk about Kanye and revealed that she has guidettes in her family since they are all based in Jersey/Philly.

Joan was lovely and I got to take another picture with her. She loved my necklace, I told her that I loved her on Louie. She gave me a little squeeze when I said that and then went back to the show.

I thought it was a fitting end to my FUNemployment. We've all got to get back to our shows and I'm happy to have the opportunity.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The girl who smelled like pee

An 8-hour interview extravaganza (8 people, 8 hours) was extended to 9.5 hours (9 people, 9.5 hours!). I know that I’m lucky for the opportunity but way to take me from the minor leagues to the Olympic decathalon (yeah, I know baseball is not an Olympic event. Roll with it). I reached deep for my inner Derek Jeter/Gold medal decathlete (Bruce Jenner?) and ate my Wheaties.

Of course, I didn’t sleep that night. I had nervous energy, tossed and turned and cursed myself under and over my breath. At 2am, I got up and hit the treadmill in my building's gym. Totally insane and unsafe. After I’d run a mile, a really weird guy briskly came into the gym and I hightailed it out of there. Ironically, the running/fear combo did the trick. I fell asleep. Until my 6am wake up.

I went to my first interview at 7:30am and then had a break to get my first of 4 lattes. Over the course of the day, I just kept telling myself, “YOU CAN DO IT!” like that horrible infomercial guy with the curly ponytail.

At one break, I went to the ladies room. There wasn’t a tissue toilet cover and I won’t sit on a public toilet. I squatted and did my business. I quickly realized that I peed on the back of my pant leg (just a little bit). Ready to cry (fatigue and caffeine crash combo) I dabbed and wet the spot, let out a sigh and moved forward.

In the next interview, when talking about tweens and social media, the interviewer said, “Isn’t it terrible for tweens? Imagine being known as the girl that peed on herself not only in your school but to anyone on Facebook?” I gulped. Is she trying to tell me that I smelled like pee? Naw, paranoia. Or so I think.

Well, readers, it worked out because I just got a job offer and accepted. The secret? A lot of hard work, caffeine, lack of sleep, 2am running and the faint aroma of urine. You’re welcome, America.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Excerpt: From Chapter 3

As Seen on TV 
Post-layoff, the anxiety dreams got worse. I’d stay up later at night and sleep a little bit later in the morning, but I felt a compulsion to get up and apply for jobs like a mad woman. As an overachiever, I checked every site, networked like CBS—except I was hardly sleeping. This new sleep deficit coupled with my existing sleep deprivation made for quite a combination. Never was this more apparent than when I went to a taping of Chelsea Lately.

Not only does Los Angeles have amazing weather and lots of people working non-traditional jobs to hang out with during the day, but also there are free TV show tapings. Audience members are always in short supply. All you need to do is go to a show’s Web site, click through for tickets and submit your information. Some shows are booked for a few weeks but most are easy to get tickets for if you plan ahead.

At 1 p.m. on a Wednesday (woo hoo!), I headed to the studios where Chelsea Lately tapes. As a worker, I would have been hunkering down to get the rest of what I needed done so I could leave at a decent hour. The only way that I could’ve managed this would have been to take the day off and constantly check my voicemail and email. So, I already felt like I’d hit the jackpot.

Chelsea No Sleepy 
When I arrived at the studio, I checked in, got in line and hoped I’d make it in to see the taping. First, I failed to read the ticket and brought every banned item possible (large bag, food, umbrella) and got quite, well, terse with security. Then I fell asleep standing in line. Security must have thought I was on drugs or just batsh*t crazy. I explained that I was narcoleptic since I was too embarrassed to say that I’d been laid off (I hadn’t quite gotten through my Bargaining stage at this point).

Eventually, I scored an entry but one thing I didn’t know about show tapings: the studios are freezing (it helped keep me awake at least). And you don’t get a good view of the whole show, kind of like going to the theater but with huge cameras in the way. You also have to sit there for a long time before the show starts and clap constantly throughout the show.

I’ll never know if the security team warned the warm-up guy or not, but he definitely zeroed in on me. He asked me where I was from and after I said, “Hollywood,” he responded by saying, “No wonder you’re so jaded, tired and unhappy.” After a couple more, um, “shout-outs” during his set, I was even crankier than when I got in line.

Don’t get me wrong—watching the actual show was a ton of fun. You see people in real life that you watch on TV (Chelsea is much skinnier in person). I laughed the entire show and completely forgot that I was unemployed (and that I was mocked mercilessly by the warm-up stand up.). I felt special because I got to do something that most people don’t have the time to do. That’s when it hit me that this list had some merit: I could stop being sad sack unemployed Kerry and be the-world-is-my-oyster FUNemployed Kerry.

At the end of the show, I stood up and noticed that the warm up stand up was looking at me, horrified. I was wearing skinny jeans, flats, a blazer and an empire waist blouse. The way that my shirt was puckering out (and let’s face it, my carb baby stomach), I looked pregnant. I could see a wave of remorse on his face for torturing me. I thought about correcting him, but quickly changed my mind. I never said revenge wasn’t part of FUNemployment.

On my way out, the security guard with whom I interacted most stopped me and said, “I saw him point you out and pick on you. But you got a smile on your face now. Girl, go home and get some sleep.”
I got home close to 5 p.m. and promptly took a four-hour nap (as instructed by security). Yep, just because I could. I was extra tired from all of that clapping. When I woke up, I thought to myself, “Whoo! That was scary. I didn’t realize I was so tired.”

And then it dawned on me. Of course I’m tired. I’ve just been through a traumatic experience after months of torture. As important as it was that I look for a job and feel like I’m living, I needed to take care of myself. I learned the hard way that sleep is really important and made it my mission to never be that sleep deprived again. Especially because I’m pretty sure that my picture is on the wall of the E! security station with the caption “Banned,” “Confiscate food at your own risk” or “Crazy sleepwalking zombie.” Can’t get myself banned from anywhere else—and that includes potential employers.

