Friday, April 30, 2010

Pro-gress

Yard now 3/4 done, and all that's left is about 15 minutes worth of in-the-shade stuff. I might be nice and do it diagonally. It's as fancy as I ever get with my yard work, doing the front yard at angles instead of straight across. Gives the house a nice, slimming look at the waist (har).

After that's done: midafternoon warm bath, and a nice sundress and sandals for dinner with neighbor and her family this evening. She's made something called Beef Lombardy, which intrigues me (not least because the Lombards are among the few folks my ancient king didn't try to kill off).

I *really* like my neighbors.

Fleur Nerdin'

This wonderful clot of yellow and loveliness is the longtime result of a small volunteer patch from my previous next door neighbor's penchant for gardening (it's the neighbor's house in the background there). My current neighbor and the previous one are both MUCH more interested in the beautification of their estates than I have been, fortunately or not. The most love my own yard ever saw came from my brother (and the mockingbirds and I *still* miss his fresh lettuce and those unbelievable pea-sized tomatoes).

Anyway, this little stand of irises crept under her fence three or maybe even four years ago, and has slowly and unobtrusively been developing ever since just on my side. This year is its first blooming.

And one can't fault this blooming! Wonderful.









I may be having a hell of a hard time finding a job. But G-d does give good blessings. You just have to be grateful for them.
And share.

To Quote Zuba: "Aw. My Siddy."




Truckin'

So the company I had a phone "interview" with (in which the HR guy apparently couldn't be troubled to *ask me questions*) is going with three other candidates. And if all three of those are just a terrible match, they'll be back in touch. Seriously: the HR guy actually said that. To which I say: I'm not your pathetic ex girlfriend, man.

HR people: please save your backhanded conciliatory statements of this nature. Because WOW is it insulting to have someone say, "if the people we picked over you turn out to stink, I guess we'll have to call YOU back." Holy smokes.

And so now I've applied for two actually good looking positions with a DoD contractor.

Places one does not *expect* to see smiley faces: at the conclusion of a job application for a DoD contractor.

Hee. Awesome.

I also like their auto-email closer, actually. It's about the nicest sentiment I've had from an auto-emailer throughout this job search.

We strongly encourage you to apply for all positions that suit your interest and
qualifications. We wish you the best in your job search.


So thank you, whoever set this particular defense contractor's electronic application systems up. Very thoughtful.

And, um. Cute. Heh.

Smiley faces! Wow.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wow

Just wow.

Music and Writing

I sometimes think I am uncool in that I cannot listen to music while I'm writing. So many people I know have super-cool stuff they like to listen to as they work on various super-cool stuff, but I can't seem to do that. I'm not sure, but it's possible that this is related to the necessity of rhythm, for me. Syllabication is the central guiding force in my writing. It has to be particularly inflected, definitely limited. (Yes, yes, I know - Diane limits her use of words? Well, in a SENSE at least, yes.) The central use of my mental thesaurus is in order to get the right number of syllables into a sentence, or to properly balance a paragraph.

The thing is, I know that typing this semi-weirdly overstates the emphasis I put on rhythm. It's something I'm consciously aware of, and do intentionally emphasize, but the execution isn't as neurotic as perhaps the previous paragraph reads. Taken outside one's skullbone, *most* of our personal motivations look a little odd, and sunlight always makes stuff stranger than it is when it's hidden in the shadows of our private brains.

But I think that this is the source of my problem with being able to actually hear anything coherently musical while I am writing. When I'm at work and setting up a presentation or something, I can keep the radio on "at a reasonable volume" (inaudible to any ear more than two feet from the speaker, and generally just quiet enough for tunes to be often-unidentifiable even to myself). But when I am at home, even just *reading* my novel, as I have been since finishing it, I find music to be impossibly intrusive on the experience.

I have always loved music, and have always composed songs of varying niceness and silliness to myself and my pets. I sing an awful lot, actually, and have been able to tell over the past five years or so how much my poor ability to breathe has affected how I sound. I used to have, if not a particularly talented voice, at least a pleasant one, but that has eroded over time.

I've always been friends with musicians, too, and people with musical talent and affinity. Among my friends are a lot of particular-genre geeks, or people with remarkable knowledge of this or that aspect of musicianship or musicians.

As for me, I usually joke that I can scarcely name a Beatles song if pressed to do so. I've never *concentrated* on music the way real lovers seem to. I don't care what genre something is; if I like it, I like it. I don't seek things based on other things, nor peg exceptional loyalty to certain artists, the way some people do. Sure, I go on about Bowie, but my "love" of him is pretty much skin deep, and is more about particular songs than it is about the man (or persona) himself (anymore). My affinities are NOTHING like those I am witness to in others.

And yet, my love of particular pieces of music is every BIT as deep as those people experience. It's just particularized. I tend to be very specific, when I really respond to something.

It's the same as writing. When I know the rhythm is right, it's terribly satisfying. And when it's been done properly, when I go back to something long after it's written, I find it genuinely exciting. I seem to be able to do that 'pacing' thing rather nicely. Much as I hate battle scenes, the ones I've revisited seem to have their own internal momentum and structure. And I *believe* that this fidelity to pacing and rhythm may be a major part of why the whole, strung together across four and a half years of writing, has turned out to be as coherent as it has. The thing doesn't feel too sputtery to me, it's not lurching in one place and turgid in another: and that's got to be because of the premium I place on rhythm, doesn't it?

I don't know. Maybe it's not as good as I think. And maybe it's some other manner in the way I use language which is the key to continuity. Maybe my character insists, or G-d is my copilot. Heaven knows, as much awareness as I have of what I've been doing all this time, I am constantly surprised by this novel, and find it absolutely as fresh as if I weren't the person who *wrote* the thing after all.

It can't be known, and I know it doesn't matter.

But my little wandering brain gets caught like floss on things like my inability to listen to music while I write, and it gets me churning up mental jetsam, and I barf it out here. Because that's what blogs are for.

For now, I think I am off to the car - where I ALWAYS prefer to listen to something - and perhaps some nice tasty, fresh hummus. That's good brain food!

And then back, for a little reading, and maybe a voice mail from the prospective employer, who will be asking me to come in as soon as I can so they can interview me and fall in love and offer me wonderful amounts of money to come and be their employee ...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nice

I heard from someone I haven't heard from in a good while tonight. How perfectly delightful!

Don'tcha Bet On It

People have said to me several times now how they wouldn't mind a bit of unemployment. (This is a manner of sympathizing offered by those who can say something like that to me without coming off as nimrods, of course.)

But I've found the stress very seriously exhausting.

And some of my own activity is kind of draining, too.


*KEEPING BUSY!* Whew.

Speaking of "Looking Good" and Celebrities

I saw a bit of an interview with Raquel Welch recently. I never had any problem with her; loved the "Musketeers" movies, and she is cute in them. But it does disappoint just a hair that, at sixty-nine, she's chosen to make an info-tainment soundbyte of herself, disapproving of Heidi Montag having tons of plastic surgery. Now, granted, most of what RW had to display in her day was pretty clearly homegrown stuff: but there's no way on earth a woman of sixty-nine looks like she does ageing "naturally".

