Sunday, December 16, 2012

Head Transplants

My name is Ken, and I like cutting off people's heads and putting them on other people's bodies.

No, the irony of my hobby is not lost on me, given my own Frankensteinian existence, but it all began long before I had my head cut open for scientific discovery and bloodsport.

I take you back to New York City in the mid- 1990s:

I was working at an online database of TV and film industry information, where I had easy access to media press kits and a photocopier. I don't know exactly why, but one day I took it upon myself to become the designated maker of cards for various occasions. That amounted primarily to copying pictures from press kits, copying other pictures from office gatherings, and cutting and pasting the copies as I saw fit. I don't have any original examples to share, but I have mocked up a couple of digital re-creations of ones I remember, though I couldn't tell you why I compiled these particular images. The first is a mash-up of Peter Bogdanovich's (seen at the right) drama Mask and Jim Carrey's comedy The Mask. (I believe I originally used the advantage of a physical medium to make the tongue spring off the page). The second is a mash-up of Speed and Forrest Gump. (I think I was actually drawn to the visual joke of the bus stop and only later enjoyed the serendipitous word play.) I'd like to think my handy work brightened the days of my fellow data entry drones:

(Get it? -- "Speed Gump," like "speed bump".)

After that, I moved to Maine, worked for the same company from home,  and didn't have the equipment or inclination to  continue that creative outlet until 2006: I was a stay-at-home father with an infant son who napped well. I was also the youngest child in a family who had established a practice of creating pictorial calendars for the grandparents. And I'd taught myself PhotoShop.

 In 2007, I did another calendar, with a little more poetic license:

Blue Steel
Which one's the real turkey?
"Tiny but Mighty" was the super hero we invented for Wyatt, who was always in something like the third percentile on the growth chart.
Wyatt's World

As is often the case when a second child comes along, since 2008, the calendar tradition has been neglected. But this was part of our 2008 New Year's card:

It was also around that time that I started at my current job and began translating my previous work practice to the digital era (What has been dubbed by others as the age of the "Ken Card"). I keep them all in a mysterious folder called, "Eskimo" (movie reference, Wilk?). With the caveat that I have been granted no permission to re-produce or modify copy-protected materials, I present some of those works (which I think actually fall under Fair Use guidelines):

In 2007, my AVP at the time celebrated his 30th year at the company, and I created a slide show of highlights from his starting year, 1977.
Another from Dave's slideshow.
Anne's retirement
Lisa's return to work after successful cancer treatment. The fig was a metaphor for her shrinking tumors.
My father's retirement
Heidi, our Personal Effectiveness trainer's and Potterphile, departure for another job.

In 2011, when Dave could not be present for the Portland team picture, I made sure he was still included (I don't remember the point of the Coke bottles).

I'm not above being the subject of my own jabs, so when I was about to return to work fulltime, I took a page from a movie about a man who, like me, suffered a brain injury, learned to walk again, examined his former self, and chose who he wanted his future self to be. I was also recently reminded of it by this amazing piece on NPR.

Most recently, but not least, the launch of my friend Laura's novel (now available).

The point -- if I ever have a point -- is that these represent the best parts of the brain I had, still have, and will have.