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December 2017

That Star Wars Thing #starwars #thelastjedi

Good morning all - today, I leave my apartment. No, not moving out, just actually getting out. And just in time. 

Let me explain. 

I've spent nearly all of the last few days holed up in my UWS man-cave noodling around sending out resumes, feeding the bird, and generally feeling kind of bummed out. It's the holidays and I get seasonally affected from about Halloween until New Years.

SwMy fondest wish is that someday I can find a job opportunity to spend this time of the year working outside of New York City. It's not the grey sky or the cold or the snow that bums me out, but the clutch of holidays wherein everyone goes their separate way and doing business (or, in this year's case, getting a job) is basically impossible until after January 2nd.  As a lifelong freelancer (even when I've had a 'regular job", I've felt like a freelancer), I'm kind of out of step with the rest of the workaday world and that can be liberating at times, and crushing at others. For those who have worked a 9 to 5 their entire adult lives, you don't know how good you have it in this regard. 

Anyway, not only am I leaving the apartment for the rest of the day but I have things that will keep me on the go until basically late Saturday night. Not only is that good for my head, but it's also good because I'm a huge Star Wars fan and I'm that rare person that hates spoilers to the point where I will not even watch trailers. I'm not kidding. If I'm watching a show and the trailer comes on, I push mute and close my eyes. Strange but true. 

You see, back in 1977 my sister took me to the original Star Wars (back then, no numbers, no subtitle, just Star Wars). For the first 20 minutes, I hated it with the passion of a thousand suns. Who are these people? What's happening? Why do I care? Robots? UGH! And then Luke appears and I suddenly it all pulled together. By the end of the summer, I'd seen the film at least three or four times. I had to hide it from my parents who thought seeing a movie more than once was 'foolish'. It was one of the very few things that we ever disagreed on growing up. :) Apparently I was notorious for this as the matter was brought up by a teacher that autumn during parent-teacher conferences. They thought it cogent to mention it to them. My mom was not happy.

Since then, like a sports nut, I have my superstitions - I go to great lengths avoiding everything about the films, so that I can be totally surprised and enjoy it like I did originally. You don't even want to know the loop de loop I had to do with Google in order to get the poster image for this blog. Further, I had to put my hand over the image while I resized it in Photoshop and posted it here. When I do something, I commit! LOL

Of course, immediately after we see the movie (tomorrow morning), I will gorge myself on articles about every aspect that I can get my hands on. Such is my obsession. :) 

So it works out that I'll be on the go throughout the rest of the day, getting out of the man-cave as well as avoiding spoilers. No one can say I don't know how to multi-task. :) 

Have a fantastic Friday, everyone! 

 


From Kickin Ass to Jumping for Joy #stephenking #ew #entertainmentweekly

Ten years ago I clipped an article from Entertainment Weekly. I actually used to do that a lot - back when I loved an essay and had it in my head that the only way to read it again later was to pull the actual article, three hole punch it and then stuff it in a three ring binder. I have had visions of sitting in an old age home pouring through three ring binders of interesting things I collected throughout my life. I can't quite wrap my head around toting dozens of three ring binders, however, but hey, you never know. 

BlogPhoto2017And then came the internet. OK so the internet was around long before 2007, but up until then, I still was taking film based pictures and stashing those in photo albums. Until then, I barely used my cell phone which, if I remember correctly, could not take pictures or do anything other than, well, make a phone call. I don't know that I was all that put out by having to (horror of horrors) carrying BOTH a phone AND a camera, but I can see where, years later, there is a convenience factor of fewer devices (especially if you also count dragging a walkman or a discman for music around with me too and yes I still own one of each of those. sigh. I mean, I do have old mix tapes that I made for myself and it never really seems like transferring them to digital is worth the time or money but I digress). 

But around 2007 / 8 Facebook and similar social media outlets popped up and then people started sharing articles. And soon, there were less articles to clip anyway because the essay went out of style around the time that printed magazines started going out of style. In truth, the essay is well and alive on the net, but we don't really read that much any more and what does pretend it's an essay, is just 200 to 300 words by a blogger hoping to score some hits if they mention certain high traffic names. I'm not knocking it. GEORGE CLOONEY. I'm sure that at some point I've done this myself. ANGELINA JOLIE. And I definitely don't have a judgement about it. KELLY CLARKSON. But it is a kind of cheap way to get traffic to ones blog. 

