"I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."

09 August 2015

Thankful Weekend

It's a bit hard to believe it's been almost six months since I wrote anything for this blog -- and yet not. The time has been spent in a whirlwind of unemployment, financial and personal panic, scrambling to find work and money and stave off depression, anxiety, and desperation (rather poorly), and finally, finding new employment. Though it is temporary, it's also full time, closer and better paying than my last job, and it's not for a soul-destroying company.
There's things to like and dislike about it already, but as a friend said this week, (paraphrasing) every job has bullshit -- even when you're doing what you love there are parts of it that suck, that's why it's work, but it's good when you find something that isn't killing you while you're doing it.
Also, while I still have multiple projects floating in the realm of not being done yet, I have done a lot of writing these past few months -- not as much as I intended, but when does that ever happen? Still, I managed to finalize an updated draft of the first novel I (co)wrote, submit for four fellowships in the space of a month (none of which it looks like I got, but have never submitted for any before, ever, it was still an accomplishment -- plus I drafted my first pilot and spec scripts), and win CampNaNoWriMo for the fist time -- coming away with more written for one story and another new on started.

So this morning I was thinking about how nice it is to have weekends back as something other than another day. Much as I'm not 100% behind the five day a week eight to nine (and sometimes more) hour work day grind, being unemployed for so long, the days really ran together and even when I tried to make myself stick to a schedule of keeping weekends as days of rest and rejuvenation, that rarely happened. Additionally, my never ending to-do list just kept overwhelming everything, not letting me enjoy most of the free time I tried to carve out for myself. In any event, I decided now is as good a time as any to offer up a list of things I'm thankful for having/doing this weekend as a reminder that weekends (and breaks in work routine in general), even when productive, should also be about spending time on things that bring you satisfactions and guide you to a more purposeful life outside of get up, work, come home, eat, try and relax, lather, rinse, repeat.

Finished (and generally) The Night Manager
Started Mr. Mercedes
Did all the household chores I set up for myself to do by noon Sunday... by noon Sunday
Took the time to do my nails -- fingers and toes
Grocery shopping at Trader Joes
An easing up on the "OMG IT BURNS" weather pattern
Packing up a friend's birthday gift for shipping after next payday
Did a few simple sketches just to flex long-neglected drawing muscles
Texted with a friend and basically decided to write a movie together
Wrote a damn blog post

Not bad for a 'still adjusting to full time work and having weekends "free" again' period -- and I still have some hours left to enjoy...

17 February 2015

21 Things I Still Need to Remind Myself of... Even Past Thirty

Life is a learning process. Anyone who doesn't think this, who believes there's some magical age or point you reach where you know everything and have absorbed and retained all the knowledge you're capable of, is certifiable.
However, as you get older, you do tend to think there are certain aspects of life you should know about, that are ingrained in your being, and there are even ones you do know but seem to need reminders of on an annoyingly frequent basis.
These are some of mine...

1. You can just toast/eat half a bagel.

2. Few things will teach you as much about human nature than observing how others treat people in the service industry... and Shakespeare. That man knew people.

3. They stopped making your favorite journal five years ago. Accept it and stop hoarding other notebooks to fill that hole. WRITE. DOODLE. CREATE.

4. You are never going to regret having a pen or pencil with you -- unless it stains your clothes. So make sure you buy sturdy pens and handbags you love.

5. Making food for the week, writing, cleaning, yoga, and goal planning do not make a Lazy Sunday.

6. Lazy is not being present in your own life, and that of your loved ones.

7. Writers write. They also dance, cook, clean, sing, doodle, binge watch shows, play games, and sleep -- to avoid writing. And they live.

8. Unless it's crafted by scumbags or spreading hate/violence, never be ashamed of the music you love. If others judge you harshly on this, blast some goddamn Taylor Swift in their face and Shake It Off.

9. One day, your primary source of income will come from doing something you love. Until then, you do not have to hate your job. If you hate it and it's killing your soul -- quit. The universe will not let you become homeless.
Also, if your coworkers aren't foodies, leave. Leave now.

10. People who are angry often want you to be angry, too. Misery loves company. Avoid temptation, slap on a smile, and laugh when they get angrier that you haven't absorbed their vitriol.

