Friday, May 28, 2010

Just Gotta Say ...

... nieces are the BEST invention. Ever.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

British Productions

The video productions of the BBC in the 1970s make up a significant presence in my personal collections. I own "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" and its semi-sequel, "Elizabeth R", "I, Claudius", and "Lillie". I love the feel of these productions - and anyone who feels they are too cheap looking should take the time to examine the costumes. The sets in Lillie, too, are sumptuous. There is a certain claustrophobia created by the set-bound nature of the productions; these are plays, not movies, nor even "shows" in the sense most Americans think of them.

I'm catching Peter Firth now in his turn as Dorian Gray. The differences between this and the 1945 film are largely small, and entertaining only in the turns of dialogue one might have, or the other. Wilde is to be counted on for cleverness and craft (and, yet another aside from me - surprise - do yourself the favor of catching Peter Egan's go at the man himself in, again, Lillie), and as theatricals go he is consummate at holding one's interest.

In this production, the longing after Dorian is made a bit more clear than would have been prudent in the film, and perhaps would have been clearly contextualized in that period, too. Wilde's final "crime" of course was known, but the understanding of his sexuality, in relation to his work, was hardly common conversation just a generation past its *being* criminal. By the seventies, it was perhaps more an open secret, and Victorian literature was beginning even to be mined for those relationships which once had dared not etc. And so the relations here have dimensions and clarity which were still indirect and scarcely to be hinted at in the film.

One thing, though, the film manages with absolute superiority. The alteration of the character of Sybil Vane was, in the end, both a product of its time and a hugely effective dramatic choice. The role is taken by Angela Lansbury, whose luminosity might actually astonish, in this film. She says at some point on the DVD commentary track, how wonderful the lighting director was, and she is not wrong. She is stunningly lovely in this, heart-catchingly perfect in the role.

The key difference, of course, is the use of sex - again - as the crux of the action. The 1970s play for TV is more faithful to Wilde's original novel. But the film's positing of Dorian's disillusion is vastly more powerful. It positions Sybil both as a real woman and a fantasy, and mercilessly illustrates the fate of EVERY woman who's ever borne the weight of a lover's expectations. It can be a terrible thing, having to live up to either the specific fantasies one person applies to another specific parson - or to the societal fantasies generally imposed on femininity. The indictment, in the film, of both the imposition and the effects of it - and the addition of a sharper class conflict, made manifest in the "classless" act of a woman offering herself to the man she believes she loves - packs a punch. It was a wise move, and resonates still very powerfully.

Firth is an interesting presence, always. Something about him is very nicely disturbing. Where Hurd Hatfield was marvelously beautiful, but Lewin directed him (rightly, I think) to be absolute marble - until a certain point - Firth is allowed his impetuosity and youth. There are virtues in both directorial approaches, though Firth's squirmy presence may seem more immediate or vital. The fact that he makes one queasy, though, undermines the beauty he's meant to personify. Hurd may have been rendered inanimate, but his physical presence was (flawlessly) perfect. Even with a notable-to-my-generation resemblance to Christopher Reeve (in itself, oddly effective and resonant even), his glass-smooth, diamond-hard immaculate charisma is riveting. This has as much effect as the intensity of the adolescent, impulsive, passionate Firth. So the leads, in both these cases, prompt me to think of adding both versions to my shelves.

Taking on Lord Henry, though, I come to a dividing point - and one I might not have expected. You have to love Gielgud. He's Gielgud. Watch him in "Becket" and TRY to hate him, I dare you.

But watch him - and watch George Sanders - and, as for me, Sanders wins by a mile. Gielgud's makes a great mouth into which to put Wilde's dialogue, and the character is clearly Oscar's avatar, which makes him fascinating on multiple levels ... but Sanders' acting is better here. Lord Henry gets to be a real character. But Gielgud's Henry doesn't go beyond the script, which is not exactly perfect. Authors' avatars are rarely well fleshed out, and Gielgud doesn't improve on Wilde's own work.

Clever. Crafty. But no version-of-self any writer ever produced doesn't suffer in characterization. I say that loving Wilde's abilities - but respecting that at times acrobatics isn't dance, if you see what I mean.

I love the limitations of the TV play. But this work, for my money, requires both copies as antidotes to each other.

Now, That's Irksome

I just went to Outlook to set up an Out of Office message for while I am traveling. I will have access, but wanted to be able to note that it will be limited, and if a message is in relation to the job search, to please contact me via my cell phone.

Outlook for home use has no OoO option available.

I'm going to keep poking of course. There's got to be some kind of auto-responder functionality. But it's a little strange they left the easy tool out. Huh.

Hormones Are A Funny Thing ...

... even a non-girlie type like me gets all weepy at certain times.

Of course, in my case, this is applied to things like the ending of the movie "Hellboy" (the hilarity of which emotional response is *not* lost on me, believe me).

But it still happens.


Found one "maybe" listing and one most excellent one today. The excellent one has history, too.

I like history!


It is interesting to me, considering the extent to which I am known to over-compromise myself in order to adapt to a given working situation, how inflexible some people suddenly want to think I am, because I refuse to keep considering more and more pay cuts for myself.


I am not blessed with some man who is bringing in twice whatever I can hope to make. I have to run my household myself. There's nobody else to do it, and I am *worth* every cent I am asking for. Rather more.

I don't have a husband, and the novel is not a done deal. It's going to be a little while, too, before Hollywood comes and takes me away from all this (please read the derisive scoffing at this sarcasm as a given). I have a mortgage, and I live quite responsibly. I don't have five-figure credit debt. The car's not a luxury.

Nor is the dog.

I just want to keep swimming. That isn't, in fact, crazy - nor an unreasonable expectation.

Relax, people. I know what I am doing. If you've paid any attention, I've been doing it a LONG time now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

8:12 p.m., May 25

It's after eight o'clock, and the sun is just setting. One of the oddly frustrating aspects of unemployment, apart from constantly wearing the same old boring clothes, is the suspension of one's mental calendar. When I was laid off, it was March 31, and spring had only feinted a little bit.

I keep forgetting that, while all the rest of the people are still going off to work every day, the calendar is still running. Clocks haven't stopped, the weather's getting warmer, the days are so long now we're a month away from when they'll begin shortening again. If time's not a-wastin', it sure isn't waiting either.

I've changed jobs four times since 2001. The temp gig, the first full time gig, the promotion to a better one, the promotion to the best one - all at one company, that, and in five and a half years. Then there was the "transition" and my move to the last employer. I was never out of work in between. It's been nine years since I actually went without work, and in those years I have hit the age where years seem to move more quickly than they used to.

The sensation of how much is going by while I remain without a gig is a bit alarming, and I am doing all I can to swallow, to soldier on. But it is sobering.

I am thrilled that soon I will be having my vacation, and seeing my family.

But I will be just as thrilled when *this* "vacation" is finally over.

Hey, Wait ...

How come Mickey Rourke, in a basement in Russia, knows Tony Stark is about to drive a huge race in France - but Pepper Potts and Happy DON'T ... ??


... and nothing to apply for today, either. Eh, figures. Last week was too rich; ya gotta make up for that with paucity.


Well ... yesterday, unfortunately, didn't really bear out that whole "up and at 'em" mood I was trying to keep going. Not one thing to apply for Sunday or Monday. A pity, but I am not a force to be trifled with, and today's go at the job hunt will commence shortly.

My dog gets it from me: I am the very definition of "hope springs eternal" ...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oh, And

Actually, yes. I am aware that was a "mix" in IM2, and not a "medley".

You know what, kids?

That was a medley.

And it got WEAK when they ditched Freddie Mercury, man. Who DOES that!?

IM2! I Am Not!

Okay, stupid headline. I am my mother's daughter, and will go to silly lengths for a pun. Sorry!

Okay, and. Movies!

