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I fail spectacularly at journal titles...
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22nd-Nov-2017 01:54 pm - Memories fevered but short
Bourdain Monster
It's weird how people fight so hard against changes that they later cannot remember ever having been different.

Local MN residents will recall that our airport used to have a Lindbergh terminal and a Humphrey terminal. They were renamed Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. At the time I thought it was silly and outrageous to spend so much on all the re-signing. Now I only vaguely remember them being anything but T 1&2. It's much clearer for travelers not from the area, or foreign travelers too.

Lake Calhoun is closer to officially being renamed Bde Maka Ska. (Pronounced like bih-DAY ma-KAHS-sKA because Maka and Ska run together.) Why? Because Calhoun was a terrible person and a slaver. It's a confederate monument in lake form. Tribute to him has no business in MN anyway.

Naturally there is resistance. Bde Maka Ska is so haaaard to pronounce... this from the state with Bemidji, Minnetonka, Shakopee, and Edina (that outsiders ALWAYS say Ed-na instead of e-DINE-uh). FFS we know how to pronounce La Croix (La Croy).

People will learn. They always do.

It will take less than a generation for people to cease caring about this. Soon Bde Maka Ska will be all we ever knew. Wasn't it always this way? It might have been. . . Wasn't the Facebook news feed always this way? I'm sure it was forever and ever...

Yet there is so much railing against change. Human nature, I guess. With a touch of racism thrown in for good measure.
30th-Oct-2017 07:00 pm - A comfortable panic
Monkey kisses
Welcome to the panic of: I have a script due tomorrow for review and I've got nothing.

It's a familiar panic. A comfortable panic, even, because I know how this will go.

Deep deep into the night tonight I'll build it layer by layer. Some force of will or nature or luck or talent will overtake me; possessing me in this strange rhythm and groove. And it will get done.

Nothing is there now. Something will come. It has to.
25th-Oct-2017 02:49 pm - So it goes
Wild Thing
It turns out publishers are a lot like clients in that I give them something, they wait on it for WEEKS, and then they may huge changes right before a deadline and--of course--*I* don't have the luxury of waiting on it for weeks because I have contractual deadlines.

I am...stressed.

Nov 3rd is my first deadline. I have to shoot pictures of myself making things as I go. This takes So. Much. Time.

If I have to re-shoot a step, I have to re-make a thing. So. Much. Time.

There might not be enough hours. I'm not sure yet. 
25th-Oct-2017 12:16 pm - Maximal
Monkey kisses
The key to maximal productivity is to have such an overwhelming number of projects at once that you have to constantly work on something. So even when you're procrastinating, you're using another project to do it and that way you'll always be getting stuff done!

Show done. Home. I should be working, I have another show in a week and...uf...there are book deadlines that are impossible (they just asked for re-designs on two of the first five projects due. . .I...did not laugh in their faces at the existing timeline, but I was tempted.

The nanny has Nadia out for the day. So I'm going to go for a run first.

It feels like a trivial thing, but if I don't set my head right again, shit is going to get dark soon. I can feel the steady thrum of anxiousness pulsing near.

It's just post show stuff. All work, late nights, one night of play, but mostly 12 hours in a dark ballroom under intense stress. The get-home let down is inevitable. Maybe if I run right away, though...
18th-Oct-2017 09:38 am - Idea Amnesia
Monkey kisses
I'm used to people co-opting my ideas as their own. Really used to it. So used to it, in fact, that sometimes *I* even forget it was my idea.

Client: And when we play the game, [incredibly clever game name]...
Me, to boss later: That game name is really clever. I like it!
Boss: It's good, isn't it.
Me: For once they came up with something I don't hate.
Boss: We get it. You like your idea. 
Me: That was *my* idea?
Boss: Yeah, it was in the first draft of the script.
Me: [goes and looks at script, finds game name truly tossed out "Character announces game, perhaps [game name]?"]

Huh. Lo and behold. I guess I did come up with it. But I forgot. 
13th-Oct-2017 08:34 pm - Panic...
Monkey kisses
Okay. I'm panicking. A little. A lot.