11. Your favorite shows and movies will change over time. So when you get a new fav, immerse yourself in it. Memorize it. Cherish it. And don't be sad when it's time to move on.
This goes for friends, too.

12. Your sexuality and relationship history/goals are an important aspect of yourself. They are not your whole self. If you are being made to think they are, blast some Edith Piaf at those fuckers, drape yourself in a fabulous dressing gown, and float away.

13. Say "fuck." Go ahead. Do it. Did anyone die? Did you get slapped? If the answer to both questions is no, say "fuck" as much as you fucking want.

14. There is nothing better for your body and soul (or more rare), than a great fitting, comfortable pair of cute shoes. Don't be afraid to buy two pairs when you stumble on this miracle.

15. Read more. No matter what you read, or in what format, keep reading. It is never a waste of time. If you give something a chance and don't like it, grab something else. Just read.

16. If a trip to The Huntington won't cure it, a trip to Disneyland will (unless you're trying to cure the measles -- vaccinate, damnit).
A message brought to those of you considering a membership or pass to your favorite places. Just do it. Get one. And don't wait for the 'best time' to go. Just go. Go when you need to, and leave when you're done, and return as much as you can.

17. Keep learning. Cooking, art, music, history, religions, languages, people. Learning any of these doesn't have to cost anything, so find the time.

18. Dishes, laundry, and basic household cleaning are a part of life. Unless you're a billionaire. Employ whatever methods necessary to do these things -- and reward yourself for doing them for as long as you need to.

19. Yoga. Just fucking do it. Don't worry about fat-burning hot yoga, or if you'll ever be able to do inversions, or that you have to modify poses due to injuries. Just let go and practice the damn yoga.

Life Goal: to be Nina Dobrev

20. You made it this long not being someone entirely dependent on caffeine, or alcohol, or cigarettes, or drugs. Keep up that streak.

21. Step away from the screen. Computers, TV, phone, tablet -- whatever. Get up. Don't look at that temptress for at least 15 minutes. Walk around. Stretch. Snack. Make tea. Dance. Sing. Keep your eyes and mind on the tactile, the full body, the present. Breathe deep. Then return to the screen if you must, but always take breaks. Take breaks to live, work, play, cook, eat, drink, be merry, and dance.

09 February 2015

An open letter to Tom Hiddleston, on this, his 34th birthday...

You sir, are a gentleman and a marvel. Granted, I don’t know you personally, but from everything I’ve seen, neither of these terms is at all hyperbolic. There is not an interview, press tour, or red carpet segment I have seen where you are not engaged in the moment, and often prove yourself witty, charming, generous, and intelligent in a span of minutes. These flashes of your personality are snippets of a whole, greater individual that most people will likely never have the chance to know -- to see the moments where you are frustrated, grumpy, exhausted, melancholy, elated, surprised, boisterous, passionate, and the entire spectrum of human emotion coming from the being that is naturally you. However, what you have shown through the glimpses into yourself, there is a spirit there which speaks of a bright, energetic, intellectual optimist with a compassionate nature.
Celebrity culture being what it is today, there is hardly a person who ascends into the ‘A-list’ who is exempt from having cameras shoved in their faces during ordinary, mundane times (often after a long day of work or travel). These cameras can come from paparazzi seeking a paycheck, an eager fan wanting a selfie, a flustered admirer wanting to congratulate you on your success and thank you for your talents in the most verbally obtuse way possible, or any number of other reasons (for crying out loud, Robert Downey Jr. posted an ‘article’ about himself today with the headline “RDJ holds receipt in mouth while carrying three bags” -- because this is information apparently we all need to know, according to the Daily Mail). However, the end message seems to be the same: once you reach a certain level of fame, your life is no longer entirely your own. There’s some unwritten notice some people receive that you are obliged to always be ‘on,’ always be available, cheerful, grateful for the attention, capable of satisfying anything from one person’s request to a throng of people queued up, all expecting individual attention. This type of expectation from others can lead to a lot of disappointment on the part of people who think they are owed your attention, and on their terms. It is regretful the number of people who act unkindly, or untoward, in these circumstances when their expectations and/or demands are not met.
We’re not all like that.
Some people out there still have a respect for individual privacy that may lead us to never interacting with our most admired individuals and celebrities. Not because we don’t crave that interaction, but because we don’t believe in forcing it on you -- because we understand your choice to interact with others should be on your terms, not ours.
Should the opportunity ever present itself, few things would be as fulfilling to me as being able to sit down over coffee or a meal and chat with you about any number of subjects (admittedly, there’d probably be a fair amount of blathering about Loki and Shakespeare). Much like the proverbial ‘if you could have dinner with any person, living or dead’ question, anything more than this encounter would be icing on an exceptionally decadent cake. Even this I recognize as a pipe dream, despite my personal connections and career aspirations, because the universe doesn’t always rotate us in the same spheres as those we most admire.
Thus, it seemed appropriate to give a little shout out of my appreciation, and rather than just a tweet or a fan letter, to just jot down a little blog -- it’s just my style.
My personal hope is that you continue creating quality work that you love, embracing the better aspects that the life you have made for yourself offers, and understand (as I’m sure you do) that not everyone is watching and paying attention to you because you’re an incredibly attractive man who presents an openness and charm generally lacking in most of today’s celebrities. Your engaging, genuine charm is one facet of a fascinating individual, and hopefully one that you’ll continue to share, when it’s appropriate for you.

