My Fake Teeth

24 09 2009

When I was in 3rd grade, around the time the other kids were sporting jack-o-lantern smiles, I was informed that I did not have all of my adult teeth. In fact, I was missing four. This was really no big deal at the time, because everyone my age was missing one here or there. I also proudly repped a lovely gap between my two front teeth, which I could shove a straw in – which was cool.

The dentist told me that he had to pull those baby teeth – the incisors  –  so that he could straighten my smile and put me in braces for 8 years. I vaguely remember this. More than anything I remember these bright neon  t-shirts that had a dinosaur with braces on them. All the patients got one, and so my sister, who was enjoying her full-braced, frizzy hair 80’s adolescence at the time, and I wore them, of course on different days. When I received my full mouth of braces, I changed the colors seasonally and got these cute little fake teeth put in the place of the holes that would never come in. They just kind of  hung on those braces, like a bite from an apple. Since I was lucky enough to wear braces from 3rd grade to 10th grade, I didn’t even notice. But of course, all good things must come to an end, and the day I got those bad boys off I understood that I truly did have two holes in my smile. I cried when I got my braces off. At this point, it was no longer acceptable to be missing teeth – I was in high school for gods sake. The orthodontist tried to ease my sadness with a retainer that I could flip out of my mouth, holding on to two little kernels of corn.

That’s when Dr. Hoedt came along. A basketball friend’s dentist dad somehow got wind of my situation and offered to make me temporary bridges – something a little more permanent than a flipper retainer and would fill the gaps until I could get adult implants. Thus he installed the bridges prefacing it by saying that they were only meant to last a year or two. They were attached to each neighboring tooth and looked relatively real, (at least that’s what all you nice folks said). Eight years later, they finally started to fall apart, as if telling me it was time to get serious and grow up.

They call my condition ‘congenitally missing teeth’ (CMT) aka I got the short end of the oral gene stick in my family. But now, as an adult, I’ve come to have an affinity for my congenitally missing teeth. They are my quirk; my weird thing that you would never know about me unless you too had congenitally missing teeth, in which case you would know what to look for in others’ dental composition.

Monday, I finally had my temporary/permanent bridges removed and Tuesday, I had my dental implants installed. It’s not a very short description when trying to explain A. why I look like a chipmunk, B. why I retainernow have an Invisalign retainer with two pieces of wax posing as teeth for the next six months while the implants heal (ahh how technology has evolved) and C. that no, my implants are in my mouth.

History of Dental Implants: I’m pretty sure the guy on the Clear Choice billboard that hovers over Broadway and 5th (Denver) sums it up:

This is seriously on a billboard on 5th and Broadway.

This is seriously on a billboard for ClearChoice.

It’s also become a running joke in the office, too. I had this put on my desk the other day.

Thanks Tasha!

Thanks Tasha!

This sign was hanging out in the warehouse were we get our signage done – my friend took a pic and printed it for me. Always on my mind, she says.

It’s also been referenced in meetings – I was comparing a short term, piecemeal solution to a long term, off-the-shelf, ever customizable solution for e-marketing. I said, it’s like bridges are to implants. Bridges may be quick to get and look great for 15-20 years, but your definitely going to have to get them redone, where implants last forever – in fact, they’ll out last me.

Bridges are to Implants, as Exact Target is to Eloqua:
As I’ve been working on my business, trying to define what Claire Blue Ideas is and what it’s all about, I keep hitting the same wall. By trying to brand my sole proprietorship, I am essentially trying to brand myself. Am I a digital marketer or a writer? What do I want potential clients to know about me and my capabilities? Do I market my personality or my portfolio? Can I do both separately or together? What about my interest in writing outdoor adventure editorials? How does that fit into the mix. And this blog, The Weekend Warrior – well, originally it was just supposed to be about adventure sports. But my job as a marketing consultant is such a big part of my everyday life, how could I possibly exclude it from my blog?  So then, should I have three separate blogs? One on adventure sports, one portfolio and one about digital marketing? Finally, how do you define the umbrella in which Claire fits under?

Going through a branding exercise for me and my business has been bogging me down, and even depressing me a bit. I am like a disjointedness pie chart – there are too many pieces and I don’t know which is my X or Y axis. And to be perfectly honest, my audience is really just the people that know me. My loyal readers. You guys. And you guys read my blog for probably no other reason than because I pester you with Facebook updates and emails. Yet you email me, respond and comment and tell me something was funny or confusing or misspelled. And you do it almost every single time I write. And I think, wow, maybe it doesn’t matter that the name of this blog is almost completely irrelevant to its content. Maybe it should just be my name, because truly, my readers are really just my friends of past and present, co-workers and colleagues, family and the occasional Google searcher who randomly typed a keyword that I randomly matched my metadata.

So doesn’t it make sense that my brand be something that is wholly me? Something that has been with me from the beginning? The one thing that has been an ongoing source of humor, contention and wierd stories from the start? My brand is really just the foundation of who I am – a congenitally toothless girl.

