Sunday, May 25, 2008

Things found on the web (by other people)

Your past life diagnosis:
I don't know how you feel about it, but you were female in your last earthly incarnation.You were born somewhere in the territory of modern Portugal around the year 1325. Your profession was that of a jeweler or watch-maker.
Your brief psychological profile in your past life:Inquisitive, inventive, you liked to get to the very bottom of things and to rummage in books. Talent for drama, natural born actor.
The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:The world is full of ill and lonely people. You should help those, who are less fortunate than you are.
Do you remember now?

Amusing. Though I am wondering how a female could have become a jeweler or watch-maker in 1325.

Thanks to Musing for this.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

More on Japan

So, speaking of Japan...

I read the very short novel "In the Miso Soup" or イン ザ・ミソスープIn za Misosūpu (ha ha!) by Japanese novelist Ryu Murakami, not to be confused with Haruki Murakami (who writes equally strange but generally much longer novels). Murakami R has always focussed on the seedier side of Japan, one which the Japanese do not speak of and try not to acknowledge. This one was about a young guide who makes a living guiding gaijin through Tokyo's sex clubs--until he meets an American who may or may not be a serial killer.

The Japan painted here is unrelentingly shallow, full of desperately lonely people who cannot make any kind of connection.

Le plus c'est différent, le plus c'est la meme choses.

ADDITION: Per below--at one point konbon wa was written kombon wa. I don't know whether this was an attempt to capture the nasal hum that is the Japanese final n, or merely a typo, but it seems to show that translating sound from one language to another can be tough.

Diary of a Bruise

A week ago, last Saturday, after that long, strange week and a pleasant day of shopping with my husband, I came home and slipped down my stairs.

I don't know if it was because my hands were full, or because I hadn't pulled my slippers over my heels, or because the stairs are very narrow and steep and slightly crooked, but for whatever reason, my foot slid over the lip of the top stair and down. I jettisoned everything I was carrying and grabbed for purchase, stopping about mid-way down. Too stunned to speak I turned and crawled back up my stairs, walked into my bedroom and lay face-down on the bed. My husband, who had come running at the clatter brought me an ice pack wrapped in a towel. Among the things I had thrown into space were my camera (fortunately in its case) and a small box of earring barbells which had scattered like confetti on the way down. While I lay there he went an picked up. After the whimpering stopped I was able to gauge that nothing was broken. Somehow I had managed not to hit my coccyx, but had instead inflicted all damage on my left buttock with nary a mark on the right. An hour after the accident two purple circles had blossomed, each about the size of my palm. The first inside (for want of a better term) the cleft and the other along the bottom. By Sunday these two had embraced each other to form a lurid Pangaea, barbell shaped cupping along the bottom of my buttock. By Wednesday the purple had striated into rings of plum and crimson not unlike the coloring on a purple plum that is not quite ripe. Finally, yesterday, there was a third color, a weak yellow in the center, reminding me of nothing so much as an illustrated topographical map, "Notice children that the dark purple indicates 0-50 meters above sea level, the pink is 50-100 and the yellow is 100 meters and above," across the parchment of my ass.

The pain too abates. Driving is the worst. The comfy seats, designed to contain and cushion are too much pressure. At work I perch to the right on the front edge of my chair, left leg crossed over right, acant on a small pillow I brought for the purpose. Sleep too has been interrupted. I am a side sleeper by nature, and I usually begin on my left facing my husband's direction. Instead I must now lay on my right, clinging to the edge of the mattress, or try to find a comfortable position on my stomach. And woe to me if I shift badly in the night. Switching sides did not seem an option as we switched after our move and that too was strangely discordant and sleep disturbing. Plus all our totems and tools of ablution are arranged. To rearrange would cause more trouble than it would solve.

Walking has not been too bad, a slight pressure from the swelling. It feels, strangely, as though I am peeling away from a vinyl seat in summer, but the tugging goes deeper than the skin. Exercise is not an option--how would I perform hip lifts and squats? I thought of trying to do basic curls, but what would be the point without the rest? The most pain is still to the touch; it remains a sharp pain, not yet dulled as the color has dulled, just diminished in intensity.