Yaaaaaayyyyyyyy!!! I just finally took myself to see Iron Man 2! Hooray!

You know, I'm not even going to bore the world with my personal review here. Everyone knows I'll just be a big thirteen-year-old fanboy about it, and it's not like I can think of anything even *I* can pretend is unique to say about it. I just had fun.

After yesterday being so relaxing, and today including this highlight, I am *ready* for a new week. For my vacation to come. For another day. I've conquered the problems I was having with my weight (even my own a$$ isn't going to kick MY a$$, fella babies). I've regained my formidable attitude. If the company I wanted to work for doesn't want me to work for them, well, they're just going to be the nimrods who took a pass on the skyrocket of Diane Major, and won't they feel stupid when I become a bestselling author they can't brag about having in the stable? I'm up and at 'em, dad. I'm ready to ARISE, go FORTH, and CONQUER.

And if I were Tony Stark, I would be able to do so with a totally awesome, heavily AC/DC-inclusive, pretty 80s rockin' sound track to boot.

Lest anyone not know this: it'll be playing. Inside my head.

And I won't be cutting that Queen song short for an insufferable medley. Sheesh.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Z Grows in Brooklyn

(C'mon, Zuba - you knew I had to use this headline, right?)

My friends are so cool. Why on earth do they want to hang around with *me*?!?

Best Of

Today was just a delightful bunch of fun with my mom. We hit an estate sale, where I got four mint condition hardbacks for $2.80 - Follett's follow up to "Pillars", a histfic about Pompeii by one of the authors I've researched, a compilation of five complete Agatha Christies, and goodness I can't even be troubled to get up and go to the kitchen to check what the fourth was and bore the world with full details. I also bought an ergonomically correct snow shovel for three bucks. WOO!

Then we went to the local colorful shopping district (home of the nicest, most high-end Goodwill store you have ever seen; and all of them are pretty nice around here), where I wanted to find a good blazer for use with some excellent interview-caliber slacks I have in stock. No luck, actually, on the blazer, but we did find a great suit - winter weight wool, natch - which my mom, and our freshly minted store-buddies from the dressing rooms, insisted I must get regardless of season. It *is* pretty fab. And it ended up being $15.

For a suit that probably started life at at least $90, that ain't too bad, and it scarcely looks worn at all. Here's hoping, by the time it comes back in season, I will no longer be wanting it for interviews. *Smirk*

We went to the wonderful home of the best potato salad in town, and mom had an enjoyable bite and I had a Coke. We hit one of the cute artsy stuff stores, and Ten Thousand Villages too, where mom was lovely and bought us matching bangles (they're actually much lighter, less bold colors in person; very dainty and pretty).

Total girls' day out, and we had a good time.

My mom is awful nice. She's also kind of a stitch to hang out with!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Soldiering on. I'm really working the networking right now, and have reached out to one of the best managers I've ever known, as well as a very dear friend from college days too.

It may not be salaried labor, but it's still making me feel pretty good.

Jaw. Set.

This is how good I am. I am responding to this setback not with the tears and flapdoodle I'd really like to indulge, but with at least *some* action. I asked that new reference if he'd go permanent (his response - "carve me in stone" - thank you ...), and what he was doing for lunch early next week.

It may not be much, but it's NETWORKING and it's PROACTIVE, and it's certainly not the reaction of a poor loser.

Not even the reaction of a loser, no matter how this feels.

As Cake so nicely puts it, "I'm a driver, I'm a winner ... Things're going to change, I can FEEL it" ...

Okay, well, maybe not quite that. But better than "waaaahhh - woe is MEEEEEEEEEE" anyway.


I just really want to cry right now.

The email brushoff for that Communications job just came. I have to admit, I am amazed. And hugely disappointed. I mean, I interviewed with THIS group once upon a time, and the recruiter at that time told me I'd done great, but the job was going to a referral. From one of the people I'd *interviewed* with.

This time, not even a phone screen?

What in goodness' name did the more recent recruiter I spoke with - apparently so unimpressively (not that he bothered to interview me) - say to the one now on this job? When he forwarded my new reference, from a guy who is a SVP for COMMUNICATIONS to him?? Because, seriously, given some sort of questions to answer, I could have shone, but I had no chance to do so. And now it looks like I'm outright shut out, regardless of a resume which has gotten this company's attention not once, but TWICE, and for a position for which I am ludicrously well qualified, not to mention formidably *recommended*!

... the ... ??

Look. Universe. I already took one three thousand dollar pay cut two years ago. I get that you'd really like me to take another ten or so off, but I can NOT afford to do that, I really can't. I'm not asking for gold plated gold plates, here. I'm asking for less than I made at my previous position.

And, people? I am GOOD. I am loyal, and stunningly high-caliber. I bring vastly more talent to the table than most employers have ever even plumbed nor been able to use, but it beats being inadequate. I have, so I was told over and over and over again by my most recent manager, an attitude so great it's unbelievable - but this has always been a key to my success, kids. It's a major part of relationship management.

What DO I have to DO?


I need to have a job. And, though it's rare I'll utter such a sentiment, I *deserve* to have one. My resume is a showstopper, and my personal presence hits it out of the park. I know this. I've been told by those who have no reason to lie. I give GOOD interview, and I'm certainly an eager worker.

What is going on - that, though I've been looking since *December* my usual fortune abandons me in this market?

My mom once said of me, "When Diane gets the interview, she gets the job."

There are reasons for this - not least, most of what my mama taught me.

So GIVE me the interview, people. And make me the offer. I promise, I am ridiculously worth it.

Lolly and Friends

Sid is buddies with our next-dog neighbor, Scout, as I am with his mom. Scout has been playing host of late to a guest they're taking care of, Knuckles the pit bull. Knuckles is a sweet kid, a little younger than Scout perhaps, and good looking. He's got that brindled coat I find so beautiful, and he's one healthy, extremely happy boy. Always wagging his tail. I mean, *always*. His temperament, if a bit energetic for me, is unquestionably friendly. And he's always grining. I swear, and the mouth on this guy is so big when he does open it - which is, um, always - you can see his spleen for goodness' sake.

I don't have much prejudice against this breed, though a certain stripe of the type of person who insists on owning them doesn't impress me. Knuckles' dad appears to be capable of irony, and as I say, the dog's visibly healthy. He is glossy and beautifully cared for, anyone can see.

So the three kids have been walking together a bit this week, and they make a nice personality mix. Very very cute, at times, watching the three of them sniffing at a post together, or whatever they find to do to be dogs at us. They're pretty well behaved, and get along too. It's fun.

I was testing the boundaries yesterday, toward the end of our trek. Sid, when she was younger, didn't like me petting other dogs; but she has developed a more liberal attitude, it seems. I have often stood back from other pets, saying I am a wholly owned subsidiary. But she didn't even notice me being friendly to Knuckles yesterday. He's got the most wonderful little ears.

As we said goodbye, I gave him a thumpy pet. I like thumping Lolly; she's very barrel chested, so a nice bumping pat on her ribs gives the best, deep echo. I do often tell her she's got good thump (less frequently than I tell her she's got good stink; but that one just comes up so constantly!). Knuckles has good thump, too. But he's SOLID, this dog. As I said to Scout's mom:

It's like he's made of ... meat!

I don't want a pit bull, if I'm honest. My relatively mellow, sit-at-your-feet girl is the best of the very very best-est. She's awright.

But her friends are still fun, and I love that she has some. I swear, it is the thing that keeps her healthiest.

And happy too.

And she sure deserves that. Good old t'ing.

Yeah, Still Bored

I submitted two applications yesterday, and recieved one decline today (on an older submission). Did the job slog ages ago, nothing new today. Paid two bills, extrapolated the checkbook, filled out COBRA forms, spoke with one seriously truculent little person named Heather at the Benefits Administrators' "help" line (... right.), and just updated my email at E-Trade.

