Wednesday, May 30, 2007

An anniversary of sorts

I've hit 100 posts since I began to post (on average) every day. Wow. I have to say it is helping (slowly) to improve my discipline. To have this thing which I look at everyday and write in at least once a week. I realized today that exercise has become something I miss when I don't do it. The food discipline hasn't been as hard as I feared and I can see it becoming habit. Bit by bit. I'm trying to decide if I should start to organize posts--group the book reviews (which I haven't done for awhile), the movie reviews, the personal navel gazing so that if anyone is interested in one thing it would be easy for them to see them all. We shall see.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More on Isabella Blow

According to The Week it was suicide by weed killer (not OD as earlier reported) probably in reaction to her ovarian cancer. And that she had attempted it before, last year leaping from a bridge. How sad, and yet I can't condemn her. This too is very Vile Bodies and Bright Young Things.

...The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Dying
Is an art, like everything else,
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart----
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood...

(excerpt from) Lady Lazarus--Sylvia Plath


The first time I died
Was in the arms of good friends of mine.
They kiss me with tears.
They hadn’t been near me for years.
Say, why do it now
When I won’t be around, I’m going out?

We needed you
To love us too.
We wait for your move.

Only tragedy allows the release
Of love and grief never normally seen.
I didn’t want to let them see me weep,
I didn’t want to let them see me weak,
But I know I have shown
That I stand at the gates alone.

I needed you
To love me too.
I wait for your move.

All the love, all the love,
All the love we should have given.
All the love, all the love,
All the love you could have given.
All the love, all the love,
All the love...(run for the hills...)*

The next time I dedicate
My life’s work to the friends I make,
I give them what they want to hear.
They think I’m up to something weird
And up rears the head of fear in me.
So now when they ring
I get my machine to let them in.

I needed you
To love me too.
I wait for your move.

All the Love--Kate Bush


Do you know the despair
the despair of excellence?
Of seeing the world as it is,
And finding it a deformed prodigy
Too many minds are too small
for the bodies they control
Tomorrow really is too many
light years away for me to hang on
Its only glass anyway

Not at all the sort of thing we want
in our neighborhood

Nohow

It spirals down--climbing DNA ladders
Do you know the power of stopping?
Watching the world crash into itself
Maybe we'll all fall into a black hole
And black holes don't care
about prom queens, do they?

Breaking Point--Novel (age 15)


If I am your Orpheus, and you Euridice,
And anger, grief, misfortune, but our hell,
Had I not pulled you back from Hades' depths
Could I have loved you half so well?

My love is like the clement ocean,
Lapping sweetly at the shore,
When the tide is high upon the beach,
I love you even more.

But in power for destruction,
My rage is like the sea
Eating at unstable sands
As this eats at you and me.

What if death is like a silent ocean
That sooths the soul in gentle night?
Then was it kind for either one of us,
To drag the other to the light?

But if death is more like drowning
With pain and endless black,
Then you'd think the fight would grant
The strength, to beat our furies back.

The Best of Intentions--Novel (age 30)

You're up and then you're down

Warning: this is more panicked and personal than I usually let myself be here, but I'm trying to figure something out, and isn't that what journals are for?
 
Well, I heard back from the guy for whom I did the costumes and they really aren't working.  I'm sending back the money less expenses.  I will say this, his email was very fair--not personally insulting or irrational (like my last run in with a director from the fall).  He focused on what had gone wrong--took some responsibility for communication and didn't ask for the money back.  The only thing that really stung was that he said he should have asked for a portfolio as if I were an amateur.  And then I think, well, maybe I am.  It hearkens back to what I said below--I LET SOMEONE DOWN.  I don't know if it was unavoidable--well, not taking the job, obviously, but beyond that??
 
He did say that I said I could do it and then didn't deliver and I will stand by what I said below.  What I did would have worked for most of the small shows I've done AND with time there would have been experimentation--the glue isn't holding, we'll have to stitch them, etc.  There is this element of experimentation that I'm trying to remind myself would be part of any shop with a monster costume--how does this look in the lights, well what if we do this instead.  I am also trying to remind myself is that he didn't know how to do this (and he rigs most of his own costumes).  It was non-realistic to think that someone else could sweep in and solve the problem without discussion.
 
BUT I think, I should have said that from the outset.  Follow your gut, because my gut said I didn't have the time to do this if things went wrong--and things went wrong.  There is also a part of me that says I should have A) known how to do this impossible thing AND/OR B) said quite firmly that it couldn't be done.  Neither one of which is a realistic thought--mistakes are made.  We are NOT perfect--none of us.  How easy to say that--how hard to believe.
 