What is most strange is that I feared that one of us would slip on those narrow and uneven stairs from the day we moved in and have always treated them with more caution than I would like to take when rushing about. Is this a self-fulfilling prophesy, as a friend suggested? As falls go, it could have been so much worse. I could have broken my tail-bone. I could have fallen forward into space to careen into the picture of St.Paul's Cathedral at the bottom. I could have fallen backward and whacked my head or snapped my neck on the stair. All things considered I am very lucky.

But it makes one think...that we are all a footstep away from disaster. For the mind already morbidly inclined it has induced a kind of paranoia that I am struggling to ignore.

What a long strange week it was

I know I said I wasn't going to write about work--but this is an accomplishment of sorts, and more working things out.

The week of the 7th-9th was the bi-annual Summit, here in Boston this time. It went well and I received some praise. I met some very nice affiliates and sponsors and speakers, and some really, really strange ones. Like the one who wanted to be The Chairman of the Board. In fact, on the little humorous questionnaire we passed out he admitted that he worshiped ol' Blue Eyes. He's 35...

Then the one who found Atlas Shrugged a seminal novel--which I guess it is, it just depends on how you take it.

I'll pass over those who listed Da Vinci Code as one of their favorite books, or "anything by John Grissom." And move on to the two older male affiliates--one who's favorite movie is "The Neverending Story" and the other who's favorite is "Ladyhawke." His favorite book is "The Princess Bride." A man after my own heart.

My boss made an ass of himself and reminded me of why I have to get away.

And I have an offer--following JT again--to less creativity, but more...sanity. And looking back at my work record I've been happier when it was sane, and done more for myself, but sometimes I've done nothing in my private life, just drifted along, quietly sane. The insanity pushes me--to a point, but then I burn out. I'm very nearly at burn out now.

Here's my problem and I've danced around it before. I know a little about so many things. After this year I know a little about web design and HTML and a little about graphic design and Photoshop/Adobe suite. And I like what I know and I like doing it.

BUT, and it's a big But...I don't know a lot, so I doubt I would get work as a graphic designer, going against people with degrees in pure graphic design and web design. I'm reinventing the wheel half the time, only to discover there's a shortcut or a filter already made or an add on...after I've slaved over it, or I suspect there are shortcuts but I don't know them so I go the long way round each time. I don't doubt my talent, but I doubt my skill which are two very different things.

I could certainly get work after this as a copywriter, and almost certainly as an event planner. Neither of which really excites me. Should I go for the graphics degree and come out to compete with kids (yes, I am old enough now to say this) who have been doing this from childhood?

Am I good/talented or am I merely better than anyone in my immediate circle and probably not very good if playing with the professionals?

What to do...

Follow up

Matt and Bethany both wrote to tell me that their understanding--that I was trying to say WTF in Japanese--was not being fulfilled on my CafePress shirt.

SOOOO--I have decided I will offer both. I think I will add the romanji for people who have only heard it--say in anime rather than read it in manga (or from the lips of their favorite J-Rock stars).

Yup, I'll rush right over and do that...

at some point.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

From VAN

Bonjour Vietnam

Raconte moi ce nom étrange et difficile à prononcer
Que je porte depuis que je suis née.
Raconte moi le vieil empire et le trait de mes yeux bridés,
Qui disent mieux que moi ce que tu n’oses dire.
Je ne sais de toi que des images de la guerre,
Un film de Coppola, [et] des hélicoptères en colère ...
Un jour, j’irai là bas, un jour dire bonjour à ton âme.
Un jour, j’irai là bas [pour] te dire bonjour, Vietnam.

Raconte moi ma couleur, mes cheveux et mes petits pieds,
Qui me portent depuis que je suis née.
Raconte moi ta maison, ta rue, raconte moi cet inconnu,
Les marchés flottants et les sampans de bois.
Je ne connais de mon pays que des photos de la guerre,
Un film de Coppola, [et] des hélicoptères en colère ...
Un jour, j’irai là bas, un jour dire bonjour à mon âme.
Un jour, j’firai là bas [pour] te dire bonjour, Vietnam.

Les temples et les Boudhas de pierre pour mes pères,
Les femmes courbées dans les rizières pour mes mères,
Dans la prière, dans la lumière, revoir mes frères,
Toucher mon âme, mes racines, ma terre...
Un jour, j’irai là bas, un jour dire bonjour à mon âme.
Un jour, j’irai là bas [pour] te dire bonjour, Vietnam (2 fois)