T-to-the-A

Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts’

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.

Advertisements

Robots on my Mind

In The Daily Drool on May 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Anybots telepresence robots go to meetings for you, so you can talk to your boss without having to breathe in his haletosis...

Look, I love The Terminator.  I loved the second Terminator… and I saw the third (but don’t remember is too well), and the 4th, well, somebody really screwed the pooch on the ending there, but all the T4 business before the final 15 mins?  Pretty damn fun.

But I just watched this video about the milatary advancements on robots and kind of shuddered.

Because while they are primarily support-bots at present (no laser-eyed walkers/talkers/shooters yet) I can’t help but wonder, what is the point?

Stay off my Rock!

Ever since man first encountered other man and decided that defending his patch of forest/desert/pond was worth thunking the other in the head over, their has been casualty of war – that casualty is human.  Kings and Tyrants, Bullies and Bosses, have each saddled up their own armies of subservients, slaves, and citizens to serve their noble/not-so-noble cause… all to see who could outlast and outkill the other.  At some point, someone runs out of men, gets killed themselves, or suffer at the hands of their own angry mob… because there is a human tally.  There is horror and pain and mass suffering, but it is human.

What then, is the point of a field full of robots?  When does there come an end? (Because I’m fast-forwarding past the Robots vs. Humans element here, mass casualties, horror, rage and defiance… yes, yes, it will be gruesome and horrifying… and then the “other side” of that coin will invest in robot technology, so they can pit their metal against yours… which brings us back to – ) How do you top fields of robots?  How do you determine victory then?

I’m suddenly realizing that this sounds like I’m saying human deaths in battle are a good thing… but I think I’m speaking purely from an end-game perspective-  if the loss is strictly technological, how do fueding despots declare victory?  When the last robot falls, the factories will just make more… won’t they?  Are we simply aiming for a new kind of destruction… one made of metal and webcams, and PS3 pro-robot operators?  Or does soemthing worse come along… something more deadly than robot assassins.

Resistance is futile!

And is this how people felt when they first hear that computer-makers had designs on landing an IBM in every household?  “OH GOD, we’ll all become hermits, we’re losing our humanity, the world is in peril of becoming one gigantic throbbing electronic PULSE!” Umm… yeah, well, it kind of happened (sans hermit… I mean, I’m kind of a hermit, but we aren’t part of the Borg… yet)  And I kind of like it… I mean, I don’t want to imagine the horror and panic if the internet just… went away… (shudder)

Yet there is something, unsettling, about these field robots.  Something creepy to me about the violence it seems to excuse.  And God forbid  (through some sort of technological glitch right out of the movies) a robot on the battlefield ever looked around at the carnage and wondered “Why?”

If that ever happens, I’m heading to my secret bunker in the hill and setting up shop as a goat-herder-slash-gun-trader… Look for me in Terminator 5!

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.

What are you doing?

In The Daily Drool on May 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

You should be HERE.

Cuz that’s where I am this week  🙂

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.

Twice the Tiffany for Twice the Clicks

In Playwriting on May 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I’m guest blogging for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative this week!  Bookmark it and get ready for some genius… or, something aspiring to genius… okay, it’s me sounding off on things playwriting and things female.

Or in other words,  CHECK IT OUT!

Story Scaffold

In Essays, Screenwriting, The Daily Drool on May 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I just decided that “Scaffold” is a cArAzy looking word.

But to the point… I’m finally FINALLY into pages on my latest project.  It’s been a difficult progression, a lot of hair-pulling and jaw-dropping “WHAT?”s going on in the course of it’s development, BUT, at long last… to script.

And I’m thrilled.

Because now it gets fun.

Because all that agonizing pre-work… the story-tooling and treatment-writing (and RE-re-RE-writing)… is where you get to hash out your problems, swear off writing altogether, come to your senses and re-swear your undying loyalty to the written word, only to run head-on (again) into the problem that nearly sent you over the edge in the first place… all in the hopes of building for yourself a stable and exciting story scaffold into which you can breathe new life via dialogue.   The only reason to torture yourself with front-loading the pain like that is so that you can enjoy (until you start re-writing again, of course) telling the story in pages.

I think about it like a coloring book: outlining the image can be tedious and frustrating, but once you start using all those magical crayons?  It makes the blood, sweat, and panic worthwhile… or at least, most of it 😉

So I’m in the fun part now.  I can breathe a little.   And I can be happy I was so hell bent to make sense of the thing before I dove into this stage, or else I’d be in for more hair-pulling, more cursing, more panic… with no sight of the joy!

And that’s why we write, after all – for the Joy of the thing.

Ahhhh, what a relief it is.

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.