Twenty-Aught-Eight As some see it, New Year’s resolutions, like laws, are meant to be broken. There is no psychological construct – intellectual, moral or otherwise – that can’t be deconstructed when, say, a deftly wielded martini meets the churlish grin of opportunity. If we make it, we can break it, the thinking goes (or as features editor Marty Olmstead says, “You kill it, you fill it,” should one feel the need to axe a story).

Most resolutions involve the cessation of some behavior or other (smoking and drinking are perennials, though I’ve heard more abstract notions muttered in my midst; I’ve heard someone proclaim the end of her “gallivanting” was nigh, another decided that ’08 marks the end of his “persecution fantasies”). Topping many resolution lists, of course, is “weight loss,” which often comes with specific denominations in mind – though mysteriously always in multiples of five. Cheekier resolutions include those of the ilk offered by my FilmArt3 collaborator Raymond Daigle, who resolved to have no resolutions, since his previous resolution to keep his other prior resolutions left him ultimately more dissolute than resolute. Continue reading “Resolution”

Political (pseudo) Science

Nice vice: As is known throughout this fine burg, councilman Ken Brown (or “Brawn” as we say on KSVY 91.3 Sonoma), nominated himself for vice mayor and was appointed as such with a landslide three-out-of-five-vote victory over Steve Barbose (that’s a whopping 60 percent, people – precisely what I earned on my last math final). If you missed the historic meeting at council chambers and later missed its rebroadcast on SVTV27, you can visit and see it as a Sonoma Moment online. FilmArt3 alum Raymond Daigle has trimmed the footage to a tidy four minutes so you won’t have to sludge through four hours of agenda items to witness Brown’s marvel of real-time politicking. Sun news editor Bonnie Durrance obtained this quote from the new Vice Mayor (or The Mayor of Vice as I’ve heard it): “I was mayor in 2001 and I have not yet had the opportunity to be Vice Mayor. I’m looking forward to the challenge. If you can’t stand up for yourself, how can you expect anyone to stand up for you?” Given the city of Santa Rosa’s recent decision to impeach Vice-type Dick Cheney, Brown is prudently avoiding that town. “I plan on staying out of Santa Rosa so I don’t get impeached.” Ah, Kenny Brawn, always quick with a quip. Someday perhaps I’ll say “I knew him when” instead of “I knew him – who?” Congrats, pal.Politicos on the rampage: In unrelated political machinations, our in-house Lead-Guitarist and Director of Technology J.M. Berry (his official title) retains his station as the putative Mayor of El Verano, though his demure manner causes him to blush at the mere mention of this esteemed office – especially when receiving rounds at the Swiss, where his cheeks are often flushed with mayoral joy. Likewise, Donna Piranha (not to be confused with the Sun’s own Diva Donna) retains her office as Mayor of the Springs, which inspired some chump at a recent cocktail party to ask why I hadn’t run myself. “Conflict of interest,” I explained. “I’m the Minister of Propaganda for Nomaville.” I thought that was humorous. He didn’t get it.

“Where’s that?”

“It’s a state of mind, man,” I elaborated. He stared at me, quizzically, then spat:

“Why do you have to be such a punk, dude?”

“Actually, it’s pronounced Daedalus.”

He paused and gave me a once-over.

“You’re Daedalus? Sorry, man. I thought you were J.M. Berry.”

Yep. I definitely need a haircut.

Overheard: While shopping for stocking-stuffers at Artefact last week (the Contessa suddenly has a yen for iridescent eggs), your eavesdropping reporter learned that there’s a ringer in the 300-strong plastic snowman light-brigade patrolling the Cornerstone Place on Hwy. 121. Look for the red one. Then tomorrow, look for him again. Apparently, he’ll be moving throughout the glowing regiment, day after day – a lone crimson bulb in his belly and the spirit of individuality flickering in his molded-plastic heart.

Sonoma 2.0: Since I’ve appointed myself the independent brand watchdog for the city, county and concept of “Sonoma,” I’ve been tracking various indicators of Sonoma’s reach in the marketplace, among them, internet domain registrations. Consider this eight-letter, two-word call-to-action, squatted since December, 2001. Drum roll, please… Currently, the site is an auto-generated travel-themed splash page, but is otherwise underdeveloped. Interestingly, the name was registered in Pompano Beach, Fla., but apparently has no relationship to, dig this, Sonoma Bay, “a townhouse community” also located in the Sunshine State. I’ve scoured Google Earth for the development’s aquatic namesake, but, alas, the tides of Sonoma Bay ebb and flow in the realm of the imaginary and real estate.

Happy Holidays from FilmArt3

Below is some hand-made holiday content ready for Christmas consumption. The Most Dangerous Christmas is a riff on the classic Richard Connell short story (garnished with a few yuletide twists cooked up during a fateful luncheon with Raymond Daigle, David Templeton, John Harden and myself).

Sonoma Valley, Inc.