Do I sound like I have difficulty getting along with people?  I don't think that I do and yet, whenever these conflicts come up I have the horrible feeling that I am somehow more sensitive, more irrational, less capable than other people.  If only I had done it right, worked even harder, planned better the whole mess could have been avoided.  I look at friends who never seem to have these problems with the self-same people and think that there is something wrong with me.  And again--I know none of that is true.  But I don't know it.  Do you know what I mean?
 
There is, especially, coming off of a wave of successes a terrible need? desire? to focus on this one mistake and believe that I am wrong in taking this new job, wrong in pursuing grad school, because I am, in fact not nearly as good at anything as I believe.  And again, I know that all or nothing thinking is preposterous and would talk any friend out of it.  That life is in fact about the experimentation and that failure is bound to happen sometime if you do anything risky.  But again, failing myself is one thing, failing someone else is unacceptable. 
 
I must remind myself to map my life in successes, not in failures.  To remember all of the people who are quite fond of me, even some directors.  To know that all people face mistakes and let people down on occasion.  That even, as Thich Nacht Han points out, Buddhist monks feel anger but it's what we do next that matters.  I wish it were not in Salem.  I love Salem, and I feel that it is tinged now with this failure.  That I will be afraid of walking it's streets for fear of being reminded.  How stupid is that? 

If I did the things I think of doing when I thought of them...

Well, I'd be somewhere else, that's for sure.
 
I sent an email to a woman who was trained as an Industrial Designer today.  She responded INSTANTLY and we're going out for sushi on Thursday and she's willing to look at my portfolio (which would be great if I had more than a collection of pictures XD).  Now, I've had her business card for AT LEAST 6 months, maybe more.  And you know why I put it aside and didn't email her then, two days after I met her?  Because I was going to get everything all PERFECT in order to make networking calls, etc.  Jeez...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ha Ha

Don't you hate it when I'm down to the end of the month and creating filler posts?

I really do have legitimate posts on:

Castle in the Sky--Miyazaki (It's about a spunky girl who finds inner reserves of strength while battling the power mad and discovering that crazy old ladies are not as crazy or bad as they seem--but the power mad always are--Miyazaki fans know that I just described most of his films)

Notes on a Scandal--not as good as I would have liked and how come we were never told about the lesbian overtone in America? Total trivia--Cate, Dame Judy and Anne-Marie Duff (cameo at end) have all played Queen Elizabeth I--deliberate?

On Chesil Beach--Ian McEwan. Wow, he just keeps getting better and better and he started out pretty good.

Maybe by noting them I'll make myself pick them up and run with them--esp. now that the TV season is over.

Lyrics

I know I promised that essay on taste and why we have it, yonks ago and it's getting longer and more cluttered in my head until it shall either blow up or fall out onto the paper, and this is not it. Matt has a small (v. small) treatise on "Your Love" by The Outfield and I'd been thinking of the song that most sums me up for awhile now. (For the record, Matt, I always thought the singer was a jerk--my girlfriend's away and I'm lonely so come do me. *_*, but the guitar hook is nice).

Suspended in Gaffa--Kate Bush

Out in the garden
There's half of a heaven,
And we're only bluffing.
We're not ones for busting through walls,
But they've told us
Unless we can prove
That we're doing it,
We can't have it all.

He's gonna wangle
A way to get out of it.
She's an excuse
And a witness who'll talk when he's called.
But they've told us
Unless we can prove
That we're doing it,
We can't have it all.

We can't have it all.

"I caught a glimpse of a god, all shining and bright."

Suddenly my feet are feet of mud.
It all goes slo-mo.
I don't know why I'm crying.
Am I suspended in Gaffa?

Not until I'm ready for you,
Not until I'm ready for you
Can I have it all.

I try to get nearer,
But as it gets clearer
There's something appears in the way,
It's a plank in me eye,
With a camel
Who's trying to get through it,

Am I doing it?
Can I have it all now?

I pull out the plank and say
"Thank you for yanking me back
To the fact that there's
Always something to distract."
But sometimes it's hard
To know if I'm doing it right.
Can I have it all?
Can I have it all now?

We can't have it all.

"We all have a dream...maybe."

(Chorus)

I won't open boxes
That I am told not to.
I'm not a Pandora.
I'm much more like
That girl in the mirror.
Between you and me
She don't stand a chance of getting anywhere at all.
Not anywhere at all.
No, not a thing.
She can't have it all.

"Mother, where are the angels? I'm scared of the changes."

(Chorus)

{Highlight is mine}

Isn't it weird when it's in the air

My friend B and I were discussing how Hyde in the most recent L'Arc video seems to have learned his dance moves from 80's videos and I said that I had never realized how much Hyde wanted to be Pete Burns of Dead or Alive (witness the hair, an eye patch in a live version, etc.). Strangely "Separated by a Common Language" refers to Dead or Alive in reference to the uses/misuses of Round vs. Around. She has some links to the videos.

