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Reader inteview #1...

... with mchick


The very first respondent to Terribly Happy's open call for interview subjects is mchick. She lives in Austin, which leads me to believe that she somehow got to the Internet faster than out-of-towners to get in the door for the first of what I hope will be a regular feature around here: interviews with readers and friends. She answered the call with the charming response, "Can I answer your questions in the form of a question?"

And now, I give you mchick:


OMAR: Who are you? What is an “mchick" exactly?

MCHICK: Here are the descriptive phrases: I’m a freelance advertising copywriter, singer, voice actor and obsessed gardener. Married, no kids. Typical ‘80s kid, though I missed the slacker phase and went right to work. I wish I’d pierced or tattooed something, but limited myself to multiple hair colors. Who and what I am exactly is impossible to define. I subscribe to (INSERT GERMAN SCIENTIST’S NAME)’s Uncertainty Principle: As soon as you try to pin something down, that’s when you change it. What is an Omar, exactly, anyway?

OMAR: Wow, I have a whole set of Terribly Happy archives that are supposed to answer that question.

MCHICK: And I have a raft of old journals (and a fledgling blog) that are supposed to answer yours, but so far I’ve mostly ended up describing my moods, outfits and latest musical obsessions.

OMAR: If you did have a tattoo, what kind of skull would it be?

MCHICK: Hmmm... the first idea that comes to mind is “Bowhead.” As in pink, with a bony “bow” protrusion on the top. And in puffy dot lettering “Be cute or die!”

OMAR: That is too cool. How do you think the skull got the bow? Was it purchased or inflicted upon the skull somehow?

MCHICK: There are two forms of Bowhead: BowNogginus Origini, which is born that way and runs with members of its own species in packs known as the Greek System. The calciferous bow protrusion on their skull is an inherited genetic trait, along with a taste for khaki, ribbon belts and lite beer.

Then there is BowNogginus Ironica, which is really a lifestyle choice. The bow is detachable.

OMAR: Isn’t it funny how what you (editorial you) write rarely represents how you act or are perceived as a person in “Real Life”? I think there’s a huge dissonance that caught people offguard when the Net really started to take off. People were falling in love with people they would never have even looked at twice in the physical world and making friends in Russia. Which is all to ask, what ARE your latest musical obsessions?

MCHICK: I’m funnier on the Net than I am in person. And less schlubby. Other than that, I think I’m about the same, really. I was late to the whole Net writing party — intimidated, and too in love with scribbling in little books. But when that started being intimidating, the Net was a lot easier.

Latest Musical Obsessions: Fountains of Wayne. Hotel Costes V and the song “One Night in Rio.” The Jazzmusique station on Itunes radio. Supreme Beings of Leisure. And I really wanna check out this CD by Lyrics Born, but I haven’t got it yet.

Right now it’s all Jazzy DJ stuff, by and large. A couple of years ago it was Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee & Blossom Dearie (all jazz singers). Before that, I was nuts for old R&B and funk, like Maceo Parker, the Meters, Bill Withers, etc. Go figure.

OMAR: I can tell by my vast powers of deduction and by your e-mail address that you live in Austin — how long have you lived here? What do you think of it? Are you a hippie?

MCHICK: 10 years. Love it. Patchouli makes me gag, but I’m glad the hippies are here. A cousin once said she felt so much more at home in Fredericksburg because “there are just so many weirdos here...” My response was, “But I’m GLAD there are so many weirdos...” This is why I fled Dallas as fast as I could.

OMAR: What do you think of Fredericksburg peaches? Aren’t they the fucking bomb?

MCHICK: The FUCKING BOMB is right. In fact, it’s cool to eat all the “trademark” foods of lots of Texas areas. Support the farmer, all that stuff. I remember eating Noonday onions in East Texas when I was a kid and they rocked the casbah. And I swear this spring I will make it to the Luling Watermelon Thump. You can’t make shit like that up.

Isn’t the downtown Farmer’s Market the shiz-nizzle?

OMAR: I would probably think that, but I’ve never gone out there. I hear it’s The Shiznit, though. What’s the best places to eat in the city of Austin? You sound like you know a lot about eating right.

MCHICK: You got me there — I’ve actually only been once myself. But like the aforementioned hippies, I’m glad it’s there.

About restaurants, well, there’s Eating Right as in “eating healthy.” And there’s Eating Right as in “Get Your Righteous Grub On.” In the first category, you’ll see Mother’s, Kerbey Lane, Hyde Park B&G, Veggie Heaven, etc. In the second category (definitely my favorite) you get Hill’s Café, Guero’s, Mikado Sushi bar (WHY is that place not packed all the time!?? Wait, shhh....), various Chinese joints introduced to me by my Taiwanese-American husband, Waterloo Ice House, Curra’s for brunch and Crack-tastic coffee, Rounder’s pizza, Shoal Creek Saloon, Mrs. B’s, Zuzu’s, Hyde Park B&G (this time for the fries), Kerbey (this time for the pancakes and NEVER for the service)... MMMm, in the words of Homer, “me so hungy...”

OMAR: What’s the copywriting job you’re most proud of? Tell us about it.

MCHICK: I wrote and produced a TV campaign for KLRU-TV on a limited budget and even more limited bandwidth. The idea was to capture the diversity of people who enjoy and are affected by public TV (not just eggheads and little kids). I ended up casting a bunch of my musician, actor and other creative friends — plus a bunch of really interesting people who showed up for an open casting call. We had literally zillions of possibilities. Grown-ups singing “C is for Cookie.” Punks and hippies doing imitations of Bob Ross (“little happy clouds...”) And a sweet older couple who ended things off with “KRLU is the greatest!” (yes, that’s backwards. and perfect)

Because most of what I do doesn’t matter very much, y’see. But that was meaningful, if only to the handful of people who were there.

I told you my favorite writing job. But my favorite job in advertising was actually producing some TV spots for the ARC of Texas. I got to make a group of developmentally disabled adults into movie stars for several days. Everything about it was incredible. Watching a gifted cinematographer show a parent her mute, wheelchair-bound daughter glowing in the light of the camera in a patch of sunlight... hanging out with a rockstar named Zedrick... getting gorgeous shots of two older men who worked together like two halves of a whole... Tremendously cool. Members of the crew even came up to me saying it was one of the best shoots they’d ever been on.



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