T-to-the-A

Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Cheapy cheaps = bye bye video store

In The Daily Drool on May 24, 2010 at 10:26 am

There aren’t a lot of video places in Prescott Valley… in fact I think there was one.  Was being the operative word, since Hollywood Video was it’s name and now bankruptcy is its game.   I walked in to the store today with every intention of renting myself something delightful (Census taking is over early folks, we were just too efficient!) and instead walked out with a fistful of reduced price movies.

You better know what you want to watch, because there's no shelf-strolling here

And I like the reduced price movies part… I’m just saddened that all PV will be left with for rentals now is the Red Box thing, which requires you to know what you want up front and be ready not to get it (they have a pretty limited selection- I mean, just how many DVD’s can you fit in a big red box?!).   Gone are the days of aimlessly wandering down aisles of flicks… gone are those moments of hand-holding while you try to figure out which movie your date will make out with you to…  Instead, it’s downloads, internet orders, and Redbox.

(sigh)

Where’s the fun in that?

And it got me thinking… thinking about the ways of money and how we build to excess… Hollywood Video obviously overextended itself.  Blockbuster has been closing stores all over the place.  I imagine when HV was trying to find someone to bail them out, the investors said something like this: “Video stores?!  Haven’t you heard of Netflix?  There’s no money in rental houses anymore.  Get online, conquer Netflix, then we’ll talk.”  Because it’s all about money.  All these invisible people who sit around buying and selling stock… they’re the ones deciding our worth as consumers, home owners, and business-people.

And it sucks.

I’m not a business major, I’m not a money expert (obviously) – But in today’s economy, doesn’t it seem like we should be doing everything we can to hang on to our assets and stop handing portions of it over to traders in NY?  Will we change our business practices at all?  I mean, it’s a totally ridiculous proposition, but would we still be in the slump we are in if we hadn’t handed so much control over to these big business people in the first place?  Those men up on the mountain top nickel and diming each other to death over the value of businesses sprinkled all over the world?  Is this economic slump/depression really an opportunity for revolution?

Can we give up our abject fascination with getting everything as cheaply as possible?

Because that’s the other element to this… the “Who’s got the better deal” syndrome that has become an international plague.  We aspire to build up our own wealth by spending less and less… driving for the lowest production rates, lowest consumer prices… until what’s left?  Of course we’re broke and all shopping at Wal-Mart.  We bought in and rode it to the ground… Them (the big money men) and Us (the cheap-skates making their job easier)  Feeding off the same unhealthy cycle.  How on earth do we break free?

I don’t know.  I just cringe to think at how little control we have over things anymore, and how few people hold the purse strings… It seems to me, in a world as ever-expanding as ours, that there ought to be more balance.

There ought to be more video rental stores.

Sometimes… in the late hour

In Essays, The Daily Drool on May 18, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I can’t believe there are millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf and people are worried about who got crowned Miss America and why… Conservative pundits are bickering about liberal guilt (claiming the decision went something like this: “Oh, let’s crown the middle eastern woman because, you know, we feel like we should” ) and I’m sitting here, at my computer, reading the article thinking that PEOPLE ARE OUT OF THEIR FRIGGIN’ MINDS.

We are.

I read an article today in National Geographic about the Hadza people of Tanzania, some of the world’s last remaining hhunter-gatherers. They keep almost no possessions, they hunt when they are hungry, they move when they have need… they are totally transient and few in number.  They have no need or use for technology, they make no war and keep no guns, hunting instead with poison tipped arrows – while all around them the world ticks along in it’s evolutionary clock… it’s technologically advanced, consumeristic, waste-producing, oil-polluting clock.

Where is the balance?

How do we live in a world that we seem set on destroying?   Do we just surrender the technology that has us so under spell?  All around us are such exciting advancements… people dreaming up new gadgetry every day, practically every second.   It seems impossible to stop… but at what cost do we push forward?

I don’t want to hunt baboons with the Hadzu… but I want fresh air, and polar bears, and clean oceans.