Why we don't have children (or a nice house or investments or other grown-up stuff)

My husband and I are actually about 6 years old. While tidying and putting away winter clothes today he came across a box of unopened Invader Zim figures. He must have put them away with the intention of giving me some of them for Christmas. We had a perfectly silly evening opening them and playing (yes, playing) with them--ooh, put the Germs Zim in the living room set! Where's the Germs Gir?" We put them up on the TV and laughed every time we looked up. Well, it brings us joy. :D

Updates

Weight is steady, maybe a pound down, but the measurements are better which they always say is a better indicator of progress. Broke down and had ice cream out on Sunday after stressful meeting with costume commission. Did skip dessert for rest of day(and lunch) so not too worried about it. Also drank soda on Saturday working on costumes as it WAS SO HOT!

Busy, busy weekend, busy day. Had brought work home--did that for several hours (preparations for leaving), put together half a newsletter (waiting on pictures), tidied though dust still lies heavy on everything. Even sewed a little.

It's daft, that I put off doing things because I do feel so good once I've begun them, and often think, "Gee, that was easier than I expected. Why did I wait so long." Unfortunately it also makes me think of the million things that I wish were done and organized--the "how did I let my life get into this state," syndrome. I could work on projects for days and days and never stop but then I'd burn out (I think). I desperately want to get the house more organized before I begin this new job. For instance I spent some time today going through things at our shared desk before I could begin on the work I'd brought home. If I really want the work-at-home thing to be viable in the new job then I need to keep the desk area under control. I am actually a very organized person at heart. I know where everything is. I do have a system, but the interests get ahead of me. What's funny is I've advised people as a sort of organization coach and my advice to them would be "Chuck any projects that you haven't touched in ages. There will always be others." I find that harder to do for myself. I did throw out a stack of old Games Magazines today--I will never finish those crosswords and I really don't want to. Must keep going.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

New Job

So I have a new job--Marketing and Coaching Coordinator at an Independent Financial Firm, starting at end of June. It's a very good salary. It's got the potential to be anything I can make it (there is NO marketing department now--I'm creating as I go). It has the potential to be a train wreck. It's funny, because it's the kind of job that I sort of expected an Amherst degree to provide me when I graduated. Not that I expected this salary straight out of college, but I expected to be considered for this kind of renaissance position, a little writing, a little design, a little management, a little planning and coordination--liberal arts, in other words, and of course, there really were no positions like that going or company's willing to take chances on untried talent--at any salary. Or none that I was able to find. Of course, I'm over 10 years out of school and I've done lots of things that give me added value, but I'm actually not that "tried" in this thing I'm being hired in--ostensibly marketing. I did get this job in the way that they describe when you go and talk to the career counselors. I got it through my network. It wasn't a posted position. It's sort of being made up by me and the boss as we go. Weird.
I'm really pretty scared. There's parts I'm looking forward to and think I'll be fine at. There's parts that I've always thought I could/should do and have never really been given a chance. There's parts I have no clue and it could all be different when I get there. That is, I think I should create the brand and I may get there and discover that they're planning to outsource that to a design team and I'll just be coordinating and liaising. There is a part of my brain that worries that I won't actually be able to do it now that I have the chance (write, for instance) or will be only mediocre at it--I think I'll be functional. What's funny is that I attended the last day of their conference on Friday (since I do know I'll be largely responsible for organizing the next one in the fall) and they had a speaker who is a licensed psychotherapy hypnotist, and he talked at length about believing in a better vision of yourself. Do you say it with your conscious brain but undermine it in your subconscious? The example he gave was Oprah Winfrey gaining and losing the same 40 pounds because she secretly believes herself to be a fat woman. I believe I can do it, and yet somewhere deep in side I really doubt that people should listen to me at all.
What's equally interesting about this is that I had already considered going to a licensed psychotherapy hypnotist, a friend of a friend, to stop talking myself out of things.

I am terribly afraid of letting people down and of being let down. What I hated most in high school was team projects because I feared a) I'd be responsible to all those people and b) I'd end up doing most of the work. And then I chose theater where one is always in a team, always having everyone counting on your work and being reflected by your work (as opposed to being only responsible to yourself--if you fail only you are standing there humiliated) and depending on everyone else to be really good as well (which doesn't always happen esp. in my level of theater or, as far as I can see in any.) I find I turn things down that I probably could do, or bizarrely assure people that I can do things that turn out to be beyond my level. Case in point--those two damned costumes. Worked on them all day yesterday--probably about 9 or 10 hours. Wasn't happy with them and the client wasn't happy either. I only charged him for 7 and apologized like a loon. Now here's the really stupid piece. I don't know that anyone could have done what he wanted in the time allowed without more meetings and discussions--and certainly not at the rate I was charging. I did tell him that, but I don't think he was convinced and I'm pretty sure will not be calling me for any more work--and I feel terrible about that, at the same time that I really don't want to do that kind of work. Gah!!!