One observation she made interested me morbidly. She claims that one of the things she does to keep looking good is "I neve eat past six."

Now, I understand limiting the hours of one's consumption. I've been a weekly faster for something like twenty-two years. But six p.m.? EVERY day? I can see eight or something, but never eating past six p.m. means you never go out to dine and enjoy the company of your friends. You don't break bread with people, indulge in natural human companionship, partake in your community, in celebrations, in sociability. Not 100%.

Food is certainly a problematic center of our cultural sins. But it is also the core of our human experience.

A waistline may be a wonderful thing.

But even I, as someone who actually fasts myself, refuse to place my personal spiritual habit above the relationships I have with others. Half the people I know aren't even really aware that I do it, because (a) people are pretty overtly weird and nasty about fasting, and (b) I would never negate the priority of my family and friends because that would mean eating.


Ah, well. Ranting pointlessly, I guess.

But still. Six o'clock. That just seems prohibitive. No waistline's worth that.

Eep

Okay, I get creeped when Blogger reads my posts and brings up related ads when I hit the "Publish" button.

Not funny about that Toyota ad, Blogger. Ew. Kind of tasteless.

Toys

Wow, another recall for Toyota (Sequoia ... for electronic stability control issues).

Those guys are having a better year than I am. My sympathies, all. Dang.

The Things Ya Get

I recently inherited the rather good stapler my dad had at his job (complete with cool-oh, now-retired, super-seventies-mod university logo on top; which: awesome), and two plastic spoons. The plastic spoons are the last things he ever ate with.

They're purple.

I stuck them in a bamboo pencil cup along with a letter-opener my brother carved in the 1980s, some bent scissors, a few scrap pieces of copper from my old gutter system and a pencil with a jolly orange piggy-shaped eraser on it. I really wasn't sure what else to do with them. My family being what it is, trashing plastic spoons my dying father ate from before they drugged him into his final oblivion is a tricky option. While not on par with the memorial tape, or the portrait of Einstein he bequeathed me, they're still an artifact which was saved in the moment. I never knew they existed (per se) until this week. Now I am their keeper. I do this sort of thing. *Sigh*

But the stapler, now, that is awesome. Like my father's tools (dude, I have a heat gun in the basement ... how many women own their own heat gun??), like his shirts, which I wear constantly, like even his jammie pants, and that one red felt tipped pen (amazingly: still writes), the stapler is just not an artifact. It is a useful, happy-making inheritance.

I need to go get some staples to fill it with (it's running seriously low, and I actually staple things at times!). That this trip might take me close to like five antiques and curio shops is merely coincidental. I swear. Really.

Hm.

Ever since I installed new security on my new laptop, I seem to be having issues with my status bar going defunct on me. This is concerning.

One more reason to punch my tech consultant in the neck. *Making a list*

Okay, Now THAT Is Unexpected

I actually turned on the TV this morning for some background noise. While searching for an appropriate channel to leave it on as I puttered elsewhere, I flipped across Whoopi talking to some very familiar blond woman.

It was Courtney Love.

The reason I didn't recognize her immediately: She looks really well. Healthy, not scary-skinny, good color, clean and kempt. And she was smiling and laughing coherently and genuinely happily. Huh.

Go you, Courtney Love.

Things and Stuff

This week I have hit a bit of a wall with planning things to do every day. I'm still coming up with stuff, but the discipline is definitely slipping.

I had it on my mind yesterday that today I should call the doc to get in and discuss a couple things. I haven't done this, and find myself trying to think of other things I can do instead. Balanced my account already. Am eyeing that sunshine and considering errands to get myself out into it. Still haven't called that doc, though.

So it goes.

Twenty-Eighth Days

Today it is eight weeks since I emailed my first three chapters to the agent who requested them. She takes about six to eight weeks to review submissions she has asked for - but she's busy with a lot of conferences this spring.

It is also the four-week marker of my unemployment, too.

Whoop-de-doo. Love anniversaries.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

S: B&S - Revisited

Okay, so I have finished watching (season one of) Spartacus: Blood & Sand, and my opinions evolved a bit over the course of a dozen episodes. The impression that they went trolling Iced Earth and Coal Chamber concerts for extras remains, and the level of engagement beginning to show during the first episodes I took in all held true.

It's unfortunate that one of the things that changed was my perspective on John Hanna's role. I said initially he's given more to do here than usual, but by the end I would say his character was actually short-shrifted badly, particularly in comparison with the relative richness and growth on display for most of the other players. He got to do some surprising things, but his actual arc flattened badly, and he lost dimension as the writers enlivened things for the other actors and depended upon his character more and more to just be a workhorse villain.

A bit of a pity, but the rest of that balance did deepen the level of surprise I had in its engagement. And engage it really did. I got involved with the multiple storylines, and really enjoyed them. By the time Spartacus shouts the immortal line, "I! Am! SPARTACUUUUUSSS!!!!", the setup the writers have created gives that a bit of a devastating impact. It is used as an ultimate self-denial, and it is really heartbreaking.

Denying one's person is a pretty amazing self-abnegation. (Denying it to others is the very basis of slavery, as dehumanization is the first justification for excusing ANY behavior toward one's fellow man. *AHEM*) I've been dealing with some issues of respect in terms of self-determination, so maybe the impact here was enhanced by this - but even so, the scene of that speech is very nicely constructed.

The performances here really are great. Andy Whitfield (may he be physically well) is supremely effective, both physically in his role and in his occupation of the character. Viva Bianca ends up with a SURPRISING amount to do, and man does she nail her wonderful role. You do not see this woman coming. Manu Bennett keeps running deeper and deeper, too. Just when you think he's "Iceman" from Top Gun, he gives a pretty necklace to a girl, gets to do a very awkward scene with her, and starts on a road to continuing surprises and unexpected fascination. And the structure and long-term planning of the overall storyline is wonderfully well managed, in both conception and execution. The pace of revelations and developments is nigh on perfect, really. I had an absolute ball.

Sometimes, the wounds CGI'd onto the various gore-fests swim around at different rates than the body parts they're inflicted on. Sometimes, the women are perhaps not perfectly written. (A late development with one essentially echoing Spartacus' own self-negation, asking basically to be used as a wh*re, is pretty quease-inducing; even with the doses of "this character is important" trying to balance the ick-factor, the abasement is not lessened.)

But given the expectations and trappings (and a huge proportion of dialogue-by-declamation), this thing really does come together amazingly well. I *really* liked the actors, and want to see them again, and hope they all find successes.

I was impressed.

YMMV, of course.

Unspeakable

Where do you go with yourself when your mind continues to bring up the deepest, most fundamental spiritual questions, which affect the most important relationships in your life - and which will not go away? What do you do when the one person you can imagine discussing such things with is the one person least available intellectually, because emotions there are such a ... tangle??