Also, have a fantastic birthday!

It's a gif-world, and we're all just living in it. I couldn't help myself.

PS -- I never mentioned it above, but thank you for sharing your incredible talent with the world, and for taking all the chances necessary to dive into the modern world of acting and filmmaking. There wouldn’t be such a broad swath of opportunities to get glimpses into your life if it weren’t for your drive to succeed and some damn fine acting.

03 February 2015

Spitballed Shower Ideas -- Iron Man Edition

I don’t pretend to be a comics expert. Honestly, my qualifier for such a term to bestow on anyone, with any subject, would put most ‘experts’ into the ‘I guess I know some stuff’ category. I’m definitely a novice with comics, particularly with immersing myself in the world. Too many alternate universes and reboots and timelines to keep track of, and really only a handful of characters I’ve found genuinely intriguing for more than an arc or two.
** Deadpool being a notable exception. Every damn thing I’ve read with him I love. I love freaking everything about that warped little psycho mercenary. **

Yet I do like that comics reinvent themselves to change with the times. My own brief reading encounters with the Young Avengers, and second-generation Bat brats, have highlighted some of these changes. These comics brought out more diversity and opened up older characters to a new generation by giving them faces closer to their own in age, looks, and interests (even if none of us will grow to be master sorcerers or the next supreme archer assassin).
Still, some notable longtime heroes are markedly without successors or pupils.
Granted, do you really want a younger version of Logan? Oh, the angst. Let’s not.
However, it occurred to me how odd it is that there’s no real successor yet for Tony Stark and Iron Man. In the age of the millennial, it seems more plausible than ever to have some cocky nineteen year old genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist running around. Some kid whose father is a European businessman (from Amsterdam or something) and mother is a push-to-over-achieve Asian woman (Indian or Japanese, possibly). A kid raised on worldwide culture in the age of the internet, who used his not insignificant allowance growing up to fund well-digging and Unicef missions in Africa. Who understands the value of giving back when you’re loaded, but still carries all the arrogance of a spoiled, rich, teenage genius. He blogs about social responsibility and takes selfies with the Jolie-Pitt clan, and funds medical research while absorbing information all the while. He creates and patents new desert irrigation systems, and works with NASA and Russian scientists on the concept of terraforming other planets. He also plays golf and polo, owns an animal sanctuary, and trains falcons.
Yet he’s stuck in permanent brat mode. He’s brilliant, but incredibly arrogant and narcissistic. He secretly admires the Avengers and what they do, but would never admit it because it might finally break the cracks in his logic -- that in order to be successful you have to be ruthless, and in order to be a hero you have to be selfless. He can’t marry the idea of being a genius billionaire and a hero.
Then, at some energy conference or whatever, he meets Tony Stark. He’s too full of himself to see Tony as a role model, but genius recognizes genius. They basically get into a philanthropic pissing contest, as Tony tries to impart on the kid how difficult it is to truly keep fighting the good fight for causes you claim to believe in if you never get your hands dirty -- literally. He challenges the kid to actually go to some of the villages he’s helped, and then to those he hasn’t. To visit hospitals where his research and funds have reached, and then military care centers where they haven’t. To literally walk a mile, or leagues, through areas untouched by technology and modernity as they both know it.
At this last the kid relents, curious and challenging. He’ll do it, if Tony does, too. They’ll organize a trip, on foot, through a section of rural Asia. The first one to cave and ask to find a real city with a nice hotel has to give a million dollars each to Unicef, cancer and AIDS research, a military veterans and family fund, and the space program. Tony grudgingly agrees.