Will we save ourselves?  Or are we just hell-bent on destruction?  These desires we have for more, More, MORE, at any cost… at the cost of bankrupting one another for an increase in the measure of our invisible wealth… where is it taking us?  We argue about party lines and the cost of feeding the poor, and we try to decide what is best for our neighbor based on what we ourselves prefer.  We pollute the land we don’t see, refuse to look at the damage we ourselves have created, and we go about our day every day the only way we can… by turning a blind eye to the horror and hoping that it gets better… Maybe we throw some coins to the people who look, really look, at those things… but what are we really doing other than consumering, throwing away the packaging, and getting in line for more?

I know there is great beauty in man, great potential for goodness… I just can’t stand the ugliness we insist on bringing to the party.

And I wish, oh how I wish, they would stop the oil from flowing, get it cleaned up from the ocean and give the sea a chance… but then again, like kids who’ve been too long unsupervised,  this whole planet needs to be cleaned up.

Because Maid Marion was there…

In Essays, The Daily Drool on May 17, 2010 at 9:58 am

Sitting.

Sniffing.

Somewhere in the theater someone has taken off their shoes and the odiferous cloud encapsulated within has been unleashed.  I’m tempted to ask “Who took their shoes off” just loud enough to carry and scarry the perpetrator back into hiding.

But I don’t.

Onstage, sorry, on screen, splashed before me are pints of masculine blood, and Maid Marion (and the rest of her fair ilk) are expected to pick up the broken and abandoned pieces left behind…

Because this is how the world worked…

…Is this how the world works?

What cruel, cruel creatures we are – to see a thing desired and design a bigger hammer -a scarier doctrine – a flashier promise, to try and take it.  Man want, man kill, man take.  Sometimes I wonder just what it is we are doing here – did God make a mistake?  Or are we a bet, more reality show to the heavens than we can know…

Killing in the name of God, of King, and of country… and yet here I sit, paying customer to a movie, a Robin Hood unlike any other – bloodier, grittier, perhaps more realisticly brutal and cold (and God, their are rats on the dinner table!) and yet unrealistically noble…  and I’m struck by the sheer destructive nature of the beast.

And woman… oh women… where are we?

This movie was incredibly focused on Maid Marion’s sacrifice and strength, and I sat there watching in horror of how little say so many have had – Man vs. Woman, Rich vs. Poor, Government vs. Citizen … It’s there in her face as the men around her go off to war, take what they want, and decide the fate of England.

We drive home and I look up at the stars, a rat in the maze, a cog in this experimental wheel.  We fancy ourselves so evolved, yet we are all just one sun-spot away from the dark ages – all this technology we worship and revere, it connects us and rules our lives.  We behave because we are taught to, not because it is in our nature.  Humankind has an incredible and infinte ability to learn, but that learning is not inherent… Perhaps this is where people find “soul” … perhaps this is what is meant of yin and yang.  A fish bowl of light and dark, constanly turning one another over and spitting some out – in constant struggle for victory – to make “you” like “me” whatever “me” may be.  Soul…

A choice perhaps to be one or the other, but most often some of both… internalizing the global fight “To be- or not to be- a soul-ful individual”

And I’m depressed.  I’m impressed with the film, I’m enjoying Russel Crowe’s physique, I’m identifying with Marion’s exquisite nature and telling myself that I too am exquisite, and that it is this quality that prevents me from finding my match thus far – that I require an exquisite man and all the men I have given my heart to have been less than… And then I see that maybe I am sucumbing to ego, and that perhaps I m none of these things, just a 30 yr. old in a theater with her parents, neither here nor there in the world at large… And I am sad that I am part of this incredible violent wheel.   Then I take solace in the fact that I, an artist, am trying to make it better.   And after that I feel shame that I really am not doing anything of the sort.   Finally,  I feel ridiculous for suffering under such an avalanche of unweildy variables as these impossible thoughts.