Friday, April 23, 2010

Household II, The Explaining

Okay, so the photos below. The mask is my brother's work. (The lamp, I just dig like a double-wide grave.) It's smooth and rough, facial but unwearable, comical and kinda profound, un-personable but wonderfully beautiful. (Like me, the mask is a creature of dualities, not trinities.) It is in my home, but it's always my brother's. His work, his creature, his possession, his gift.

The pics of my kitchen sink are likely trickier to explain. If you click on the bottom one, you can just see that what you're looking at, on those white tiles, is a small gold foil decal, with red writing on it. I believe they're from beers, but the fact is, they've been a part of my kitchen so long I really don't remember. Could've been strange snacks Bro had from the islands. Could've been labels off of a wrapper for chinese food, or chopsticks. I don't know. But I've always had somewhere in my head the idea they came off of Japanese beer.

When I first bought this house - I can't believe, almost nine years ago now - it was a family project. Mom and dad and Bro would all come over while I was at work, and I would come over to find some new piece of work done. I'll never forget the day I returned home to find a large piece of drafting paper, with the note (I think in crayon) that said: "Greater love hath no mother ... than that she tore out your peepee carpet." And lo and behold - when I opened the door and looked into the downstairs bathroom - my mother had sacrificed her gastrointestinal wellbeing, steeled herself, and braved the WALL-TO-WALL indoor/outdoor carpet gracing that room for thirty or so years, and ripped it free of the floor and discarded it.

I'd come home to find my grass mowed, and had actual arguments with Bro about who would GET TO CUT my grass.

I'd come home and find little gold labels insouciantly stuck to my kitchen tiles.

Eight and a half years, at least, those little guys have been there. Probably adhered with a lick of the thumb. They have no "meaning", they're an observation of nothing. They're just something my Bro did because onion-skin-thin mylar feels funny on the fingers, and sticks easily to anything with practically no adhesive. They reassure me of nothing. They're just kind of silly, and they are my brother's work. No greater justification of their presence required.

Household











At A Reasonable Volume

I installed new security software not too long ago, and it will not allow me to listen to my Slacker Radio station. Apparently Slacker is a very very bad, evil, insinuating site.

I might actually have to figure out this newfangled DOWNLOADING thing the kids are up to these days, and figger out one-a them there eye-podds ...

In the meantime: boo.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why, Yes ...

... this IS me dorking out online at eleven-thirty (almost).

I find myself pining for the occupation which kept me posting in this thing so very much less often. And rendered Facebook 100% irrelevant.

(As it stands, as a "networking" "tool", FB is just the rounded-up side of being 99.5% irrelevant.)

Deliver me - and anyone who actually reads this - from my own incessant, irrelevant brain-dumpage.

Unemployment is a DRAG. (And not in a neato, fabulous, entertaining-crossdresser way.)

Baffling Question

Okay, so mom went to the grocery today, and found the place crawling with the fuzz. Contrary to her immediate and logical fear they were finally on to her (hee), it turned out they were onto the young mother who had LEFT HER INFANT IN THE CAR FOR HALF AN HOUR.

Lady, get in line AHEAD of the halfwits at the SEC and those guys playing on Facebook while I sit here unemployed (and cleaning my car to within an inch of its life). Seriously.

How dumb does one have to be to try that in this day and age!? SO many reasons this is criminally stupid.

Ugh.

Odd Timing, But I'll Take It

... and, in sort of odd-ish news, we have this little local item: I just got an email from the firm I have wanted to go work for for YEARS now, asking for a phone interview.

Now, my in-person record this year has been 0 for 0, which has been daunting. But my phone-interview record stands unbroken: I get the phone interview, I get the in person.

Now all I need is to restore the truth of something my mom used to say about me: "If Diane gets the interview, she gets the job."

In this case, that might well be an excellent truism to maintain. We shall see.

OOP!

THEEEERE'S that nervous breakdown all over my poor mom!

Knew I'd find you.



(Thanks, mom. Sorry for the flapdoodle.)

Revolting

Okay, so apparently the SEC has decided they're in the pornography-consumption business over the past couple of years. VERY nice.

For those of us extremely qualified and talented people who can't even GET jobs right now, to all you skank hounds wasting MY tax money (and, frankly, for all those people I'm fairly sure are actually employed, but whom I see remaining 'status-online' at FaceBook for HOURS at a time)? DO YOUR JOBS.

Or give them up to those of us who'll respect and protect it. Seriously - who raised you???

And, as a side note to the gubmint: they're called FIREWALLS. Look into it.

Sheesh.

Profile-sorial

Day like this, that profile picture just seems all wrong.

Diversion

Keeping the post below from skewing entirely bleak and maudlin, there are those things mitigating the depressiveness. For one, the weather's something.

For two, the book continues amusing. I hit a real standstill there in reading it for myself, after the layoff, but have gotten back into it again now. It still seems to me almost too-easy reading; for five hundred plus pages, it feels like it's going by quickly. I don't mean to say it's insubstantial; and there's a point to which I expect my own depth of experience with the work (as opposed to familiarity; there are huge swaths of this thing I am completely surprised by, and have no memory of creating). But it doesn't feel as "heavy" I suppose, as I expected/was half afraid it might be. I reached a passage of exposition yesterday, and it felt like a nice little interlude, rather than a bog-down.

We shall see, of course, whether agents and editors agree with this.


Anyway, I'm nearing the halfway point, and it has held up well as a read. I can point out one major passage where "my research is showing" as the kids call it. But really that one point is about the worst of it. There are about two screws in need of tightening, but those are mechanical things. Otherwise, the machinery does work, and without much grinding (I have found so far). I've really been able to read without actually editing, except for the occasional anteek-speek word choice I've corrected, or typos and grammatical errors. Actual "work" does really seem to be done on this.

It's not as gratifying as it might be if the waiting weren't so painful, and certainly if I were occupied, during my days, with a JOB.

But at least, unemployed and frustrated, I still know I have created something, that if none of the dang irons in the fire appear to be heating up, that there is something else worthwhile I have accomplished.

Not Out

Today is really the first day I haven't set myself much of a task (laundry doesn't count really, though some of my disciplines have been house-bound ones), and today is the first day I've been genuinely depressed about the job situation. I'm having a bit of a hangover after yesterday's highlight, and I'm giving myself the time to just feel this way. Tomorrow will be another day. (And I will have plenty of clean socks.)

But today, I'm really scared and let down and kicking myself and frustrated with "it all".

So much for that vaunted attitude (though, of course, I would totally fake it if I were faced with anyone but the dog).

*sigh*

I Don't Get It

2009 should have been a wretched year. It started off with the profoundest blow - but I thrived in 2009.

2010 has no reason to be awful. But thus far, I have felt terrible the whole time. I have had good job interviews twice, which both came to nothing for me. I have finished my novel, but remain in limbo there. I have been enduring ongoing, diffuse dread and guilt for reasons which make no sense, and which seem impossible to overcome with logic. Emotionally, I feel besieged by outside forces - the layoff, the attendant attendance to other people's sensitivities, which seem to have been set to "ridiculously acute" (and which I have still taken on with no good reason).

