Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
buzz buzz buzz.
The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...

KILLER BEES MAKE THE MOST DELICIOUS HONEY

...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?



bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

please be seated

October 31, 2010

7 TO 40: EXPOSING MYSELF


When I saw the above image on the internet the other day, it really drove something home for me.

As I approach 40, I will honestly admit to you that I am not in the best financial shape, and that's the Rated-G, sugar coated version for you, my gentle bleaders. The artist who successfully self supports without the aid of additional streams of income is a rare bird indeed. Trying to eek out a living as an interior designer and artist in this world dominated by price vs. quality consciousness has proven to be especially challenging,  and emotionally draining in these particularly difficult financial times. I'm completely over it.

Can I just tell you how much of my time I've given away for free since I got into this business?  My brain has been "picked" so much it hurts. When I was first getting started, I thought that  I needed to discount my rates because I was the new kid on the block. I cannot tell you how much product, talent, and time I have dispersed over the years since [at little or no profit], in the hopes that I would finally get the break I need to make it big. Instead I manifested just the opposite result.

Please take the audaciousness of this next remark with a grain of salt, because its almost embarrassing that someone blessed with as many different gifts as I have been, should be in this predicament. Who can I blame for this travesty? At the end of the day, it is I who must take responsibility.

One of the most important "memos" I've received over the last couple of years is that we teach people how to treat us. That being said,  I'm formulating a new lesson plan. My talent has monetary value as well as aesthetic merit, and its high time I was compensated properly for it. I'm totally overdue for a raise...of consciousness.

October 29, 2010

SCARED OF ME!

October 28, 2010

Cassandra McShepard is FEELING GOOD!

I've been directing music videos in my head for 25 years. When I decided we needed to film a music video for Cassandra's website, I gave myself permission to fulfill a fantasy.... Cassandra's first music video, and my directorial debut. Now we're both "Feelin' Good"!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are proud to present....

October 26, 2010

JACKSON


I'll never forget the day we met. I had been stalking The Humane Society for a kitten companion for my adult cat, Desmond. I would look at the adult cats, and want to adopt every single one of them, but I just knew that what Desmond needed was a kitten. One day I stopped on my way home from work  and there were 2 kittens in a kennel with their mommy. One was an orange tabby, the other black and white with whiskers as long as he was.The sign read "Please consider adopting us as a family." Aw jeez, why'd ya have to go and do that for?! I ignored the suggestion as I focused in on the little black and white fella, who was also concentrating on me. According to the provided bio, his name was Action Jackson, because he was "always where the action is" and that he was a good boy who took good care of his brother.

I asked the attendant if I could please hold him. As she extended him to towards me, he craned his little neck forward and licked the tip of my nose with his tiny little sandpaper tongue and kitten breath.
That was all she wrote. Almost.

My ex Kerry and I had been seriously dating for several months at that point, and it seemed appropriate to run this past him first, so I put a non-refundable deposit on Jackson which was good for 48 hours. I got cold feet before I even got Kerry thru the Humane Society doors. See I wasn't really getting him for me, I believed it was Desmond who needed a companion. Was I making a huge mistake adopting another animal? It was like having buyers remorse with a living creature.

To this day, Kerry still reminds Jack that it was he who sealed the deal on the adoption. They made me wait until November 1st to bring him home because they don't allow black, or partially black cats to be adopted over Halloween week. There's allot of messed up people in this world.

From the day I brought him home he's been my super sweet, mellow fellow. He's a huge hit with all of his aunties and uncles, and they have come up with a a myriad of nicknames for him, including: Jack Jack, Jacky Boy, Jackalope, Little Jack Horner, Jacksuey [his Chinese name], Jackson Mississippi, and my favorite ( from Uncle Stacey ) Jackson Meowi [his Japanese name]. I usually just call him Shnook. Dats my boy!