Cost saving tip: If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t get yourself hooked on costly Lunesta or Ambien. Go the more natural route with Melatonin. Trader Joe’s offers a great Melatonin product at a good price. In Los Angeles, it’s less than $5 for a bottle of 90 pills.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Juice Cleanses are Hell in a Glass

I’m a vegan. Relax, I’m not here to convert you and I don’t want to hear any garbage about the awesomeness of meat. I’m confessing to set the stage of my story.

I met a nutritionist who used to live in NYC, worked in advertising (sales, not agency) and had some of the same health issues that I had (fibroid tumor). We talked about how nutrition and stress played such a huge part in our health problems. We bonded and she told me that she wanted to help me.

In the spirit of FUNemployment, I went for it. No time like to present to get my eating habits under control. My goal of our meeting was to get a balanced eating plan. I have no idea if I’m getting all the nutrients I need. I mean, if I eat vegan eggplant, do I pair it with a salad or whole wheat pasta? Or both?

In lieu of said plan, she insisted on putting me on a juice cleanse. I could eat one meal at night. Her definition of a meal and mine differ greatly. She excitedly told me that I could have a salad and quinoa for dinner. My first thought was, “Cardboard for one.”

I told myself, “Ok, you’re tough. You can make it through anything.” WRONG. By day three, I was bed ridden by the afternoon, weeping from starvation. I just wanted a carb, any carb but preferably a bagel, a cupcake, a chocolate chip cookie and if my stomach permitted, a loaf of bread.

What was supposed to reboot my system and force me to crave vegetables left me a sobbing, starving, sad excuse for a lady. EPIC FAIL free nutritionist that I met at an event. I got what I paid for. And, I still have no idea what to pair with that eggplant. If you happen to know, let me know. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

My first radio interview for the eBook!

I did a radio interview that has been posted on this Web site from now through the end of 8/23

I said the word positive a million times and rambled a lot. I did manage to use the phrase "per se" (I rolled my own eyes and said Oy Vey when I heard it) but I think it's a good first effort. It was also the day after a 9.5 hour marathon so I'm giving myself some slack. Take a listen and I hope you enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Max Headrooming Myself

Excited stuff going on in the world of FUNemployed. In addition to doing my first radio interview, I'm also working on shooting a video book trailer and filming some FUNemployed tips. Whenever I explain my philosophy and eBook, people always tell me that it sounds inspiring and a must read for the unemployed.

Unemployment can be looked at as a problem (I know, a huge one) OR an opportunity. It all depends on your perspective. Thinking positively will help you turn the tide. I lost 20 lbs, became an eBay seller, wrote a book, took up photography, was an extra in a movie, hit the red carpet at The Espy Awards and most importantly rediscovered my love of writing. None of this would've happened if I wallowed. I decided that I was going to make the most of the time that I wasn't dedicating to finding a new job.

Some of the tips that I'm thinking of covering include, "What is FUNemployment?," "What do you do all day?," "How do you stay positive?," and "How do you afford FUN?" If you have anything that you're dying to know or would like me to cover, let me know!

Friday, July 29, 2011

"I wish I had your eBook when I was laid off"

As the eBook exposure grows, I've been hearing from readers that they wished they had my book when they were laid off. These are the best words that I ever could ever hope to hear. Mind you, I don't want anyone to be laid off or feel like they were lost when they got their pink slip. I'm just happy that my eBook covers the right topics and is informative.

The other comment is that it's funny. I wanted to have a light-hearted approach because seriously, anytime you hear about unemployment, it's gloom and doom. Let's have a laugh. We deserve it.

So, if you're unemployed and want tips on how to manage your debt, get discounts on your bills, sell things on eBay, learn about volunteering and how to afford hobbies, buy my eBook. If you want to read about some hilarity like how I got on the ESPYs red carpet and gave my phone number to a guy that was on a TV show and many more, buy my eBook. If you have a friend or loved one who needs an unemployment got it: buy my eBook, "FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn." Available at Amazon, iBooks (Apples version of iTunes for books), Barnes and Noble, Sony, Diesel and BookieJar.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amma Mia

"Do you want to go see Amma? She gives you a hug and a blessing," asked my friend.

"Oh, is that the spiritual mother? How much does that cost?" I suspiciously responded.

"It's free," she explained.

She said the magic words and off I went on my adventure to the LAX Hilton to meet Amma. Knowing little about her, I quickly learned that she has many devotees and is somewhat like the Dalai Lama of India. Her hugs are supposed to be transformative.

We got there at 4pm, got out tokens at 7 (it's like your number in a deli line), listened to Amma speak from 7:30-8:15 and then waited. While the celebs went in to get their hugs first, we toured the Amma bizarre and took in the lentil eating, patchouli smelling, barefoot people waiting to meet Amma.

For the record, I'm a designer clad, daily showering, delicately highlighted blonde who believes in no shoes, no shirt, no service.  But being a frustrated, unemployed yet overworked-in-trying-to-generate- book-publicity-and-therefore-sales person, I need all the help I can get.

I was pushed into Amma's massive bosom at 1:45am. She whispered, "My daughter," six times in my ear, put the beads I was holding ($3 in the Amma bizarre) around my neck and I was pulled away. That was it. I felt nothing. Except exhaustion. And awe that Amma had been hugging for hours without a bathroom break (she's reportedly gone as long as 22 hours. Now that's a miracle.)

The next day, still nothing. When I got my mail, I received a tax refund check (it was mailed to an old address from 2 years ago despite the address being correct on my filing and wasn't supposed to come for another 2 months). I got a call from a recruiter. I felt like things were starting to go my way for the first time in a very, very long time.

