Saturday, February 28, 2009

Introducing my dress

I went to Macy's this evening and picked up this dress for my friend's wedding:

Adrianna Papell Charcoal Full Skirt Shutter Dress

I also bought a couple of fancier outfits for work since we have important visitors coming to town. While I was combing through sale racks, Jer went to the Apple store where they continued to "help" while doing no such thing. The battery on his iPhone dies after a few days and this is his second trip in -- well, technically third, and it's no better off. It is very unsatisfactory, but I seem to be more frustrated about that than he is.

The plan that I am pushing for the rest of the evening is to sit on the couch with a bottle of red wine and watch "The Wedding Crashers." We started watching season 1 of "Flight of the Conchords" last night and that's also an option... Jer is right now at his computer muttering, "Small kitchen. Really ugly. Three bedrooms. 1 1/2 stories; How did that happen?" and is apparently looking at houses for sale.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm a grownup

Chocolate cake and Cheetos for dinner. Sometimes being a grownup is awesome.

Today I did two things I've been putting off. First, I rescheduled my trip to New Orleans. Apparently I was not prescient enough last September to realize it fell at the start of a major government deadline that I am supposed to have opinions about.

I lost money on the plane tickets, but it's no worse than what I've lost in my 401k so it's a total win. Or something. And it's removed an ocean of stress... Let's see if Jer realizes I moved the trip to coincide with our 9 year anniversary.

In related news, NINE YEARS.

Secondly, I just filled out the Northwest Folklife contract. That means I'm committing to it. Better go shoot some pictures.

Thirdly, which I didn't mention but it's happening, is I've decided I should have an opinion on Robyn Hitchcock. So I just bought some of his CDs and the purchase included downloads that I'm listening to right now. The CDs were all $5 and I picked up, "Black Snake Diamond Role," "Element of Light," "Eye," "I Often Dream of Trains," "Ole! Tarantula," and "Sex, Food, Death and Tarantulas." They threw in that last one for free because being a grownup is so awesome.

Instant gratification for the win.

One week from tonight I will be in San Francisco, probably in our Japanese-themed hotel room. Jer and I are going to my dear friend's wedding. I should probably buy a dress. All I have is a red one and black one and neither are really appropriate. Next week is going to be crazy in general with lots of very important work people visiting, but let's not talk about that. Let's just enjoy the music.

Also, I should tell you how much I enjoy watching "Bones." It's inconsistent and not always realistic, but man, I dig me some Bones. Now you know everything.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cold hands

Today wasn't terrible; it could've ended a lot worse...

Nope. I have NO idea why people keep accusing me of being a pessimist. Why do you ask?

Some feedback I've received is that my posts are awful vague lately. While I can't change that too much, I hear ya. I wish I could show you my day in fabulous Technicolor. It would be shiny and smell like fresh cut grass and ozone.

Frankly there's not much to share. A lot of what's going on is in my head and it's tedious. I can't really draw you a picture of my self-doubt punctuated by moments of arrogance, sarcasm, and a very long to do list. Er, I could, but it would be strictly interpretive. And I'm a lousy dancer.

I worked until 10pm last night. There. That's concrete. Now Matchbox Twenty is singing, "How Far We've Come," and I'm bopping my head. I ate at Mae Phim Thai for dinner. I had the Panang Chicken, 3 star, and a glass of Thai Iced Coffee. It sprinkled today, but not on my way home. I waited for the bus about 20 minutes, standing slightly inside the bus shelter at 2nd and Madison. My hands were cold. I carried leftovers in one hand so I took turns warming each hand in my coat pockets.

I'm glad to be home, though it's sad that I immediately hopped on the computer after hanging up my coat. Hello, addiction. I feel like there is more to say, just under the surface, but I can't quite reach it. Probably just too much coffee.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good morning, Sunday

I keep using the words "struggle" and "challenge" to describe what I'm going through at work. These are perfectly accurate words but seem hollow when I think about people who have problems lower in the pyramid of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. I don't know, like problems with survival and parasites.

Let me explain. I am reading three books right now. "Leadership and the Sexes," "What Got You Here Won't Get You There," and "Parasite Rex." Mmm, sleeping sickness.