By the time Kerry and I split years later, Desmond was gone and Jack and I struck out on our own. He had a difficult time adjusting to our new life and having to spend so much more time alone, without people and other animals to keep him company. For months he would howl through the night, and the lack of sleep took its toll on me. In hindsight we both had broken hearts, but we had each other. And we still do.

Jack is my best bud, and my longest relationship. This week we celebrate 11 years together, and in a lot of ways, we're like an old married couple. He's cranky when he doesn't get enough attention, I know which corner of the bed he prefers, and I always seem to be getting the what-for  when I walk through the door for being tardy. But I gotta tell ya, I wouldn't want it any another way.

Cassandra half jokingly says that "nothing lives under my roof unless it contributes to the bills."
There are definitely times when I get home the end of the day and I wish he'd vacuumed, or at least done the dishes instead of napping his whole day away. However when I think of all we've been through and seen together, about the companionship we've shared over the years, I believe his contribution to this household is more than sufficient, and it is necessary. 

Besides. His smooches are the best.

October 24, 2010

TOO FOO, WITH LOVE


I've always looked down my nose at Egg Foo Young with disdain. I'm kind of  [okay, really] a Chinese food snob, and Egg Foo Young  just seems like Chinese food for white people who don't know better. I won't go there on the chop suey, deal?

Anyway.
I went on The South Beach Diet 6 weeks ago, and am trying to be really conscience about my food sources. The trickiness of getting the right foods in is  further complicated by virtue of the fact that I'm currently getting by with a single electric hot plate, and a toaster oven [long story, short walk]. There are many evenings I simply don't feel like dealing with it at all, and that means carry-out. The foods typically available for delivery are a big no-no, especially Chinese because most use pre-mixed sauces which are full of corn syrup. Of course the noodles and the rice are certified contraband. What's a boy to do?

Well one night a few weeks ago I was starving, and after carefully studying the menu from No.1 Chinese Restaurant, I realized my options were pretty much egg drop soup, or Egg Foo Young. So I had it delivered and bribed the driver with a five-spot to keep it to himself. I hastily served up a combination patty from the clamshell container, and spooned over the strangely perfect shade of brown "gravy". Can I tell you something? That shit was da bomb. Each patty perfectly fried and chock-full of shrimp and huge chunks of bbq pork, yet curiously void of bean sprouts. The gravy silken and wonderfully salty, with no discernible flavor...was it chicken? Beef? I dunno, its brown though. And beautiful.

I can't get enough! Seriously, I may have had it 3 times last week. I'll even order 2 batches of it at a time, so I can have it cold for breakfast. However its far from a low calorie food,  and that could be why I'm stuck at just 11lbs down! Interestingly, while trying to find carryout  that wold jive with my diet, I may have learned a valuable lesson from my new friend, Egg Foo Young...

Sometimes you may think you don't like something because you had a bad experience with it once or twice. You shut down your receptors to the idea that said thing could ever live up to an ideal you've placed on it. I once was turned down for a date because of my Irish heritage. The guy told me that in his experience, Irish men were nothing but heartbreak and couldn't be trusted. Can you imagine? I mean how silly, right? Narrowing  you're playing field because of preconceived notions and blanket generalizations? I have easily eaten at over 100 Chinese restaurants in my life. How many delicious Egg Foo Young meals may I have passed on?!

Kerry used to ask me if I was always so sure about everything I'm so sure about. My response always being "Well yes, of course." No.1 Chinese Restaurant's Egg Foo Young has me rethinking a few things.  

By the way. My last fortune cookie message read "You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily." Whatever. Egg Foo Young still isn't really Chinese food, and fortune cookies should have fortunes in them and not be dispensing kernels of wisdom. Now pass me another patty, with extra gravy please.

October 19, 2010

MUSICAL TREAT OF THE WEEK

Someone mentioned the other day that my "Musical Treat of The Week" choices have been decidedly up-tempo lately. I guess I feel like dancing? This week I'm positively obsessed with this new tune from Robyn. IT makes my shoulders sway, my head bob to and fro, the bouncy rhythm and thoughtful lyrics leaving my heart just a little melancholy...I LOVE IT.