Still bored out of my mind.

I find that I am in the house far too much, but the simple fact is, leaving the house generally involves spending money. If nothing else, gas. I just don't feel like it's necessarily a great idea to be throwing bucks around right now, given the uncertainty. Shoot, even with a job, it wouldn't be so wise. One never does know. Obviously.

So here I sit, and the last thing on my desk before me is the Writer's Market.

I just ... right now ... no. I've taken a break for this week, and of course there's still no printer and all the hoo-hah. Just no on more research, more electronic legwork, more "what ifs". My head is killing me.

I should get away from the computer.

I should be WORKING, is what I should.

Come on, company-I-wanna-work-for ... It's been a week, I know the review process can't go but so quickly. But put me on your short list, and call me SOON.

I am bored out of my diminishing mind.


I am bored out of my mind, and don't want to be bothering my friends with JOBS and distracting them. (Actually, I do *want* to - I just know I really shouldn't.)


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Du Jour

What an excellent quote, from an anonymous commenter on Teh Intarwebs:

Don't mistake "anecdote" for "categorical truth".


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


One can only assume that whatever remains of the theater geek I once was is alive and well in my adoration of cosmetic play ...


Okay, so makeup has always been my favorite toy (well, since I was allowed to use it at all). Even in high school I was trying to cop celebrity faces from big glossy photos (TEO, do you remember me painting a lousy beauty mark on my face, then calling you and hollering, "I am MARILYN!"?), and dreaming of being a big old glamourpuss.

Thank goodness for the eighties. For that decade which foisted upon us pink acetate lame' also gave me the chance to think, at last, I *was* a glam goddess. It opened up the door for people to indulge in costuming more extreme than was common for people of limited means through most centuries. Ahh, it gave us Lestat and Poison and all those hair boys I used to (heh - used to) love, and makeup makeup makeup. Magenta, fuschia makeup. Lovely, lovely.

I spent years perfecting my complexion, perfectly even eyeliner, lipstick it would have been an embarrassment to go around pooching. Just the right, mile-long eyebrows. Marathon waterproof mascara. Shine Free cover (I hated seeing that discontinue, when it did; finding new products to replace beloved old ones is the bane of every face-goop-lover). Oh, yes, purple eyeshadow. I did purple eyeshadow - of course I did! We all did. (It's those of us who thought to stop who don't look quite like relics ...)

The eighties were my season of technique - finding all the ways to obliterate each flaw. I used foundation, cover, and pure white Johnson and Johnson baby powder; it was the smoothest possible finish by FAR. I wore full-face makeup every day, even to work.

The nineties were, toward the end, a little more about flexibility. I discovered that I can wear RED. Beautiful, stupid, screaming, true red. I subdued the blues and purples on my eyes, retreating to taupe for day, smoke - or "nude" lids - for night. The nineties were for me, as for most of us goop-ophiles, about the lips. Uber-dark, or garishly, dragon-lady red. The only options.

It was early in the aughts I met Mr. X. And X is the first man I have ever met who reveled in the details I so loved to play with as much as I loved to refine and play with them. He responded to my clothes, my makeup (my hair). He loved the different characters of my look - soft, showy, "dark" - confident. He loved that I wasn't hiding behind paints, but using them to play up different things for every given situation.

He especially liked "dark" - I was halfway into my thirties by the time I met him, but he first brought out the goth nerd in me. Oh, and such a great nerdly-dom for a girl like me, whose favorite toy is eyeliner. Is color, or lack of it. Is unexpected detail.

And so, extreme makeups. I started to go beyond doing things perfectly, into doing things *differently* - unexpected ideas. I'd grown up surrounded by punk girls, who loved my fair skin and asked me how I got it. This had influenced me early to stay out of the sun - and at forty-two, I still have a decent pallette to work on, a starting surface with interesting potential.

It's funny how hard it can be to find "extreme" inspiration, though. Years back, I bought Kevyn Aucoin's lovely tome of celebrities turned into other celebrities, or fanciful characters. His mother as Marlene Dietrich, Gina Gershon as Sophia Loren, Martha Stewart positively amazingly unrecognizeable. Liza Minelli as Marilyn herself (hee ... I still believe my cop was a bit better ...). I have another book from Nars, too. I've clipped pics of Clara Bow and others for Hallowe'en costumes, or just because. I've collected images online, and this is even a part of the reason for my interest in ANTM. Amazingly, this is one of the best sources for extreme makeup inspiration (over a year's worth of American Vogue certainly disappointed on this front to a great and frankly surprising degree). They do ridiculous stuff, but it can be co-opted.

Take the time they put bald caps on the girls and pasted Swarovski crystals in patterns on their faces. Awesome! I can skip the bald aspect of things, but have used these crystals time and again now. Easy-peasy, high-impact, and tons of fun. I used a red one, I think, for my "lip piercing" when I went as Amy Winehouse for Christmas a few years back. I have lined my eyebrow, and cheekbone, and the inner corners of my eyes with various colors of them. They are too fun.

The little "bubbles" from my Carnivale photo.

The silver mask I painted on for a "masquerade party" one year at New Year's Eve, when I didn't have a good mask of my own.

The white liner, the underdrawn lips, the false lashes, the different colors. I did Clara Bow so well that first year my aunt swore the pics weren't of ME. Ahh, wigs, ponyfalls, that little Barbara Feldman number. Mmm, the fun I've had with vintage hair. Victory Rolls! What could be more fun? (And I'm still looking for my excuse for them; my skimmer "clip on hat" from Hallowe'en prevented the sculpting!)

But search "extreme makeup" and what you get mostly is bright colors, but applications of the most traditional sort. Done well, to be sure, but unwearable in most circumstances - just for a photograph. How dull! I want to be able to go OUT looking like a nutbar. Purple and yellow just isn't sufficient "extremity", in my mind, for the wildest makeup. Little liquid-eyeliner curliques are pretty and all, but not exactly crazy time.

I love looking at crazy eyes (the eyes have it, mostly, for your whacko cosmetic efforts). They just seem to be harder to find than you'd expect.

Ah well.

Stay tuned. Daft photos will follow.


When I was little, my dad gave me a die-cast red convertible Alfa Romeo Matchbox car. (My dad was so awesome.) And he loved Bond movies. Even in Quantum, an AR opens the flick.

I think I may have gravitated to some of the guy-entertainment stuff dad liked more than my brother did. I bonded (ugh/har - sorry) with dad over spy movies and cars, where big bro took after him more in other ways (not least: his being a dad himself, whereas I skipped out on parenthood, and working with his hands, creating wonderful things). I would go with dad to see Firefox, and work on my brakes while he stood, smiling, over me - staying OUT of my way because "I can do this myself! But keep me company!" I can't do most of what my sibling can that our father taught us, or exposed us to, but some of the stuff I "took" does amuse me a little.

I never thought of myself as a tomboyish kid - labels and categories really don't seem to have had traction in our rearing. But "daddy's girl", in my case, was not a matter of frilly cuteness.

I still have the Matchbox car. And my purple Tonka Jeep, somewhere.

And a penchant for sneering at chick flicks.

Next item up for bids on my DVD-purchase list. Obviously: Quantum of Solace.

Quantum of Solace

Okay, so I finally got around to the sequel. This film had such rotten press, I confess I sort of didn't want it to ruin Casino Royale for me. Thing is, I really don't understand the problem.

I think they tightened up the running time quite wisely, but there was still enough story for a Bond film. The look carried through really well - some nice grittiness, but overall a sumptuous film to watch, even in the dirtier locales. They sustained the romance of the filthy bits from CR, and as a piece, I didn't feel this was jarringly unlike the first.

The central complaint I recall hearing (apart from the title, the *proportion* of complaints about which I really cannot get behind - it's dorky, but how can that really ruin the experience?) was exemplified by Ebert's discussion of Bond's having descended into becoming a mere action hero.