All I know is that in the month since seeing Amma, I feel lighter, more positive and open. I have more courage in everything I do. Perhaps her hug absorbed my bad juju. Or maybe I just want to believe. Either way, I'm not questioning it. I just say, "Amma Mia!" as I lovingly touch the blessed beads that I now wear daily.

Amma travels the world giving free hugs while spreading her message of love and peace. (I promise it's not a cult). If you're interested, check for more information.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Free is the best way to be. Or at least discounted.

When you get laid off, you don't get a handbook. You aren't given much instruction at all. You know that you need to file for unemployment. Sign up for COBRA. Then, you're off in the wind.

By reading some of the inserts in my bills (I had time on my hands), I discovered that you can get discounts for your utilities (like phone, gas & electricity). Many states have these funded programs so that you can save 10-20% on your bills. You need to fill out some forms, but hey, you've got the time.

I also worked with my credit card companies to get arrangements set up where I could pay less per month than when I was working. It's all about keeping your nest egg for as long as you can.

These are some of the practical things that I learned (and wrote about in my eBook). But, this is FUNemployment. Now that some of the logistics are in place, let's have some fun.

Twitter is one of the best places to find out about free events in your city or town. It is a great place to post information about free events, especially when they need people to come. That's how I got to go to The ESPY's red carpet. I also got to see "How Do You Know" with Reese Witherspoon at the red carpet premiere. I met Joan Rivers after a taping of E!'s "Fashion Police. Jane Fonda's DVD launch party? Yep, all from Twitter. Follow people who post about events (they're easy to find) and you can get entry to a lot of great events for free or at least discounted.

Fun doesn't have to be expensive. But it's a must have. If you're unemployed, be FUNemployed even if only for an afternoon. It'll be a much needed relief.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Stint as a Guest Post-er

I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to guest post for two blogs. The first of which is up! Check it out on Smart Unemployment, a site that offers invaluable information for the unemployed.

Oh yeah, buy my book.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The spaghetti's on the wall

In this economy, if you're unemployed and you want to survive, you need ingenuity and flexibility. Wearing lots of hats, sometimes multiple on the same day, is also a must. Result: hat head and static-y hair aside, it's stressful, exhausting and...inspiring.

I recently tallied the number of jobs that I've applied to since my last full-time freelance gig: 506. Number of companies who've expressed interest/interviewed me: 37. Number of offers: 0. I could take it personally. I could think there's something wrong with me. Or I could be at a crossroads. Actually, not a crossroads. The universe could be holding a gigantic invisible forcefield between me and the advertising path. (I've also been trying to go horseback riding for months and every time it falls through. Invisible forcefield #2. Hey Universe, it will make for a good post!)

I can't dwell on the why. I can only keep moving. I apply to jobs daily. And then I work on my freelance project. Or I do publicity for my eBook (if you haven't bought it yet....Just Do It. Links are to your left). Publicity is a full time job. There are some exciting interviews in the can that I'm hoping will start a snowball reaction. I've also done some guest blogging which is pretty cool. I may have the chance to write an article soon too...which would be good. I also completed a secret writing project which I loved doing and of which I can't wait to do more. Technically, I'm employed by no one but I have 4 jobs. I just need them (or 1) to start being lucrative.

I don't know what my future holds but instead of being frustrated, I'm feeling excited. I know what I want to do but I also know what makes the most sense. All I know is that I'm throwing a lot of spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Job Searching Is Like Dating. On Reality TV.

In my job search, I've felt like a contestant on The Bachelor. Vying for the love of a kinda swarmy guy (or job in this case) with lots of other contestants. It can be maddening, make you paranoid and break your heart. You do your best, get in shape (or research the company) and brush your hair. You show up for that interview nervous and hopeful, maybe with your palms sweating. You think, this could be it. I've found the one.

You walk out, drive home and can't wait for them to call. You think, well, it'll be a few days before I hear of anything. You relax. Talk to your friends, tell them that you think you've found a good one. And then nothing. Inexplicably, you didn't get a rose. And it keeps happening.

Unlike dating where you can take a break, job searching doesn't end. You have to keep at it and you have to walk in fresh and positive every time.

Just think about it this way: the good news is that you're not embarrassing yourself on national TV by crying about someone named Bentley who said really terrible things about you.

Speaking of not embarrassing oneself...I have been super lucky to get a few blogger interviews to promote the ebook. It is hard work promoting it but I am proud to share them with you!

From my hometown:​7/06/unemployment-is-fun/
From the UK: http://morgenbailey.wordpress.​com/2011/07/05/blog-interview-​no-44-with-non-fiction-short-s​tory-author-and-poet-kerry-qui​nn/
And beyond: Interview With Kerry Quinn Literary Agent Reviews | The Agent Rater

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Economic Ironic

Since I was laid off from my ad agency job, I've had fun. I've also hustled...I got three freelance projects on my own, became an eBay seller and wrote a book. To potential employers, it should say "I'm a problem solver who created my own jobs when there weren't any. And I'd be an asset because there is no way any of these things would've happened if I wasn't driven."

Unfortunately, potential employers are seeing it more like this, "Wow. She's been outside the agency system and has found other work and interests. I don't know if I could've survived in her shoes. She'd be a strong employee. One who might take my job. I'm better off with the person who is sad and has been dying to get back to their life from before."

If you can sense my frustration, you're on the money. You see, I'm a New Yorker. who interviews like a New Yorker. I want to show them that I'm the best. That's how you get a job in NYC. I should know, I've gotten plenty of them. Even after 9/11. (At one point, I felt like a professional job interviewer.) With competition being what it is, I thought my "best" approach and deep pre-interview research was the way to go. Nope.

This theory is not just in my head. I saw a recruiter and she said, "All of these interviews and no offers?" And at the end of our interview, she said, "You're great. I can see that you could be intimidating. Whatever you do, don't say anything about the book. We have to find the right company and/or boss for you. Someone who isn't sensitive to their job security." Huh?