2010 is nearly a third gone, and it is behaving like a nasty little truculent, ugly year so far.

I don't understand.

I really don't like it. Gah.

Zuba, It Came!







Why, yes. I *do* love cheap and excessive jewelry!
Anyway, dad never did have a headstone.






Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Weighty

Is it wrong that America's Next Top Model is looking REALLY good right about now ... ? I need a mental/emotional palate cleanser.

Blogeater

Zuba posted a comment, to say

"I couldn't listen to mommy's. No way no how, chickadee."


I somehow managed to delete her comment - so my apologies for misquotations AND for destroying your words at all, my wonderful friend.

I have to say, as much as I could probably topple into some sort of ill-advised behavior, the mood this has left me in, I don't really have the resources for sin at the moment. And whatever the backwash, the actual service was necessary. Hearing my brother, and even myself. It was our words, so much more than the pastor's, which scared me - and affected me. It was my brother's voice, and the sound of my own sorrow redirected after seven years, which meant the most.

That meant nothing, then. We were in the midst of loss. I had no idea, frankly, how my sibling and I sounded - nor did I care, except from the NEED to speak for my father. I think somehow I have always been afraid I didn't do well, didn't do him justice.

I still can't say that I did. I know my brother did. "Never stop holding the woman you love." Lesson number one he shared, from my father. My brother was wonderful.

My voice sounded weird, scared, desperate.

And I was all those things. And still am, of course.



People said, at the time, such kind things about our remembrance of our dad. Maybe funerals are places for kindness and generosity, with such emotion.

"It breaks my heart that there are people who will never know my father," I said.

It still does.

Cohesive Breakdown Tape

I listened to it.

Makes me glad I'm not an addict, because that sort of emotional exhaustion is the stuff of which "I need a drink" (or whatever) is made.

I suppose that's a fairly cheap response to the spiritual memorial for my father. Let me actually say something to it, then:

I needed that.

Oh My

My brother's old receiver, feeding to my TV set, will play the tape. I heard organ music.

And turned it off in tears.

Non-Adhesive Tape

Yesterday, I spent some time with my mom. We went through some papers and pictures, some drawers, looked in a closet. She gave me a brooch and a necklace of my granmother's. Costume pieces, nothing heirloom, but really nice things I am happy to have.

She gave me the tape of my dad's memorial.


When I came home, I destroyed my guest room, moving the bed to get into the closet to dig out the Christmas ornaments to get to the pristine boxes which held my old stereo, underneath all these old things. The CD player had gone wonky something like six or so years ago, but I had been unable to afford repairs, and unable to let myself just landfill the thing. Eventually, I'd put it away - in its original boxes, in even its original custom styrofoam. It's been holding up holiday gimcracks ever since.

But I knew the tape decks (two) were not the broken stuff. And so I dug it all out.



Made a mess of the guest room. Made a mess of the living room, too - boxes, haphazardly stashed stereo and speakers.

And the tape decks do not work.


***


I remembered at some point during the night, sometime in my sleep, or the twilight at dawn: I have my mom and dad's old stereo components.

Some of this stuff is HiFi, dating to the 70s. The turntable's classic, even has a wooden case.

The tape deck is here, too.

I haven't had time yet to put away my own mess, much less to dive under my mother's dining room table, acting as a DVD libary now - underneath the leaves of which live the stereo components (in, unfortunately, difficult-to-access glory; the table's leaves are pinned by architecture at the moment; so I'll have to pull everything out from one end - oy). I haven't had time to contemplate whether I even actually have speakers compatible with this stuff; for some reason, I think those went the way of the dodo years ago, or got repurposed to other electronics, by my mother, or my brother ...

But there is yet hope I can hear my dad's memorial.

And there are yet messes I can make hoping - trying - to do so.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Every Day

Okay, so every day I have to get up and get dressed and make myself presentable and concentrate on some task or other. Check the pressure in the front tires, get gas, run errands. Refine and improve the Monster profile. Have an networking lunch. Search and re-search listings on CareerBuilder, at Monster, at FlipDog, and at the actual company websites for some of my local "favorites". Today I really detailed the car (gorgeous day for it, too - and now, nice pretty clean car to take nice pretty clean me to job interviews!). Always something, some likely list of things, preferably getting me away from this computer too actually.

Today, working on the car, I was able to laugh a little at my professional car-cleaning acumen. I am VERY detail oriented when I clean the car. I wash first (top to bottom, small sections at a time, so the soap doesn't bake on to the glass or finish in the hot sun), then black the tires, then climb in and wipe down the dash. Then the console, the center sections. Finally, the doors, then last of all the exterior plastic and rubber. The car comes out looking glossy and dark, and I do EVRYTHING - inside the doors, the painted body parts not exposed inside or out, the underside of the side mirrors, the license plate frame, everything. I don't mess around.

Any potential employers who find this blog: I take pride in my work, guys. And I do ALL the work. Very, very well.



Now to find some work to get paid doing. *Sigh!*

The Nose: Have It

When I was four years old, I tripped and fell headlong so fast I landed on my face. On the concrete curb next to our mailbox.

I was so young then, there wasn't even enough bone in my nose to break, so as I recall there was little the hospital could do for my bruised up little lump of a puss but to sort of say "there, there" and send me home. I remember going out to dinner at the family fish house that night, with my grandma I think - little navy blue dress and little brown leather thong sandals - and little purple mess of a face I'd actually tried to scrub clean of bruises so big (and in such a strange place) they were cognitively lost on my little brain, expecting a pink face.

I've always ascribed my very flat profile and my fairly tiny ("vestigial" I used to call it) nose to stunted growth because of that accident. I assume it's fair, by now, to ascribe the deviated septum to it - and perhaps pettish, but not completely nuts, to blame it for the problems I have breathing as well.

Anyway. The thing is, noses have always held a fascination for me. My dad had a kind of cute one, probably the one mine most closely tried to resemble. My mom always thought hers was too big. I have never, to this day, been able to comprehend this estimation - and though she had an accident herself some years back, her objection to her proboscis predates this issue by decades. I have photos of her reaching back throughout my life, and well before it, and all I can see is a beautiful woman with a wide, sometimes nervous smile.

I genuinely have a hard time understanding why people consider noses "too big" at all. Their own, or anyone else's. And the concept of a bump on the bridge of the nose being somehow unattractive horrifies me; I've known some women with bumps whose attractiveness is very much enhanced by this feature.

I find noses embarrassingly fascinating, is my point.

My ex thought his was big. I found it incredibly pleasing, a manly feature, fitting, natural - and therefore right in a satisfying way.

E once said to me he wished his nose were smaller.

Now, without saying he and I resemble one another particularly, I can observe that others have thought so, and even if I don't agree, I can see why this has been said. In one specific, too, this is understandable: his profile might be even flatter than my own. He's got the most vertical face I can think of, apart from my own. Forehead to chin, the line is broken only by that nose. Which, if it were any smaller, would be a disappointment.

