Monday, September 28, 2009


Here's a teaser of the pictures I took in Austria.  Become enticed and be left wanting more. Ready go.

Uploading all of these pictures on blogger will take a lifetime.  I'll post a link to my Flickr account so you can view the high res versions in an easier format.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

But what about the pictures?

I'm not taking pictures. I'll use words to describe everything.

Ready? Neither am I. Of course I'm taking pictures, they're the best I've ever snapped. Once I'm back in the states, I'll put the pictures together and post them for you to enjoy. September 30th is the day the pictures will show themselves, write it down.

I'm Praugenant

I'm in love with Prague. The preggos have a special place here in my heart. I'm Praguenant. The place is so diverse in people and architecture. This town's seen so much action between the Holy Wars, Nazis, and Communism.

I sat where the evilest Nazi used to play his violin. I walked around where 27 Elderman were beheaded for starting a revolution. I ate a Czech crepe where a leader of Prague announced they were now a communist country, the list goes on and on. It's fascinating to walk the same cobblestone streets where so much happened. Prague is a great place to write, inspiration is everywhere you look.

I'm so torn right now, I don't have enough time to go see a museum I wanted to see the whole time I've been here. It's called the Pinkas Synagogue in the Jewish part of Prague. During the beginning of the Holocaust, the Nazi's were having a hard time getting adults to work because their kids were so distressed with the brutal living conditions. To solve this, the Nazis brought in a famous Jewish artist to start an art therapy program for the kids. The kids drew everything which tormented them. From what I've heard, the interesting part is the kids drew pictures of happy times and their old homes before the concentration camp. It was their way of saying they missed what was taken away from them. Eventually, the Nazi's figured out a more efficient way of killing Jews with the gas chambers and everything so the Jewish artist was sent to a death camp along with all the kids. Before the artist was shipped off, she hid thousands of the drawings in a special place where it wasn't discovered until long after the war was over. These paintings are on display and they're all these kids ever were able to contribute to the world. Also, there's a room dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust from Moravia and Bohemia. Every name of the 80,000 who died is written on the wall. All the walls of the room are covered with the names. I've heard it's a powerful experience and I don't have enough time to find out for myself. Scheisse.

Ahh it's already 10:30 over here which gives me two hours. Two hours to get there, check it out, potentially get lost in the city (it's a nightmare to navigate), and make it back to the train station by 12:30. Scheisse. I don't have enough time.

I'm going to have to come back to Prague. I know where to stay for 5 Euro a night with a free breakfast included and I know where the cheapest beer is. Add on the concentration camp visit and the Pinkas museum and it's a worthwhile two day visit.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why does Rod Stewart haunt me?

Rod Stewart's on heavy rotation at the hostel here in Prague.

It's great, I can be more thankful I wasn't born a decade earlier and forced to watch his music videos featuring him busting moves in overalls.

It's the end of day 1 here in Prague. Day 2, I've seen everything, time to get a tour guide. Of course, Brian and I lucked out and found the free tour with a kick Aussie host. Yes, straight from down under.

Most importantly, I lost a sandal today. It was a good soldier for countless steps on smoother terrains. All the sudden, a little cobblestone comes along and I catch a few times and BOOM no sandal for Matt. Three miles on cobblestone feels like transversing an endless bed of nails. WIth typhoid and multiple other potential diseases waiting to have their way with me.

Prague is beautiful by the way. Stay tuned to see the pictures. Or don't. I don't care. All I want is a clean and typhoid free right foot and I'll be happy. I don't need you as much as I need my right foot.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm off to travel

It's time to start the traveling.  I'll do my best to snap great shots and come back with stories worth hearing.

In the meantime, enjoy these pictures as a teaser of what Im about to experience.  

Friday, September 18, 2009

Good things come to those who wander

Here's how my random day went.

Breakfast outside, perfect plate of keesh. Alongside the manly slice, an uber healthy salad full of enough greens to make a wardrobe for Adam and Eve.

Wandering around FeldstraBe, the artistic haven of Hamburg.  The collection of vintage clothes, designer graphic shirts, and odds and ends of wearable art blew my mind. 

My favorite stop was a place called Splash.  It's the showroom of four artists who bought the space to sell their work.  They make specialized rings with illustrations engraved into them.  If I ever get married, I want them to commission the ring.  I don't want the blank gold band.  I want a crazy design which captures the nature of the relationship with the unlucky lady who I lock down for a lifetime.  Maybe "Comp" engraved into one ring and "plete" into the other ring. It's a first thought. I'll beat it.  Better yet, the future wifey will come up with something amazing.  Or at least be on board with the idea.

Justin and I stumbled across a store in the middle of prepping for an art show. Free beer and new Casio Watch designs, rock on.

Like I said, good things come to those who wander. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Come on Hamburg, hold it in.

It's been a week.  At first it was funny and made me giggle boyishly. Now, it's annoying. And gross. 

What am I talking about? What have I encountered on a daily basis for a week straight?

The shameless relief of human waste in public.  

It started with a three year-old having mom help her pop a squat and pinch a mini-loaf.  Pretty funny stuff.  Something about a little girl in a daisy flower sun dress defiling a sidewalk is hilarious.  Such a sweet soul performing a hideous act.