They do make it a few weeks into the journey, learning a lot about each other, and life outside the bustle of the new millennium, and true charity. Of course Tony caves first, and the kid gives him hell for it. But once they’re settled in some swanky hotel in, like, Dubai, the kid admits he almost begged off the whole thing on day two and pledges to give money to the agreed causes as well. He then asks Tony what he plans to do when he can’t be Iron Man anymore. The out of the blue question floors Tony, and he barely has time to answer when he gets an emergency call. He takes the kid with him to Stark Tower and has him sit in on the meeting. Some crisis, need help, blah blah. Once everyone else is out of the room, Tony looks at the kid.
“You really want to know what I’m going to do when I can’t do this anymore?”
Tony takes off his wrist cuff and slaps it on the kid. “Find someone new to do it.”
Tony lets him in the suit for that mission, knowing it should be an easy one, and keeping control of the suit from Stark Tower virtually -- kind of like a driving instructor in a practice car. The kid is still shaky, but shows promise. He comes back wanting more, and Tony says no.
“Not until you’ve had that ego broken a few times, kid. You need to lose, and lose big, as yourself, before you lose in that suit, with that title. Get your heart broken. Go actually dig some of those wells, or build some of those third-world hospitals. Understand what it is you fight for when you put on the suit, what you represent, and what it costs when you fail. I’ll call you back from time to time, check in on you, get you some practice rounds, but you don’t get to be Iron Man until you fuck everything up and rebuild it from the start.”
“Is that really what you did?”
“Yup. And don’t think that one experience of it kept me from doing it again. Even geniuses can be idiots, and the more arrogant you are, the harder your fall will be. Still, sometimes you need to run before you walk, and if your face slams into the ground, you pick yourself up and learn how to fly.”

Wouldn’t that be cool?

08 September 2014

No, really. All I want is to give a guy rapey thoughts about me in a Thor costume.

So today, Marvel entertainment is having a big sale on Amazon. Awesome, right? They’ve got toys and action figures and clothes for all.

Except when you click on women’s clothing, this is what you get.

Two suitcases, a pair of heels (for some reason I still don’t get) and five sexy superheros costumes. Five. And only one of them is for a female character (that’d be the last one: sexy lab girl, Gwen).

And the girls section? All costumes. For Black Widow, Spider Girl, and some of the male heroes (which are just boys’ costumes put in the girls’ category). Yeah, skin tight faux-leather catsuits for your five year old. Try sending her to school in that.

When sexism and misogyny in marketing and consumerism are discussed, this is exactly the kind of bullshit which exemplifies targeted anti-woman marketing. I don’t usually get on a gender podium, but this bothers the shit out of me. In an age where Marvel, a multi-billion dollar company who could hire whoever they want, market themselves however they want, who has fostered the development of amazing female characters in its films and comics, chooses to have the only available products on the number one online marketplace be tight-bodiced, short-skirted (likely poorly constructed) costumes of its male superheroes, it is literally screaming: WE DON’T WANT WOMEN IN OUR CLUB UNLESS THEY’RE SEX OBJECTS.

It may seem petty on a surface level, but what companies make commercially available to consumers has a direct effect on how that demographic is perceived. If you don’t make it, if you won’t sell it, we can’t buy it. So you use the excuse that girls don’t buy superhero merchandise unless its this incredibly sexist bullshit. That, in itself, is incredibly sexist bullshit.

Don’t tell me a Gamora or Nebula tee won’t sell when you won’t make one to test that theory.

Don’t tell people a Black Widow movie won’t make money when you won’t try making any female-led superhero film (since Elektra *weeps*), and when your Black Widow actress had a hit film this summer that basically involved her running around and being badass to a terrible hole-filled plot. People still came and it was pretty bad. Imagine if it were really good.