Drink more wine. Do the thing. Calm the fuck down.
That is my game plan. It's not...awful? 
13th-Oct-2017 01:25 pm - Deep breaths.
Monkey kisses
I have dairy products in my refrigerator that expire weeks after my first deadline for the book.

I'm not panicking. I'm not panicking.

Actually. I'm not. At least on the first batch. It's the lightest round. And also it's mostly stuff I've done before.

The December 2nd batch, however. My god. What have I done.
25th-Sep-2017 10:45 am - Moment
Monkey kisses
Nadia dead-sprinted to our room at 5:30 this morning--which is how she does it. Things must be at a pitter-patter so that the cadence will remain etched into my brain, already tracing trails of nostalgia and missing even as we're still walking this path in time. Somewhere in her wind-up toddler subconscious she calculates the maxiumum toddlerishness.

Our cutoff at putting her back in her room is around 5ish, since after that it's too much effort for too little reward. She giggled as she crawled up into bed by me--giddy with being told she could stay if she went back to sleep and didn't play around (let me tell you the endless morning sagas of narration and when I don't take out a braided pigtail at night she spends the eternal hours of the precious morning playing with the end of the pigtail in a way that is small and annoying enough not to sleep through).

She cuddled in under the covers right next to me, in between D and I. She turned ever so slightly toward me, committing me to my position and pinning my arm.

"Hi mommy," she smiles up at me sweetly, chirping in her little mouse voice.
"Hi sweetheart."
"I woke up!"
"I see that."
"I got out of my crib all by myself."
"Yes, you did."
"I'm in YOUR bed."
"Yes you are. Now close your eyes and try to sleep."
"Okay mommy..." she snuggles in, sing-song, "I'm cuddling with my mo-mmy..."

And she did fall asleep.
I woke up to her next to me, still sleeping and arms spread wide in toddler abandon. Tiny belly rising up and falling down in deep, steady peace. Little upturned nose and fringe of blonde lashes. Hair a cloud of reckless blonde filament on the pillows.

I so rarely see her sleeping, now. Usually the moment I go in for a peek she wakes up. She doesn't fall asleep on me. She hardly naps.

It's in this moment, so close to my side, that she feels most like an extension of my own body. She moves when I shift, doubling down on her sleepy insistance with an arm reaching out and wrapping around me. I shift again and she re-clings.

She is very much a mommy's girl.

Some moments, some days, this is crushing and suffocating. Want someone else for just a second. Don't need to go with me to the bathroom when you're distracted and doing something fun with someone else. Don't insist on me putting you to bed yet again for the millionth time in a row when a perfectly good daddy is right there, ready to give me a break.

But that's not this moment. This moment makes me want all those other moments to stay mommy-mommy-mommy-only-mommy forever. 
16th-Sep-2017 10:11 am - Alternate form
Monkey kisses
My boss found a bedbug in his hotel room. The hotel immediately shooed him out and cleaned. They told him they only found one.

All in all, they handled the whole thing pretty badly.

Boss: What if it had been an executive in my room?
Producer: Or a VIP? Mitch McConnell was just at this hotel yesterday for a meeting.
Me: And they just found one bug?
Boss: That's what they said.
Me: You guys. What if that's Mitch McConnell's alternate form?
24th-Aug-2017 02:57 pm - Survey
Monkey kisses
The post office requested I take a survey based on my experiences today.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 2.49.11 PMScreen Shot 2017-08-24 at 2.50.51 PM

I'm not *incapable* of taking things seriously. It's just that when afforded the opportunity for irreverence, I will take that path 9/10 times for my own personal amusement. 
23rd-Aug-2017 02:23 pm - List
Monkey kisses
My client was freaked that she didn't have her part of the script done yet. My boss joked that it was okay, and pointed out that maybe she wanted to see our video first for context.

She thanks us for giving her such a good excuse for her own procrastination.