Week of strange dreams

Lots of first days of school, one of having apparently skipped a class for a month and being offered a way out by a teacher. Probably stemming from the fear of this new job.

Dreamt I was a celeb (or treated like one) and went to see the Rolling Stones with Mirror's wife. Met Mick in the dream and someone else famous like it was no big thing and neither had accents. Lovely time chatting with Mirror's wife, my friend A, which I did in fact do Friday last, but cannot imagine a universe where she or I would go see the Rolling Stones.

Dream where I was sitting with two friends from high school who were popular (I was not), when current boss came up, asked for something and offered to dig in my purse for it. I knew I couldn't let him see what was in my purse--stemming from secrets having to be kept re: new job. The two girls--well, my mother always holds them up as examples of "successful" classmates--do I think I'm successful now? Popular? Grown-up? with my serious job?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thank you, Matt

I used to comment after people's comments, but I don't think people go back to look at comments they've made on other people's pages (well, sites with large readerships perhaps). So thank you, Matt for the words of encouragement. I remember when I was young and really thin ('93 or so--see L'Arc blog) when I could eat a steak dinner, be five pounds heavier when I went to bed than when I got up. Skipping a meal could lose me five pounds then.



Happily it looks like those four pounds are pretty solidly lost, when I checked yesterday and today. That's why I was only looking at the scale once a week so I wouldn't get discouraged. I'm hoping it's not just water. Back on the treadmill yesterday and today.



I now understand baseball marginally more (about .001, as a matter of fact :P). I hope your ultimate games are going as well, Matt! I am reminded of the explanation of Blurnball in Futurama--which unfortunately does not seem to be on YouTube. MULTIBLURN (for anyone who's seen it).



ROSE MCGOWAN'S BEEN IN 23 FILMS? Good grief. I guess it's pretty good that I knew it was Jaw Breaker then. Wow.

And no, I haven't written yet about the big, exciting thing that stressed me out last week because it will take time. Short answer--new job that I wasn't looking for that happened very quickly that will bring more money, better benefits, more creativity and more responsibility. I'm scared which I think is a good thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Resolve

I've gained two pounds back. Trying not to to be devastated and discouraged. It was a very stressful week AND an office birthday and I didn't get to the gym as much because of things going on.

Otherwise, I was batting a thousand (do you know, I don't even know what that means in reality, not as a cliched expression for success). Talked to a school. Went to bed most nights around 11. Did something else big I'll write about tomorrow after the relevant parties have been notified, just in case. Threw the office birthday party. Met with a good friend, talked another friend off of a wall and did it well, I think, had some good ideas for another friend's wedding decorations, and if I did not make the costumes I've been hired to make, I have everything I need to make them which I did not have when I got up on Saturday. Even had an eerie run of my own personal game of identifying movies in a single frame, including, bizarrely films I have not seen, but identified through extrapolation--Jaw Breaker and the Japanese horror film Infection (as in actors in it, setting, costumes--how many films has Rose McGowan actually been in?). Watched Infection, creepy and weirdly funny. AND going to bed now--which if you look at the post time is pretty amazing.

Speaking of Downloading

Yes, I do it under the radar.
No, I really do still buy CD's after I find out if I like them.

The one big drawback of downloading (well, leaving the sound quality out and not having the liner notes and possibly lyric sheets) is that sometimes people put things up wrong.

A few weeks ago I was driving down the highway listening to one of my old favorites that I'd only had on cassette, Bowie's 'Never Let Me Down' which I know most Bowie fans hate, but I like selected songs--most particularly the title track. The title track is right in the middle, and I'm stuck in traffic, so we've run through the first half and all of a sudden something comes on that I KNOW isn't Bowie, certainly not 'Never Let Me Down,' but vaguely familiar when I realize that it's a COVER of 'Never Let Me Down Again,' by Depeche Mode done by some metal/punk band with both a male and female lead singer. How did anyone ever think that was Bowie????

So now, I have to find the single song and download it.

Then again Bowie for some reason. Listening to what is supposed to be the Labyrinth soundtrack (the FREE quality of downloading will prompt you to download things you would never buy) and thinking again, "THIS IS NOT BOWIE--NO WAY IN HELL IS THIS BOWIE," and listening to the lyrics I don't think this could be on the Labyrinth soundtrack. But, hey, it's a really beautiful song. Quick Yahoo of the lyrics and I discover that Dead Can Dance had a song called....'INTO THE LABYRINTH.' D'Oh!

And finally, listening to Shiny Toy Guns at work, new album (you'd think that would be simple, right? Rip the whole album, put it out to share?) and a song comes on and I think, "Did they cover 'Puttin' on the Ritz'? Did they cover 'Puttin' on the Ritz' precisely like Taco covered 'Puttin' on the Ritz'? NO, this is, in fact, 'Puttin' on the Ritz' by Taco. Quick Yahoo and I learn that STG has a song on their album called 'Ritz' which is 2:46, considerably shorter than Taco's song.