I have a question, regarding that.

When *WASN'T* James Bond an action hero? I'd always thought all the action heroes were Bond wannabes in the first place, so his co-opting what really isn't a separate genre in the first place seems eminently appropriate, to my mind.

Yes, this film piles on the setpieces. So did CR, and that "reboot" of the franchise gained RAVE reviews.

Yes, the action strains all credulity.

Is someone going to attempt to make some sort of argument that Connery (or, for heaven's sake, Moore) ever starred in vehicles of particular verissimilitude??

Good grief.

I'd agree that the dialogue here gets fairly short shrift. And, with the extent of subtitles (all of which are absolutely unreadable, except by using the pause button on your DVD player) and unintelligible line readings (this was also a major problem in CR, in case EVERY reviewer was unaware of that - which apparently they are), it's all but eliminated. Add to this dizzyingly high-speed editing quite unconcerned with audience comprehension of continuity or a scene's basic geography (hello, CR!), and the film's a bludgeon to the senses.

But it's not ONLY a bludgeon, and it is actually pretty clearly *considered* - even if the execution isn't really set up for an audience's consideration.

With life on DVD (and - full disclosure - 100% of my own personal experience of Craig's bond being on DVD), this only means the repeat viewings will be rewarded.

I *loved* CR, but find myself going "wow, missed that the firs (X-number of) times" every time I see it. I have the same experience with Abrams' Star Trek.

Fast-cut, blender editing does make for a full-on assault to the senses sort of moviegoing experience, BUT it also sets one up for rewards on DVD, so I actually kind of am happy to go with it. Entertainment of any kind which is 100% accessible with a single viewing, I'm not much interested in. And, given personal video markets, I'm willing to bet that frankly more people feel this way than (a) will admit it, or (b) even quite realize why they like going back for more.

Now, I'm a longtime re-watcher, re-reader, etc. This is a personal quirk. And I don't like stopping a movie to figure out WHAT the heck the Bolivian girl said on that plane about her prostituting herself. That stuff is irritating and careless.

But a bad movie?

I really don't see why people reacted so against QS.

Except that they reacted so FOR CR.

Casino Royale blew a lot of people away, and they apperently held that initial-asonishment factor to the measure of its sequel.

But a first experience can't be repeated, kids. You can't lose that virginity twice, you can't "re-experience Bond again for the first time" twice, not legitimately, within two years and maintaining the same production universe.

The only other valid complaint I can recall was that it dipped too much into the first Craig-fronted Bond film.

So let me get this straight. One, it's too different, and he's too Action Hero.

Two, we went back too much to the first well, and didn't move forward.

Well, try to win next time, Daniel.

I plan to ignore the whiners, and sign up for your next go. I suspsect the complaints will all be similar. And that Bond will go on.

He always seems to. And I like it.


I'm excited about the laptop portfolio I've ordered for travel. I'm excited about what to bring, and what to bring back, for the neighbor watching my dog, for mom and my stepdad, the memories for myself. I'm pretty tickled, yep.

Yay vacations!

Even unemployed, this is exciting.


As hard as it's become for me to *get* to sleep in the first place, once I fall, it's busy-time big time. I'm dreaming, it feels like, a lot. Sometimes it's the sleep apnea dreams, but thank goodness it's more just vivid dreams for the most part. Last night, among other things, it was travel. I was packing my bags for my vacation trip ... one hour before the plane's departure. Well after I should have appeared for security in the first place. Heh.

"Oh! Underthings! Yes!"

Um. Yeah. It does in fact occur to me I will need some of those.

I think I may be excited to see my family.

Fortunately, no underpants have been soiled in the writing of this post.

Bill Withers

Can I just say that the bass line on "Use Me" is about as good as music can possibly get?

Good GRIEF, what a great song. Crunchy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Am So Awesome

I'm sick today, very queasy and dizzy, and headachey too (not that the headache is really accomplished enough for *me* to be much impressed with it), but man oh man I am still amazing. I have gotten a new reference, gotten it where it needs to go, been working on the daily job slog - people, I'm even sick on the right schedule. Getting it done before going on vacation.

I am just BRILLIANT.

But I think I need to go lie down. Wooo-rrrr-eewwwww ....


I have been having more trouble falling asleep, and it also happens that bedtime is one of those times when the writer-brain sometimes becomes wonderfully (or perniciously) fertile. I refuse to follow many authors' advice to have a notebook by the bed, or to insist upon constantly interrupting my day (or night) (or, you know, actual human interactive *people*) jotting down my precious, precious inspirations.

I've lost countless thousands of inspirations in my lifetime, and have found they don't desert me if they're *genuinely* any good. The good ones recur, because they have staying power and some sort of relevance. They tickle you back. And, if you're canny and care enough, you can train them to do so if they really do matter. You can make your brain an open space for thought, and thought won't actually desert you if it's worthwhile.

And, if they're not ... ? Well. Ideas, and good turns of phrase, are not actual offspring. It's no sin if some of them just die, and I'm not a poor steward of my talents for letting them do so. And it's certainly nothing to cry about.

Like people you've lost touch with - sometimes, great "bits" are more a matter of their context than their content. Some people you just love to pieces at twenty-one don't fit your life and tastes anymore when you're forty-two. There is no sin in acknowledging, accepting that. And there's no sin in losing the mental thread of some story or concept or clever phrasing you have in your head as it swims across the pillow, once the sun has come up on you again. Sometimes, that incandescent brilliance is actually dimmed by the daylight. If not outright embarrassed in it ...

All this reminds me of an idea I've been having, and thinking about blogging about.

I think this is just the note to log out on. To come back for a post when I'm actually fresh and awake.

After all. It came back to me. I can do it the same honor.

G'night, everybody.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

'Sbeen a While

I'd forgotten just how bad being carsick really is. Oy.


Okay, so the first interview I actually had, back in January, went fantabulously well, and I was a referral candidate for the position. The friend-of-a-friend I spoke with thought I was amazing - his entire response to my friend being an email with the subject line of my name, and consisting of one single word: "Wow!"

He said even to me, how powerful my resume was, and our rapport was good.

My friend's theory as to why I didn't get the offer was that his hands are a bit tied, and I was just too expensive. Unfortunate, in a way. But so it goes. I had a bit of trouble with the nature of the work (in this economy: forclosure related), and realized afterward my attitude had grown to "GET ME OUT" proportions, regarding my then-current gig. This is always a terrible context from which to make decisions like changing jobs.

Okay, so by the time I had the interview for that job I really thought looked great, I had modulated my situation at work (I'd really taken control, and actually made things a LOT better - not just for myself, but also for those I worked with too; the feedback by the time they found out they were having to do layoffs was really excellent), and was very much in a critical mode. I went to the second interview with the attitude of, "Okay. Impress me."

Well, and of course they did. I got fired the next day, they were very responsive, they took time to make the decision, and frankly I believe them when they said it was a tough decision but they had gone with someone else.

Pity them, for they did not get me.

So for all this time, even the six weeks since the layoff now, I've kept that first company off my lists of job searching. My friend had told me after the fact that the company instituted a policy one year ago, by which ALL employees receive ONE WEEK of vacation. And that it never accrues with years of service. And that this is also sick leave. And ...

... seriously!?? You wanted me to come work there!?

I haven't looked since. Even though the recruiter was crazy-go-nuts for me, and more executive-level positions were in the offing.

Yesterday, I learned that my friend had misunderstood her own company's vacation policy. "Oh, no, no - you get two weeks. And it does accrue. It was the sick days policy I was looking at." So that policy *does* actually sound more normal than indicated. They have the usual 2 weeks, plus five days sick leave, and THAT doesn't accrue.

Holy ...

I haven't looked at this place since February, based on this reportage!