And I take a breath… and the stinky feet have been put away… and my dad is leaning over to my mom to ask her what the King just said… and I realize that I don’t want to think such heavy thoughts right now.  I want to be carried away by story like my fellow theater mates… I want to revel in the alure of Robin of the Hood, walk out of this theater and back into something brighter… only I can’t because it has me stirred.  I am ready to jump atop my horse and go racing after the enemy…

And all this from a movie, a movie about a man who had no people and found himself a leader among them…  A man who has been dressed in tights, in leather, and now in chain-mail… the world is changing and Robin Hood’s dressing room is proof.

(sigh)

Sometimes I think too much.  Sometimes I should just go to bed instead of waxing angrily at the tides…  but sometimes you see Maid Marion walking under the weight of an insufferable world and you look around for a sword.

Junk-Food-Saturday

In The Daily Drool on May 16, 2010 at 10:59 am

Ugh.

UUUUUGGGHHH.

Yesterday was a gastro-intestinal nightmare, the lazy man/woman’s amigo, the busy-bee’s bonus – JUNK-FOOD was in OVERLOAD.

I could revel you with everything I ate but you might get sick on your computer monitor.  Oh, who am I kidding.  Of course I’m going to post it here.  Why else would I bother talking about it?

A.M. – Frosted Mini-wheats and OJ.  Yumm.  And still healthy… ish!

P.M. – Coming home from Census taking, stomach screaming, Must. Stop. Get. Del Taco.  1 Macho Taco and a Coke later = happy belly!

(Then the snacking commenced)  Including but not limited to:

Grody-gross Funyuns (sometimes it feels good to be bad) Klondike Bar (What would you doo-OO-oo…) one slice Kraft Cheese, more crunchy onion flavored crispiness, one donut dunked in milk.

All capped off by DINNER:  One Arby’s junior sandwich and a potato patty (just $2 from the dollar menu, dudes)  and a  SLURPEE the size of Connecticut at the movie theater.

Woof.  How’s your tummy?

The crazy news?  I feel totally fine.

But I don’t think I need to do it again any time soon.  🙂

Work, Work, Work

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on May 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Sometimes people look at me cross-eyed when I tell them that I work ALL the TIME.  They wonder what the eff I’m talking about, especially since I’ve not had a lot of reliable actual employment lately.  Well, I’m talking about my writing of course, and much of my writing happens when I am driving, eating, even sleeping… and that makes for a nearly 24 hour a day job.

The trick of course, is learning to do other things while my brain is whiling away at whatever writerly task it’s consumed with at the moment.

Lately I’ve had a lot more time on my hands, but I’ve been really, really busy with a backlog of writing projects, not to mention dealing with my car, my crazy ex-landlords, and this new temp. census job.  And I’ve found myself swamped with a pressing need to slice and dice that list… I just want to get the writing done!

But this is the task of any writer, to balance the work and the passion- to find a means of managing the List with the Life… and I’m going to keep this post purposely short as a means of balancing those needs today.  😉

Cell-Pic-Fun

In The Daily Drool on May 11, 2010 at 10:41 am

Alright, I’ve taken a few silly pics on my new Droid (LOVE IT!!!)  and kept forgetting to upload ’em…

Cat-in-the-Box

I don’t know what it is about cats and boxes, but put the two in a room and it won’t be but a moment before they’ve merged.  Midnite loved this side-ways box so much that she growled at me when I took it away.  Not the “I’m gonna’ eat you alive” growl, but the “You kind of suck right now and I might ignore you for the rest of my life… or until I forget what I’m upset about which could take – Hey!  Did you see that bird out there?!” kind.

This is my dad in my side-view mirror following me to the tire store… Nothing says “Don’t lie to me, tire guy!” like a grumpy biker.  Car update 2,097, btw?  BACK IN THE SHOP… and I’m falling a little too eagerly in love with the loaner they gave me – a brand new Subaru Forrester.  Nothing quite hits home just how crappy your own car is than to be sitting pretty in something you can’t afford.  (sigh)

Awwww!  It’s a Road Runner… sitting on a fence.  Awwww!