And I've never found E visually disappointing.

I've always joked I'd like to get a nose job, and ask for a Striesand.

Of course, that would be ludicrous on me - too rounded. But even a Roman number with one of those wonderful bumps along the slope might easily become too much in my freckly face.

And so even my own nose, as aware as I am of its (literal!) limitations, has a happy place in my estimation. It's mine, it's even almost cute (I leave little allowance for cuteness in my features; so allowing it for my schnozz is something of a concession), it's well defined. It's what I was meant to have, apparently - so I'm not actually going for my big-nose job. Heh.

Anyway, noses. Love yours. It's nowhere near as big as you imagine. And big is nowhere near as bad as "they" want everyone to think.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"They're Called AZALEAS ..."











Balance

As many times as I have been unemployed, I still have to work very hard at one aspect of it - the handling of other people's expectations.

When you are laid off, people want very deeply, urgently to be helpful. For some, this takes the form of "being there" for you on a fairly social level. For some, the need to advise becomes paramount - to offer, to assist by guidance.

Advice is never an easy thing to receive, and the real maneuvering issue when you're unemployed is figuring out the exact degree to which each person approaching you takes their own need to help personally. Some discount your expertise at the work of job hunting, and get fairly insistent with their "offerings" as to what you should be doing. Some are so emotionally invested in you that any rebuff of their good intentions becomes insult. Some have no experience of their own, but still consider their ideas to be necessary innovations to be implemented, and may get a bit stroppy if you don't agree (and comply).

Some, the best of them, are incredibly smart, and have done this before themselves - and therefore get a little offended if you go about things differently than they would do in your shoes.



It is remarkable, and unfortunate, how few people realize that, the shoes not being theirs means they do NOT get to set the path they go down. The terms people set for themselves shouldn't really be deal-breakers to friends whose terms are set by different standards and expectations.



I decided not long ago not to look back at my former employer for future employment. At least, not at this point in time.

I have no wish to burn bridges, but this bridge was dynamited from beneath me, and there is a major extent to which, entirely without malice, I feel that itself rather determines its viability for "my shoes" as it were. I don't want to work for these people. I didn't even before this: it wasn't *my job* alone I wanted to vacate, it was the company, and its culture - for which I sincerely believe myself to be a poor fit - overall. Two years of experience with them taught me two fundamental things. 1) I don't fit in there, and 2) what I have to offer, they don't desire to use.

Why, then, would I waste more of my own time - and, frankly, THEIRS - continuing to offer it? This isn't animosity. I actually felt a good deal of GUILT, before I lost my job, for "cheating" on it, for looking for another one. (I did it on my own time and with my own resources, but still, I was sneaking around as it were.)

I wanted out before they booted me. Their doing so only affords me much much more latitude to find a better position - for me.

I have said this in interviews, and it has to be attested as the truth, in the end: I am an extremely adaptable person. I can, for good or ill, "content" myself (that word), in fact, with things which perhaps aren't best for me. It makes me a useful tool for the right employer, but it also means I sometimes allow myself to accept less than satisfaction.

Which: no. Not this time. And that is the whole point.



Balancing other people's feelings while doing what is right for *myself* is a game of loss-cutting sometimes (if others count it a loss I maintain my own autonomy - it is theirs, not mine), and a game of politics all the time. And I so loathe politics. But I care for the feelings of those who are invested enough in my wellbeing to *care* about it.


It's funny, but for the most part the people most intimate in my life are not the advisors, either. The people closest to me either know my strength of will (heh) well enough, or respect me enough, not to second-guess me by way of offering guidance. It is people I've worked with, people I'm friendly with but not deeply emotionally involved with. It's people, frankly, who miss me at the old employers'. And those whose values are so very strong that they can't imagine someone like me would not naturally share them - and therefore be happy of advice on how to play to those values.



The bottom line is that the situation is guided entirely by consideration of me and of my needs.

The problem, of course, is that that consideration sometimes omits the matter of my perspective.


It's like that first thing to do the day you lose your job in the first place. One serves others in unemployment, make no mistake of it. The pay is worse. But the return is - hopefully - to get paid again ... and soon.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blood and Sand

Okay, Episode 5 - "Shadow Games": I have to admit. This story line was thoroughly awesome.

Brutal. Nasty. Even cliche'd.

But committed, completely. Like Spartacus to Sura.

And completely engaging. Wow.





And who directed? Michael Hurst, of course. G'wan, Iolaus! (I misread yesterday, thinking he was guesting in the show. He is directing. Have to say: rock on.)

Things I Call My Dog

Her name was Sidney when I got her (actually, most likely her stuck-up previous owners insufferably probably spelled it Sydney or something overdone like that), but even before she came here to live I was calling her Siddy. It was Zuba who pointed out the glaringly obvious, as I "decided" which of the dogs I'd seen I would like to adopt: "Diane, you've already NICKNAMED the older one with the funny face. That is the dog you want."

To which I say: "dur", and also - "thanks again, Zuba; don't let her sneeze up your nose anymore, though."

To Siddy I say all of the following and an endless litany of other little endearments ...

  • Sid-Oh-Kneeeee!
  • Siddy-La
  • Lolly
  • Lolly-YA
  • Lol
  • Stinky
  • Stinky Tuscadero
  • Poops
  • BEST Dawg EVER
  • Who'da Bestestest?
  • Gooderest T'ing
  • Saddest Girl
  • Who Got Da EAR-bogenzes!?
  • Lolly Loops
  • Siddy Poops
  • Stinky Poops
  • Bebbeh GRRRRRRRL
  • Who'da Prettiest?
  • Purty Girl
  • Best Old Thing
  • Old Thing (this is a my-dad-original nickname for his kids, and sometimes the family dog ... but probably not his wife. Wait ... Big Bro - he called you Old Thing too - right?)
  • Tungsten Head
  • Volvo Head ("It's boxy! But it's GOOD!")
  • Beast-ufus
  • Lolly Loo
  • Lolly Schmoo
  • My Lil' You
  • Lolly My Loo
  • Lil' T'ing
  • Small Girl (Lolly is actually sixty pounds - insert facetiousness and affection here)
  • Lillilla ONE-zes
  • Lil'a One
  • Leetle-ah Girrr-la
  • Si-no-nee
  • Siddala
  • Liddala
  • Girl who is GOOOOD
  • Girl who STINKS
  • Stinky PooPoo La
  • Sweet Small Girl
  • Sweet La
  • Sweet Lol

Yes, indeed I am an enormous dork-face.

But it must be said, my dog is the best-dog. She takes such care of me. I'll never deserve her!

Networking

So today I had lunch with a woman I worked with at my last job, in the capacity of a charity campaign I assisted with two years in a row. She's an exec with the charity, and has exposure to a great number of people and companies locally. Plus, she's delightful company in her own right.