Of course, now, we re-add them to the list. And consider how to contact that recruiter (who, in fact, had remembered me from my job hunt of two years ago, when I had interviewed there!) and explain my hiatus ... or just not.

And still hope that won't be the lucky company, in the end.

I'm rooting for the Communications people to get me, frankly.

But it would be so stupid to just hope for that and not keep looking and trying - dur.

So it goes ...

Wonder for how much longer ... ?

May 16

A year ago today, I was taking a mini-vacation. I saw Star Trek. I'd had a terrible migraine the night before, and was enjoying that special post-symptom I get with the worst ones, a sense of how incredibly GOOD it feels not to feel a migraine; the post-headache euphoria. The day. The freedom. The entertainment.

My next vacation is yet to come. It will be more populous, and more substantial. But the vacations I have taken alone have been special too. Last year was precious to me. I dreamt of it last night.

I dreamt also of the one yet to come; my family, the fun we will have. I'm kind of excited. Haven't seen my brother in nearly two and a half years, and my sister-in-law and nieces for almost exactly two. Time for a visit.

And a vacation, yes.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Oh, Miss Manners ... what if it's not your coworkers, though ... ?

The Dream of a Waking Man

Hope is what ambition is made of.

It is heartbreaking that two people I love very much have none - one without even realizing it. One by their own design. The former is the sadder. She doesn't even know.

How can life be bearable when there is nothing to be done with it ... ? *Sigh*


"I can't get my hopes up."

If someone can't (will not) get their hopes up - NOTHING they hope for will ever just come to them.

It surprises me when people don't allow themselves to know this. It saddens me.

Especially people who think they are strong.

Ohhh Zuba ...

... so the Saturday afternoon movie appears to be "Coyote Ugly".

I think I need to go to the Mediterranean Bakery for some goodies. And the best goodie? Getting out of the house, away from the TV, and far, far, far from this particular movie.


(Super-amusingly, to my mind, I received a Nielsen package today. I could become a Nielsen family! And I am not a family, in that egregious sense American broadcast media inevitably formulates for all possible humans to supposely be part of. I don't even have cable, either. Wouldn't I have subversive fun if they chose me ... ???)

Speaking of Geeking

Am I a total nerd for practicing a little here and there on PowerPoint and Word and things like that, while I am unemployed ... ?

The Plot Thickens

The interview I had with the company I'm so eager to work for was a little less than three years ago, in August of 2007. At the time, I saw the VP of Communications, and it actually went very well, but I have reason to know that the position went to a referral. So it goes; I found another gig, but did remember this firm with very real interest.

When the time came to (as TEO so aptly puts it) give myself permission to leave the last employer, the first place I wanted to look was at this firm. I've gotten some interest off them since, as has been discussed. That alone, when there are 200 resumes flying in for every opening in town, is nothing to be ashamed of. Even when the interest doesn't turn into a proper phone interview I can ace, but is a strange and offhand conversation kept exceedingly brief. Nobody said I couldn't have another chance.

Anyway. The position I saw yesterday ...

... was in Communications.


So I created a very special cover letter, noting not only that previous interest, but also the more recent nibble, and reiterated my personal desire to come work for them. And then I went online and found a way to re-establish communication with one of my old friends from my last *executive* level position, whose email I had sadly lost in the layoff, as I didn't have it here.

My old friend is the SVP of Communications, still with the firm where I once worked with him.


Oh YES I am shameless. I have no sense of fear to knock on a door, when that door has behind it someone I respect, like, and who could be good for me.

Plus, he's a Trek nerd AND a great big dog lover. Who doesn't want to be in touch with people that awesome??


I am burning a CD (it's not of my father's memorial tape, no). I feel simultaneously so extremely hip and so wonderfully behind the times too.

Heh. Technology's fun.

Friday, May 14, 2010


And tonight? A military contractor.

Good day. Here's hoping something hits. (Something with that employer who's shown a LITTLE interest, and needs to show more. In their Communications department. Ohyeah ...)


Took a walk with the neighbor and our dogs. Not an exceptionally vigorous walk, though we do try to keep up a pace. But this wasn't like super-straining for us anyway. I am DRIPPING, just pouring, with sweat.

I mean, wow.


THREE applications today!!

Awesome. Even mom won't object. But now I have to run and go HELP HER!


I'm supposed to be helping my mom today, she's working hard on a project at a home she owns and is about to re-rent. I genuinely mean to do this, but TWICE already in my job search I've been slowed down by actually finding things to apply for.

One of which, hilariously, is for a gubmint contractor headquartered in the back of nowhere (otherwise known as, the frontier town E is wasting away in all these years).

And the other is at the company I have been EAGER to go work for for nearly three years now. In *Communications* no less (man, I need to get my old buddy TM, the head of communications from my last, beloved, great job, to be a reference ...).

So mom seems to be okay with my delays.

And I am too, I have to admit.

VERY excited to see this latest opening. WOOT!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Over and Over

When a job is extremely involved and sizeable, I tend to go at it multiple times, breaking it down from the largest components, then refining and refining to more and more detailed segments. With the WM, I went at it today first to look at the list overall and eliminate every one I could. Easy.

I went back to it to mark email versus snail mail submissions, standing back far so as to still be at really big-picture levels. I did *some* more eliminating, but that was not the point of the second exercise; just to create big-pile categories, basically.

Third run was to look at "SASE"-marked submissions even more closely, determining those with websites, which I'll have to check to verify whether snail mail is the ONLY method by which these agencies will accept submissions. This exercise reallocated several of the previously SASE-binned options, which did have email addresses and websites showing, and for which the WM wasn't absolutely clear. This run was to isolate those agencies which very definitely will require mail/hard copies.

I ended with seventeen.

This means there may yet be several more which prefer snail-mail submissions, but this segment is the definite luddites. Heh.

Intuitively non-obviously, my response to this is not to backburner these, but to want to get these submissions done FIRST.

The other way I manage big jobs like this is to set the biggest pains to be done first.

Of course, this does still mean I need a printer.

So that pain is #1, to be immediately followed by a whole bunch of customizing, organizing, printing, stamping, and sending. Shew.

This calls for a spreadsheet. (Yeah, I know. But seriously!)

Once this part is done, the e-work will seem almost easy!

*Kind of excited, yep*

*Still so much to do*


Masseuse, Please

Or masseur, I really don't care.

I have just gone through and eliminated all the don't-bother agencies out of the Writer's Market. Unfortunately, based on what WM has to offer (not that much; days and days of website research should revise this), none of my "query" ones seems all that hot a prospect. I only starred one, and that mainly just because they mention histfic twice.

Now begins the interminable process of researching ONLINE, and actually creating each query and submission. It rather surprises me just how *many* agencies still won't take electronic submissions; this makes me go "hmm" since I don't have a working printer. Even the printer I do have, given the work at hand, would probably poop out if it worked at all. My stepfather had threatened to give me a pretty nice HP, but that has fallen through, which is no-harm/no-foul of course - but it's like some things with my mom: I just wish offers wouldn't get made in the first place, if they're only going to be withdrawn, or made overly complicated. (Yes, I know it'd require software installation and an adaptor. Either hand the thing over, or don't, but don't waste MY time fretting over what *I* would have to do with it. Sheesh.)

Anyway, so the bottom line is, I really am going to need a printer now. This will require a bit more research and effort on my part, something of a pain, but at least another item to keep me productively and decisively BUSY for a while (hee - I typed "busty" there at first ...).

So much going on, which is actually very good. But, at the same time, I am physically keyed up. And Sid's a rotten massage artist. Her claws are too long.

Things and Stuff

Welp, I finally organized much of a literal trunkload of STUFF I had in my car. Much was the legacy of my mom and stepfather's garage, after a cleaning. What remains is a box of files I take with me to my jobs (when I have them) - no reason to bring that inside, really. But nowhere to put them until I'm in an office again.