The first one is frustrating. The second one reminded me that I really do like Dead Can Dance (which my husband had conveniently downloaded at some other point, and I didn't realize) and the third will probably prompt me to go out and buy the Shiny Toy Guns CD. So are the mistakes deliberate? Is it some vast conspiracy to bump you along to other artists?

Probably not.

Ok, I had to find out if I could do it



Well, that was absurdly easy. Have to say Blogger being bought by Google has made it damned easy to do things.

So yes, I love Laruku. This is their new single--I didn't like it at first but it's growing on me in a mad way. Very bummed that there's no date for a whole new album.

I've been trying to avoid L'Arc because, well, because I've downloaded a lot of other music and I was trying to give it a chance, but also to see if I really liked them if I didn't look at Hyde, and you know what?

They really are my favorite band. A day without L'Arc is ... rainbowless.

And I'm still trying to not look at Hyde because what really is the point of crushes? I'll never meet him. I probably wouldn't like him if I met him. He assuredly is not going to fall for me. Plus I really like him best between oh, '95 and '98 and he's not going to look like that again. Come to think of it, I probably like myself best for how I looked around '95 (no, probably '93) and that isn't coming around again either. :P

Having a famous crush is like being in love with Mr.Darcy. Fiction vs. real life.

But the music is still fantastic.

Wow, it really works

Last year a penned a very long couple of posts about how fabulous David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas was and someone googled and commented. How cool is that?

Or it's spam.

But I don't think so--he didn't ask me to visit his blog or buy anything.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Speaking of Dr. Who

Neil Gaiman has a lovely intro he wrote for a Dr. Who novel in 2003 just before the BBC brought it back and reinvented it. All fans have a non-canonical Dr. Who in our brains. Just a thought.

My mind is wandering

Oh, man, I finished that blog and couldn't think why I started it. My brain is going in way too many directions this week.

The reason I started it was that on Unbelievable Truth, history of the underground, a true fact was that most suicides by subway train occur at 11 am. And the panel said, "You hear there's a delay and you don't think, 'Oh, some poor sod,' you think 'Damn, I'm going to be late.'"

It took me 1 hour 15 minutes to get to work on Monday morning and when I checked traffic I heard that there had been an accident and I was mentally cursing some Beemer driver in a fender bender. When I got to work and checked the news I learned that 3 to 6 cars had been involved and 12 people had been taken to the hospital and I felt like a shmuck.

More on Anglophelia

Most people don't realize this, but much of the God-awful shows on television are the fault of the British--almost all of the reality crap like Survivor, and What Not to Wear, and many of the recent game shows--Weakest Link (obviously because they brought the singular host), I believe Identity and Deal or No Deal but DoND may have been based on a really old American one.

Anyway, they never bring over the really good stuff (or if they do they make it worse). Coupling for instance. Red Dwarf. Speaking of RD, I feel about this as The Cat did when "claiming" his territory with a small spray bottle (figure it out), "This is mine, this is mine, this is mine. Except that. I don't want that." I'll take the clever and dark without the inane, thank you. I guess The Office is the exception that proves the rule.

What I'd like them to bring over (besides Dr. Who which shouldn't be touched by American hands--I like my Dr. as Victorian gentleman and all attempts (with the exception of Joanna Lumley and that was comedy) to change that rather annoy me) {How far can I digress--watch me} is the really clever, erudite, literary game shows that my husband and I listen to from the BBC. The only thing America has that's at all close is NPR's "Wait, wait, don't tell me."
We listen to "My Word," "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" (which is rather more intelligent comedy than true game show--like "Who's Line" isn't really a game show), and the Unbelievable Truth. The second half of My Word, for instance is a competition between two masters who are given a famous quote or phrase and they have to make a long, funny pun out of it. I hadn't heard the Unbelievable Truth before: each contestant has a small list of facts on some subject like the History of the London Underground or Queen Elizabeth I and they weave that into an absolute nonsense history and the other contestants have to spot the facts. Like saying that X designed the first subway map and was paid 5 shillings and a hot crossed bun for it. Well, X did design the first map but was probably not paid a hot crossed bun for it. You get the picture. Truly brilliant. The first half of My Word is things like What do two characters have in common, or the etymology of words and what's amazing is that these people get it most of the time. I'm Sorry I Haven't ... has one song sung to the tune of another like She Loves You sung to London Bridge and they manage to do it. Wow. But of course would American audiences go for it? Not bloody likely!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

We are our mothers

It's been a crazy week. More about that later, but part of that was visiting Mass Art on Tuesday to see the end of year exhibit for the Industrial Design program and speak to the head of the department about the certificate program. He was a rather unpleasant man with terrible halitosis--which is not a reason not to go to a school, I realize. He was just rather abrupt as well. Essentially he told me that the certificate program is like getting a BFA without having to do the core curriculum year, and I made small talk and said, "Oh, I didn't even have to do that at Amherst--Amherst doesn't have a core curriculum." And he said, "Well, that's not my problem," and moved on. In other words, stay focused on the case at hand.