I joke that we could brainstorm a whole list of excuses for her. And so we did.

29th-Jul-2017 10:54 pm - Party
Monkey kisses
I went to a party tonight where I knew no one but the hosts.

It turns out most of my growing feelings of comfort with social situations is probably due to the fact that I now know a lot of people at the parties I go to.

The anxiety was...intense and familiar. Like regressing. All the fear came back. All the awkward.
28th-Jun-2017 09:29 am - Beauty Standards
Fred and Ginger Dance
This is from a 1966 issue of "Co-ed" magazine:

I'm confused by the whole thing, really, but in particular: points 4 and 5.
No large breasts in a bikini?
Looking "all legs" is a negative thing?

Boy, beauty standards surely have shifted.

Also, middle finger guns out to THIS. All the nope. Fuck that. Fuck them. 
27th-Jun-2017 01:22 pm - Compulsively Making
Monkey kisses
Once upon a time, as I was sculpting a Play-Doh forest--one of many over the years--during a conference call, my co-worker called me "irrepressibly creative". I'm always doodling or sculpting or making something.

I'm not a good drawer/painter, generally, but I tend to be able to carve out little artsy-craftsy niches and once I find a thing I like, I like to refine it, do a lot of it, and drive my interest into the ground.

When I do a thing, I really like to exhaust it, y'know?
Might as well, I'm already in that mode. The supplies are already there.

It becomes a compulsion, of sorts.

Hence all the felt.

I procured my Grandpa's old 2 1/4 inch button maker (nothing fancy, just a hand-press) and I already had stacks of my grandma's old magazines from the 60s.

So my latest project has been button making with vintage images and phrases. Part of the challenge is finding the phrases within the old magazines. I think I'd be easier to just make up my own and print them out, but it's not as fun. So it's become a Thing.


I didn't post some of the saucier ones in there. There is a lot of innuendo. I haven't exhausted my interest yet, so on I go. I don't have any use for dozens and dozens of buttons, but I'll probably keep a few and then sell the rest on etsy (how much would one charge? $3?) or trade them for other peoples' quirky art-adjacent stuff, or even just give them away to friends who want them.

It's so weird. I don't know why I do this kind of thing. It seems oddly obsessive. In a way it feels very much like these Things, these various Projects, are a way of meditating or balancing out my mental health. I don't know that that's far off.

This entry was originally posted at http://pen-grunt.dreamwidth.org/507404.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
22nd-Jun-2017 09:43 am - Good Housekeeping Colored Glasses
Fred and Ginger Dance
As part of a new experiment/project, I've been making some buttons using my grandma's old vintage magazines and my grandpa's old button maker.

Looking at magazines from the 50s and 60s, it IS easy to sigh and sigh and sigh and say, "Oh, look how pretty and SIMPLE everything was then. Wasn't it just better? Don't you wish we could go to there again?" There--a place I've never been and that didn't exist.

Enough mid-century-modern will do that to a person. It's worth noting that going into about 1969 it starts to feel more like a dystopic hell of dark wood paneling and pre-soiled-looking shag carpeting and dicey propositions of male advertising executives trying to commercialize on women's lib while simultaneously enforcing the roles of mother-wife (and if you MUST have a job...sigh...).

But looking at all the prim pictures of pretty, unharried, early 60s mothers whose only goal is to provide the best for their angelic children and be the social center of the home is tantalizing. You only have to come up with new meal ideas (have you tried the onion-fish-pimento loaf? Your family will say "that's different!") and decorate your home in a tasteful-yet-distinctive way (the vinyl-asbestos tile is easy to clean, and comes in so many gay patterns!), and think of ways to entertain and quietly suffocate (the homemaker of the year in 1969 was a Minnesota woman from Brooklyn Center whose husband was a Greyhound driver--gone for 15-20 days at a time, missing all the births of their children....of which there were 6 boys...can you feel the silent cry for valium in the tension of her perfect homemaker smile?)...