Mom's idea with the artifacts from the garage was for me to consign or try to eBay much of it, but apart from a brass kerosene lamp and a couple things of that sort, I don't see most of it as being worth the effort. I chose two baskets, two toolboxes, and a wok, and brought those in. The wok I'd actually had for many years, from my brother, but mom excitedly took it a few years back, since I'd never used it, so she could give it a proper home. I'm certain the big white bag it is in is the same one it was put into when I gave it to her. So it goes. It might actually be a sellable item on eBay, and clearly it's not going to be used in our family (sad to say), so I might try to do that much. The rest - toolboxes of my father's, and two baskets I can use for gifts in future - down to the basement they go.

This put me in possession of one nice BIG box of stuff for Goodwill. So that's gone, and it's nice stuff. So that is good.

Came home and found the Writer's Market here. Hoorah!

I think more useful than any other aspect of this research? CROSSING OUT the names of agencies I have no business nor interest in submitting to. Rock.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


And an antidote to that last little obsessive post.

A dear friend of mine emailed today; one of those people you care for, but whose orbit is so wide you don't contact each other enough. JK has been a friend since high school, and he's hilariously funny and charming and otherwise loaded with appealing traits (not least of whom are his family, who are darling beyond expression). He seems to have been writing, scamp that he is. I was hardly surprised, of course, but didn't know he was moving in for completion on a work of his own.

And this person I so admire asked me for a little advice. Wow, now - THAT? Is so cool. (Quite bizarre-ly I actually had some ideas to offer!)

So, yeah. Hi, JK. Thank you for the emails (goodness, that kid is getting so BIG!). And for being my friend.

Wait, Wait

I've been carrying too much weight the past week and a half, and it seems to be too hard to shuck it, which is unusual and frustrating. My weight tends to fluctuate by about five pounds day to day, but I stay usually within about a ten pound range, up and down fairly controllably within it.

Sunday before last, I hit an upper limit my scale hasn't seen since I dropped a good deal of weight a year and a half ago, which was frustrating to see. Even more so has been the inability to dip back down out of that four or five pound range around that high.

I'm still not as big as I was *three* years ago, but I had been so pleased to be able to maintain for the past eighteen months or so that this is definitely irritating; the more so because my diet hasn't really changed, nor, much my level of excercise.

Losing the job was not helpful. But this past week and a half is definitely stress weight. It's stubborn and irksome, and even bothering to do a few sets of leg exercises isn't helping so far. *Bleah*

One more (of the smaller) reasons I really miss the discipline of having a day job.


... and the dog's standing up now. Way to be, storm.

But I'm still waiting to see that dry patch turn dark, y'hear?


Hee. Oop! And before I even hit "publish" we have a spot of genuine downpour! Keep it up, stormclouds. None of this two-minutes-in-heaven stuff, okay?


Oh, and I think we may even have achieved a couple pieces of hail, too. Much better!

Hellooooooo Super Impressive Storm Clouds

Okay, actually, y'all aren't all *that* impressive really. And, apart from tossing around a bit of desultory thunder and periodically making my Sid whimper a tad, you're really not doing your job all that well, are you? I mean, it's all nice and grey outside, but you haven't even troubled with WIND yet. And it's bone dry, still, underneath the TREES.

Let's have some rain, chop-chop. My ground needs it, and you aren't trying very hard. Get your downpour on, eh? Momma's waiting - patiently. Let's not disappoint, now. Even the dog isn't all that upset by you.

Turkey Without Dressing

I miss getting up and putting on nice clothes for work every day. This year's layoff occurred just at change-of-season time, so that fun couple of weeks or so when your own old clothes seem new again, after their seasons-long hiatus just went right by. I have great spring suits and dresses and pants and shoes, all just wasting up closet space.

Every possible interview is another whiff of hope to pull on those new grey pants I got for ten dollars (!!), or a good pair of heels, or the choker that belonged to my grandmother.

But, as it is, every day is just another day in sneakers or sandals. Even maintaining the discipline of getting up and making myself presentable isn't the same as really having a schedule and routine like I would at a day job.

One more *bleah* for unemployment. Wasted wardrobe.

Screen Queen

Just spoke with the lawyer's office, and it does sound like the position would report to the group who do some work with the former employers. I can live with that, given (a) no burnt bridges at the former's, and (b) the obvious fact that secretaries don't go on field trips to see the clients, really. So.

I think I gave a strong and positive impression. I know there's one more screening today, and there's some hope to make interviewing decisions by the end of the week. So that'll be the tell. HR person didn't have much detail regarding the job, but I did get to ask at least what the relationship might look like, and, as noted, I didn't "duhhhhrr" my way through our conversation, so we shall see.

I've already finished my job crawl for today, so next item up for bids is a trip to Goodwill to drop off a box of goodies (and perhaps a trunkload of things mom gave me a week or two ago, which I really have no intention of attempting to consign nor sell on eBay). After that, I think I am going to enjoy some Conn Iggulden.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One Ringy-Dingy

Well, at least I got a good call today - another phone interview tomorrow, for a pretty good spot. And with a lawyer's office. Which, oddly enough, is probably the lesser evil of some of the things I have been applying for!

And this HR person sounded like she plans to actually interview me. So rock on for that, indeedy. (I don't seem to know what to do with HR folks who won't interview. And obviously they have no clue what to do with me.)


Actually found something to apply for today. I'm probably wildly overqualified, but at least I got in the ballpark.

Awrighty Then

Library work is done, and now I am home, Funker Vogt going at it as I settle in for a day at the 'puter.

The mail hasn't arrived, but who needs incoming when there's outgoing to be prepped? First up, we do the daily job thing. Then it's off to the races for rich, agent-y goodness. Who'll be the lucky ones ... ?

(Hey, if the authors keep it such a hard-to-find secret who their agents are, why'm I going to tell you??)


I have to run off to the library, as I sold a couple things on eBay and the printer I have here at home has never been functional (well, at least for b/w) since I've had it. Ordinarily, I go to my mom's house and print there, but she hasn't spoken with me since Sunday, so - not pushing that.

I'm hoping that by the time I come home the mail will have been delivered, and that my Writers Market will be in the mix. Once this pesky printing is done, it's time to start querying with a will.

And maybe, if I have the fortitude and feel distracted enough by the job hunting work to do and the agent-poking work I have to do ... I will hook up my brother's old tape deck and burn off some CDs of dad's memorial service. (Assuming the CDs are in the shipment with the WM.)

Oddly enough, once I get this one errand run, today will be a pretty busy one. Right here at the laptop.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Found Bernard Cornwell's agency. SCORE, and another excellent one.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


CareerBuilder has perhaps the worst recommendation algorithms I have ever seen flashed in my direction. And I used to have a membership at Blockbuster, y'all.

An executive assistant job is a fair match for me, according to CB. But K-MART GROCERY, now that is an excellent job for me.

... the ... ???


Stage Beauty

This is one of those films which, when I finally saw it, I had to buy a copy immediately. It's such an exellently performed, entertaining movie. Zoe Tapper stands out as a wonderfully winsome presence, delightful and appealing and funny and perfectly cast, even though at first she's just way to modern-ly pretty and telegenic. Rupert Everett is impossible ever to dislike much, but here he is both magnificently royal (pleh!) and alMOST human. It's lovely, and so is he. ALL the supporting roles are great here, and the leads are impossibly frustrating, electric, riveting.

The detail is super - the language of gesture they invented for seventeeth-century actors of women's roles is wonderful - and the production design is extremely well considered. It looks fantastic, even down to the costuming, which I often find distracting in historical pieces. Here, it's very nicely planned and executed. And the lighting, yes, is a fantastic accomplishment (just listen to the commentary). Supa-dupa!

But more than anything else: entertaining. I love this plot. The performances and the interesting developments. The writing.

The performances. Yep.

Faboo flick. Get it.