It felt rude of him, of course, but it made me think of all the times in my childhood when my mother would babble some meaningless or irrelevant comment to people who either couldn't care less, or were trying to stay focused on something else. Many times it's a nervous filler and it would make me cringe to hear her, and yet here I was doing the same. Now in random conversation it could lead to something else--"Amherst didn't have a core? How strange? How did that work?" etc. but there are people who have no patience for that sort of thing, and more, in this instance we were there to talk about something very specific in a limited amount of time. We all know people who seem to throw non-sequiters out there in a hope that you will find them interesting and it's usually cringe worthy. I think that's part of why I can't watch The Office or Michael Guest films--too many needy people doing just that.

My boss, the one like my mother, is always throwing extra information like the fact she broke her arm last year, into conversations, sometimes with old clients who would care, but also with the customer service person at Fidelity who really doesn't want to know and should be focused. It horrified me to think that I was being perceived in the same way.


This is mobile blogging--it lets me get around my company's firewall. In theory I can whip something off fast and send it in. In practice--everything leads to everything.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Isabelle Blow Dies

I have pictures of her hats at my old Hat-A-Day blog. She OD'd which doesn't surprise me. I think I wrote that I'd like to be her or at least know her. Not so much now. Still made some amazing hats.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Discipline

I'm getting better--albeit slowly.

Last weekend I spent a grand total of about 8 hours playing video games--six of those late at night.

"My name is L and I am an addict."

On Saturday night I was so cross at myself about playing on Friday night that I made the bold decision to sew a dress together that I had cut out the year before. It went together well--I worked on it much of the night. It's not done because I had a brainstorm about how to make it better (a problem I fall into often).

Then, after blogging extensively on Sat. night I was so proud of myself that I said, "You can have one or two little games before you go to bed." And that's why I went to bed at three am.

I really am an addict because while I don't miss work, and I don't spend money, I do think about it when I'm not doing it and I use it as an avoidance technique for the things I need to face.

On the plus side--after weighing myself on Sunday morning I decided--this is it, this is the line in the sand. Clearly exercise alone is not going to cut it. I resolved to eat 1500 calories per day. One week later I've been quite good and I've lost 3-4 pounds. I haven't gone to bed hungry and I haven't gone without dessert, but clearly this is going to be a long haul. Hope I can stick to it.

Things that wouldn't have occurred to me two years ago

Dress a Day has a link to a shop that sells this:

http://www.dressaday.com/2007/05/just-two-questions-okay-maybe-three.html

And my first thought (as was apparently her second or third) was, does Mana (Japanese VK star) know about this?

More on Keeping Mum

One thing that did occur to me about why this was not a particularly successful film--it went right past a lot of Americans--too British, and for the British, it echoes something said in The Young Ones:

(On the popular British sitcom The Good Life--called Good Neighbors in America) They're just a couple of reactionary stereotypes, confirming the myth that everyone in Britain is a lovable, middle-class eccentric - and I - HATE - THEM! --Vyvyan (Adrian Edmonson)

I probably have a strong belief that Britain is inhabited by people like those in sitcoms and would be bitterly disappointed if I did move to Little Barking. Of course, flipping past Love Actually where a character is off to Wisconsin to meet American babes--it works both ways.

More on Cod's Mysterious Ways

One of the things that I love about being Jewish, is we think this probably has happened, more than once. But part of being an old,old religion is we adopt and reconfigure interesting ideas so they fit in to our worldview. You can always find a sect or practice to get what you need. --Red Queen Day

Sent me this in response (rather than adding in posting--come on, people, make me look popular).

Yes, and Christianity has lots of sects too, but what you want is not always what you need, and vice-a-versa. Rather like schools of acting, as a matter of fact, and you'll notice I'm not acting.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cod's Mysterious Ways

Last weekend we watched "Keeping Mum," a lovely little bit of British kerfluffle (which I realize is not quite the proper use of the word, but I think it works here--see related post), with Maggie Smith, Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Patrick Swayze (yes, he of the flowing hair and dirty dancing--whatever). It is not a great film, but funny and sweet (and dark, of course), rather like an old Pinewood Studio pic. This is not a review of the film--it's too lightweight to bother.