October 18, 2010

EXPRESS DELIVERY


Extra super fast, and on the double if you don't mind. I'm kinda in a hurry.

A girlfriend of mine was telling me the other day about a conversation she had recently with her soon-to-be-wed daughter.She was trying to convey to her that in all honesty, marriage is ALOT of work. On this particular day, said daughter was feeling far too wide-eyed to listen to what mother had to say. At any rate I'm sure it will all make alot more sense to her about 18 months after they say I DO. If you want to beat the divorce odds, you have to be kind, respectful, remember to listen, and most of all be patient. Patience is one of the most important tools you can posses in life. I sure hope its on the bridal registry.

Google, texting and tweeting. Instant messenger and I phones with apps. Any information you need to obtain, anything you need or want to do, can be done almost instantly these days. Yes I am partaking in the convenience of it all, least you be confused. Previously I've gone on tangents about our cultures obsession with communication and how I don't know that we're necessarily doing a better job of it, just because we're doing more of it. So I'll try not to confuse the categories of concern!

No, this time I'm talking about the fact that we've put so much emphasis on the instant. For instance. If my computer isn't working at capacity speed, I am INSTANTLY irritated. Remember 15 years ago when the Internet and our computers were so slow, it took minutes just to download a website? Of course this is just one example of how we have set ourselves up to devour and digest at lightening speed.What I fear is happening is that an entire generation is growing up without ever having to wait for anything. Therefore never learning the art of patience, nor the ability to pass it on. Think about it.

When people aren't patient, they lack empathy and tolerance. What will happen if we raise an entire generation of people who are lacking such essential, and necessary traits for coexistence?
Well, it won't just be potential marriages headed for trouble, that's for sure.

We used to believe that over indulging children made them spoiled. I'd like to add that in this day of truly remarkable technological advancements, today's parents would be wise to incorporate important patience-building lessons into their child rearing repertoires. And no, there's no app for that.  

Faster is not always better, and everything you want isn't necessarily everything you need.

ATTRACTION

This delightful short film was created by the very talented, young illustrator/animator, Rachinta Platts.
Enjoy!

Attraction (2008) from Rachinta Platts on Vimeo.

October 17, 2010

POP GOES THE ARTIST


I recently fell in love with the work of Pop Artist Donny Miller.  In his pieces, I see that all of my favorite elements of pop art are present. His colorful vixens deliver clever messages that are mostly wry, or sardonic. At times they are cultural button pushers, and even occasionally wistful.  Of course there's the color...



The striking images are available on everthing from t-shirts to sneakers, and he recently published a collection of his fine art work in book form, entitled "Beautiful People with Beautiful Feelings".
If you're paying attention, it's what I want for Christmas.

You can visit his comprehensive website by visiting www.donnymiller.com


October 14, 2010

MUSICAL TREAT OF THE WEEK

Vintage Kate Bush. SO Yummy.

October 11, 2010

IT GETS BETTER!

Growing up gay anywhere is tough wether you're "obvious", or not. In a rural community it is often dangerous. In the wake of  so many gay teen suicides, columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller started a truly remarkable Project/Youtube channel called IT GETS BETTER.

Personally, I SO resonate with the pain these kids go through- my own journey through it having been a rough one, my own safety having been at risk many, many times. Dan and Terry have asked people to share their stories of coming out of it alive, in hopes that it will give these children a sense of hope. It can be so hard when you're a teenager to see the forest through the trees. This is the video I made for them...


From an online article I read...SO TRUE!

Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black echoed Silverman's point in an interview with a Hollywood blogger , stressing the cultural costs of lawmakers' inaction on issues such as same-sex marriage, and openly gay military service. "Time and again the U.S. government is saying that gay and lesbian people are less than, are second-class citizens," he said. "And what do they expect young children to take from that? They take a message that it's OK to treat these kids as less than."