On Friday I had to excuse myself from my desk and go for a walk in the sunlight. I walked down to the aquarium, sat on a bench, stared at the water, and called Jer. I was deciding if I wanted to go back or not. Ever. My mind was not convinced this sort of grandstanding was necessary, but my body said, no, I can't do it anymore. Eventually I reconciled the two halves by making a deal. I would give myself a break. It was 2pm. I would leave at 3pm, get a drink with Jer, and watch Coraline 3D at 5 -- it was sold out when we tried to see it last weekend. So I sent out an email to everyone saying I needed to "take care of a few things," with my cell phone for emergencies, and I left. I did not mention that the "things I needed to take care of" was myself.

I feel a lot better now. Yesterday I wrote some issues out and today I'll write some more out. I need to look at ways I can be proactive about the problems. I've just finished reading "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and I'll try to incorporate some of those lessons.

There was an anecdote in the book about strength training, and how you have to push yourself until the muscles tear in order for them to regrow stronger. Of course you have to do it correctly or you'll hurt yourself... but I feel as if I'm in a situation where I have to push myself knowing it will hurt, but the end result will be valuable. The trick is to push myself in a way that will be beneficial and not leave lasting damage.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

did you see how the foreman is feeling today?

I'm back on the Les Mis kick. Apparently I am jonesing to be a French revolutionary who can harmonize.

Last night's Japanese class went okay. We practiced verbs so now I can tell someone I eat, drink, read, listen, buy, and play tennis. I can also tell you where I drink beer, which I think is an exceedingly useful phrase.

Sleep eludes me again.

Now you're all caught up.

I'm listening to "On My Own" which reminds me of my early teens, locked in my room singing at the mirrored closet doors. In fact I'm doing a bit of that right now, only I'm in my office, at my desk, singing quietly at the monitor and narrating this sad moment to the interwebs "...and i'm talking to myself and not to him and alllthough i know that he is bliiiind..."

Nothing would've made me happier than being able to do more than lip synch. But I get in front of people and freeze.

As I told a friend once about something entirely unrelated: I have lots of skills I don't need that one.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

glad to live in a world with Patti LuPone in it

I am listening to the Original London Cast of Les Misérables (not the Broadway!) and it makes me happy. It was my first big show. Eighth grade school trip to the East coast, towards the end of the trip, my first visit to a big fancy theatre. Oh the voices and the music and the cannons. I was so tired on that trip, but the music! I came back and haunted the cassette section of the library, devouring the musicals section. My second favorite show was Evita. Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin... There was Pippin, but I only liked a few of those songs, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, the Andrew Lloyd Webber sampler, Chess, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard. The time the radio station flirted with musicals and I sat by the radio and recorded tape after tape so I could listen later...

It led to years of voice lessons in the back of a music shop, in a closet with a flamboyant teacher, a mirror on one wall and a piano. I was terrible. Very bad.

Les Mis, you started me on the path... Um and just now? I realized a thing listening to "Lovely Ladies." I looked up who played Fantine because she sounded awful familiar, and OF COURSE, it was Patti LuPone. So maybe it is not musicals? Maybe I am just obsessed with Patti LuPone. Sometimes I am slow.

books, i read them

So last night I finished reading a graphic novel called Bone, which was pretty interesting. And 1300 pages long. Normally I wouldn't dream of bragging about that, but hey, 1300 pages. Throw me a bone here (heh heh). I am also 2/3 of the way through "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" ... and I like it.

How's that for a review?

Things I also like: chocolate, Baileys in my coffee, my cats, sleep.

Things I could do without: stress, my DVD drive, paying to park, putting my foot in my mouth, not being independently wealthy.

We ran out of clean forks. I made corned beef and had to eat the leftovers with a spoon.

I continue my slow descent into bachelordom.

So yeah. I am spending a lot of time thinking about how to divide my work into quadrants, "begin with the end in mind" and empathic listening. I am not very good at these things. In fact since I've been consciously attempting to apply these principles to my life, I have enjoyed finding new and horrifically humiliating ways of screwing it up. I would give you examples but that would make me die a little inside, and right now I'm all about the positive.

Whoo. Hoo.