Rowan plays a bumbling, absent-minded vicar in the tiny town of Little Wallop (if I ever get to move to Britain I want to live in Little Barking), rather like the character he played in "Four Weddings,..." also with Kristin Scott-Thomas. The story is rather a dark version of Mary Poppins--Maggie arrives and brings a family together and solves all of their problems (only she does it by bumping off the things that are troubling them). She suggests to the Vicar that he try some humor for a keynote address he has to give called, "God's Mysterious Ways." He inadvertently says "Cod's..." when he's delivering it and gets flustered but manages to recover and say, "Cod may have mysterious ways, but they will have to wait for their own convention." Anyway, I was thinking about that quite a bit all week.

I haven't written about religion here though I've thought about it and started several posts. Many of my friends are atheists (and/or agnostics), but Mirror and his wife are Christians who practice (as opposed to all of my friends who say they are Christian, but don't really do anything with it) and I believe Mirror and his wife to be Christians in the true sense. As for myself, I would like to be Christian. I would like to be something. I like the idea of God, better than the absence of one. I have no trouble believing that something vast and powerful created the universe, and the all forgiving Jesus is a really, really good add on for us wretched humans. What I'm struggling with is the contradictions of the Bible and the question of well, why not Islam, or Hindu, or even Buddhism (which has no God but enlightenment that might as well be an entity).

One thing that I find is that almost every atheist I've ever spoken to is ANGRY. Angry at God for not existing, usually traceable to some failure on God's part to answer a prayer (the death of a loved one, usually--sometimes the suffering in the world in general). And I point out--if he doesn't exist, why are you so angry at him? I have, in fact, met and been friends with one or two people who truly do not believe in any God or power. They have no justifications or reasons AND interestingly, do not try to "convert" others to their lack of religion. They either don't think about it much, or simply believe that science provides or will someday provide the answers and move on. There are times I wish I could not worry about whether there is a point to everything. (I read a post recently at IMDB of all places from someone who asked why atheists were always trying to convert the religious--show proof that there is no God.) The true atheist knows that you can no more disprove God than you can prove him.

Two things that I hear from the angry atheists repeatedly is the question of why there is suffering in the world, and since there is suffering, how can God be considered "Just." This, for some reason has never bothered me as a justification. I fall back on C.S. Lewis's argument, "Til We Have Faces." We are so far beneath God that we can't even begin to discuss what is "just" on the cosmic level. If I had lost a child to leukemia or kidnapping maybe I wouldn't be able to maintain that coolness, but neither have most of the people I'm speaking with--it's just as esoteric to them. I for one do not want a God who's actions are explainable in human terms (which does not stop me from wondering why some great sinners in the Bible are more blessed than others). The Greeks and the Romans had "human" Gods. Shouldn't God, by definition be unexplainable, have his mysterious ways? As to suffering--you (God) wind up the world and make laws that govern it (note that they do not necessarily govern you) and you give these pathetic things free will. And they go and F*!k everything up. In the example above, kidnapping is because of human action, not God's. Leukemia may be due to human action as well and even if it's not, do you say, "Oh, children don't get terrible diseases, but they're aging and their cells are breaking down, but ..." At what age would disease and death be acceptable? Or would everyone live to be 100 and die in their sleep except for those who are shot by other humans or beaten up by other humans, etc. If you accept that death is a part of the world that we live in, then some deaths are going to be unfair, unpleasant and unnatural. Wouldn't it be nice if God put his hand down and stopped children from being raped? Well, yes, but then what would be the point of the world? Is there a point to the world? I tend to think of it as being like a parent with children. A parent can ease many of a child's needs and wants but not all. We presume that a God would be able to fulfill all. However, a parent who does fulfill all of a child's needs and wants all the time does not raise a functioning adult. Sometimes the parent cannot step in and sometimes the parent chooses not to. Lewis always says that God wants us not to be made to choose him, but to freely choose him as an intelligent and "grown-up" being. If God stepped in and saved every child (or every cruelly dying parent, etc.) then, there would certainly be no doubt that he existed and we would all be able to wander about with NO consequences because God would always save everyone. Sounds nice, but it's not free will.

My own fundamental problem is "WHY?" Why bother to have a universe at all? Or, having created free will--since we humans have misused it so cruelly, why not pull the plug? If we were an experiment in a petri dish, we'd have been washed down the sink, long ago. Maybe God's built a better universe next door (or there are better planets elsewhere--like this newly discovered one), and he's just waiting for us to self destruct and he's not even watching anymore. Lewis, in his lesser known science-fiction trilogy, posits world's where The Fall did not occur, original sin is non-existent and no Jesus needed to die for sins. (The humans send missionaries, of course, because they cannot comprehend.)

My other problem, and this is what keeps me up at night, is the problem of choosing the right path. Since I find the Bible unreliable (written by humans, after all) and even careful reading is a little vague, what rules should I follow? Will it be enough to simply be good and to do no harm? Will it be as strict as the Talmud in which case we're all doomed? And if I say, as most people do including my mother, well, I'm going to believe what makes sense to me, and ignore what doesn't then why have a guide at all? If I say, I think homosexuality is a sin (or divorce, or abortion or any number of other things), but I'm not going to do anything about it, then can I call myself a Christian? I'm letting all those sinners go to hell. Conversely, if I do not believe homosexuality, or divorce IS a sin, then where do I go for rules? What if I'm wrong? (For the record, I don't believe that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. I don't actually believe it talks about it at all. I do know it says that divorce is a sin--that kind of dooms a lot of fundamentalists, now doesn't it?)