My theory is that some people who retained their jobs during the downturn are scared. They've been afraid of losing their jobs for two years and don't want anyone who can come in and shake things up. I get it. But at least two of those agencies have seen clients scale back on their assignments to start working with other agencies. If they're afraid to step out of their box...hiring wise and creatively then this is precisely why someone like me is needed. I'm not here to take. I'm here to ADD. Some fresh blood may do some good.

We know that the economy has messed with a lot of people's heads as well as their finances. I just didn't think it also applied to those that never received a pink slip. I call it Economic Ironic.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Conan the Inspiration

"Your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention." 

Never has this been more true than for the unemployed. Getting laid off is demoralizing and while not necessarily one person's failure, it is quite common for the laid off to feel like they failed. I certainly did. The difference is what you do with it. If you're FUNemployed, you try new things, get yourself out there, follow your heart and in the end, just may reinvent yourself. I never would've thought that I'd write a book but that's certainly what I just did.

This quote is from the Dartmouth commencement speech delivered by Conan O'Brien. Funny for the first 15 minutes, at minute 16 until the end, he speaks of his public firing, his beard and his reinvention. Granted he is still a talk show host and comedian, but during his unemployment he joined twitter, did a comedy tour and played guitar. He could be a "FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn" case study.

Watch the YouTube video because I can't do it justice. You'll laugh, you'll be inspired and just may try something new today. All hail CoCo!

Monday, June 13, 2011

High on Yoga

Given my love for anything free AND yoga, I was excited to take a free class at a new studio in Hollywood. It was also in walking distance so I would save on gas. I thought I had hit the FUNemployed jackpot.

On my way there, I had to look carefully for the sign which was not easy as I passed a house full of trash and shady characters who looked like they traded in illegal substances. I quickly passed and realized that my destination was right next door. Ruh roh.

I climbed some stairs, oblivious to the store below. I went in and it was not your typical yoga studio. A guy with a lot of weird face piercings was washing something in the sink...which doubled as the front desk. I wanted to leave but figured that I hauled my yoga mat for 10 blocks so I might as well get my yoga on.

The class was very slow and remedial. Ok, it was free so I really shouldn't complain. They turned the heat up and it started to smell like weed. Since I'm living substance free, this was not a reason for joy. And then I thought, oh god, is this above a weed dispensary? WHO OPENS AN EXERCISE STUDIO ABOVE A WEED STORE? Dudes with lots of piercings. High-ons who want to be in shape. Those who want to kill time in between drug deals. People who live in trash houses.

Oh the life of the FUNemployed...chasing every free deal like a stoner chasing a blunt. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

You, The Reader

I'm beginning to think about creating a video about the book in which I talk about the process of writing it, some of the challenges and of course the triumphs. As readers of this blog (and hopefully) the book, what would you like to know? Submit questions or topics in the comments section. After all, this is all for you!

Monday, June 6, 2011


I've quickly learned that writing an ebook, distributing it to major e-retailers and posting it on Facebook does not guarantee immediate sales. So, I've put on my Fedora and tucked in a white index card with the word "PRESS" written in shaky black Sharpie. Looking like a pro is the first step.

Next step, Google "How to write a press release." Ok, now that's that I've read how to do it, I need to write it. But before I do, let's figure out who to send it to and get some email addresses collected. Let's email some friends to see if they have any contacts. Ok, back to the release.

In short, that was last week. Looking like a pro, begging for help, googling, drafting.

This week, it's going to happen. Get the release out, pitch some people and get the buzz going. You know, be an imPRESSario. Then next week I can move on to a new career: laser hair removal (may need training for that though), kung fu master (my neighbors yell "HA" a lot with accompanying scuffles so i'm depending on osmosis) or TV critic (I watch a lot and am never short on opinions.) I'm also open to suggestions!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Sometimes having too many tasks, too many things to tackle that are new and confusing is overwhelming. It's easy to let what's in front of you freeze you in your tracks. Lately, I feel like someone's shooting me with a freeze ray gun and I'm powerless to move.

Writing and editing a book, plus shooting the cover image, are big tasks. I should feel accomplished. Instead I feel more like I've pushed a rock to the top of the mountain just to find out I'm only halfway there.  I now need to get out there and market this book to make money for the four months of writing. It should be easy as this is my trade but I'm finding it harder to market something so personal versus a company's product.

I've also been interviewing for jobs. Lucky for me, I've been getting interviews. Unluckily, I'm not getting the jobs. It's frustrating and defeating. I research companies, study products and practice answering interview questions. One job recruiter told me I didn't get the job because I was "too polished." That was a frustrating first.

I subscribe to an online magazine called Fear.Less that I truly cherish ( Today's email "Your Fears are Lies" talked about being frozen due to fear of imagined failures. It seems more comfortable for your ego to stay where you are than to take a risk. In the midst of it all, fear tells you what you're producing isn't good so you can keep your perfect self image intact. But that's not living. I overcame these fears while writing the book. Now I need to overcome the fears holding me back from marketing it (bad reviews, disappointed readers) and from pushing though on my job search (you're not the right fit, you don't have what it takes). No time to play it safe now.

Instead of being overwhelmed, I'm going to be over-well-med. I'll draw from my well water of talent to spray Mr. Freezey Gun of Fear. And I'll say, "Well-come to thaw! Hahahahahahah!" Or something like that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


After finishing the book (yeah, I'm gonna keep harping on it), I felt that I deserved a massage. Not wanting to spend $125, I did a little research. Lucky for me, I found an $80 deal: scrub, massage, soak and sauna. The only catch was that I needed to be completely naked for everyone to see. And venture to Koreatown. 