Brand-AidBattle of the Brands: An article published in the county’s daily metro a few weeks ago spoke to the notion of Sonoma “the brand” and what the name of our town has come to mean to the world-at-large (wine, epicuria, good green fun). The article also explores why the Sonoma name has been plastered on products that bear little to no relationship with the town or even the county. The Massachusetts-based potion and lotion company offering a Sonoma-branded fragrance redolent of “flowers, woods and ferns native to Sonoma Valley, for example,” begs a rebuttal. Perhaps a perfume scented like baked beans and cod? What’s really irksome is that this company put a tiny, but telltale, trademark symbol next to “Sonoma Valley.” After some digging at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, I ascertained that “Sonoma Valley” had been registered in 2002 by Crabtree and Evelyn, Ltd. Continue reading “Sonoma Valley, Inc.”

How to Avoid Hooking up at the Company Holiday Party

Ah, the proverbial company holiday party—where one must suffer the indignity of white elephant gifts, off-brand booze and mistletoe hanging over one’s head like the sword of Damocles. Spending an obligatory evening with the water cooler crowd feigning holiday cheer is trying enough, so why up the ante by waking up next to one of them in a cheap motel? A recent survey found that the embarrassment of having had sex with a co-worker ranked only below hangovers and the flu as causes of holiday absenteeism. To avoid an inter-office hookup this holiday season, we offer three simple rules to help keep your Secret Santa in your pants.

Rule Number One

Don’t go. The best way to sidestep breakfast with a colleague is not to go to the company party in the first place. Sure, your colleagues will call you “Scrooge” or speculate that you’re involved with some anti-holiday religious cult, but your dignity will suffer less in the “meditation dome” they’ve fantasized for you than it will being caught in your cubicle with that nice man/woman from accounting. Forgoing the party will also lend you an air of mystery. This is what communication experts refer to as “high-power distance.” By being inaccessible, you become empowered. Ever notice how the most important people are the hardest to find? It works in reverse too—by being hard to find, you can seem more important (keep this in mind the next time a plumbing emergency sends you combing the halls for the janitor. Who’s really in charge in that moment? The executive with a wad of sopping wet paper towels or the guy playing pinochle atop a milk crate who can’t hear your cries?). Also, turn off your cell phone. Your ring tone is the call of the sirens; if you answer you’re doomed. Later, when you check the dozen or so voicemails you’re likely to incur, note how the mock threats and saucy overtures grow progressively weary and desperate. When a colleague whines “Where arrre you?” what they’re really asking is “You wanna swap DNA?” Delete immediately.

Rule Number Two

No rides. Do not, under any circumstances accept or offer a ride to a colleague while attending a holiday party. First off, you’re probably more intoxicated than you realize. Listen for such signs of tell-tale hubris such as the line “I drive better when I’m [choose one: drunk, stoned, on Ecstasy, on Zoloft, on top].” If you believe that, you will also believe that those flashing red lights on the roadside are Christmas decorations. They’re not—you’ve just become a holiday DUI statistic. Another reason one shouldn’t climb into a car with a colleague after bingeing on the company tab, is that anyone who was ever a teenager knows that a car is a love shack on wheels waiting to happen. It may be crammed, but here, size actually doesn’t matter—the biological imperative cares little for comfort; its mandate is to propagate the species and sex is its weapon. As often as we thwart its intentions, it can also thwart our judgment, especially when fogging the windows at the nearby Park & Ride. Removing the car factor also removes the friendly “kiss goodnight,” which is the Pandora’s Box of office-borne imbroglios, prone to morphing into a make-out session. At a certain stage, however, making out is no longer an end in itself. It’s foreplay.

Rule Number Three

Bring a date. Be they your life partner, your best friend or that guy who lives in the bus shelter, bringing someone—anyone—to your holiday party will help prevent a holiday hookup. Husbands and wives, long-term partners, all serve a prophylactic purpose when vigilantly attached to one’s side. Consider them human shields. Though the more ardent among the home-wreckers might find the presence of your significant other a “challenge,” the real challenge will be explaining to your partner why your pursuer is so interested in you in the first place. This is very likely because you ignored either or both of the previous rules at the last holiday party and have spent the entire year up to this point piously reminding this person that you’re “just friends.” This, of course, is like insisting that Santa Claus is a real person. No one who was ever relegated to the “just friends” category of one’s social schema is really just a friend. That person is someone that gets strung along until you’ve drunk too much at the next holiday party. This sort of ritualized psychosexual behavior is referred to as a shame cycle, not “tradition,” as cute as you think that sounds. Another hazard of bringing one’s partner is that somebody becomes attracted to him or her and decides to test the mettle of your relationship with overt flattery, seduction and outright assassination of your character. This is particularly difficult if the person in question is your boss; however, it doesn’t mean their spouse is fair game. Though studies have proven that sleeping with the boss has helped some careers, sleeping with the boss’ spouse has the exact opposite effect. Don’t do it. Unless you want to be the “ex” in X-mas.