I mean, not for me--that kind of thing would make me go out of my skull in a hot minute (but think how clean my house would be if I had kids at school for 8 hours and zero responsibilities aside from keeping the house clean? SO MANY PICTURES of shirt-waisted women reading by the pool in their suburban ramblers.) One could not keep up with the standard. Hence the lifestyle magazines always giving the white-washed picture of a glistening life. Hence the push to make yourself more. Be prettier. Reduce. Douche. Do more with less. Get the perfect coif. Change your coif. Be just unhappy enough with the imperfection of your life to buy this and this and this to get closer to a fly trapped in amber on a magazine page--a second of perfection captured for eternity.

You know...the more things change, the more they stay the same. We still get images of that picture-perfect life; gleaming modernist condos--all chrome and exposed ductwork, a cherubic baby on a strategically placed, suspiciously white, sheepskin rug overlooking a view of Manhattan or Chicago or Minneapolis or or or... The trends have changed but the message is the same. The pictures have changed, but the deception of the veneer is the same.

Life is so much messier and imperfect and nuanced than an impeccably groomed brick rambler with Eames chairs tended by a young mother with salon set wave in her gleaming platinum-dyed bob. The people who look back and say--"I wish we could go there again"--aren't remembering that "there" never existed outside of the glossy pages. But somehow real memories of drama and trauma and pain and dirt and the sloppy business of life (and the racism, sexism, classism....the stifling patriarchal construction pushing down women and squeezing the life out of men) have been supplanted by rosy perfection.

But it's hard not to look at all the loveliness and want it.

This entry was originally posted at http://pen-grunt.dreamwidth.org/506731.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
20th-Jun-2017 11:29 am - Early Crushes
Fred and Ginger Dance
I had a moment of self-realization/rembemerance this weekend, digging out DVDs to see what is appropriate for N and what will have to wait a few years. I pulled out "Secret of Nimh" and casually mentioned to D: "Oh my gosh, Justin was one of my first crushes."

A rat. An animated rat.
But he was a smart and heroic rat!

For reference:

I've heard this is really common. Especially in little-little kids. And truly, it was more his character/role/voice that I liked. (And I was having crushes at, what, age 4? I don't even think I knew what it meant, I just knew that I liked watching certain male characters in a strong way.)

Other early-early crushes include:

Wesley from The Princess Bride (this one was STRONG and long-lasting and I had very complicated feelings about the torture scenes)
Wesley Crusher from Star Trek, TNG (super common among kids my age who watched ST:TNG)

I wish I could think of more. I'm sure I had other animated crushes, too, but none come to mind immediately.

Scott Bakula from Quantum Leap.
I had weird fatherish feelings about Michael Landon on Little House on the Prairie. Like mostly he was in "dad" category, but sometimes not? 
6th-Jun-2017 11:52 am - Entertain...
Monkey kisses
I'm in that awkward space where I have to pay attention, yet I have nothing to do-do. I just have to be ready to react. I'm bored out of my skull.

I can't work--my computer is the prompter.

Entertain meeee. There are only so many selfie filters I can try out on d.
Monkey kisses
I'm in focus-mode. (Well, not NOW, obviously, but I just sent a draft off, so I get a few minutes before I return to my other script and make it good again. The brain must break or break.)

So I'm listening to music, which can put me in a bit of a focus-trance. If I don't have it it's fine, too, but it can help late at night.

My music of choice is Tom Waits. And I'm always surprised, for how truly prolific and popular he is, that very few people I know have heard of his stuff. Granted, I only heard of him because I had an ex boyfriend who used to play his music while we were at his apartment. I'm also surprised, among those who HAVE heard of Tom Waits, how many people dislike his voice.

Which, admittedly, is gravelly and harsh in spots. Sometimes it's just plain weird. But I like it anyway. Except Ice Cream Man. But that's more about the asinine lyrics than the vocal stylings. It's his Idiot Wind. A song I can't stand among so many others I love.

Which brings me to....

I was probably primed for liking Tom Waits by liking Bob Dylan. Which I only liked because my sister liked him first and brought him to me.