We must evolve or we will self-destruct.

THEY GIVE A DAMN!



October 10, 2010

The Buzz: MY NEW BLOG!


I'm getting so excited about the launch of INTERIOR MOTIVES!

It may be a little closer to month's end than I anticipated, but it will be worth the wait. I just cinched the deal to take you for an "on camera" journey of a complete kitchen renovation...right down to the lathe. That's right kids, we're knocking down walls! The idea of sharing real-time design projects with you, ON VIDEO, is very exciting. Remember when  it would take Bob Villa and his team of talented craftsmen an entire season to renovate This Old House? While I will undoubtedly show you tips on how you can quietly makeover your current diggs with my new video blog, I assure you that the "design project journeys" we'll be going on will last more than 24 hours.

Why? Because real Interior Design needn't cost you an arm an a leg, but is not instant. Nor is it created over night with velcro and a budget of $500. I don't care what you've been told on TV! My goal with this new website is to keep it real. You see,  I have INTERIOR MOTIVES this time, and you'll have to stay tuned to see what they are...

October 9, 2010

What Will YOU Say?


Having a Motivational Speaker as a client and dear friend certainly has its fringe benefits. Mostly it has me contemplating how I move through my life. Hopefully with more concise direction!

I came of age in the 80's when Nancy Reagan's JUST SAY NO campaign was raging. I'm not entirely sure how effective it was. I still managed to say YES to everything at least once. As well, I've always been the kind of person to over-extend myself. Even as a teenager, my Mother would say "Just tell her NO! You have to learn to say no Michael." Alas,  no hasn't ever taken place at the front-and-center of my vocabulary. Why? There are far too many reasons to say YES! In fact what I'm realizing, is that I haven't said YES, enough...let me share a little story with you.

About 6 months after my Mother passed away, I had the most extraordinary, vivid dream.
You can call it a visitation, if you like.

She and my Grandmother were  trying very hard to convince me of something. They desperately wanted me to understand that I possessed magic. They insisted it had always been inside of me, my whole life! I can see the plaintive look in her beautiful pea soup-green eyes as she said "You can do it Mockie, you can do ANYTHING you want to sweetheart- the magic is inside of you!" Just then fire started shooting through my fingertips as if they were rockets. I completely freaked out, but they just giggled and laughed. There was an extremely loud and audible POP, and then my eyes flew open to see fire shoot out of the wall next to my bed. I jumped out to feel the wall, certain that there was an electrical short inside of it. It was cold.

The next day I pondered the dream. Of course I knew that they hadn't meant literal magic, as in witchcraft. I decided that they must have meant ability/capability. Gee, that was nice. Then 2 nights later, ( but without the special effects dream) I awoke at the exact same time to the same loud as hell POP(!), and flash of light coming from inside the wall. I once again hopped out of bed to make sure there was no fire or electrical short. Come on already, really?! Then I realized what that was for. All my life she had badgered me with "Are you paying attention Michael?!" SO like her. She was just making sure.

For all of the amazing adventures in this life I've said yes to, I can readily create the list of possibilities I've turned away. One of the biggest (if you know me) is singing. I've had a burning desire to make music with my voice my whole life. What has stopped me? I could spend allot of time on a therapist's sofa trying to figure that one out, but when you reduce it, I just haven't said yes. Could that really be all it takes? Recent events have convinced me, YES! As I began to explore the idea that I really could do anything I want,   I started creating some things...My fellow Bees and I are now DOING a thing that most people would never believe that they themselves could do! And I reiterate, its happening.
Could it be possible that YES was magic my Mother was referring to?

These days, I'm thinking allot more about the possibilities I've said no to in the past. Where there is a will, a desire, I have learned there is always a way. And if that is truly the case, then ANYTHING is possible. Truthfully,  sometimes its easier to say no, but it's always more rewarding to say yes.
What will you say?


Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!