Blog-Jam | Bullseye Glass Co. | Bullseye Glass Co


I was warned.

They told me that that I’d run out of babble; that I’d get bored with my own writing; that no one would comment (unless I picked a fight); that some ITiot would switch me over to different blog software and I’d have to learn a New Trick (just kidding, Chris)…etc etc.


My own special gray soup. A bit like Dunbeath harbor when the haar rolls in…

Whatever the reason, or conglomeration of them, I would eventually hit a blog-jam. I did. A sort of senseless mental speed-bump. Oddly, when I slammed into it, I was cruising along through a particularly pleasurable time: another trip to Scotland for the always-amazing conference at North Lands Creative Glass, this one keynoted by a brilliant speaker on memory that I can’t recap for you here because I’ve forgotten it all. Kidding.

Then once the conference ended, Dan & I headed south to deliver one of the North Lands master course leaders, the devilishly elfin Clifford Rainey, to his plane at Aberdeen airport. Sly pilgrims we, the most logical route to the airport was obvious to all of us: the Whisky Trail through Speyside.


Aberlour, Balvenie, Clynlish, Dalmore…so many drams, so little time.
As Designated Driver, I had slightly less fun that my passengers but I did have Wee Drams enough to begin seeing life from a slightly skewed new perspective.

The normally Bigger Than Life Mr Rainey diminished by vegetation near Nairn

The normally Bigger Than Life Mr Rainey diminished by vegetation near Nairn

Just how skewed my POV had become became even more evident while touring the Balvenie distillery (arguably THE best tour on the trail).

What is it, that in the middle of a dream vacation, the whole world still looks like a glass factory to me? Watching the coopers building the barrels, all I could think of was how THEIR tour was better than OUR tour.


Heading to the malting floor at Balvenie. Visitors wear screaming yellow vests. Distillery workers wear sexy black T-shirts.

“Dan, look at those cool black shirts the team is wearing. How come our guys can’t wear Bullseye shirts at work every day?” Like some sartorial SNAFU is standing in the way of reaching the pinnacle of Esprit de Corps-ism on our production line.

“Did you see the press coverage that Glenfiddich got when those three ducks got onto the malt floor? I wonder if Nicole could get the Oregonian to run something about the rats in the cellar at the gallery.”

“Did you notice that they don’t call their reps ‘reps’? – they call them ‘Brand Ambassadors’. Brilliant! Why don’t WE think of titles like that?”

I was most profoundly affected by a bit of lore that came into focus on the second day of our pilgrimage. If you’ve ever visited a distillery, you may have wondered why they’re all kind of sooty-looking. A blackish powder all over the slate roofs, the stone walls, the cobblestone paths. It’s so much a part of the exterior décor of distilleries that many have incorporated the rich black into their packaging, their logos, the shirts of their coopers(!).


What’s so “angelic” about the Dalmore stag?

But what IS the black stuff? I asked a Brand Ambassador. “As the whisky ages, a certain percentage is lost to evaporation”, he explained. “We’ve always called that ‘la part des anges’, the angels’ share.”

I was in love, what a romantic story.

Then one of the cynical leprechauns traveling with me whispered “it’s a fungus, Dear. It feeds on the alcohol vapors and grows on the walls”

bush with anges angst

It also grows on the shrubbery. A bush with major Angst des Anges.

“Why didn’t WE think of that?” Clearly Bullseye has been missing the mark for years. I swore to myself we’d make it up.

“Mary Kay, you know how customers complain about the little corners that are missing off some of our sheets?” I can’t wait to get marketing working on this one.

“We could call it ‘le coin des anges’ – the angels’ corner.”

In spite of seeing everything on the Whisky Trail through glass eyes, I managed to survive my brief vacation, propelled largely by the vapors of my New Ideas for marketing.

But before I could inflict my brilliance on Mary Kay’s team, they’d changed my blogware – fully aware that it will take me weeks to figure out how to use a new program and they’d be free for a while of my Helpful Hints.

So here I am. Stewing in “le coin de l’idiot”.

Where sometimes a blog-jam is better than what’s behind it.

11 Responses to Blog-Jam

  1. You said:

    “Dan, look at those cool black shirts the team is wearing. How come our guys can’t wear Bullseye shirts at work every day?” Like some sartorial SNAFU is standing in the way of reaching the pinnacle of Esprit de Corps-ism on our production line.