A blurry, softy, sunset pic… One thing about AZ skies: They really light up.  I remember when I was younger the big seller at all the AZ tourist shops were these thin sand and water devices… You’d turn them over and an air bubble inside would make sure the sand drifted slowly, painting this beautiful sunset desert landscape.  It really is pretty enough here that people loved the idea of bringing a little interactive version of it home with them.  Now, if we could just do something about this damned wind…

What can I say?  When the Hamm-it-UP mood strikes…    I found this carazy rubber grill glove in our massive (too massive) Fry’s Grocery-and-Everything-Else store.  After posing for 4 minutes while my mom tried to figure out how to use my cell’s camera (without turning me into a hundred blurry pixels) I decided that the unpleasantly clammy feeling inside the glove was definitely NOT worth the cool rubber index finger and exciting ribbing design.

This is the avery at the hotel we stayed at in Pheonix.  I can’t but look at it without hearing a little voice squawking… “Pigeon Date, May 9, 2010.  It’s been 547 days and we STILL haven’t managed to dig our way out.  Lacking opposable thumbs, I can see why the plan was doomed from the start.  Frankie and Johnny have taken up a petition to start pelting the pooper-scooper guy everytime he comes in, but our meager tools (birdseed and feces) seem only to amuse him.  The Cat, that vixenish night-prowler, continues to taunt me… sing-songing ‘You’ll never get past these vicious little claws!’ ”

There’s a children’s story in there somewhere… but I’m afraid my current state of mind would be to infer that it’s better on the inside where the food and fresh water comes to you.

And that, my friends, is all for today…

Where the heck is hour 25?

In The Daily Drool on May 10, 2010 at 8:52 am

Time… can… be… MADDENING.  Or rather, it’s the LACK of time that drives me crazy.  I find that the older and more writerly I get, the weirder I become about time and the stingier I get about making commitments.  I’m becoming a bit of a time nazi.  I think it’s because there is this backlog of projects just screaming at me at all hours, so if I have to spend, oh, say 32 hours training to be a census taker one week, and those 32 hours begin at the unGodly hour of 7a.m. every morning, rendering me stupid and barely able to put one foot in front of the other at 4:00, much less form sentences… well, you’re looking at one grumpy-ass Tiff.

When I was in the throws of obtaining my BA, I took UCLA up on it’s lovely student counseling offer because I found that I couldn’t realy manage the stress of my impending graduation and the OBSCENE number of tasks on my list.  The counselor did two really wonderful things for me, ONE, she asked me what the worst thing that could happen if I didn’t turn in the most awesome thesis paper ever for one of my gen. ed. classes.  I thought about it, and I realized that even if I turned in a C-grade paper (unheard of in this perfectionist’s file) I would still end up with a high B for the class.  She looked at me and strait faced asked if I could live with that and I was like (chorus of angels) YES!  Pressure relieved… no one was going to care what grade I got in “The Movie Score” class. And you know what?  I actually got an A on that paper and the class anway, minus the agonizing pressure.  The SECOND thing she did for me was drill this phrase into my head “Can I get back to you?” – you see, turns out I was a terminal “Yes” girl to any and all potentially exciting opportunities, leading my calandar to look like the Secretary of State’s.  I was so over-extended that I woke up everyday groaning at all the things I had to do, the places I had to be.  This simple change of thought (yes, I know it’s kind of silly to some, but for me it was mind-blowing) afforded me the time to actually look at that calendar before I piled another task onto my plate.

And all of this brings me to today, where I write so much and spend so much time thinking about writing, that time can once again freak me out with it’s fullness.  I have to be careful.  I have to pay attention.  And I have to keep things in balance.

I mean, this is the big gamble, isn’t it?  This move home was not so I could go out and get some 40 hour a week job (although I wouldnt’ mind the cash!!) But an opportunity to relieve some of the pressures so that a minimal work-week wouldn’t bankrupt me, and so I could pour those hours into my work, my writing… writing that is hopefully going to pay off and pay me eventually… It’s kind of all based on hope and faith and some creative magic.

But in the meantime, it doesn’t mean I won’t stop looking for that elusive 25th hour.