Well, the day started off lovely, got ugly, then stabilized. I am tight in every dang muscle, though.

Times like this? Single sucks.


Love the special on Mount St. Helens. Watch it. Watch it with your kids!

Yummy good nature and science TV. Mmm-MM!

25 Sites in 25 Minutes ...

And NOTHING to apply for.

That's not good for a Sunday.

Hm. Also: *Pleh*


Mothers are forgiving, and that is a blessed thing.

Life goes on, and it's time for leftover lasagna. *Smack smack*

E-nough (this is nothing electronical, kiddies)

I have spent this whole year feeling ugly and guilty inside for reasons mostly external to my own actions. Today I am wretched at a ruined Mother's Day dinner which culminated in political self-righteousness, and my stepfather almost driving away from my home in anger WITHOUT MY MOTHER (in, not for nothing, her own car).

I would NEVER have done this in their home. Never. I have countless times found ways to opt out of participation in other people's politics, when this happens in other places. I have the right to insist up on not having political opinionating in my home, and certainly during the conduct of a celebration with more than just family present.

People in general have the right not to have partisan politics insistently served to then in social situations. Period. There is ample reason it is considered poor manners to discuss these things in company other than the most intimate - and sometimes, even then.

But, at the end of the day: my mother had a right to better behavior from everyone.

And so. Ugly and guilty inside. And nowhere to take the feelings. Nothing to do with them.

Having the right to my home, and to the pleasantness of a party I worked very hard to make pleasing for *everyone* who came makes no difference. The party ended appallingly. And I helped to ruin my mother's Day.

To her, I will offer apologies.

From anyone else, I know far better than to expect any from someone who places self-righteousness above harmony on someone else's celebratory (family) day.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Say ...

... I sure would like it if I could breathe. Even all the way through the night.

That'd be great.


Added two more sites to my list today. Still poking through them all. Not expecting much.

I'm not a fan of powerlessness.


Thursday, May 6, 2010


And ironically, when I called my mom to tell her (she'd just asked how my neighbor was doing two days ago) - I heard a few notes of music, and the phone went dead. "Must have called at a bad time," I thought.

I did.

She was at a funeral.


Wow and Then Some

Holy--more flowers. It's been only an hour and a half.


Flowers already being delivered across the street.

Okay, yes, I realize being unemployed appears to have turned me into Mrs. Kravitz.

But this still sort of amazes me.


The hearse just pulled up across the street ten minutes ago, and two polite men in white shirts and black ties have just taken the stretcher out of the back after spending a few minutes with the family.

Mr. S isn’t one of the neighbors I have known best, but he was always so nice, and he’s been suffering from cancer for well over a year now. He’s probably not more than fifty-five. Maybe sixty, but that’s still a young man. Just weeks ago, he had a turn for the worse. Family have been here frequently ever since. Just yesterday mom asked me how he was, and I knew it could not be good with all the visitors. I knew he’s been given hospice care.

The stretcher is sitting in hot, bright sunshine, its sheet as vivid and clean as the polite men’s shirts.

And now sweet neighbor hippie boy walks by with his dog. And the body is waiting. One white shirt at the foot, head bowed; the other at the door just for a moment. And now they are off. Soft thump of the door closing.

My prayers are already with his family.

Goodbye, Bill. Peace be with you. And also with your family.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Ultimate Answer Minus Ten

Thirty two agents' names to find. Two of the authors I'll search for are women who've written similar works to mine. Two stars on each of their names.


... and now we have completed the job hunt for the day. Two new applications in (with the new place I've added to my list).

One of which might even be worth something.

So there's that.

Sellin' S'more

The list tops out at twenty-five authors right now.

Just longer than the list for my job hunting.

Which I suppose I should get to at this point, or shortly.

Anyway. One more start.

Here's hoping SOMETHING turns out not to be a false one.


Not Yet

I'm just not in the mood right now for the daily job site check. Later, yes. But not now.

Now, I am finalizing my list of authors to really consider finding agents for, thence to query. I know I need to gold-star those who do foreign rights, but will query all these on my list, and tailor the letters. My query is good - and the work is so much better.

So far, sixteen definites to contact, with one in particular a woman (and one of the few who's taking on territory outside ancient Rome, at that). That one gets a special letter too - "you took on one woman writing about the Crusades ... ".

BLEAH I say.



There's a short swath of my personality that wants nothing more than to call my best friend TEO, and cry, and say, "Why don't employers and agents WANT MEEEEEE???"

But the truth of it is, I'm actually a professional about writing. That swath doesn't dominate the rest of my drive, and my drive is going somewhere. No question.

I wonder, though, if there is a certain proportion of gender difficulty here. I don't mean NO woman will ever want my work. But the extent to which it is exceptional and unusual for a woman to *write* what I have, I think may also inform the extent to which a woman will want to represent it. This is just a perhaps, but it's not unreasonable.

Much female-authored histfic tends toward romance (see: Victoria Holt and the like), and some toward feminist exploration (Marion Zimmer Bradley). It's all wonderful stuff, but few authors seem to live in the world Mary Stewart, for instance, was willing to take on when she wrote her Arthurian series - first person - from the point of view of Merlin. Stewart has certainly produced her share of more romantic works, but she didn't stint in writing from a male character's perspective.

But this is unusual. Apart from Robyn Young, I can think of (nor find) many women who seem to write anything like my own work. Some fantasists write extremely brawny work. But in historical fiction, in epics, etc., it tends to work out that women take other kinds of ground.

I had a previous meeting with an agent, three years ago, who listened to my description of this novel, asked me about other work, I pitched her the not-exactly-a-sequel, which is ALL about women, and at that one she lit up.

I suspect the agent from this year might have found it easier to generate passion for the second work as well.

My old king, though, demands his primacy. And with me, he does have to come first.

And so I plan my list-of-agents research, and I'll pay attention to how many of them are men. It's an interesting consideration (no biological plumbing will prevent my submissions; but I will notice, I think, the comparative responses to my work).

Ask, and Ye Shall Receive

I heard back from the agent this morning (I did go with a short note to follow up):

Thanks so much for offering me the chance to consider your material. The timing of your follow-up email was perfect. I was just getting to your material (yes, it's been AGES!). Unfortunately, your project doesn't seem right for me. Since it's crucial that you find an agent who will represent you to the best of his or her ability, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to step aside rather than ask to represent your manuscript.

You have a great imagination - I love the premise and setting - and you're a good writer, but I'm sad to say that I just wasn't passionate enough about this to ask to see more. I wish I could offer constructive suggestions, but I thought the dialogue was fine, the characters well-crafted, and the plot well-conceived. I think it's the kind of thing that really is subjective - why some people adore the book on the top of the NYTimes bestseller list, and others don't.

Also, please keep in mind that we welcome queries for exciting new projects from authors who have previously submitted other projects to us.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to take this on.

Of course.

Why should my talents and fabulousness have any different effect on an agent than it has on potential employers (and, historically, on men for that matter)?

"WOW you are amazing! Bye-bye now!"


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Magic Time (or, "I smell robot.")

Sometimes hormones can be a real gas. There are times I revel in feminine emotions, love the way things "get" me more occasionally.

Now's probably not a good time (see also - listening to my dad's memorial and a subsequent nosedive in that fabled "attitude" of mine), though, for this sort of extremity.

My first strategy was to watch "Samurai Jack" for a while there. Meh, I just wasn't really in the place.

Then I took "Stage Beauty" off the shelf (review, by the way, to follow shortly - great film, that one). The harrowing climax really did it to me. Nope, not the ticket.

So this evening, I took Big Bang Theory down and popped it in the DVD player. Aw. Sheldon Moon Pie. Laughter.

Even though I just watched these like a couple months ago here - just the thing.

I adore that Sheldon does biofeedback. My mom still talks about biofeedback. It's so delightfully seventies.