    Lani… I’ve BEEN to Bullseye and you can’t fool me! I’ve seen the matching black spandex and Kevlar outfits the guys on the production line wear. Of course YOU as management had on the spandex and Kevlar but with the addition of the stiletto heels and the small “Increase Production Now” whip. I was impressed! Both heat resistant AND stylish.

    That said (and to get back to glass) what was the most UNexpected thing you heard at the conference.


  2. Lani,

    Glad to see you haven’t fallen into a hole somewhere that you couldn’t climb out of. Cynthia M and I were just discussing your lack of blog on Saturday, so I’m very happy to see that you’ve posted again. :)

    Just gotta tell you that you have the nicest and most helpful people at the resource center. I stopped in on Saturday, late in the day, and with their help was able to breeze right out of there in under 30 minutes for my long drive home. Of course that meant that I forgot to go upstairs to see what is showing in the gallery right now. Dangit.


  3. He Lani, great to have you back blogging. and I just thought you were sipping margaritas on some Caribbean island enjoying a well earned vacation.

    But you are a very good blogger and I always look forward to your next post so definitely keep going

  4. lmcgregor says:

    Gee, guys. It’s nice to have been missed. It would have been even nicer to have been sipping margaritas in Spandex and Kevlar with whips in the Caymans…

    Toni, your Speed Shopping inspired me to actually get a 2nd blog out this week.

    Thanks, everyone. I don’t feel so lonely anymore.


  5. Still waiting to hear what the most UNexpected thing you heard was!


  6. Sorry, Gary.

    Your question really got me thinking and I guess I concluded that my conclusion might not be what you were looking for.

    What is ALWAYS unexpected to me at the North Lands conferences is how the most fascinating stuff for me is not about glass at all, but about (potential) content and ideas. This time the keynote speaker Martin Conway, a specialist on memory from the University of Leeds, spoke on the nature of memory, especially early childhood memory (there’s really no such thing as memory before age 2 – lots of controversy there) and phenomena like the “memory bump” (the greatest bulk of our memories are concentrated between the ages of 18 – 35 and why that is so).

    Obviously, given its ambiguous and haunting physical qualities, glass is an excellent and much-used metaphor for memory. The work of some of this years’ leaders of the courses (Levenson, Schaechter, della Torre brothers, Rainey etc)illustrates this point much more dramatically than I can put into words. So I’ll shut up again.

    …But not before saying that I (a staunch minimalist) did NOT expect to enjoy the Schaechter & della Torre presentations as much as I did. Watch out for all of these artists – amazing presenters.

    - Lani

  7. Thanks, Lani… and what you wrote is exactly why I ask that sort of question (I use a variant of it in museums I visit…and I ask the guards, not the curators or docents…you get more honest answers).

    Having been through Jane Bruce & Steve Klein’s “Ways of Thinking, Ways of Making” class, I appreciated that we didn’t even TOUCH glass for the first few days. Your thoughts that came out of left field in that memory lecture are a great example. When I open myself up (gack…sorry about the triteness of that!) to things other than “traditional” inspirations I find that I am a lot more creative.


  8. D’oh. I forgot that you’d done the Bruce/Klein class, Gary! IMO it’s one of the best out there. Likewise Jane’s selection of speakers for the NLCG conferences in recent years has really reflected how much the glass world has to gain from looking beyond the material itself.

  9. I would never, ever say I told you so. I did love this post, though.

    Friend of mine is trying to launch a scotch distillery on the coast of Maine. He’s got the land, he’s got outbuildings covered with lichen, he’s got a gazillion years’ experience running a brewery…now all he needs is to get these daggone Scottish dudes to let him apprentice for about 20 years (it’s a very closed society) so he can get started. I’ve told him he’ll get farther with them if he stops calling it “Scotch” but so far “Mainestch” doesn’t appear to be taking off.

    BTW…toured another glass factory last week, impressive, spent ages gazing longingly at the robot ladle. But here’s an important part of your factory tour that you left out (and they don’t have): At the end of YOUR tour, you can buy the glass.

    Which I do. Frequently.

  10. lmcgregor says:

    Which I – and our living, breathing, weird and wonderful, non-robotic workers – appreciate, Cynthia!

  11. Tod B says:

    Clearly, it’s high time I spoke up too, stating my appreciation for your blog (first time I’ve ever used the word, BTW).
    It has been a real pleasure to read; I love the way your personality comes through; your style is most enjoyable; even the content is entertaining! So you have the occasional lapse….

    … what was I saying? Oh, yeah, lapse.
    Well, anyway, do it when you can an we’ll all enjoy and learn.
    Best – Tod

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