Singing Prince's "I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man," at the top of my lungs, I drove into in Koreatown. East of Hollywood, west of downtown, Koreatown feels like another world. Signs are in Korean. Karaoke bars are everywhere, but so are the spas. 

I got there 45 minutes early so I could soak and steam. My research had alerted me to the nakedness, but reading about it and living it are very different. Shortly after you arrive, you'd better get naked quickly or you will be stared down. I've been working out, eating vegan and have lost a little more than 10 lbs so I didn't need to be modest. Luckily, I left it in my car. 

With only a handful of ladies there on a Tuesday morning, I didn't feel totally embarassed. I hit the Clay room, the amber soak and the steam room before getting called in for my scrub. In an open, communal room ladies wearing black bras and panties perform scrubs and massages. My lady scrubbed what felt like sheets of dead skin off me but it didn't hurt. Then she massaged me, put on a cucumber facial mask and washed and conditioned my hair for me. Full service all for the grand total of $80.

I bared my bottom, my skin now feels as smooth as a baby's bottom, My skin feels as smooth as a baby's bottom and with a bottom dollar price of $80, this is no recession special...this is the everyday price. So, bottoms up!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Prince's Pauper

The book is published (only 27 hours in the upload queue!) so I'm free to have some fun...and write about it. I admit that the blog has been lagging. You can complain, but not blame. Writing a book is all-encompassing. Ready for a little catch-up? First up: seeing Prince in concert at The Forum.

I adored his Purpleness as a little girl and knew all of the words to his songs. Basically, he was my Bieber, except I didn't want to marry him. I wanted to be his BFF so we could share clothes. You see, we're roughly the same height and we both love jumpsuits. I was under his royal spell until he became a symbol. He lost me and I forgot all about him. I only had 1 song in my iPod.

Prince is trying to save The Forum, a theater in Inglewood, CA so he's doing a "21-night stand" of concerts. The majority of tickets are $25 each--no tax, no fees. The only catch is that the shows go on sale on Monday or Tuesday for shows later that week. You need to move quickly to get the best $25 tickets. But it's worth it...opening acts are a surprise and he usually performs for 3 hours. The show is utterly amazing.

He played every song that I loved and my memory pulled the lyrics from the depths of my hippocampus. Raspberry Beret, 1999, Lil Red Corvette, Purple Rain, When Doves Cry, Alphabet Street, Darling Nikki, Delirious.... I turned to my friend, screamed and shook my head at least three times throughout the show. I realized how much I loved Prince and that I had to download my favorite songs. You could say I'm Princ-essed--he's been on repeat for the past week in my car.

The odds are pretty good that I'll go again. I mean how often do you get a chance to see an amazing show for only $25? Plus Chaka Kahn, Whitney Houston (both at the show I was at), Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys and more.  This is a recession special that's a funky recess must! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coming Soon--FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn

I'm ecstatic to announce that the book is one step closer to market. It's been proofread, the cover is done and I'm uploading it tonight. Assuming no formatting glitches, it should be available in ebook stores next week.

While I felt like a one-man band throughout most of this process (writing, editing, photographing and soon enough marketing), I could not have done this without the support of my friends and family. I have thanked them in an Acknowledgements section but why not do it here too?

I’d like to dedicate the book to my loving parents, Lynn and Mike Quinn. For always supporting me on this crazy ride.

To Susan Gelvin and Amanda Wilson, thank you for cheering me on and always providing unending support.

To Diane Kelley, for always telling me that I could do this.

To Brett Ellen Block for getting me started on this journey and being a never-ending source of information and inspiration.

To Maryam Mohseni for her brilliant cover design.

To Steve Peckingham and Mary Lou Currier for reading the first three chapters and giving me invaluable feedback.

Lastly, to all of my FUNemployed friends and acquaintances: keep it positive and never lose faith.

Monday, April 25, 2011

When Lunacy Collides

I've got a tip for you. When involved in an electronic courtship with a man, avoid these three reveals:

1. I don't know how to ride a bike.
2. I'm going to an art installation in a cemetery tonight. Wanna come?
3. I'm FUNemployed and just wrote a book about it.

And if you are going to share, try not to do it all in the same email.

On Friday evening, Twitter made me aware of 2 men who hailed a cab at NYC's LaGuardia airport and decided to come to Los Angeles. They had just arrived. In the spirit of NYer to NYer, I tweeted them. 

On Saturday am, I saw that they were heading to the Kodak theater, a mere 5 blocks away. Being the intrepid lunatic that I am, I jumped out of bed, got dressed and speed walked over. I easily found them. 

After telling them that I came over because I read they were there on Twitter (they looked scared), I said that I had to see the cab. I chatted with Dan for quite awhile and we took pictures. I think we bonded because hailing a cab on a whim to go to a faraway place is right up my alley. He gave me his email address on a taxi receipt. 

Shortly thereafter, he tweeted me to send the picture to him, which I did. Then we started emailing. After the email where I revealed the 3 items above, all communications stopped. Guessing he has something against girls who can't ride bikes? 

Anyway, take it from me. When revealing you're FUNemployed status just don't do it in conjunction with cemetery excursions (they have movies there all summer long. It's a hotspot so it's not at weird as it sounds) and sports that require balance. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hodge Podge

As I come to the end of editing the book (I'm checking footnote format and conclusions for consistency across chapters and then that's it!), I've also been able to work in a little bit of fun.

A Rose by any other name: I went to a University Michigan alumni sanctioned event of a film screening filmed on campus. The first time the University has granted such access, the crowd was maized, blued and ready to holler. As my fellow UM alum and I chilled in the lobby, my friend called, "Jalen!" and shook his hand like they were old friends. Chris shared that we'd seen Jalen on the ESPYs red carpet and we had a bonding moment. We took pictures with him, raved about the Fab Five documentary and he asked me to tweet him so that he could give me a shout out. Overall, a good guy.

