Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Should We Talk About the Weather.

North Texas is getting a major cold front right now. What started out as a 75 degree day has quickly become 35 degrees with a chance of getting even colder in the next few hours. Add to that some rain and what you get are icy roads and sleet in an area known for its year round warmth. The funny thing is how crazy everyone in Texas gets about it all.

It started in the office when someone asked if we were ready for the blizzard coming our way. Then came an email with a phone tree listing of who should call whom upon any circumstances in the morning. And then the obligatory mention of wanting to come in late and leave early to miss the highway traffic. Why is everyone so afraid of the weather? The answer, right after this...

{insert Target Christmas Ad, with that catchy tune I can't find the name too, here}

Everyone anticipates the worst when icy weather comes to North Texas. From buying groceries, to school closings, to office phone trees. If you ask anyone why, they'll tell you it's not because they're afraid to drive on the ice, but because they're afraid of how other people will drive on the ice. I heard it at work, I heard it at On The Border, I hear it from Lyndsey all the time, and then someone mentioned it while being interviewed on the news tonight. "I'm more worried about the other drivers out there," people say. Even the Getty Images rep from Chicago said the lady at the Car rental place told him to be weary of all the other drivers out there. Apparently, Texans don't know how to drive on ice because it's not a common occurrence.

Don't you think if we're so busy worried about how others drive, we might forget how to drive ourselves? I say, if you do plan on driving, worry about yourself, your car, your windshielf wipers, your heater, your seatbelt, your parking brake, your Starbucks Peppermint Mocha in the cupholder, and your break pads. If everyone takes care of their personal travel needs, we won't cause any harm to each other. That's why I take the train to work.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Texas on TV.

It's not a secret to say that Austin has become this generation's version of Hollywood. I'm not from there and I don't live there, but I have been to SXSW 3 times, I read Aint it Cool News, and I love the Alamo Drafthouse. With guys like Robert Rodriguez, Richard Linklater, Mike Judge, and Harry Knowles (and Dentler of course) at the helm of this land of appreciation, it's no wonder they've finally struck a nerve.

Take Monday night's NBC one-two punch of HEROES and STUDIO 60. Last night the Hollywood town of Texas got a mention in each show. In HEROES, the Japanese time bender, Hiro (note the name coincidence), mentioned to his lady friend the chance to go to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin to see some Kurosawa films. An hour later, Matthew Perry cracked a joke about a target audience that reads Aint-It-Cool-News. I wonder if these guys A. really like Austin or B. are referencing these sites to reach an audience of their own. HEROES: A. STUDIO 60: B.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Gig 'em Ags!

After 6 years, the Aggies finally beat the Longhorns 12-7. I knew the tides would change once we got back to Texas.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Friends in High Places.

It's not selfish to say that I have my blog bookmarked in my Safari browser. The reason is because on my blog I have links to some of my other fellow blogger friends and more often than not, visit their sites for the latest going ons. Tonight I was fortunate enough to visit Aldo's (The Capitalist) site a few days after his recent post. Aldo is in Argentina on business. He wanted to let everyone know. And he wanted to post some other links to fabulous Aldo content.

Thankfully he listed an article written by one of our dear friends from back home, Matt, whose blog for the SXSW Festival is also listed in my links section. It was a link to Matt's last article as Music Editor for The Daily Texan at U.T. It's a great commemorative piece for the guy as he discusses his thoughts on graduating and moving on, written over a year after 9/11. Four years later and Matt has become a high profile producer in the festival circuit.

Thanks Matt for the mention and your prediction of local Austin band, Spoon, was right on the money.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Hard Days Night.

I'm sure you've all figured out that since I've been working, this blog has collected some dust. I'm beginning to think I should change the title of this thing to 'Puckett Every Other Week'. Fortunately, it's all been for a very good reason. After all, blogging does not count for any additional income. So I thought I'd fill you in on my days and nights:

The official hours at the office are 8:30-5:30. As a test to save a little cash, wear-and-tear on the car, and my sanity, I've been taking the Trinity Railway Express to Downtown Dallas. There's a station about 4 songs from the house and the train ride is approximately 7 songs. It drops off at Dallas Union Station, about 8 blocks from the office, where if I chose to I could walk and be at the office in about 3.5 songs. Or I could jump on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and be at the office in 2 songs. You see, all this pedestrian time has allowed my iPod and I to become friends again. He's a lot happier when he's playing music than when he was being used as a flash drive. The biggest challenge has been catching the train at the right time. They're really good about staying on schedule and I think I've finally figured it all out.