BBT got me through one of the most stunningly awful times of my life a couple and a half years back. It made me laugh when I really didn't understand that was possible.

But my "aw gawrsh" affection for this show, thank heavens, doesn't do thing one to make me all misty and goopy and stuff.

NOT Lame

Okay, quotes of the day aren't *always* lame. Such as this, today, from TEO ...

(W)oe betide the parent who cannot find the Necessary Food.


TEO is so awesome.

To Email, or Not To Email ...

I'm trying to decide whether (and, if so - when) to follow up with the agent on the submission. Feedback welcome on this point.


Okay, so twenty-three sites each day means I spend a significant chunk of time every day sitting at the laptop poking around for jobs. Add to this the minor but real frustrations of reading a book electronically instead of in hard copy, and I'm still only halfway into the full reading of my own novel. Given that I've now been unemployed five full weeks now, and I'd started well before losing my gig: I am well aware this is an unconscionable delay. "Hey!" says my brain, though, "the agent's not done with three little chapters yet, and it's been like NINE weeks for her!"

And then my subconscious beats up my smarty-pants brain, makes it cry like a beat dog, and ties it up in a corner without any water. Shut up, brain.

Then it's time to go do some more laundry.

Man. Considering how little wardrobe one really requires, being without a job, I sure am READY, when someone will finally require me to get out of my house.

All those lovely summer suits just going to waste in my closet. It's a pity.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Yobs Yobs, We Got Yobs

People keep telling me I need to look at the county. "There's a sign out front of their complex!"

Yes. I'm sure there is. And yes, for goshsakes, I actually AM LOOKING. My brain functions without external assistance (even lemons).

The county, by the way, is hiring custodial workers at moment. The last time I did see an administrative opening, its TOP limit on salary would still represent a thirteen thousand dollar pay cut. I'm sorry if I seen needlessly SNOBBY in saying this, but: no, kids. Just for Maud's sake no.

Good grief.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

YES, Please

Another thing to share with E ...

A drive out on a night like this, windows and sunroof open, and nowhere urgent we need to be.



I've been doing a Queenie voice with Siddy of late. Poor old girl. She does put up with my ancient tendency to theatrics.

Lost Sharing

E and I always thought we would see TON play again. Over the time he has been gone, so many of the things we envision together have also gone. I do still hope to go to church with him, though.


Even with adding four new companies to my list of e-searches, I only found one new listing to apply for today.

Flipped Off

In all the weeks I've been job hunting, FlipDog has worked in an attempt to search listings only one single time. Now, through Yahoo HotJobs, CareerBuilder, and Monster, I have learned that clearly companies really aren't useing these boards anymore. But one that will not even WORK at all is pretty pathetic. I don't really even know why I keep the bookmark - except that it's better to look than not to, by some theory or other.

Thoughts By the Bullet

I don't wish to try to organize this post into some sort of essay, because attempts to make spirituality coherent in that way smack of trying to control it. As much presumption as I'm capable of, in this instance it seems superfluous.

And so.

  • What a genuine and total thrill it was to arrive at church this morning to see the happy blue banner announcing WE HAVE A PRIEST!
  • She is lovely so far, I enjoyed her message more than any since the first interim rector left in November.
  • Wherever I may or may not appropriately stand doctrinally, the prayers of the Episcopal church touch me very very strongly. And what is more fundamental to the religious portion of faith than prayer?
  • Wherever I may or may not stand doctrinally, Christ is *necessary* to my spirituality. I literally *wonder* at resurrection - and the loving gift of G-d's redemption.
  • I said "we" have a priest above. It has been made clear to me, even though I have been a non-member attending for a year now, that I am not allowed to count myself separately. This is Christianity. This is fellowship.
  • The time has come to really seek guidance on the question of becoming a member.
  • Everyone had name tags so the new priest would be able to have everyone's name. They thought they had made a tag for me, but had left me out. One was made right then and there. The priest (Mary - how perfect, eh?) really appreciated this.
  • We really do have wonderful acolytes.
  • I am so grateful for this church.
  • I wore my grandma's brooch today. I'm not sure how she would have felt about the service, but she would have loved the food afterward. I felt close with her this morning.

Sunday is off to a lovely beginning.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hot Saturday Afternoon

Ninety today, and housecleaning is going even more slowly than mowing did yesterday. Well, it *is* a bigger job ...

Dear Abby

Since I was thirteen years old, I have been someone others turn to when they are in need of sympathy. It's always been "my thing", though I have never really understood why. I don't know what ever happened that started the tendency, I don't know why people were drawn to me in such a capacity before I really began cultivating and considering this aspect of myself (which wasn't until I was at least thirty, really).

I'm not a nicey-nice person in the sense that my sweetness would seem to be much of a draw (shut up, ALL of you who know me personally ...). I am certainly kind, but my generosity and general sweetness are NOT central character traits, and in fact I tend pretty much to resist the latter (the former takes incredible effort on my part, but I swing it from time to time). Nobody I've ever known has thought of me as the sort of person who gives of herself first and foremost, not if they are honest.

But I do have some sort of innate charisma for people in need. I've always drawn them, and presumably been drawn to them. I have a streak of melancholy, that may be some part of it. And I do, regardless of how precious my personality tends to be, have an enormous depth of interest in people's wellbeing.

When I was younger, it often included people I didn't know very well. I remember, after I dated the guy who went to rehab, literally *years* of acquaintances who came to me to worry about their various addictive or unhealthy choices. I was The Straight Girl, and those who felt bent under the weight of whatever their issues saw me as some sort of guide.

I've also always the girl who didn't date boys who mistreated her. The girl who wasn't promiscuous, or unhappy, or abused, or (unusually) confused about guys.

I was no paragon, and I claim no special behavior on my own part. But compared to the drama of some kids I knew, I (a) came to stupid behavior fairly late, and (b) tried to get over most of my stupid behavior when I felt how ugly it really was. So I didn't suffer what some women I knew did when they were very young, and what I did "suffer" I took a lot of responsibility for and tried to change.

But all my life, people have come to me because something about me offers, if not peace nor resolution, at least some sort of relief.

When I needed my mom's sympathy last week, I realized that mom's first response to other people's pain is to try to fix it.

For whatever reason, I have always known: that is the last thing people want when they're in pain.

Sympathy comes first. Retreat from it. Otherwise there is no way to regroup TO deal with things practically.

Mom said to me, "I don't know what to say. I don't know what to do."

That is the thing. Sympathy is not about saying, nor doing anything. I have long known somehow that the only possible thing you can do for someone in acute pain is to distract them from it. You can't hope to relieve it, nor cure it, by focusing ON it. You have to deflect, draw away. Coax someone's attention onto irrelevancies, and slowly, somewhere altogether else.

I can make the angriest people laugh. This astounds me. I don't understand it, really. I don't understand why people turn toward me, nor how I am or can be helpful. But I do understand that, in most situations, I get there. I figure out how to wrest someone out of the hole. I don't think I do much to fix, to "help" - as is my mom's instinct. But I can help turn down the static, if little else. Even mom herself has turned to me. Which is humbling.

It's also perhaps the sole interpersonal skill I have in excess of her. To fix is a marvelous impulse. But it is not always (not even usually) possible, or may not be in a sympathizer's reach. But to participate with someone emotionally - to, trite as it is, "be there" for them - is always there. And most often the only thing desired.

I'm not very nice. But my need to see those I love and care for ... well ... at ease ... is fundamental to me. I *am* kind. In that context, I would give all the time someone's need requires. My ears have bottomless depth to listen, and my arms are capacious to hold on, hold up, smack you on the back. Reach out.

This was supposed to have been a worthwhile post some way or another - but it's turned out to be a prancing "look how great I am" little mess. Hm. I had something to say, but managed to distract myself from it.

Typical, really. And this is a blog, after all. Ah well. Let it stand, then.