“Immediately after I signed the contract to write this book, I got a bad feeling… I mean, I love the idea of writing a book, but as insecure and obsessive as I am, it seemed to be asking for trouble… And the typeface, the font. Good God Almighty, what about the font? I panicked. I called the printer. ‘Look, get me the funniest font you can find! I want a font where the letter ‘H’ looks like a clown with no pants! Get me that font!’ I was getting desperate. I just wanted a font that felt comfortable. Like my clothes. Nothing fancy, nothing pretentious, no button fly.”
And after the past few weeks, I have to say that I know how he feels.
I'm sure that the picture of me that is directly to the right of this column looks pretty simple. Granted, it's nothing fancy. Just me at the bottom of Castlewood Canyon State Park with a river and some rocks behind me. It's a decent picture, but definitely nothing fancy.
But please believe, it came with a price.
For those of you that have been coming to this site for the past few years, you'll recognize this picture:
This one was brutally simple and was taken in my parents' bathroom back in Virginia.
It served its purposed and I really didn't have too much of a problem with it until I got out West and saw all of this unbelievable scenery. I knew I could do better.
The profile picture suddenly became a big deal to me because it really is the welcoming committee of this site. I realized that I wanted it to represent me as warm and engaging but also fun and adventurous - like I think this site can be.
It had to be me just being me but more importantly, it had to be comfortable, just like Ray wrote.
So I started driving all over creation taking pictures of myself (someday when the site's big and I'm big, I will hire a professional photographer and this will all be a moot point). I finally drove to my favorite spot on the planet - the Georgetown Lake up in the Rocky Mountains where this picture was taken last year when my Fiancé (then Girlfriend) were out here visiting:
I knew I could get something good there but there 700 people fishing in that direction. I turned the other way and this was my first effort:
I really, really liked this one but since I am not a professional photographer, I did not take the sun (or more importantly, shadows) into account and I came out looking like Two Face from the Batman cartoons. Even still, I had it posted for a while and a lot of people commented that it was nice to get some Colorado scenery in the background, so I knew I was on the right track.
The only negative feedback I received (other than the shadowing) was that I didn't look happy enough to be there.
Sorry, I didn't know I was suppose to be the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals (ouch, sorry Nugs. You know I still love you. Still don't know how you let yourself get blown out in Game 6 AT HOME, but I still love you).
It was right around this point that my search became a little more stressful on my sanity. Now, I not only had to find the right location, but I had to find it with the right weather conditions as well. Basically this set off my descent into madness.
I kept my camera close by at all times and began taking pictures of myself everywhere I went. My mental anguish even started to annoy others as I spent the better part of my Fiancé's recent visit repeatedly asking her to take pictures of me everywhere we went.
I had more pictures to go through than most magazine staffs.
This past Thursday, I knew I had to try the Georgetown Lake again so I drove the hour up there after work. Needless to say, the conditions were perfect and out of the 80 kagillion pictures I took, I settled on this one:
I look decent, the mountains and the lake looked amazing and I was so happy with it until I got home and posted it up on the page.
Something was off.
I still can't put my finger on it but it's just not me. I know that it's a picture of me, but it just doesn't look like me for some reason.
And of course, this caused a full-scale neurotic meltdown to blow through my brain.
I had this page pulled up at my computer at work on Friday and would click over to it every couple of minutes just hoping that I would eventually feel better about it. It got so bad, I started texting all of my family and friends about it; and of course, they all loved the picture and said how great it looked.
Unfortunately my buddy Paul and I have this bad habit of actually telling each other the truth, no matter how much the other person doesn't want to hear it.
Here is what Paul texted me:
"Now that I look some more, I don't like it. That is not a Mahler emotion. Ur either miserable, neurotic, or too happy. Smug is not u. Certainly not content."
He nailed it.
While I am more content these days, I don't wear it well and I CERTAINLY don't want it to be my first emotion that greets people as they stop by.
There is no mystery to content. No intrigue. Nothing that keeps you interested or coming back for more.
Content is content.
That sealed it. I had to keep trying.
While the rest of you could care less, I now felt like I was on a time crunch because I have kinda been aiming for today, June 1st, to serve as sort of a relaunch of the site.
I'm making a commitment to myself - not even necessarily to you the reader, but to myself - to post at least SOMETHING every day throughout the week AND to have a new full length column posted every Monday morning so you have something (hopefully) entertaining to start your week with.
And help me help you.
What are you looking for in a site? I know there are so many sites out there in cyberspace but everything feels so spread out. I want to try and condense some of the good stuff a bit for you.
I've been told that people tend to like the entertainment coverage I can provide. So I will post interesting entertainment stories or news articles that I see and offer a few of my own thoughts. I feel like we get a good sports conversation going on here from time to time, so let's keep doing that.
I will post the new DVDs, movie, and CD releases of the week as well and even review some if you want me to.
The Mahler Must List (right under my profile pic to the right) will be updated as often as new things become a Mahler Must and I will guide you to the some of the best sites that I frequent (Other Recommended Sites are right under my Twitter Updates).
What else can I do? I want this to be a fun, interactive, one-stop-shopping site for you. Let me know and I'll make it happen.
I don't want to bother you with emails every time I post something, I want to create something that invites you to come back on your own. Oh, and if you have any friends or family - or enemies - that you think might enjoy my skewed perspectives, shoot them a quick text or email with the site address and check them off on your Christmas shopping list.
It's going to be me being me, but I also want it to be us just being us.
And if nothing else, you can always comment on any thing that's posted (just click the COMMENTS link at the bottom right of every post and leave your thoughts - just remember to leave your name because if you don't, it will just list you as "anonymous").
Back to the picture.
I went a new direction yesterday. I headed south towards Colorado Springs. A guy from church told me about the Castlewood Canyon State Park and how it had some great hiking trails so I thought I would check it out. If I got a good picture, that would just be an added bonus.
As most of you know, I've never really they outdoorsy type but since I'm now living in the center of the Great Outdoors, I'm really gonna try this summer (more on that later). I thought a hike would be a good, small way to start.
The sun was brutally bright for most of the day so I didn't think there was going to be much of a opportunity to get anything usable. I was standing on some rocks in the middle of the river when all of a sudden one big cloud blocked the sun and provided the perfect lighting for just a few precious moments.
I started snapping as fast as I could and ultimately walked away with this:
I didn't even bother taking another one after this one because I knew this was the one. The Georgetown Lake pictures were too grand and colorful. This was just has a steady river rolling through some solid rocks with big, beautiful trees in the background. It's kinda grayish and raw.
And I like the way I look happy but not obnoxious or even worse, content. I look like I've put a little life behind me but still have a couple tricks up my sleeve.
Me just being me, baby.
Here's the thing about my obsessive, neurotic searches and system shut-downs: while something may be good, I always know that there's something out there that could be great. I know nothing is ever going to be perfect but I know there is something that will be perfectly suitable and that's all I'm trying to find.
And now I can relax.
So that's the picture that will greet you every time you come to this page in the near future. Hopefully it will be more often than not. Either way, I will be here.
See you tomorrow.