It was good to get out of the house for some reason other than sort-of/kind-of made up reasons of my own, but for a real actual "appointment" of sorts. And it was even better to do so in service of both the job hunt and also a bit of enjoyment.

It turns out, she is friendly with someone in HR at a company I have been interested in working for for several years now. I actually had an interview with them before taking my most recent position; that interview went well, but I happen to know the offer went to a referral candidate. It is what it is. But it's nice to think they might be a possibility again.

The great interview I had two weeks, two days ago never has come to either an offer nor even a "no thank you" so far. Of course, this means "no" still, but some sort of contact would have been appreciated.

An offer, even more so. That job sure did LOOK beautiful, as did the company, even their work, and the people I liked very much.

But so it goes. And off to lunch with a contact.

I'm fortunate to have the good opinion of the people I do. Positively *blessed* in them.

Now all we have to do is keep on doing.

*Head down/moving forward*

Aww

My dog is the best dog in the whole history of ever.

Also, she is a crazy-go-nuts pant licker. She likes to lick my pants. It seems I have the tastiest knees-of-my-pants in all the world.

Silly ole dog. How I love her.

None More Negative.

Because much will be said elsewhere, and by people with more reason to observe the occasion, I won't make this post a particularly deep one. But I have to note this, if nothing further.

Peter Steele of Type O Negative died yesterday, apparently of heart failure. The guy was forty-eight.

I met Peter one time - it was, in fact, my very first experience of the band. I had friends who were enormous fans of this band I had no idea what to make of (few do even to this day - I think "goth metal" is an interesting, but limited label), so I'd agreed to meet them for a show. It was, in fact, right at this time of year, I remember it as having been in April. It would have been twelve years ago.

I was standing in the sunshine waiting for my friends when this gargantuan slab of a man got off the tour bus, and I knew JUST enough about TON to recognize him as Peter Steele, their lead singer. He came right up to me and, seeing me sort of biting my lip on a giggle, said, "Does it bodda you dat I'm talkin' to you?"



Now, an opener like that with a woman on a streetcorner might well have led to tales of groupie grossness, but I never experienced even a whiff of temptation to learn about Peter Steele's widely publicized skills as a womanizer. BUT he is in fact, hilariously funny - and, in his way, a generous host, too. Plus: didn't I have a total blast, when my friends finally arrived, popping my head out of the bus to show them where I was. Excellent. And so: I spent several hours in the context of a typical groupie (*with*, let it be explained, another one of my friends - also not skanking after the rockstar - who arrived not long after I got on the bus), but omitting outright all the usual promiscuous folderol.

To be sure, he'd have happily indulged me and said so. But even when I suggested I was a dead end, and there were plenty of others willing to help him out, he decided to stick with my company. Huh.

I learned that Peter Steele is no moron, and he is, as soon thereafter I realized, an extremely funny guy. Intentionally and otherwise, I can admit.

I enjoyed the devil out of the show. He ranks, as a front man, with that paragon of great performers: my own ex husband. He's a great musician, for those of us who can smile, but not laugh dismissively, at the label "goth metal" (okay - hee; but just a little hee). His own interests, he was often at pains to point out, were much more diverse than perhaps some of his fans' were. And his band does a cover of "Summer Breeze" that is genuinely awesome in both execution AND sense of humor. Good lord. Their covers are legendary (among their fan base, which, admittedly, ain't exactly as big as The Beatles') for excellent reason.

So I am sorry, truly, to realize I will never see them live again.

I'm sorry for Steele's family.

I'm sorry for the guys in the band.

And I'm sorry there won't be any more TON in the future. They make for an entertaining, fun show every time, these guys.

RIP, Peedah. It sure didn't bother me. But you were a relative gent for asking.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Perfect Man

I tend to be wary of characters, and arcs, indicative of too much success. For writing, it's hideous to read a character the author clearly takes as a pet, protecting them from every evincing flaws, or failing at anything. Spartacus, of course, is prone to the Mary Sue treatment, and history really can't do much to contradict nor deepen the character. A writer could. But, often, really doesn't.

My own work suffered a good deal of danger of this syndrome, too. The king I took for my text is not known to have endured a defeat. His career has been considered plenty bloody - but always seems to be seen as a success. He went from power to more power, and ever increasing wealth and influence. His marriage is the stuff of legend, and his array of princes were, if not entirely "to modern tastes", certainly major successes as successors.

How to temper such a career. Well, don't make a point of his physical beauty. (Note/aside: I am not among those who considers DiCaprio to be Teen Beat dreamy. Ahem.) Temper some of his known victories, withholding even the character's own sense of personal glory in them. Make some conquests outright pageants, paid for and played out for spectacle, but involving manipulation more than might. Allow him his many mistakes. Make him fight believably with that beloved, steadfast wife. (And don't make her a paragon either; give her thin lips, medium-colored hair, and a nervousness of disposition.)

See beyond the legend. Give people something to hold on to.

THEN give him the sword, and send it through every enemy. Then give him the glory.

Hee

Okay, so to cleanse my mental palate from the last post, and to bump it DOWN as well, let's go here.

Why? Because thinking of Xena got me thinking of Hercules, of course, and thinking of Hercules always gets me to thinking of Iolaus, and thinking of Iolaus always ALWAYS makes me smile, because Michael Hurst looks so so so sooo much like my ex husband. He is older, and his hair is blonder and a little flatter, but the features are astoundingly similar.

Proof that I'm capable of going for blondes.

Even if Beloved Ex has gotten a bit darker-haired himself.

Oh, and his eyes are uncannily bluer, bluer than anybody's I've ever seen except a gynecologist I used to go to, and Paul Newman. (Heh.) BEx has eyes like Windex. Very pretty.



AND Hurst is going to be in B&S, I see. Ahh some fun to look forward to a performance by him. I always liked his work.

And face.

AAAaaaaaaaaaaaaacckkkk

"Is she worth it?" Varro asks.

"She's worth everything," Spartacus answers.



Lord, you crazy boy-type people. What is with your overwrought "honor" and your underwrought ability to simply *be* ... ?

Lawless

Funny about Xena, though. I'm an American, and her American accent never called my attention to it.

But her British accent (donned to play ... an ancient Roman - of course ... um ...) really isn't playing for me seamlessly. Huh.

Blood and Sand

So I've started watching Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Of course. It's both exactly what I'd expected - a bit of a 300 retread with enormous beer-commercial/frat-boy-rock-concert pandering hooks - and occasionally well written and even acted. This is more than I'd have expected, which is why it's taken me so long to get around to streaming it off Netflix. But it's at least engaging, in between the hilariously macho-slash-intensely-homoerotic posturing and declaiming. And I do like some of the actors.

Spartacus himself, Andy Whitfield, I learn, has been diagnosed with early cancer. May he be well.

It's complicated for me, watching a story like this one. This version posits the relationship between Spartacus and his wife, Sura, as the central driving force of all his ambitions, and depicts a man so committed to the depth of his feeling that nothing can ever come between him and his love. It is the basis of his honor, his valor, his violence and passion - and his ultimate goals.