Monday, February 16, 2009

monday, monday, can't trust that day

At the end of our all day meeting, as the team sat around the conference table watching me schedule the remaining bits, I switched over to our home music server and blasted some Journey followed by Queen.

It was well received.

I've just returned from the grocery store where I bought many things, none of which were dust (low in fat!), and now I am deciding if 6:30pm is too early to sleep. Or if I should read. Or catch up in Japanese. I am two weeks behind in class and am a little worried about my less than triumphant return.

Chiana is perched on my mouse. It's cute but not particularly efficient.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Plans to watch a movie

The nice thing about a husband who does not have to work at 4pm on a Sunday is that we can actually plan a day together. In the normal course of events, he wakes between noon and 1pm and leaves for work at 3pm. So you see, not a lot of shared time in the Venn diagram that is our weekend... or life.

I have proposed that we venture downtown, eat lunch, and watch Coraline 3D at the Regal Meridian 16. The next half hour will determine how doable this is, as I've just attempted for the first time to rouse him from a deep slumber and I don't hear the shower running yet.

Looking at my schedule like those pesky Christmas ghosts -- past, present, future -- I have concerns about my ability to work any festivals this year. I am seriously considering withdrawing my applications and turning down the one I've been accepted to. I have not made a final decision yet, and who knows what the next few months will actually bring, but as it stands now there aren't enough hours since I've chosen other priorities, namely work.

Clearly some soul searching needs to happen. I'm not even sure how secure my work future is. Do I drop the other things I'm doing and commit to my career? I do like what I'm doing and there are tremendous opportunities to grow. But can I grow fast enough to satisfy expectations?

I believe that, right now in particular, the only return on investment I can count on is the one I make in myself. That's the only thing I know for certain. The other questions keep me up at night.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

the wallet follow-up

This morning I feel as if I'm temporarily free of a crazy dream. Like up until now I've been wandering through "Alice in Wonderland" office edition, where the rabbits speak and carry enormous pocket watches before disappearing down a hole.

I realized a few days into the week that I still had the found wallet in my desk and I needed to do something. I couldn't drive it anywhere because I was stuck downtown, and my evenings and lunches were booked for the rest of the week. So I scheduled twenty minutes on my Outlook calendar and walked up to the nearest Washington Mutual.

When I explained the situation to the man behind the counter, he did not inspire all that much confidence. I almost took the wallet back from him when he said, "Well, worst case we can just shred it." I said, "Will you try to call him at least? Should I take this back from you?" In the end he accepted the responsibility and I went back to work, where I stayed for a very long time.

I realize this is a somewhat unsatisfactory resolution if you were waiting to hear how I reunited the man with his wallet -- which incidentally was covered in flowers, a bold choice. But it's the best I could do this week.

Things are still changing so fast I'm dizzy. The good news is Jer took off from work tomorrow night so I will see him the entire weekend.

Friday, February 13, 2009

what's your deal, Vertin?

Dear Christy Vertin of Long Beach:

Stop using my gmail address to sign up for crap. I am tired of getting your junk mail.


- Me

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Is there a P.I. in the house?

I found a wallet on the street tonight. I picked it up, thumbed through it, and decided at the very least I would rescue it from its puddle. It has a student ID, a library card, a Blockbuster card, and an ATM card. I thought I might take it to the bank tomorrow, where the ATM card originated, see if they can call the person.

The name was too common to Google. Anyone have another suggestion? I may also try calling the school associated with the student ID.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

and we're off

I spent a good chunk of my day working on On Focus Photo stuff. I upgraded the photoblog to the latest version of Wordpress, upgraded PHP, and messed around with a new template. It's taken a few steps back but these are changes I've been meaning to make for some time. You can't make a photoblog omelet without breaking a few links, as they say. The store is also different now, just so you're prepared.

Jer and I watched the first four episodes of "Little Britain" last night and it is ... wow. Exactly my kind of humor. Just perfect. Barnes and Noble was selling the first two seasons for 40% off so I picked it up and I'm glad I did.

Around 4pm today I went to the mall and bought a few long-sleeved shirts. So whoo hoo to that. I've been putting that one off for awhile... Currently there is a Chiana snuggled in my lap and she is going to be very angry in a minute when I go check on the laundry. Yup. She's off.