And what about prayer in all of this? C.S. Lewis was an atheist from childhood until the age of 39 because he prayed and his mother still died. I am tempted to quote Christopher Durang's Sister Mary Ignatius and say, "God always answers prayer. Sometimes he says No." In "Bruce Almighty" Bruce says yes to everyone and since everyone wins the lottery, they all get about 15 cents a piece and nobody's happy. (Wow, C.S. Lewis, Durang and Jim Carey in one paragraph!) I pray for parking spots and try to thank God if I get one. If a loved one were dying (or myself) I would pray and bargain (and be angry and the rest of it). A friend directed a piece that's opening next week called, "Action Jesus," a one woman show (I altered a shirt for it and met the author/star, a very fun lady). This is the blurb:
The whole Jesus thing is very confusing to me.
I find I pray to God for big things and Jesus for parking places, and stuff like that. That's my spiritual life.
I can't wait to see it. I'll let you know how it goes.

And this has rambled on--Cod moves in mysterious ways. Let's just leave it at that for now.

Wander and ye shall find...

This is the fundamental dilemma of the internet--you start looking for one thing and then there's so many inviting things to look at...

I was looking up the word "kerfluffle" for another post (I like to look up words while I'm writing to make sure I haven't been misusing them for years and that I've got the spelling right, etc.) and found this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/11/AR2006021100840.html

(I especially like his comment, "So when an incident like this one arises, it's not enough to point out an error; they must prove that the error had nefarious origins. In some places on the Web, everything happens on a grassy knoll.")

It quite brilliantly sums up many of the things I've said in this blog. Why is the web SO angry? I was also reading an article this week regarding the hate mail that many female bloggers seem to get (which was countered by men saying that they get them too). While I'd like to have readers to have discussions, the more one is known, the more one receives useless detritus. Freedom of speech means even idiots get to speak.

The week

It's been a tired week. For reasons that women understand--and I won't go into. It's made me a little down, possibly for the same reasons. Just trying to get back into the swing of things, while futher considering my life choices (or lack thereof).

Went out with an old friend. She is my oldest friend, in the sense that of my still current friends, I have known her the longest. We have been friends for 20 years (20 YEARS!!!). We were talking about how we always seem to end up talking about underwear (one memorable time--how ratty a pair of underpants has to be before you throw it away), this time about push up bras and the weird sensation of saying, "Hello, World, these are my breasts," esp. when (like me) you've never really had a lot to show off. (Cultural reference flashing in my head--Designing Women). I think we may end up talking about underwear because we really don't have much in common. We never did. Our friendship was founded on being cynical at a Nerd Camp. She went into science and is financially doing very well (for those to whom it would mean something--she and her husband just bought a TOWNHOUSE in Charlestown--for which she did not quite pay a million). I went into the arts and am not. While I like science a lot, she has never been into the arts, even as a hobby, and because I did not specialize I am too far behind her in science and math to discuss. There is a level of envy on my part that I hate in myself. I don't know if she'll ever read this. (That is the dilemma of the public journal--do I write about darker feelings knowing a friend might read?). She reads what I consider "trashy" sci-fi and has no passionate feelings about movies, books or music. As you can guess from this blog, I do. Yet, we are friends and both work to maintain the friendship.

Housekeeping

The reason I was looking for the etymology of Concierge last week was because it's a level in our organization above Leaders and below Elite. Concierge? I'd always wondered about it, but my husband really brought home how odd a choice it was--isn't that the little old lady in European apartment buildings who spies on the tenants for the landlord. Pretty much, yes. Evidently it comes from "fellow slave." Who at Met picked this? I mean, I could understand if they were saying, "You (the agent) are a concierge to your clients," but then the other two categories would have to agree, like "Servant" and, oh, I don't know "Obsequious." But since I don't quite think that's how most agents view themselves, I don't understand why it was chosen.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A bit of nothing

This week is turning into a vanity week. I only go through them every few months or so. I'm really (husband's opinon to the contrary not withstanding) pretty low maintenance. Dyed my hair last night after feeling that everyone could see my roots last week and painted my nails tonight. I go through mad phases where I dye my hair at 4 or 5 week intervals two or three times and then I get really tired of the bother and dye it dark brown and let it grow out. The nails I'll maintain for 3 to 4 weeks and then they'll start to break (they grow pretty long by themselves--too much protein in diet) and I'll clean them off, trim them down and not look back until the next vanity time.