Observing an observatory: One of my main FUNemployment goals was to visit Griffith Observatory and hike the park. It seems simple, since it is less than a 20 minute drive however I never made it there. I found out about a hike/yoga session that uses a guide to take you on a hike with intermittent yoga breaks. I figured this would be the best way for me to learn my way around this trails (this city kids is afraid of the woods). At the top of the hike, you have 360 degree views of the city and it's amazing. Afterward, I walked through the Observatory and checked out the exhibits. I stood where James Dean had in Rebel Without a Cause and was deliriously happy that I;d made this happen after three and half years of living so close.

Absence of Fear: In December, a friend of mine forwarded me an email talking about how to overcome fear. I quickly learned about this site that creates a monthly e-magazine with stories of people overcoming their fears. I read their newsletters and articles and can say that I've been inspired. It's easy to say I can't; it's much harder to say I can. Reading their work made me say the latter. Check it out:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

D*Face defaces the legacies of legitimate artists

Well that's a headline that could make a few peoples' blood boil.

On Saturday evening, D*Face had a show of his latest works at a gallery in Culver City, CA. From the school of Banksy and Shepard Fairey, D*Face is a British graffiti artist capitalizing on the hottest trends in art: street and skulls.

I've been going to gallery openings for the past six-seven months and have seen that THE fad is skulls. And boy do they sell. If you started in graffiti then you're hot as well. Paired together and you've got dynamite (sales wise).

As I looked at the work, I immediately thought: derivative. Why? I could identify in less than 5 seconds every artist that D*Face referenced: Lichtenstein, Haring, Hirst and Warhol. The swag (a balloon) looked like any Koons sculpture. In fact, he didn't reference. He damn near copied except for replacing faces with skulls.

The question of "What is art?" has been asked for centuries. Warhol's works were seen more as advertising than art. Now, he is considered a genius. I'd argue that regardless of your view on Warhol, he had a unique perspective. His take was different from anything seen before...he took everyday products and people and made you look at them differently. Did you ever look at a Campbell's soup can artfully? No, but you did after Warhol silk screened it. It took the ordinary (specifically the label design) and made it extraordinary.

In looking at D*Face's work, I didn't get the same feeling. Even Banksy's work is original, whether you like it or not. Fairey's work is less so and I'd say that D*Face and Mr. Brainwash are out right "tweakers"--they take someone else's idea and change it slightly so that they can claim it as their own. Would Lichtenstein have ever painted a woman kissing a skull? Nope. Is D*Face saying anything? Not as far as I can see other than: street! skulls! pay me a lot of money for it!

The people at the show couldn't name any of the artists being referenced, including an art magazine reporter. They knew they'd seen something like it before but had no idea. I had to tell the reporter which artists were being referenced (I'm sure he impressed his editors with my knowledge). I learned my art, artists, movements and periods diligently studying art history. On Saturday evening, I realized just how lucky I was to have the education that I've had (thanks Mom!) I was exposed to so much art that I just assume that everyone else is just as aware. To me, art is beauty. I often forget that to most people, it's a commodity.

I briefly met the artist but failed to ask him about his motivations or his references. He was too busy signing items for the people mobbing him. In their eyes, his signature is art too. Funny how many of those signatures are now being sold on eBay. Commodity indeed.

Monday, April 4, 2011

No April Fool

Spring has sprung which means it's the perfect time for change. In my FUNemployed journey, I've made lots of changes. These are the latest:

1. I no longer drink alcohol (and haven't for a few months). But I'm still fun. Lack of alcohol has only allowed me to up my antics.

2. I no longer eat meat or dairy. I was always a pain to eat with anyway, so this shouldn't make it too much worse. (Btw, fish is still off the table.)

I've made such drastic changes because for years, I've treated my body like a garbage can. Constant sinus congestion and need for naps made me realize that I needed to make some changes. After reading a book called Skinny Bitch, which I read for vanity, I decided to take the book's advice and eat veggies and grains to see how I felt. Well, it's been 2 weeks and I've never felt better.

My spirits are good and I believe that things will happen for me in April. I have two job leads that are promising and I'm in the last stages of the book. I'm close to signing a freelance deal that would provide some income. I'm feeling the optimism that can only come at the beginning of Spring.

Or I could be high on kale. One never knows these days.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Opting Out

One of my challenges is saying no to people. At my core, I'm a people pleaser. So I end up saying yes to invitations to which I really want to say no.

This past weekend was a Dance for Peace. It was a hippie Burning Man style festival where people presumably dance. There are DJs and I assume lots of people on high on life (wink, wink.) I was invited by a new friend so I immediately said yes. I thought, "I've never been to one of these things. I only live once."

The night before the Dance, I felt dread. Considering I no longer drink and don't smoke weed, it would probably be pretty boring for someone who is 1) sober; 2) enjoys solo dancing to Katy Perry, Jay-Z and Pink; 3) shuns dance clubs; 4) doesn't like being touched by dirty hippies; 5) thinks bongos are an atrocity; and 6) is 36 years old. But the people pleaser in me thought, "I should just go. I can suffer through for an hour."  

Prior to The Dance, I went to brunch with two ex-New Yorkers whose company reminded me who I am. I am Manhattan, not Brooklyn. I'm Hollywood Hills, not Venice. I'm Carrie Bradshaw, not Tori Amos.

With much anxiety, I opted-out at the last minute. I felt bad for letting my friend down but I felt good about my decision as I headed home. Sometimes doing something for someone else or for a blog post isn't worth it.

Besides, I have many irons in the fire: 1) eBay sales are heating up; 2) I have a few great job leads; 3) I'm submitted a proposal for a freelance project that could be lucrative; and 4) I'm in the final stretch of editing the book. I don't have time for peace dancing; I need to be an ambitious warrior.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Devil, Thy Name is Dairy

"Got Milk?" Totally. "Some cheese with your wine?" Absolutely. "We all scream for ice cream!" Count me in.