No excuse not to put the towels in the dryer now. None at all. Bah.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

weekends are for palm trees

I'm wide awake and slept most of the night, with an hour stretch of alertness around 3am. I still feel as if my mental faculties are dulled, but beyond that is a drive to IMPROVE and LEAD and I hope you understand I can only speak of these things generally.

I can tell you that I chose to skip Japanese class this week so I could work. I may need to skip next week too. That is sort of a bummer.

This weekend more than any other I've been treating like an oasis. Swim swim swim then breathe. Unfortunately I still need to be able to check email on the oasis and that ability appears to have floated away on waterwings, so I might have to bellyflop back in the pool.

Good morning! If it weren't for bad metaphors this blog would have no content.

Friday, February 06, 2009


I just received an acceptance letter to be a craft vendor at Northwest Folklife Festival in May, which is a HUGE honor and a little intimidating.

I shouldn't be up right now, but I've been sleeping for crap lately. Work is crazy. Are you content with that? I mean, crazier than it was before and that was pretty crazy. The important thing is that I still have a job and these are the days (Natalie Merchant) where I see what I'm made of -- primarily frozen burritos and beer.

After a certain point it just ceases to surprise any longer.

I obtained many books on leadership from Amazon and I have begun to read through them. If I can't find a personal mentor I will rely on mass-produced ones.

Print is dead. Long live print.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A message to the world

Dear World,

I am not sure why you need everything to be so crazy? I am okay with boring. I promise.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tuesday, the After Work Edition

I'm stuck at home craving sushi. There's a cat in my lap. I'm sleepy, contemplating brewing a pot of coffee. Or mixing some rum with a can of Diet Dr. Pepper. I can't decide between watching a movie or working on my play or laundry.

It's very quiet here. Servers are whirring, at least 3. Jer's computer is on, its back facing me. No music, just the sounds of my fingers on the keyboard and my breathing. In the distance, traffic.

I'm not sure this is good for me.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Not eating dinner makes me punchy

I'm listening to a lot of When In Rome, "The Promise" tonight. For the longest time I misheard the lyrics, but for once the actual words turned out better.

I'm looking at you, No Doubt's "Spiderwebs" -- a song about an answering machine. What's the matter? Couldn't find a rhyme for microwave?

I kid, I kid.

I called my parents, am contemplating laundry (which is almost exactly like doing it), and have been studiously trying to find the end of the Internet. I'm stuck at the "Here Be Dragons" sign and full cheeked blowing cupid cloud creatures.

John Popper, "Once You Wake Up" is followed by Matchbox Twenty, "How Far We've Come" followed by the Bangles. Yes, I said Bangles. Don't make me cut you.

I think I will go read the graphic novel, "Bone." I need me some quantifiable silliness, as opposed to the immeasurable silliness that originates internally.

hello, monday

If sighing were an Olympic sport, today I'd take the gold!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

i can't stop watching this

Baltimora -- Tarzan Boy:

Another photo of Jet

Hi Courtney, this is for you:

let's give this play thing a try

All morning I've sat at my computer trying very hard to be brilliant, but brilliant is slippery if you hadn't heard.

I installed Final Draft again (reinstalled, if you will) and have been going through old plays in limbo, cringing at my dialogue and how transparent I am to myself -- I know my tricks, I can't fool me! It's an exercise in humiliation, but sometime in the last few days I decided I should begin submitting plays again because that was something that made me happy. Finishing things. Controlling the outcome. Proselytizing my sense of entitlement to the masses, or you know, to the 4 people who are willing to pay the ticket price.

The key to banishing the mean reds is productivity and remembering there is only a limited time set aside for us, it's best to grab on with both hands and make your own luck. Wallowing is for suckers.

So yeah. If the plays don't work out I plan on writing for Hallmark.

I should probably also reevaluate my artistic credo I wrote so long ago, the one that started, "I believe." In the interim my focus has shifted more towards building strong walls for the inevitable rejection rather than relying on the original core values, which consisted of persistence, a love of learning, and an ache for the absurd.

Failure just requires so much less effort to believe in.