For those who know, it's terribly difficult for me to deal with stories of this sort, given that my own relationship has been stymied time and again merely by distance (and time, but that has been the product of fear and distance). The bond is every bit as indelible as that between this putative Spartacus and his wife. But the man, as similar as he is in some ways to this rarefied character, is very unlike.

I find it both reaffirming and disappointing, when I encounter "anything for my love" stories, because in my life the roles are always reversed. In literature and movies, the "No matter how far, no matter how long" role is generally occupied by the man, who must fight his way to the reward of his love's hand and presence. In plain old Virginia - I'm the one stuck with the "steadfast" role. And the fight is against only chimeras. Even if I had a sword, what kind would work on that?

But the series is entertaining, if a bit heavy on what I must only assume are CG graphics intensely indebted to video game aesthetics. Whitfield is exactly as he should be, and reassuringly thicker than most pretty-boys cast in lead roles these days (if still Californiacally telegenic and completely hairless below the chin). Xena's always fun. Doctore is remarkably good. John Hannah is a reliably entertaining presence, finally given enough to do here, interestingly enough. So it goes.

The language - well, it works well enough. The cursing isn't anachronistic in concept, but its execution is often so modern in expression it distracts me in that guitarist-at-the-back-of-the-bar-scoffing-at-the-band-on-stage way, leaving me sniffing a bit: "I could do better" (... and have ...). The extras are encouraged at all times to behave as if they're performing in some bizarro-world softcore crowd scene set at the worlds filthiest and most violent American football game. At times the video game transitions get really boring in the not-rare case of their overuse.

But there is substance here. So I'm marking this "entertaining" because it's worth giving a chance - and it's certainly market research worth absorbing right now. In a world which is happy to consume this brand of "Roman decadence" and barbarian warriors, I've got a book to appeal to some of this audience. (I won't use the "recommended" tag, though; because this is pungent stuff - and certainly NOT for all audiences ... nor even most ... but, for me, it's awright.)

On to episode three, with hope the next nine will not disappoint. If they do, I'll be back to report as to why-so.

Monday, April 12, 2010

For Your Info-tainment

I doubt I have enough readers for anybody to have bothered noticing my tags, but one note on those.

"Entertainment" is one I have reserved for things I actually *enjoyed* - found truly entertaining. So it's not appended to films, shows, or music I haven't cared for, or actively disliked. I use it only for those things that actually managed to: entertain.

That is all.

Touch

This weekend, I took myself to the Sunday morning movie, "A Touch of Evil". Nice one, and one of the most astonishing casts ever collected, perhaps. I knew essentially nothing about it going in, which I always find the most enjoyable way to watch a "classic" film. This remains timely, and the opening scenes in particular maintain an urgently modern feel. That first shot IS truly amazing, and the rest of the movie (I saw the 1998 version, the one attempting to hew as closely to Welles' vision as possible) is funny and intelligent and exactly-as-frustrating-as-it-should-be and involving.

It sure makes for an interesting alternative to going to church, though!

Discipline

I am trying, with this bout of unemployment, to maintain some daily structure, and it has helped. Today, I found four things to apply for, and thought about calling someone to be a reference. Hm. Three of the four are probably beneath my pay grade, but at least they were in my area - which itself is an encouraging thing. The fourth, interestingly, was essentially a listing with "the enemy": a company which was in a very professional brand of civilized conflict with the last employer.

Maybe not time to call for that particular reference yet. Heh.

That company, though, was one I interviewed with two and a half years ago, before taking my last job. The position was a great one, and I did extremely well - but lost out to a referral candidate. That the Talent Acquisition Coordinator (hee - beat that, all you "recruiters" out there ...) actually TOLD me that tidbit fascinates me to this day. Heh - and when I recently attempted to email her, I did find her email address was no longer working. Whoops.

I still hold out hope of hearing about the job I interviewed for two weeks ago today (two days before the layoff), but the hope *is* waning. A decision was "supposed" to be made on Thursday or Friday, and, though complications do arise, I have to at least continue as if I am - you know - unemployed and stuff. *Sigh*

So I'm doing that. And laundry. And taking care of some friends' pets. And slowly finishing reading my novel. (And waiting to hear back on THAT, too ... end of April, end of April, end of April ....)

And, every night, I take my bath and lay out clothes for the next day, and every day I get up and get dressed and make myself presentable, with some particular ideas about what to do for the day.

Today - laundry and four applications.

I guess I could be doing worse.

Ew Indeed

E tells me that the local pollen count was announced on CNN, and discussed as a hazardous (breathing) environment.

The thing is, this is typical actually. The spring, summer, and early autumn weather reports often include "code" warnings for the air, denoting how bad it is for people to breathe it.

And people in L.A. think smog is bad stuff. Hah.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Green

When I was a kid, I didn't understand why the Crayola for "spring green" was a pasty sort of yellow. When I thought of spring, and green, I thought of new leaves, which had a tender translucency - and very green-ness - which the crayon completely failed to capture.

But someone at the color mixing lab was definitely on to something.



We have here the first in a SERIES of dust rags used today, after the week's pollen festivities. I turned each rag several times, to new, clean surfaces. Above is surface #1, after wiping off two pieces of furniture. I think I ended up going through five rags in total.
Below - my desk:


I suppose this makes me look like a slob, living in my own green-yellow-powdered squalor. But this is, I promise, less than a week's accumulation. It actually boils down to one day's Virginian effort - I think it was Tuesday - but I don't get to housecleaning a great deal except on Saturdays. Other than that, count on laundry, bed-making, and neatening-up or washing dishes, but not on actual dusting or vacuuming. So the pollen, it accumulated. Shew!
The temps have dropped, too - nicely. I always sleep best when it's a little bit cool in the bedroom. At nine twenty-five, I frankly already feel like hitting the pillow (headaches today).
At least, though, the pillow will be a nice, clean one, and the house will be just a few shades less spring green.
And gritty.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day Tripper

Oh, wait - I meant Tax Man. Whoops.

So I used stepdad's Turbo Tax today, and it contradicted my own calculations wildly. But much to my satisfaction, it may be said. It got me close to $1500 back, from state and federal. For them as bothers reading this thing (hah), that's a significant shift. I was paying, by my reckoning, and I was irked.

So that is cool.

As is - rather suddenly -the weather, once again. It was rainy and grey this morning, but got suny - BUT it did so without getting to ninety degrees. Very nice indeed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Yes, Even With a Headache

I watched "The Big Sleep" today, and definitely enjoyed it. Not long ago, I saw "Key Largo", another good one, and I've seen Casablanca, though only once, when I was somewhere past thirty. But Bogie really remains an icon, not an actor, in my mind's pantheon of images.

Humphrey Bogart is the archetype of hard-boiled, no-frills, mature manhood. He seems never to have been truly young, and even with his legendary romance with Lauren Bacall, a woman of unquestionably steamy appeal, he himself has always seemed not so much virile as just manly - a larger category, and not one fussing very much with the particular of libido. His charisma is larger than that sort, and though he definitely had "it" - his "it" was that Hollywood thing, that talent thing, that magnetism that doesn't depend on one's sexiness.