Same sidewalk, next day.  A man pulls it out in front of me as I'm walking by.  Nonchalant, as if grabbing for change to buy a snack at a Kiosk.  Boom, out in the open. Spread the legs and make it rain.  No big deal.  To him, I didn't even exist.  I'm sure my eyes were big with shock. I could have danced in a Napolese tribe dress and he wouldn't have noticed. All he was focused on was relief. Right here, right now.

Different place, next day.  As I walked down my favorite alleyway with an old and abandoned caged-in court for kids to play soccer in on the right, I noticed something.  A flash of faded pink granny panties made their way up. But to where? All I could see was the cotton moving upwards, then I saw who it belonged to.  She was easily in her mid-fifties and dressed in soiled flannel as she pulled up her tarnished khakis.  Her hair had thinned out into clumps of silvery strands with a pink blotchy scalp peeking through. Here eyes were sunken in deeply, she didn't have teeth and her abundance of wrinkles combined with her oddly long neck made her look like a turtle.  A guilty turtle. She knew what she did. I made direct eye contact and shook my head.  

She stood above her puddle of relief and held the stare of shame. 

How hard is it to find a toilet? There's outhouses all over but people love to whip it out and let it all out.

Come on Hamburg, hold it in.

By the way. I done real good.

Here in Hamburg, it's hard to win an award. They don't hand them out willy nilly. There's no status quo for handing out awards, especially this quarter.  Reason being: a bunch of sub-par work was awarded to meet an award quota last quarter. So, now it's a straight up yay or neigh.
If the judges don't think something is awesome, they don't award it. End of story. 

It's terrifying to put a quarter's worth of work into ONE campaign and put it up on the wall with your big fat heart attached to it. 

I'm proud to say Bob the rock star art director and I threw down hard this quarter and have some congratulatory bling to show for it.

"Enjoy the dark side," a dark and twisted campaign for Pumpernickel Bread won gold. It's loaded with offensive but hilarious dark humor. I was nervous because you either hate it or love it, but we rolled the dice and came out on top. Yess.

We put out another campaign for a calorie-burning drink with a new media idea. Bottom lines. Write headlines about the product benefit on the bottom of the can. Simple and direct.  It took down a gold too. 

At the end of the day, school awards don't mean crap to a creative director (the guy/gal who decides whether or not to hire you). But, it feels good to have the ego stroked nonetheless.  

Want me to post the stuff up on here? If you ask really nicely, I just might. 

It's all over?

Routines make me put my pants on every morning.  I had a good one going: get up and go to school.  Now, it's over and all I have is free time. Too much free-time.

"Ohh Matt, shut-up. You're so lucky to have so much free time." You shut-up. I hate having too much free-time. It's maddening. 

It's weird to admit this, but I already miss the stress of school.  When life's falling apart around me, it's nice to have an assignment to go work on. 

Sure, I've wanted off this bipolarcoaster of hope and rejection.  Many times.  I'll curse and swear off writing for a lifetime only to return to it the next day.  It's a drug. The pen is my syringe and ink is my heroin.  Ink, the heroin of copywriters. If it's not injected onto paper, I don't feel as good about my day.  Maybe this is why Hemingway always wrote 500 words a day without exception.  It makes sense.  Keep the ink flowing and thoughts will do the same.  
So, I don't want to stop. I've got Bob the rock star art director on board with me and we're gonna get busy.

If I don't have a project to suck up my thinking time, I start evaluating life. Evaluating my life is annoying. This Tony Robbins guy pops up in my brain and starts with the motivational talk.  "Get out there and live! Meet new people! Go try something new! Now is your time! Seize your day! Be the Carpe of the Diem!" 

What's the difference between a self-motivational seminar and a new age cult?  Seriously, what is the difference?  They both sound the same and work the same. 

Neil French wrote a long copy piece about being trapped in the elevator with a rampant optimist for 6 hours. He laid out how to transform the happy-to-be-alive type into the please-death-come-now-and-end-this-misery.  I found it hilarious. Check it out for yourself:

Around here, everyone's left with a blank itinerary.  Saying "hi" is replaced with "what are we doing today? What are you doing tonight? We gotta do something really cool!" 
Sure, I agree. It's important live like you don't want to die. Sitting around is lame, but sitting around and stroking paper with a pen is great.  I've taken a real fancy to writing.  I don't write epic pieces, novels, or even great headlines. But, I write and it feels good to do it.

Then comes the problem of filling up the creative tank with inspiration.  I wish the walk to school would be enough, but it's not.  Traveling, experiencing something new, talking to a stranger.. those are great sources.  So we're gonna travel. 

I'm making like a gypsy and traveling around Europe. Berlin, Prague, and Vienna are on the itinerary.  I'm excited to see the places and go have fun. But I still want to write.

And I will. So, stay tuned for more. I love you.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It makes me smile

Finals Finals Finals

If breathing was a mental task I had to keep track of, I'd be dead.  The stress of finals over here is unreal.  I'm excited for the work but the past two weeks have been an endless process of writing, re-writing, defining the concept, re-writing, presenting, being told to change the idea, re-writing, re-writing, and re-writing.

I've kicked it old school and put it all onto paper since the screen makes me feel like a zombie.  This morning I realized all five of my pens are out of ink.  Pretty crazy stuff.  

It's great to be writing and challenging myself to go to a new level of intensity, but I'm ready for the break.  Three days and counting until it's all over!