Anyway, I stopped collecting and my three ring binders saving things for an old rainy day became stuck in time, like a dinosaur tail in amber. 

Recently, I've been digging up a lot of things like the three ring binders and have been doing some serious pruning. It feels good to purge and whittle down to some real basics (I have a very long way to go before I get to the bare nubbins, but a little every day). You wouldn't know that I am a kind of packrat, I think, by walking through our apartment - my life clutter is in neat order, but admittedly, I have a lot of life clutter. 

Today's excavation unearthed one of my all time favorite essays - it's by Stephen King and from his regular column in Entertainment Weekly. As noted above, it's from 2007 and is called (yes, believe it), "Jumping for Joy". I'd link to it but I have tried to find it online but cannot, ironically enough, and that's what concerns me. I've (and you've) decided that everything we want to read is online in one place or another. Except. It isn't. At least not with a normal amount of searching. And who is to say that the internet will exist in its current form whenever that day is that they put me away (some days it feels like it'll be tomorrow, but realistically, that's at least two to three decades away and a lot can happen in two or three decades, technology-wise). 

So maybe I'll continue to save articles/essays, but only the very best ones. 

Here's the paragraph that changed my life in 2007: 

"It's easy - maybe too easy - to get caught up in serious discussions of good and bad, or to grade entertainment the way teachers grade school papers (as EW doe, in case you missed it). Those discussions have their place, even though we know in our hearts that all such judgements - even of the humble art produced by the pop culture - are purely subjective. And as a veteran grade-grind in my youth, I have no problem awarding A's, B's and the occasional G to movies, books, and CDs (which is not to say I don't also have reservations by such drive-by critiques). But the artsy/intellectual discussions have little to do with I how I felt when I saw Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects. This movie made no one's top 10 list except mine, but I'll never forget some exuberant (and possibly drunk) moviegoer in the front row shouting: "This movie KICKS ASS!" I felt the same way. Because it did." 

I titled this blog Jumping for Joy because of this essay because I wanted (and still want) to create something where someone will say "THIS KICKS ASS!" Don't we all? 

On that note, I'll wrap up for today, enjoy your Thursday and Peace, all. 


Caffeine is My Friend

Good morning, I hope you're keeping warm today. I had a terrible night's sleep because even though the radiator was on, by 3am it was a kind of sauna in the bedroom. So, I tumbled, grumbled out of bed and dragged myself across the room and shut the radiator off. Well, that was a mistake.

Lulu MasterBLOGBy this morning, I was shivering under three covers and PJs. As the Mister left for work, I turned the radiator back on, dove back under the covers hoping that I could somehow magically command not only my phone and my laptop to waft gently from the living room to the bedroom, but that both appliances would bring freshly brewed coffee and a small but hearty breakfast of eggs and toast along with them.

Sadly, my mental commands were ignored by all parties. I need to train them better. I eventually shuffled back out of bed and grabbed the phone (priorities), shuffled back into bed, and spent a half hour scrolling through my Facebook account while only as much of my head peeked out over the covers as was necessary to breathe and read people's posts. Eventually, though, I realized that our parrot Lulu needed to eat and that we have discouraged her from rummaging around in the frig on her own. So I officially got up.  We need to train her to unlock her cage, fly to the kitchen, prepare her meal, and take it back to the cage. Although it would be nice to have a morning coffee companion whose main conversational skills boil down to saying "c'mere" and pooping. 

Of course, once out in the living room, I realized that one of the windows has slid down again (an ongoing problem) and there's a cool stream of air wafting across my desk. Unfortunately, said window is behind the Christmas tree and will be challenging to get to. Going back to bed for the rest of the day is sounding more and more like a really great idea (but then, when does it not?) :) 

If this all sounds trivial compared to the events of the world, so be it. Sometimes one needs to have a day of trivial. At least this one does. 

And speaking of which - today we're celebrating the apparent defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama. I say 'apparent' because he's calling on God to decide the outcome before conceding. I would venture that God already did that when Jones won, but admittedly it was by a fairly close margin, so I can see where he'd want to check. Wouldn't it be great if he'd also checked the ages of the girls he's reportedly assaulted? I think that warrants more of a check than a close political contest. It does seem odd, however, that when controversial figures such as Moore lose that's only when they think the system is rigged. What's the saying? If I win, the fight was fair, if I lose, there was tampering. Whatever. 