Antibiotics, Claritin-D, Kleenex. As a long time sufferer of sinus infections and congestion, these have been the items of prominence in most of my adult life. In 2009, I had a sinuplasty to open up my sinuses so they were large enough through which mucous could pass. A success for almost a year, I could finally breathe. Only recently have I been suffering from congestion again despite irrigating my sinuses twice a day. Understand this: sinus congestion is maddening, uncomfortable and results in exhaustion.

On a whim, I began reading Skinny Bitch, a book about eating healthfully and getting thin effortlessly. Newsflash: eat vegetables, grains and fruits (non-fun foods) and shun alcohol, coffee, sugar, meat and dairy (the fun stuff). We all know this, but we don't really know why. We should avoid the "fun foods" because they're not meant to be consumed by humans.

Our bodies are well oiled machines. If you give it the right gas, it will run well. If you give your car Diesel, then don't expect it to get you anywhere and it will take a long time to process/repair. The "fun foods" are our bodies' Diesel. (The book goes into more detail and it's fascinating.)

For sinus purposes, dairy is especially bad because our body attacks it like an infection and the result is mucous. (For the record, my ENT had told me this, too.) We're not supposed to have milk past infancy and we'd be fine without it. Cheese even has morphine in it (breast and udder milk have naturally occurring opiates to keep infants and calfs drinking milk. In the cheese-making process, the cow's milk opiates are exacerbated greatly and become morphine. It's true, cheese addicts.) I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Net-net, I decided to stop dairy (all but 5% of my usual consumption) to see what happened. Well, it's day 6 and my sinuses are as clear as a bell--as open and dry as they were after surgery.  I haven't taken Claritin in weeks (it was useless) so that's not it. I haven't added any supplements. I've eaten more fruits, vegetables and grains and shunned meat. So maybe that helps.

As the book says, "You are what you eat." I'm proud to say that I'm now more of a "no fun food eater" instead of a morphine-addicted mucous monster. So take it for what it's worth, dairy-dedicated sinus sufferers. Nothing tastes as good as mucous free feels.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hey, Ms. Tambourine!

Some think it's called Karaoke. Well, let me tell ya, you haven't experienced warbling in its truest form until you've experienced Kerry-oke.

On Friday night, my friend held his birthday party at an awesome place called Soop Sok Music Studios in Koreatown. On my 20 minute drive over, I warmed my vocals with "Raise Your Glass," "Black and Yellow" and "Teenage Dream" (a song that I've listed to 687 times, per iTunes).

When I arrived, I immediately performed "Teenage Dream." Then lots of other people sang (including the birthday boy who did a phenomenal rendition of "NY State of Mind.") There were a bunch of actors that all had musical and theater training who made everyone step up their game.

While keenly observing these quasi-professionals, my eyes rested on a tambourine. In my college days, I sang back up for The Bartonians (unofficially. It's complicated) and mastered the tambourine. It's been some years since I held this fine instrument in my hands.

I began shaking my old friend and soon discovered that it lit up with four different speeds: spastic lights, medium, slower and then slow jam light mode. I adjusted for every song.

I sang "Raise your Glass," "Me and Bobby McGee" and "Wanted: Dead or Alive." I shook my instrument and my booty to every other song (Note: I've given up drinking for a few months now so this was based on pure joy!)

I was sad to part with my tambourine, so we did a photo shoot to commemorate the experience. Out of curiosity, I asked the price and to my surprise, the Korean lady said, "Gift" and then "Yelp." I screamed with glee and proceeded to write and post an excellent review on Yelp later that night. (This isn't payola; I did have an extraordinary time!)

So, a tambourine can be illuminating. I learned that I can still shake it, if you ask then you shall receive and sometimes you can get delight from the simplest things.

Just call me Ms. Tambourine!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Three Lines, 2 Wrist Bands and 1 Heater

Last week, I stepped up my social game. I went to the premiere party for a web series, the super secret Lykke Li show at Sky Bar, Shepard Fairey's art opening and a TV writers' panel. I waited in line at all but the first, the middle two made me wear wrist bands and the art opening had me shivering underneath 1 working outdoor heater.

The web series premiere party for Foodies was on Tuesday night and there was little drama other than on the screen. Easy to get in, free, no lines or wrist bands and it was warm. It was also over in little more than an hour. If you want to see ridiculous LA dinner parties (and a dig about my hometown of Westport, CT) then this is the show for you.

The Lykke Li show, in contrast, was a monumental, drama filled extravaganza. As the only FUNemployed person in the group, I took point on getting in the line. It was guest list only which worked since we've been on the list since January. Upon arrival, I learned that wrist bands were being distributed and they could not be saved for others. I started sweating since the 2 other people were not there yet. In the end, after lots of drama, wrist band wrist slippage (I'm the expert) and flirting with the door bouncer, we had comfy seats on a couch. The free show was intimate, the setting beautiful and the performance amazing.

Next up was the free Shepard Fairey art opening. If you don't know him, he is the street artist whose most famous work is "OBEY" with Andre The Giant's image. I'm not a huge fan of his work but like art parties. There was a huge line to get in, wrist bands mandatory and Dave Navarro. I smuggled my way in by befriending an intoxicated man with a wristband (shortly after sliding by security, I literally ran into Dave Navarro). The space was tiny (as is Dave) so I ended up outside again listening to the band called Metalachi, a hybrid metal and mariachi band. That's when I met the heater. It was chilly, I didn't have a jacket so I camped out with my new best friend. At one point, I leaned back, put my leg up and pretended to be a stripper. Camera flash. That's a photo for the ages.