And of course I only liked Leonard Cohen because I liked both Tom and Bob first. It all contributed.

I have a friend who complains about Rufus Wainright's voice every time he is mentioned. I can see her point, but I don't mind it. I was probably primed by Tom for that one. Or maybe by Van Morrison--who I find truly irksome vocally, but I can't resist him anyway.

It's funny to think of how the music that is important to us BECAME important to us. So often it was hearing it in a moment of emotional resonance and having it forever intertwined with that event. Or someone brought it to us. Or we went on a quest to find music like X.

Maybe it's different, now, in the age of spotify and pandora--when the variety is less finite and higher quality than on the radio. You can let an algorithm take you by the hand and show you x other songs with an acoustic guitar and a major key with blah blah blah. All that you love can be all that you own. Maybe it's less meaningful, but more fun. I'm not sure. I was never so musically attached that I spun over it for hours. I know people for whom music has real and deep meaning--all music.

My meanings are just symbiotic memories.

So anyway. I'm listening to Tom Waits and focusing and occasionally my focus is peppered by fond recollection. It's more distracting than I'd like. Time to switch to classical.

This entry was originally posted at http://pen-grunt.dreamwidth.org/504877.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
17th-May-2017 01:03 pm - Plantation Pine
Shirley Temple--whoa
It would have been nice if the color paint I needed to paint the flag of Wakanda, home of the Black Panther, weren't called "Plantation Pine".

I kid you not.
Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 12.59.02 PM

I mean. I'm sure they didn't mean it THAT way. But.

I got "evergreen" and "leaf" instead.
16th-May-2017 02:00 pm - 'Merican Gods
Monkey kisses
I've been watching American Gods. I like it, and it's interesting to watch having read the book vs. watching with D who has *not* read the book.

Some observations about the show, and then some things about Gaiman.


  • Shadow doesn't look how I pictured him when I read the book. This isn't an uncommon phenomenon with book-to-visual media, for sure. I have no issues with the Shadow they have, but I thought he was less...fit and more just...big. The actor is seriously buff, but isn't *huge*, whereas you got the impression that the Shadow of the book was both fit (sure, prison fitness and all) and bulky.

  • I keep getting Gabriel Byrne and Ian McShane mixed up. As in: if you asked me who played Mr. Wednesday, 9/10 times I'd tell you it was Gabriel Byrne. (It is Ian McShane.)

  • It's fairly faithful so far, though I've only watched 2 episodes. The little changes and additions and fill-in material seem true to book as well.

And let's talk about that. Because I've heard a fair amount of "I didn't really love the book, but...the show seems good." And you know what? The book suffers from what I find to be Neil Gaiman's perpetual thing (issue? problem? clearly it's not either): His creativity outstrips his writing. So I WANT to like his writing and give him a lot more credit than he maybe deserves in my mind.

Terry Gilliam is another person who has this thing--the ideas are SO GOOD and the execution doesn't hold up the ideas.

Don't get me wrong, Gaiman's creativity and ideas are off the charts. He's wildly creative. But he's a middling writer. Maybe not middling--better than that. Simple? I don't know.

I mean, a great writer with no creativity writes technical manuals, so, I think this is the spot you want to be in vs. technical purgatory.

I don't have the creativity of Gaiman and I can't speak to my writing ability, but when I read Gaiman's stuff it seems like he could be doing a lot more with it. The ideas write checks that his writing can't always cash (except, you know, literally as he is clearly successful and cashing all the checks). Things seem unfinished, unpacked, undeveloped--but the raw idea is SO GOOD.

This seems harsh, because I do enjoy a lot of Gaiman. Lots of people do. But I look at his stuff and go: With a little practice in creativity, I could write that. And I don't think that about everyone. Certainly when I unpack Kundera or look at Marquez the writing is *impressive* and intimidating. I could *never* write like that.

BUT: all this makes for excellent source material. So the show is great and it deserves to be. It will probably be one of those rare examples of "show/movie-better-than-book" for me.

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