I've been working on a few projects, catching some quick turnaround deadlines, and keeping our clients happy. Last Thursday, we hosted an Open House to show off our new office space to clients and friends of MasonBaronet. It was a happening gig with food, drink, and music. Lyndsey and Ian joined the fun and got to meet everyone in the office. Ian loved watching the goldfish. I swear, that kid is going to be a Marine Biologist. It's a great space with hardwood and dark polished concrete floors. The best spot is at the production counter around 3:30pm when the afternoon sunlight beams right onto the cutting mat. Printouts never looked so good. At the end of my first week, we had a Happy Hour at the end of the day that included a Champagne toast (and some left over Shiner Bock-good to be back in Texas) welcoming me to the team.

Nights go by pretty quickly. I usually get home around 7:15 after staying a little later and then catching the train. By then, I catch up on dinner and get some play time with Ian before he gets his bath. We all visit and hangout with NBC in the background. Dim the lights around 8:30 calming Ian down to get him ready for bed. He's been having a rough time getting to sleep. I think it's because he misses me all day and wants to stay up and play all night, but that's just me. Lyndsey and I catch up on some things before calling it a night.

I just finished two weeks now which means I got my first paycheck as a Creative. I told Lyndsey she had 3 choices for dinner last night: 1. Bennigans - where I haven't had my favorite Turkey O'Toole in over two years 2. Whataburger - where I haven't had one of their excellent burgers in over two years or 3. Spring Creek Barbecue - which is where we had our Rehearsal Dinner over two years ago & is the home of the most tender brisket in North Texas.

Man, it's good to have Texas barbecue again.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Caption This.

Living with my in-laws has been a great experience so far. There's a few extra hands to play with Ian, a few extra home cooked meals with the family, and some extra words being typed across the television screen...Wait, what are those?

Oh, that's right, they're captions!

You see, Lyndsey's dad wears hearing aids and uses the captions on television to make watching the shows a lot easier than listening at maximum volume; though on occasion he will listen at maximum volume. And tonight, at the end of "Heroes", I noticed the strangest of captions. It said something like, "Buy a guitar pick and play on your new such and such guitar. Visit such and such .com". I find that hilarious. First off, the fact that Ads even make it on the captions is great. Copywriters will always have jobs. Secondly, the fact that a guitar company thought someone who's hard of hearing and chooses to read the captions would want to buy a guitar, is the funniest thing I've heard since "gristletoe." No offense to all the audibly impaired musicians of the world.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Sign on the Line which is Dotted.

Offer Letter
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

I've wondered what it would feel like to present my portfolio in actual, private interviews with real firms I hoped to work for, and this week I've been able to do it. Met with some great people, spoke with some great companies on the phone, and really got a sense for the design community in Dallas. It's a tight-knit group where everyone knows everyone. Competition or not, they want each other to succeed and do good work.

Self-actualization, career goals, company culture, and of course good work, were deeply considered these past few days. At one point I had called a couple of my respected design colleagues, looking for analytical assistance. We are our worst critics, and coming to terms with my own skills, opportunities for growth, and personal views on what kind of company I feel represents who I am and what I believe in (much like the process of making my portfolio) were all part of the job search.

So I've decided to take a job as Art Director with MasonBaronet. They are a marketing communications firm that really takes charge of every brand that comes through their office. They handle advertising and design in all their glorious forms. There's about 12 people in the office, one of which is Paul Jerde, Creative Director. We've had many great discussions this week and I look forward to working with him and soaking in everything I can.

I actually had my first day on Friday, and I must say, it feels good to be back on the computer working on projects again. It was just one piece with a few different aspects to it, but I was sucked into it. Even skipped lunch without knowing laying out this brochure 6 or 7 different ways. The biggest challenge is going to be getting used to designing for real, actual, take-to-press, projects for real, actual companies that hired us to do this. I'm sure I'll figure it out.