The implant surgery that I had on Tuesday signifies an end of an era. My removeable teeth will soon be a thing of the past; I’ll completely forget about all of the retainers and braces and off-colored porcelain and denture picks and threaded dental floss. In six months, I’ll be able to floss straight up and down for the first time ever. But even though those implants will look and feel real and will last forever — we will all know that they are still just my fake teeth.

If Demi Moore can do it, so can I! I'll just spare you the photo!

Thanks Demi, for liberating all the CMT's out there to take out their retainers and smile! http://smartsexyrichcrazy.com/tag/demi-moore-fake-teeth/





Independence Day: Silencing Social Media

1 07 2009

Are we only 140-characters deep?

After spending way too much time on LinkedIn looking through empty job postings and reading everyone’s “expert” opinion about social media, and partially influenced by exhaustion from MJ Faked It blog postings — I’ve decided, I’m throwing in the towel. In 48 hours, I’m turning it all off. My Blackberry, my Facebook page, my Twitter feeds, my LinkedIn updates, my Outlook, G-Chat, Adium, texting, smoke signals. All of it. I know, most of you are probably running around screaming in hysterics about why I would be so insane. But the decision has been made.

The other day, I was with a group of friends that I am constantly emailing, g-chatting, facebooking, twittering with all day, everyday. We were having drinks and I swear we had nothing to say to each other. I already knew everything that happened to them that week, the week before, the week before that. I saw every picture, I read every thought, I followed every link; I knew it all before it even happened. So we sat with our cold tasty beverages, on a beautiful sunny day, in silence.

“Oh, did you know that I just launched a blog for…” “Yeah, I read that on your LinkedIn updates.” “Oh, did you hear that Jeff Goldblum died?” “Yeah, about a ba-zillion times.” “Oh did you see that Jenn is dating Brad?” “Yeah, it was in my Twitter feed.”

I started thinking about it. Yes, I am obsessed with all of my Internet time wasters. I love Facebook because I can see what people are up to. I love Twitter because I can see what new marketing efforts are hot right now. I love LinkedIn because I can see find new companies and read rumblings in my industry. But I can’t help but wonder if access to all of these conversation tools are making us too transparent as people.

A lady that I work with brought up the Farrah Fawcett biography on NBC. She felt that, though the story had some empathetic value, deep down, it was really just about entertainment. Her point “Are our most private experiences, like dying, too public?” Are we now just exploiting ourselves?

As a writer, my life experiences have always been the meat of my stories. I have always believed that self-exploitation could help others by passing my hard earned lessons on. But is anyone listening to others’ lessons anymore? Or are we just posting.

Was the Farrah Biography helpful to her, by giving her a way to release the anguish of her struggle and to say goodbye to her fans? Did it give her a sense of liberation from the disease? Did those that watched and cried learn a lesson about dying and feel less alone about a similar experience that they had, or are having or know someone who has had? Or did they just watch to fulfill some detached sensation of sadness?

I suppose social networking for me is a surface outlet in hopes to gain some sort of popularity. But at the crux of it all, it’s really just a way to exploit my life in hopes to gain recognition as a writer. To me, it’s a marketing tool to market myself. But what I’m struggling with is to whom am I marketing?

That’s why I’m turning it off. I’m taking a break in order that I can listen to my own head, instead of the flat, rectangular one that stares at me all day. The question is: At the end of the day, who do I want to listen to me and what do I want to tell them?





They Call Me the Professor

24 06 2009

A friend just recently graduated from CU Boulder and asked me for some gems of wisdom about getting a job. It was interesting that she asked me, seeing as I’ve never really had a job. I mean, I have a job, but it’s not a job job, where I have a boss and paid vacation and benefits and a 401K and such.

I am, however, a master interviewer. I have probably been to 20 professional interviews in my short stint as a working professional. Not to brag or anything, but I’ve been offered every single one of those jobs. (This is me pretentiously brushing my shoulder and mouthing “No big deal”). I think that track record is pretty good, so yes, I’ll call myself a master interviewer. I’ve also written a published article about it, only adding to my masterfulness (which is a word).

The interview is the easy part, it’s getting your “foot in the door” that’s hard. If I’ve been to 20 interviews, I’ve sent 1,000 cover letters. I’ve written 500 iterations of my resume. I’ve worked with two placement companies, and I’ve had 20 jobs. And these aren’t full time jobs; these are freelance gigs, internships, and contract positions. I’ve actually only had one “real” job, and that only lasted for six months. Can’t cage a jackolope, I guess.

The thing is, I just don’t want to be tied to anything (*cough*commitment issues*cough*), and I’m not all that sure what I could do all the time. I can’t be a copywriter because I’d poke my eyes out with pencils every time some life-sucking editor changed my clever title “Holy Craps!” to “Playing Craps in Vegas.” I couldn’t work in advertising because they work waaaay to hard. I like this marketing business, but who knows how long that will last before I do something stupid and lose all of my clients. So here I am, wondering what advice I could possibly give this poor friend of mine, who so innocently looks up to me thinking that I’ve got it made.