Don’t hide behind suits and corporate hullabaloo when it comes to shilling out merchandise. You want to know what consumers want? Try ASKING THEM. Try LISTENING TO THEM. Try NOT PURPOSELY ALIENATING AT LEAST 50% OF YOUR POTENTIAL BUYERS BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE PENISES.

29 August 2014

A Change is Gonna Come...

OK, yesterday's pity party over. I just needed to get that out of my system. 
A short while ago, I was directed to this short post regarding committing the first 90 minutes of your 'work day' to your passion project, for 90 days (allowing time for it to become habit, rather than a challenge to be met).
I started earlier this week doing what I need to get more 'real job' ducks in their proverbial row. I made it two days before I wanted to give up and cry. Because as necessary as this process is, it's incredibly tiresome to repeat day in and day out. However, the alternative (having my soul die bit by bit every day I'm in this dead-end job) is worse. So while it may not be my passion project, I'm not going to have passion for anything if I don't change the manner in which I spend a 'work day.' And yet...
After three days of reassessing and editing resumes and cover letters, submitting to new sites, applying for 30+ positions, I need a day off to actually live up to the challenge and work on my passion project: writing. As disorganized as my job search efforts had become, my writing is in an even worse state. The chaos of life and other distractions has left me with more unfinished projects and rough idea outlines of projects-to-be than ever before. The act of just writing escapes me. Planning and scheduling have become a joke, not for lack of desire or commitment, but due to the overwhelming fear that to finish something may only tick off that work as 'done' on a checklist and never go any farther.
I've become afraid of the force of my own imagination. I've had my inner puppy kicked so many times it hides in the corner now any time I call its name. The true point of the 'challenge' is to work on your passions first, and the rest of the work later, and the truth is I've been afraid to do so. There has to be a balance for me, in making job searches a passion project of sorts to improve every aspect of my life, not just the creative ones. However, spending too much time focusing on everything that isn't writing is what put me in this depressed slump in the first place. Thus, writing needs to be given priority in this scenario. Now that my resumes are more in order and I've joined more job sites, I'm relegating the job searches to two days/week. The other days are for writing. Period.
It's been a tough week, but a productive one. If it's done anything, it's exposed how easily I can focus on projects if given the freedom and allowance to do it -- and how sometimes you have to give permission for that freedom to yourself because you're the one holding you back.

28 August 2014

What Do You Mean No One Cares About My Problems?

Seriously. I'm awesome. At least I try to be. I work hard, especially doing the things I love. I even work hard doing things I don't love if they're necessary and/or I'm getting something useful from it. I may not work as hard, but my "getting by" with work is most people's excelling. That's not hyperbole, it's fact. If you look at my employment history, it's a clear cut distinction -- I work for you, I excel.
Except I can't seem to parlay that excellence into the fields that actually drive me. I keep excelling at doing stuff to just get by instead of excelling at what I know I'm meant to pursue.
But I forgot. No one cares. I'm one tiny speck of human dust among billions of other specks on this planet. Throwing pity parties for myself doesn't help me any more than it helps anyone else.
The issue is, as little as anyone else cares about my problems, they care the exact same amount about my abilities, talents, experience, knowledge, drive, passion, etc. How do you make your voice louder than others when no one cares what's being said? How do you stand out from the crowd when your number in the queue prevents you from being seen even when squinting into the distance? How do you go from excelling in a career that makes you hate yourself to excelling in a life calling?
Seriously, how?

