The Stakes of Everyday Life

I saw Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, speak last night at the MFA. He was witty and very chatty. He wore bright red socks with his dark suit.

He told us that, like all writers, he draws on his personal experiences when writing. He had a crush on his babysitter when he was young, and walked in on her on the toilet. (= Glenn Bishop walked in on Betty.) His parents have a photo of themselves sharing a hot dog. (= photo of Don and Betty sharing a hot dog, during Season 1’s Kodak carousel scene.)

When asked why he thought the show was so popular, he mentioned the fact that the audience never knows what is going to happen. He doesn’t believe in “spoon-feeding” the audience. He wants the audience to feel the anxiety of not knowing what to expect, and then the relief once they find out.

Everyone can relate to the show in a way, because as he said, it deals with the stakes of everyday life. People’s private vs. public selves. Being tied to people when you share a secret. Being in a minority group and wanting to belong.

Regarding casting, he said that he didn’t want to cast anyone with prior associations. He also joked that he had no money. Seventy men tried out for the role of Don Draper. He chose Jon Hamm because he was intelligent, and he was funny AND goodlooking. He quipped that goodlooking people don’t need to be funny…Jon has both qualities because he doesn’t know he is one of the most attractive men on the planet. Weiner could also tell that Jon wasn’t raised by his parents….he intuitively picked up on that somehow. Which matches the circumstances of his character, Don Draper.

Weiner’s wife was in the audience, and he gave her a big shout-out, which I thought was nice. He credited her for many insights into the scripts, and “he doesn’t even have to pay her.”

His or Hoar

I record books for the blind and dyslexic about once a month. I do it because I think it is an important and necessary program, but I also greatly enjoy the icing on the cake. Which is being able to play back a recording of myself laughing. I find it hysterical to listen to myself laugh.

I often laugh during the shift because I either a) grossly mispronounce words, b) misread a word altogether, or c) catch myself slurring words together. For instance, New York. When I read the words “New York” in the middle of a sentence, it often sounds like “NYork.” Much like “Gnocchi.”

I also have a tendency to turn “his or her” into “his or hoar”…woopsie.

Recording books is always an adventure filled with Scottish, Hebrew, or Irish names…words such as “ombudsman” or “rural” (I cannot pronounce the word “rural” correctly to save my life.)….cringeworthy moments when my western NY accent comes alive…

Even with all of this craziness going on, I know that the end user will appreciate having the book to listen to. And that makes me happy.

Sunset Cruise

One of the best things ever invented: The Groupon.

If you don’t know Groupon, get to know it. Now. While you’re at it, check out BuyWithMe as well.

You will enter a world of deals…on restaurants, massages, stores, services, etc.

I found myself in a perfect storm of Groupons recently…suddenly I had six or seven Groupons that were expiring within a week or two. I’ve used five in the past few days…can’t let them go to waste!

Last night, Mary and I (and about a hundred other people with Groupons) went on a sunset cruise around Boston Harbor. It was a little chilly by the end, but all in all it was a nice time. Here are some photos of our fair city.