I studied Journalism in college, where I was taught to only be partially honest. I wrote a couple Op-Eds that weren’t well received, except by (consequently) my all-time favorite professor, Kirby Moss. He loved them because of their honesty and spent three years convincing me that the world would love them, too. Do what you want to do all the time, and the money will take care of itself. That’s what he told me when he tried to talk me out of film school (one interview I never got). Just be a writer and don’t fall into the bullshit. Don’t be a screenwriter; your vision will just get stomped on. But Kirby, you have to make money somehow! He was awesome.

I see myself falling further and further away from the vision everyday I think of starting my own interactive agency, or becoming a professor, or starting a web start-up or moving to Aspen and becoming a fly-fishing guide. That’s not the path, I can hear him say. Just be a writer.

So to my friend, and anyone else with visions of being, I say this to you: The money doesn’t just come, the interviews don’t just happen, the cover letters don’t write themselves, and the jobs are never perfect. Life is the only thing you can really count on, so if you focus on that you might fail, but you’ll never be unhappy. Just be what you want to be and be damn good at it; and make sure you have way too much fun in the meantime.





Fresh Powder and Fresh Cookies

18 06 2009

Published in the Winter 2009 Colorado Visitors Guide; by Claire Fisher

As a seven-year Colorado resident, I have done the ski shuffle many times: Waking up at 6am on a Saturday, grabbing coffee and bagel and trekking to the mountains, watching my car’s fresh tracks in the rearview mirror. But, this day we had gotten wind of a storm — and the promise of fresh powder — the night before, which prompted myself and a friend to skip work the next day, drive to Beaver Creek and rent a condo for the night.

Beaver Creek is not your typical ski resort. It’s like a mystical land out of a fairytale. It has heated walkways, escalators up to the base, moving walks between areas of the village, an unusually chipper staff and a man who plays a 10-foot horn year-round. This luxury means you’re “not exactly roughing it” (which happens to be the Beaver Creek Resort’s marketing slogan), but it does have some of the best bumps, shortest lift lines and steepest terrain in the central mountains. Nearly trumping all of that, however, are the free, fresh-baked cookies served at the bottom of the lift. It’s like Grandma’s house with an alpine backdrop.

The mountain is sprinkled with luxury cabins from which a lucky few can ski straight out onto the slopes. I was one of those fortunate people on this epic day, and I schussed directly to the first chair from my condo (actually, I took the moving walk). As I gazed at the slope beneath the lift and picked my route, I wondered what I’d be doing this fine Friday if I lived in any other state and concluded that whatever it was, it could never compare.

At the top of the Cinch Express lift, at the summit, my friend spotted something you only hear about in après-ski bars — an untouched run along the trees. For a weekend warrior, it is a bit shocking (and thrilling) to see a trail without any scars from previous skiers. We giddily slid over the morning powder, beckoning us like a smooth lake of foam from a Colorado beer. As we made our turns, letting out giggles of glee, we skied deeper and deeper into the woods.

Skiing along in my reverie, the mountain fell completely silent. Just then, it started to snow, and I could almost hear each snowflake hit its soft cushion. This is what the best ski days in Colorado are all about: an unspoiled run in the woods with good friends, a glorious powdery descent. Oh, and the promise of fresh cookies afterward. (download pdf with pretty pictures)

www.colorado.com





AARP the Magazine

18 06 2007

In the summer of 2005, I scored the highest regarded internship for Journalism students. The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) runs an annual internship program in NYC and DC. My mom’s sorority friend Gail Herrington, recommended that I work towards this one internship if I wanted to make it in the magazine business. (Gail is now the Editor in Chief at United’s Spirit Magazine).

So that’s what I did. Straight A’s until the day I got “the call” that I was accepted. “Which would be your top choice magazines?” they asked. I thought, maybe Playboy, or National Geo Travel, or even Smithsonian. But I got AARP.

It turned out to be one of the best professional experiences of my life. Not only did I get paid (well), I got to write and edit a lot. My summer’s project was “fixing” an 8,000 word story. Basically, I re-interviewed and rewrote the story that had not been up to our editors satisfaction. My name is on it, at the very end. But I know that this story was mine.

http://www.aarpmagazine.org/lifestyle/spiritual_retreats.html





Ski Magazine

18 06 2007

In 2005-2006, I had a fabulous internship with Ski Magazine. Being an ambitious CU Boulder student (no seriously), I was chomping at the bit to get my name published in the coveted rag. I was studying Journalism at the time and was being groomed for the news room. But I said nay. I wanted the life that came with glossy print and color photos, and all the free ski gear.

I finally got my chance to prove that I had what it took when they assigned me to write an article for the Mountain Life Design section in the June 2006 issue. Ski_Magazine. So I didn’t get to write about the best powder ever, while trying out the seasons hottest women’s fat skis, but I did get published in a 450,000 circ. magazine that has sat on my grandfathers night stand since 1960.





Weaver Multimedia Group

17 06 2007

Weaver Multimedia Group is the publisher of official visitors guides for several major cities in the US. I worked there as an assistant editor in 2007. I wrote articles for the New York City, Dallas, Las Vegas and Los Angeles guides, copy edited listings and produced the Pasadena, California guide. I came out with some great articles and even better stories.