Lastly, I went to a TV writers' panel. After waiting in a mellow line, we sat and listened to 2 super successful writers, one medium successful and one relatively new to the business. It was fascinating to hear what they had to say. And inspirational. I woke up today with a renewed focus on finishing the book. They all talked about the self-loathing process of writing which is something that I've felt A LOT. It was good to hear that even super successful writers have days where they tell themselves that they have no business doing what they're doing.

3 (lines), 2 (wrist bands, 1 orange, 1 lime green), 1 (heater): I've got a new fire burning in me. For writing, not from the heater.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Traveling Salesman

I am coming down with a cold and sound like a frog. Therefore, I'm cranky which will pepper this post. You've been warned.

As a list maker, I rarely operate without writing my to dos. Sometimes it's reassuring to see that I have things to do, a purpose you may say. Other times it's overwhelming to just feel like I'm always on the go with no end in sight. Interviews...appointments...library books...Netflix engagements...resume revisions...applying to healthy research...ebook publishing how-to' cover photo servicing...ebay sales. I feel like a traveling salesman with a huge territory.

Sales is a hard job and there is often a lot of rejection. Constantly searching for next great experiences all feel like sales calls to me. The latter two have been much more attainable. Easy sales you might say. The big sales (the first two) have been alluding me. Based on what the psychic told me last week, both work and love will come quickly. I hope she's right. I'm tired of going door to door and having it slammed in my face.

Willie Loman was a terrible salesman and Arthur Miller alluded that his lack of success was due to his misperception of that he was good at what he did and his personal charisma and popularity would lead to his success. I'm hoping that my downfall won't be my optimism and belief that everything will turn out okay. Stupendous even.

Here's to getting off the road.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Channeling Dionne Warwick

This week, I called a highly recommended psychic. I liked what I heard. She foresaw the following:

1. I will be working in 4-6 weeks. I have two interviews scheduled and she told me they will go well. She explained that she sees me taking a different job. The interview has not been scheduled but the company will be close to home and not as fast paced as agency life.

2. I will meet the man I will marry in May. He'll have light hair (slightly wavy) and light eyes. He is a happy man, likely because he's always been lucky. He's not a game player. I'll meet him in connection to the new job. He'll either work in the building or with my company. I'll meet him in the parking lot.

3. I'll have a boy and a girl. They will not be twins. I stopped myself from asking if they'll be Irish twins. Considering I'm 36, I think that goes without saying.

4. The book will be a slow start sales wise. It will sell a bit at first but it will grow over time to be deemed a "success."

The common reaction has been, "And you believe this?" Yes, I do. I saw a psychic last year who basically told me #2 almost verbatim (sans parking lot) and that it would be spring 2011. Last year's psychic also told me about #3, exactly.

This psychic told me that she could see that I've been in a dark period, a time of transition. There is only light ahead. I'd be an idiot not to believe my new psychic friend.

And, I'll be looking back at this in 4-6 weeks to check!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Street Art Has My Heart

Since watching Exit Through The Giftshop, I've been obsessed with Banksy's cheeky work. When I heard he was tagging Hollywood in a bid to get Oscar votes, I started wondering where he'd strike next. Sadly, many of his recent works have been stolen or defaced. I didn't get to see them in time.

Like an art world terrorist, Banksy strikes and then claims ownership by posting a picture on his Web site. Since there are quite a few copycats (including his prodigy Mr. Brainwash), this has been the main strategy for deciphering the authentic from the faux.

Over the past week, I've developed a radar for street art. I now see it everywhere. If I'm driving and see something of interest, I pull over to take a picture. Unlike museum pieces, any of these works can disappear at any time. Their transient nature has got me hunting and gathering pictures before its too late.

So far, I've gotten a few Mr. Brainwash works. Still on the lookout for an elusive Banksy...

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Second Attempt at Paparazzi-dom

I've been writing the book at a coffee shop on Fairfax that I refer to as "The Office." I go there Monday through Friday and work anywhere from 3-7 hours, depending on how bleary-eyed I get. I've finished the first draft and am 75% through my first full read. I've beefed up some sections, deleted others and am correcting any kind of weird grammatical issues.

On a daily basis, it's not terribly surprising to see a celeb at The Office. Seth Rogen comes in 2-3 times every week. Usually accompanied by a posse, he orders a cappuccino. I know because his voice carries and he has a unique intonation. He is unassuming, hiding underneath a newsboy cap. No one pays any attention to him.

Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) came in once. Fresh from a shower, it was her first time there. She was kind to the barista and asked for his recommendation. She got a vanilla latte. No, she was not wearing a track suit.

Today, Amanda Seyfried came to The Office with a LOT of fanfare. Trailed by a pack of ex-gang members turned paparazzi (yes, it's true, they all used to be in gangs) she arrived with two female friends and her two dogs. How does she look? She is tiny with the body of a 12-year old girl. Her blonde hair is beautiful but her face is wan and broken out. No one would've even noticed her if she didn't have the world's scariest posse with her.

She sat outside in clear view of the paps so they could get good shots of her over the course of two hours. Everyone was whispering, "Who is that girl?" When I identified her for my neighbors they had no recognition. I struggled to think of a movie that she was in and could only come up with, "Ummm, that ABBA movie?" Vague recollection passed into confusion. If none of us knew who she was, then how come she was getting so much pap attention?

My conclusion is she (or her publicists) must have called them. She has a movie coming out (something about red riding hood? oy vey) and is/was dating Ryan Philippe. Her publicists must be working over time to get her picture everywhere. Well, it worked. TMZ, X-17 and the rest were all there.

I got in on the action by taking her picture while she was waiting for her latte. It's not a great shot but I tried to be stealthy. This is much better than my first attempt at being a pap (I tried to take January Jones' picture in a bar which resulted in a blurry, dark picture). Too bad my Macbook was in the shot (but look at how much I've written for the book?!)

Once again, more like KFed's Popozao than Gaga's Paparazzi. Then again, I'm not an ex-gang member with a grill.