My Cat has Dandruff

In The Daily Drool on May 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Look, it’s Sunday, I just spent the weekend in Phoenix drinking margaritas in toast to my AMAZING mother, sitting by the pool, and eating tons of delicious food.  My brain is operating accordingly, so I’ll speak in bullet points… Ready?

  • It’s a good thing my parents don’t have a pool.  I’d be a burnt out piece of leather by the end of the summer and not a hint of paycheck or written material to show for it.  Just brown skin, BLONDE blonde hair, and a pickled liver.  Because you can’t sit by the pool all summer without margarits.  Lots and lots of margaritas.  Although, strictly between you and me?  If I find a good deal on a kiddie pool, I’m hauling it home…
  • Census-Porn is apparently a big search item on the interweb.  I’m not joking, I got a lot of hits on that one.  Let me just tell you though, it doesn’t pay to make-out in Census training.  Literally.  They got fired.  I guess maybe all you really do need is Love…  Or lust.  Or someone to let you stick your tongue in their mouth without any sense of discretion.
  • Speaking of the Census, it’s official – I’m official – we’re all friggin’ official!  Tomorrow I start knockin’… and counting… and paying bills!!!
  • A friend of mine used to be an apartment manager.  He recommended I don’t cash the mal-nourished security deposit check staring up at me from its envelope.  I’m tired, my bills are due, and I ain’t got any dough because these assholes are trying to rip me off.  But I sold my fridge.  Seriously, if you told me at graduation that two years later I’d be at the place where I was so broke I’d be thanking the Gods for helping me sell off my stuff in order to pay for my cell phone, I’d… well, I’d probably have cried and gone clamoring back to UCLA, begging to be let back in.  But here I am, comfortably nestled into my parent’s loving home, so at least there are no end to the tissue boxes and snacks to soothe my woes.
  • My cat has dandruff.  It’s BAD.  And she’s black.  Any tips?  Please?
  • Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there.  It’s a wicked world, and you keep us safe, help us grow, and love us even at our worst.  I wouldn’t be anywhere near the sane (semi-sane?) creative and bold person I consider myself to be, if it weren’t for my amazing, loving, strong and beautiful mother.  She is my inspiration and role model, and I can’t thank her enough.

Now, I think it’s time for a little vacation recovery nap…

“I am looking for a very good screenwriter”

In Screenwriting, The Daily Drool on May 8, 2010 at 8:41 am

I got this email the other day: (You have to click on the screenshots to actually read them- I didn’t know how to make ’em fit correctly)

To which my initial response was (mentally speaking) Yeah, get in line sister.  Ain’t everyone in LA got some kind of “Life changing” story idea?  EVERYONE?!  But I wrote back- you never know what people are all about…

Her response:  (by the way, it doesn’t look like it’s here, but click on it and it will open up to read)

Wow!  Talk about a hard sell!  But there is just nothing here that makes me want to get involved.  Sounds like a lot of work for no pay, and in all honesty, if I wanted to work for free, I’ve got plenty of my own ideas that I believe in, that I can develop free from the restraints of adhering to someone else’s “Vision” and, with less drama.  Because let’s face it, doesn’t this whole letter just scream “DRAMAAAA-(tongue hanging out)-AAAAH”?

Now, is the producer I’m working with buying me yachts?  No.  But he’s taught me a lot (as did the ghostwriting job before him!) A lot about what you have to be willing to put up with and bend to when working on someone else’s material.  Most lay-people have an idea without any notion of the amount of work it takes to actually develop that idea into a workable, compelling story.  Most lay-people lack the skills necessary to ride the wave from idea (seed) to full blown dramatization (tree) – and instead you wind up trying to make something akin to a story out of a hard lump of unwieldy potential (stunted log-bush thing that needs to just be put out of its misery)  Most lay-people fail to recognize that asking me to devote months or years even, of my time to a project, for free, is like asking an architect to draw up plans for a house, a super-awesome mansion that will be the envy of the world, for free – You wouldn’t do that, would you?  And here I’ve spent my whole life amassing the skills necessary to be able to create something that (most of the time) stands tall, strong, and dramatic – how about a little respect?  (And if you’ve got a few minutes, check out this hilarious post by veeery successful screenwriter, Josh Olsen A History of Violence, on what it is like to be asked to read material all the time by people like Little Miss Email here.)