The best thing to come out of that race is the Twitter feed for Roy Moore's horse. It's not as brilliant as the Hurricane Sandy Twitter feed, but then, few things are. It's worth checking out in any event. 

This whole past couple of years with Bloaty McCheetoface and even yesterday's close contest reminds me of that line from Lillian Helman's "The Little Foxes": 

There are people who eat earth and eat all the people on it like in the Bible with the locusts. Then there are people who stand around and watch them eat it.

Are you someone who just stands around and watches them eat it or are you doing something? I don't mean that you have to spend your days wringing your hands and/or marching and/or calling government officials, but, I mean, something more than "liking" things on Facebook. I do that too so I'm not casting any stones here... but when only a quarter of the population votes (which is what is being reported for Alabama), you kind of have to sit back and wonder what the other 75% of the population is doing that's so damn important that they can't set aside part of their day to go to vote. It's a little maddening (but this is a slippery slope and I don't need to remind myself that 100 million Americans didn't vote in last year's general election because that WILL send me back to bed). And hey, even Roy Moore's horse made it the polls yesterday (a fact that he reminds us was not his decision) :) (Although how it was even a close race when one option was a pedophile and the other option was someone who prosecuted the KKK, is beyond me). 

OK that's enough for today because I have to get something, anything done today beyond bringing my body temperature into a normal range. Before I go, however, take a listen to Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love". It's a beautiful piece on love and longevity of, as the Love Boat says, life's greatest reward! 

 

 


Something to Believe In

What do you believe in? No, seriously. I'm actually asking. What do you believe in? 

Do you believe in wishes coming true? Do you believe in fairy tales? Do you believe that the world is going to hell in a handbasket? Do you believe all of humanity is sick and diseased and deserves to die? Do you believe the end of days is here or do you believe that the best is yet to come? 

BelieveThis isn't even a matter of 'glass half empty' or 'glass half full'.... but a decision on your part if you even believe in the glass in the first place.

I believe that we create externally what we believe internally. I've actually written a blog post about this in the past - when I see things that are disorganized, broken, out of place, it means that's how I've felt inside.  These days, I just feel out of phase with the world and, at the holidays, it is of course, worse. 

So what's to be done? Art projects. Volunteering. Sending out those resumes. Going to the gym. Keeping my life organized. And in the midst of this, I'm trying hard not to worry that this blog doesn't get any 'hits'. I'm trying hard not to worry that I've had writer's block about the strip for the past couple months. I'm trying hard not to worry about finances, or Christmas presents, or whatever happened to several friends who have vanished from my life. I'm trying to simply be present, accept the things that I have any kind of 'control' over and letting go of the rest. I'm not really succeeding at that letting go but I am trying! lol :) 

In the meantime, this video popped up in my life this morning and it's a gorgeous testament to the potential solution -getting back to my core beliefs and my core work and not letting others get in the way when they want to tear it down. That's a tall order for the mood I'm in these days, but it's the mountain that I'm climbing. 

Anyway, today, I challenge you - are you pursuing your beliefs or are you waging a war against an enemy that isn't really there? Who's stopping you from believing in yourself and how can your younger you be the guide that you're so desperately searching for? The answers aren't in this video but it might inspire you to find them. 

 

Benjamin Booker ‘Believe’ Dir: James Lees from James Lees on Vimeo.

 


The Unexpected Pleasures of The First Snow of Winter

WintersceneFor New Yorkers, yesterday's snow storm was a treat. Sure, it was SantaCon and most New Yorkers with any common sense hate SantaCon, but even that dismal blight on our holiday season couldn't diminish the thrill of seeing the white powder come down from the sky blanketing everything in white frosting making the city delectable. In fact, the general reports of yesterday's annual VomitFest said that the celebration was muted. And for that, I think, perhaps we have the snow to thank. 

But the snow was welcome for another reason - it finally gave us something more compelling to talk about than the latest outrage out of the White House. My Facebook feed was filled with "it's snowing" jubilation rather than the usual "we're all about to die because a handful of idiots elected a guy they hope will trigger Armageddon". I am happy to have a day off from the Outrage Culture. (Not that there isn't a lot to be outraged about, but geez I don't know about you, but I sure do need a break from that for a hot minute now and then. I cannot sustain the 'red alert' status of today's world, can you?) 