Wasn't it a surprise, then, to see him in "The Big Sleep"!?

His character states he's 38 in that movie. It looks about right. So this is a guy younger than I am now. Marlowe, and Bogie, in this, is insouciant. Not a shocker. CHARMING. Some surprise there. And ... good lord, he's sexy. The charisma is specific.

Bogie's place in the collective consciousness ... I don't remember ever thinking of it, nor even hearing of it, as containing that kind of attraction. And I like tall rockstars, kids. And tall nerds (hi, Jim Parsons!). None of these things translates into Bogart. But dagnab if I wasn't won right straight over by this role.

Next up is the Maltese Falcon. I do actually remember seeing this one, many MANY years ago - maybe when I was in middle or high school - and it seems to me highly likely I saw it with my dad, or at least I remember speaking with him about it. I recall really really liking it. But no sparks over Bogart, of course. We shall see how he translates now.

This reminds me. I need to see "Brother Orchid" again too. I saw it once in college, and was so completely brain-smacked by the entire concept of that film I have never forgotten. Time to remember that one again now.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ow

I took the dog for a walk around 7:20, and felt pretty good, but as I approached home I could feel it starting. A headache. A late one.

They don't usually start so late in the day. And a late headache can be a vicious one.

This one is headache with nausea.

When my headaches come with nausea, it's very difficult to handle. These have increased in frequency, and - badly - in intensity as I've grown older. My ability to handle this kind is not great, either.

The heat is another complication - not least, because half my furniture is leather. It sounds weird (not least as if I didn't choose my own furnishings, which, actually, I sure didn't), but leather furniture can be a real problem. In winter, it is too cold, and in summertime its tendency to heat becomes an almost insurmountable obstacle to finding comfort.

It's miserable to be unable even just to relax a body already bent on its own distress.



"So get away from the computer, you moron."

Yeah. I hear you, believe me. See y'all tomorrow. I am outta here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Small

I said, once ... "He is too much. He makes me want to be enough."



What an amazing thing to make someone feel.

6:37 p.m.

I went today to pick up my remaining things. It was a box of old files, papers, personal records from the company; working stuff even from previous jobs. And one plant.

Saw a few of my former coworkers.

It wasn't any fun.



I still want that other job, though.

De Temp

Ees hot outside. My car-mometer registered 100 at just before five. It's now DOWN to 95.

Eighty-three inside the house. I refuse to turn on the danged air condiditioner ...

D.A.D.S.

Am I unfeeling and kind of horrible (or are the creative minds behind it?) for finding the following bumper sticker acronym terribly wrong, in not-a-good-way ...


Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome



???

I mean ... appreciating it. *Appreciating* it - like, thank goodness the baby was born with Down Syndrome.

... seriously? "Appreciating" ... ?

Huh.

Wow.

One Week

I would have a really hard time with my days if I genuinely didn't have to work. Just one week, and I am going bazoo already.

Of course, the taxes may be part of that.

But still. I miss human beings.



Lucky me, I get to go to the old office at the end of the work day, to pick up the rest of my things, and to do a little bit of electronic housekeeping if I can still log in. Woo-ee.

Oh, I'm going to take my camera and get pics of the campus. It's a gorgeous day, and that workplace IS pretty amazing.


*sigh*

Raining, Pouring

As if the events of one week ago this morning weren't galling enough, I finally got my gumption up an did my taxes.

And dang if I do not OWE $614. This is the first time ever I'll owe federal.

Stupid former employer stupid not knowing how to stupid do their stupid withholding correctly. So stupid.

Gah.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pollenation

Or pollination, if you prefer. Apparently, both are correct. How nice.

I wish I'd started off my day with the first in an hourly series of time lapse photographs to be taken of my car.

It has been turning greener and greener all the livelong day.

Happy Spring, central Virginia!

Hot Child In the City

Well, or only a couple hundred hards from the city limit, anyway.

It is seventy-six in the house today. HOT outside (as my dog valiantly tries to broil herself in the backyard). Seriously, like summertime hot.

Weird.

Slack-O-Rama

So I'm keeping somewhat busy, but it has been an unfortunate lapse on my part to have forgotten what rot daytime TV is, and to have allowed it to spend something like three hours or so actually on in my house this past almost-a-week of unemployment.

If the obsession of American women with their weight is anything like television indicates, or encourages, I will be sick. But not for bulimic purposes. Because if the source isn't women themselves, the broadcasts certainly encourage the obsession. Which is so depressing.

Surely ... SURELY ... we have more going on than constant wailing about men and waistlines. Surely, the content our our lives - and our *minds* - is greater than ... this one subject ... ?

I'm so afraid I am wrong here.

*Sigh*

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Citizen Kane

I'm 42 years old and just saw it for the first time in my life.

It isn't necessary to write out some sort of detailed review. That's been done, and done again. This is one of the most talked-about films in history, of course.

What I find most fascinating is that, in all the discussions I've read, heard, and seen of this movie, its value as *entertainment* is never at issue. Always the look, the performances. Certain nuances of the story, and lord knows every *last* aspect of production. But rarely the finished product as a whole, as a piece of ENTERTAINMENT. As a story, maybe somewhat. But really not as entertainment.

Which strikes me as interesting.

Because, as important as craft is, the actual product still has to have some relevance.

Citizen Kane the product really has not had relevance, perhaps since its beginnings.

I find that interesting.

And it seems to me, really, at least as important as how well-lit the backgrounds are. In fact, to my stupid, story-addicted mind: it's actually more so.

But I'm not a dillettante. So what do I know?


***


One thing is for sure, Bogdanovich's commentary is, as his always are, a literally stunning drag. This one is exceptionally useless, even for him - he simply repeats dialogue without even making his usual content-free comments or observations, and occasionally says, "the famous (fill in the blank)" ... again without actually saying anything about whatever detail he's point(less)ing out. Good grief.

Ebert is good, though. Repetitive, sure, but at least he's Ebert, and at least he's, you know, a LIVING CREATURE. But great Zot, Bogdanovich is a withering bore.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Attitudinal

Okay, it's actually beginning to get almost odd, how surprised people are at the way I've responded to being laid off. But even apart from having already been "looking" for another job - frankly, this is the way I've pretty much always responded to it. I'm part of a generation which has just gotten used to being displaced fairly regularly. It's what companies *do*, it's reality.

Do people really have time to respond to layoffs with long periods of keening and teeth-gnashing? I mean, seriously. I know an initial response isn't generally going to be what mine was. But three days later. Still upset? Or maybe generally resentful? I'm getting "impressed" amazement from people in management positions, even a recruiter. Do people routinely face RECRUITERS with anger and flapdoodle? Is that even sane??

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Profile

New pic. I felt a smile probably wouldn't go amiss. Plus, not quite so "am I pretty yet?" this one. And so.