Which is to say, in all likelihood, were there pay attached, I could scuttle my own projects to the side and at least take a crack at listening to her further.  I fgured my response would either elicit a real offer of some sort, a confirmation of budget, or silence.  Instead I got this:

Now, didn’t she just validate all my concerns?

High risk… HIGH RISK?  I am living HIGH RISK of my own, why on earth would I want to absorb hers?  I moved home to live in my parents’ house so I could focus on my own writing sans LA pressures… I poured my Sallie Mae loans into a high-risk, big-dreams education with no gaurantee of return.  I handed my twenties over to a city that eats people for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.  I have risked everything to get where I am now… all in the hopes that tomorrow it will all begin to work, to make sense, to fill up the coffers as it does my heart and soul, and she wants to talk to me about risk?

But no, she doesn’t want to talk to me about anything… she’s just looking for a really good screenwriter.

And really, I think it’s a pretty amusing exchange.  She’s got some guts, some determination, and she sounds like a godamned saleswoman – maybe she will find someone to help her get her project off the ground.

But it ain’t me.

Anyone want her number 😉

“Grrrrrrr” said the little bear, crouching from within me…

In The Daily Drool on May 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I hate being taken advantage of.  I know most people do (duh) but for me it fills me with an absolute discordant HOWL of injustice.  And yesterday, when I opened up my very tardy, very innapropriately deducted security deposit, I almost lost my mind.

Gone were the piles of laundry to wash, invisible were the rewrites to tend to, non-existant was my “To-Do” list a mile long… the only occupation before me was how to unleash the bear to satisfying results.  So I sat down and composed that letter, the one I posted yesterday.  It took about 2 hours, and I was hungry, and I was shaky, and at the end, only at the end, did I feel the angry tidal wave inside me subside.

But then again, this morning, I’m hit with it : the shit-stick of bad fortune, when I find out my car is STILL leaking oil, in fact spreading oil to it’s other parts, polluting the water and other lubricants within the engine… my own mini-oil leak, not nearly as devastating as that global crisis polluting the gulf, but annoying on a micro-level all the same.

And I stumble through my day, in complete heartbreak over the weight of all my worries… a cloud I am able to escape now and tehen, but looms, reminding me that I am financially screwed, have lost faith in love, and am angry.  I’m so angry.

I think I have been for quite some time now.

But it takes me a while to find it… to nod my head and admit that yes, this happy-go-lucky, almost always bubbly, person is, in fact, mad.

Mad that I got my heart trampled last year, mad that I let my foolish heart go frolicking in the dark and violent forest when I saw good and well road signs reading “Turn Back!  NOW!”  – Mad that I haven’t been able to get a permanent job… one that allowed me time to write and money to get by on… Mad that I have to weigh every damn decision against a host of variables I’m not even in control of.  I keep looking around myself and asking “What did I do wrong?!”  becuase I am so, enduringly, bummed about my current state of being…

Being broke.

Being sad.

Being lonely.

Being rejected…

Maybe that’s the thing… I feel like the world is saying “No thanks” to me right now on almost every front, and it sucks.

(Big, dramatic sigh)

There is a small light inside next to the bear… a little firebug, perhaps, of optimism and hope.  It whispers to me that “This too shall pass” and that I’m just in the middle of some (necessary?) ugly.  And that good things will come.

But I’m afraid sometimes that the bear is going to swat that little bug into next week, because it’s easier to be angry when the world turns dark and scary.  The bear builds walls and knocks over anyone who tries to fuck with it…  Firebugs don’t have claws, do they?

So I’m stewing… stewing in my own mini-oil leak, this angry perasive cloud mucking up the rest of things.  Threatening to overwhelm me at even the slightest of hiccups.

I’m just trying to listen to the firebug whispering in the dark.