In any event, a Christmas season without snow is a little depressing for me. I grew up in Wisconsin where snowfall would start around Halloween and we'd watch the last bit melt around Easter. One of the best things ever was to have a gigantic snowfall just around Christmas so that the neighborhood kids and I could go sledding during that week or so off between Christmas and New Years. I'm sure everyone's parents weren't thrilled about having to dig the car out on Christmas morning so that we could go to church, but there was always something amazing about coming downstairs to the Christmas tree, presents, grandma Thelma's cookies, and new snow. 

Sure, I've lived in California and the thrill of a non cold, non white Christmas is undeniable ... but there is something missing all in all. So here's to Mother Nature for sending us a bit of Christmas a couple weeks early and to the ways in which it makes everything pretty. I think we can all use a little pretty these days, don't you? 

 

 

 


"The difference between despair and hope is just a different way of telling stories with the same set of facts" 

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 10.39.27 AMGood morning - and Happy Friday!  

Today's video is called "How To Narrate Your Life Story" and is a wonderful short about forgiving yourself your mistakes and reframing your story about what you learned, rather than how badly you fucked up. It made me cry and I hope that it has some meaning for you as well. 

 

 

How To Narrate Your Life Story - School Of Life from olga makarchuk on Vimeo.

 


Thursday - Thirsty for sleep "Insomnia" animated short

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 11.08.02 AMGood morning all - happy Thursday - we're making our way through the week surely and steadily. And as someone who simultaneously loves and loathes the holiday season (I love the celebration but hate the crowds and the push push push of it all particularly here in the city), that we're also making our way through the holiday season without too much crazy, well, that is a very good thing. 

Like many people, I have always had trouble sleeping. I go in and out of sleep with routine regularity, rare is the night when I just fall asleep for 8 hours and wake up refreshed (I'm not even sure what that feels like to be honest).

So this short video by Islena Neira spoke to me of the ways in which falling in and out of sleep presents itself. As a side note, I love flying dreams. I used to have them all the time as a kid and often dreamt that I could see the top of my parents house and other houses on River Road where I grew up. In fact, the sensation of flying was so real, there was a time growing up when I was sure that I really had floated up out of my body and spent the night cruising around the neighborhood. A lovely thought, no? 

Here then is today's short video, "Insomnia" 

Insomnia from Islena Neira on Vimeo.

 


Wednesday - The Perfect Autumn Leaf

ThePerfectAutumnLeafGood morning all - it's a chilly Wednesday morning here on the UWS and as I start the day doing what I do everyday - job hunt, mostly, but also curate my own life, I am reminded by my discovery yesterday of The Perfect Autumn Leaf. I was leaving my apartment to go to drop off laundry (see? curating my life) and saw the most perfect autumn leaf on the sidewalk.  Dropping it on a blue newspaper stand picked up all the various colors and enhanced them. After the pic was taken, I left it there for someone else to discover and enjoy. 

It struck me that we rush by so often past all the amazingly beautiful things in creation - and not just things, but people too. It's so easy in the rush rush rush of the world to simply ignore, forget, dismiss, people in our lives. 

So, today's challenge is to stop. 

Just stop what you're doing. 

Stop.

And take a moment to look around at what you might be missing. 

As Ferris said, life moves pretty fast and if you don't stop once in awhile, you might miss it. Don't miss it. 


The Monday Video - "The Return of the Monster", an animated short

ReturnMonster Good afternoon and Happy Monday! 

This is today's favorite animation - a little gem from a production company called MegaComputer which you can find and follow by clicking here for their Facebook page

It's a quickie - just a minute and a half! Write your comments below! 

Credits: Directed by Corentin Yvergniaux, Camille Jalabert, Quentin Camus
Music and Mixing by Pierre-François Renouf (Le Refuge)

 

 

THE RETURN OF THE MONSTER from MegaComputeur on Vimeo.

 


Friday Blog Post - The Art of Flying

Good morning and Happy December 1st. Today is World AIDS Day. It is a day to remember those whom we have lost and those who continue to lead and participate in the fight to end AIDS. 

Today's video is something I continue to be fascinated by - how masses move as one such as ant colonies, birds, bats, etc. How do they 'know' to move as a group unit? 

Enjoy this 2 minute ballet of beauty ... 

 

The art of flying - short 2 min version from Jan van IJken on Vimeo.