24 July 2014

50 Shades of No Way in Hell

There's a trailer out for that movie now... that movie based on a series of atrociously written books with derivative Twilight-esque plot which has done more for the bondage sex toy industry than any other piece of pop culture in years, while simultaneously flaunting a horribly abusive relationship as healthy, sexy, and desirable.
So yeah, I'm biased. There was a part of me, however, my own masochistic-for-terrible-things side if you will, which thought that maybe, someday, I'd sit myself down and watch this atrocity. Once it's out on streaming/DVD of course, where the drinks are plenty, the pause button at the ready for vomit-inducing moments, and there is a decided lack of horny housewives surrounding me. Then I saw Jamie Dornan in The Fall.
For those unaware, The Fall is a Netflix series starring Gillian Anderson as a detective who comes to Belfast from England to run an internal/external investigation on the police force and, particularly, a murder inquiry regarding a young woman. The one young woman turns into several by the end of the series, all fitting a distinct aesthetic the killer finds appealing. That killer is Jamie Dornan, and in a rare turn for what could be an extended storyline for a basic procedural, it isn't just the view of the cops we get. We see the killer in his everyday life, as a grief counselor for parents of children who have died in tragic circumstances. We see him at home with his wife, a nurse, and young son and (quite possibly burgeoning psychopathic) daughter. We see him running, stalking, breaking into victims homes, fantasizing about them, and you know, eventually killing them. We see the aftermath; we see his family and his marriage crumbling. We see him nearly kill the babysitter when she finds a token from one of his kills (and her skin-crawling attraction to him even after this incident). We see him wink knowingly at his creepy daughter when she asks if they're driving past a murder scene. We see him as a fully fledged person, and as a killer. It's unsettling to say the least and genuinely terrifying at times. And it is masterfully done. This is all eerily similar to the kind of guy Christian Grey would be in real life (sans the obscene amount of money) as opposed to the demented fairy tale version that appears in print and, likely, on screen.
The first look we have of Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the trailer holds that same intensity and predatory look he gets when he's getting ready to murder women -- women who look eerily like the "50 Shades" girl, Ana.

This is my plea to women everywhere: If you still think the idea of Christian Grey is sexy and desirable, if you think having your own uncertainty ignored in favor of a man taking control of you and 'teaching' you to be his object is a positive portrayal of relationships, even if you just think the idea of a little bondage and fetishism in a mainstream movie is naughty in a good way, before you see 50 Shades of Grey, or pick up one of those books again, watch The Fall. Really watch it. Pay attention to how this man acts in public and in private. You may still see something appealing in Christian Grey afterwards, but hopefully at least some part of your brain will register the difference between poorly- written fantasy and a more grounded portrayal of what control-hungry men are really like.

15 July 2014

Weirdus Interruptus

Today's standard post will be replaced by the new "Weird Al" video, because... well. He kind of says it all.

02 July 2014

Haunted by the Signs

One of these days I'll stop harping on about life's little (or not so little) signs and get on to more exciting things like anti-hero worship, purple shirts of sex, hand porn, netflixing your time away and more (really, I have a list). However, the reason for my day skip in posting schedule happened because I was a bit taken aback by something that occurred yesterday.
Understatement -- I came thiiiiiiis close to having a mini breakdown.
See, it's all well and good when you're on the lookout for signs during life, and when you're getting encouraging nudges to certain things. It's kind of empowering to feel like your current situation of being trapped in a soul-sucking job that barely pays your bills is not the right choice for you, because YOU say it isn't, and life is encouraging you in fits and starts to seek out other possibilities.
It's not so refreshing when the universe slaps you in the face with just how out of place you are.
Imagine you're living in a home and the home is, potentially, haunted. You feel uneasy there. Just being in that environment drains you. It's kind of a nebulous feeling and you're constantly uncomfortable and stressed. Occasionally the furniture rearranges itself and you're deeply unsettled, but you take the oddly stacked chairs off the table and move on with your day. You can't afford to move, but you're looking at other places nonetheless. You're trying to make a plan of escape, but it might take awhile. Then, one morning, out of the blue, you hear a voice. You don't just hear it, there's an apparition with it. A spectral presence with only slight transparency comes right up to you, inches from your face, looks you right in the eye, and says, "GET OUT."
That, in essence is what happened to me yesterday. At my job.
Needless to say I didn't need any coffee after that encounter -- I was shocked into alertness. And then I panicked. And then I got angry. And then I tried to once again look at the wreckage this poltergeist has made of my life and tried to put some logical reasoning in place. There was a fair amount of denial and bargaining internally with what I saw and heard. So by the end of the day I wasn't good for much beyond going home, facebooking, twittering, and Netflixing.
Today is a new day, however. The presence has made itself known loud and clear and I don't intend to ignore it. I'm getting out. Soon.
But I'm still going to do it on my terms -- no matter how many times you rearrange my furniture or drag me towards the abyss of the TV.

Please don't kill me giant demon, I wanna be in the sequel!

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