Thursday, August 6, 2015

Good Things

Have you ever struggled so long that you don't know how to NOT struggle?  That's how I feel right now.  Currently,  life is pretty damn good.  Of course nothing is ever perfect, but that's life and that's okay.  And yet,  I feel another shoe is about to drop at any moment.  At any given time, some bearer of bad news is going to come along and say,  "Oh hey,  all that money you thought you had worked out?  Yeah, no,  that's not happening."  or "That job you have now?  HA! It's been eliminated! Pack your stuff and start over!"

I don't want to be whiner,  this isn't a complaint.  If anything,  I'm frustrated with myself for not being able to just enjoy solvency.

I'm also sort of suffering a creative crisis.  This is largely my own doing as I haven't been putting my creative talents to work in any productive way.  And all those times writers and artists tell you to work at your craft every day wasn't just so they could hear themselves say it.  It's true.  If you don't do it, you lose it.   So, use it! you say.  And I agree.  I could list for you the multitude of reasons I don't have enough time,  but in reality they are all just excuses.  If I love it,  and I do,  I should make time  (less T.V.,  more writing, drawing, sewing ,etc.).

That being said,  what eats my time (besides T.V.) are those important things that can improve the quality of my and my husband's life.  You know, those pesky things like work and college.  Writing is the big one for me.  I want to do more of that.  But it is a love that takes hours and forsakes all company if you want to get anywhere.  Of course,  Husband the Great would understand completely, but I actually like spending time with him, so it's more me stopping myself than him.

So, now, instead of worrying how we're going to get groceries this week,  I worry about when or if I'll be able to expound upon these little idea sparks in my head that could lead to a story some day if I could just take the time to flesh them out.  Even though I won't starve if I don't write a story,  the feeling is the same and it makes me restless and cranky.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Familial Abuse.

Abuse is a scary word.  People say it and everyone assumes someone is getting physically beaten.  But it's can be so much more and worse than that.  Sure, there's the beat down.  However, there's also mental abuse.

There are several members of my family that are very good at the mental and emotional abuse.  The best at it out of all of them is my Grandmother.  She was awful to me my entire life.  On vacations with her,  all I can remember is being yelled at for one thing or another by her.  One time,  at Disney World no less,  she yelled at me and my sister to "Stop having fun, dammit!!".

Her behavior has led me to avoid her at all costs.  Even now,  when she is in hospice and is likely to die, I will not be visiting.  I will be sad when she goes because it will upset my mom greatly,  but other than that, I'm disturbingly apathetic to her plight.

I have family members who have been passive aggressively throwing jabs and insults for years because they think that I think I am better than them.  Granted,  my mom raised me with confidence in myself and provided me with all the privileges she could afford,  but never once have I ever insisted I was better than anyone.  As a matter of fact,  I go through most days thinking I'm a failure at one thing or another.  So,  when you have family that just can't wait to tear you down another notch,  imagine how that compounds. When I was younger,  I thought perhaps they were right,  that I treated them as though I thought I was better than them,  but then I got out in the world and have never had this issue with other human beings, so clearly, I must be doing something right.

Then I have family members that insist that because I'm young,  I'm clearly clueless.  So, every time there is a conflict and I present my argument logically, they first,  don't hear a word I'm saying,  then next,  tell me to grow up,  and finally, start threatening to tell anyone who'll listen every bad thing I did as a kid as if that will justify their point. I have learned that when something like this starts up,  I have one chance to make my point and if that doesn't do it,  there's no sense in continuing the conversation.  They've stopped listening and I have been branded an asshole.

I have family members that are simply wonderful. I speak with them freely and do not have to worry if being excited about my accomplishments will offend them or if I have an opinion different than theirs that they can't argue their point calmly and logically or bully me until I either stop talking or just agree with them to make them stop.

What's really sad is that I can already predict how this entry will be received.  I will be told that I'm wrong to feel this way and that I need to grow up.  Or,  surprisingly,  someone will say it's not about me.

Isn't how I feel about me?

Why do we put up with people who don't like us just because there's a blood relation?  I certainly don't put up with former friends who have treated me the way some of my family has.  Ask around,  I have completely cut people out of my life for acting the fool and jumping my case as a disproportionate reaction to a logical point I raised.  I fear I am close to doing so again.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Wit Engine

I know, I've been gone forever. But I told you people when I started this up that I was fickle at best.  And, there hasn't been a lot to report, not much that has inspired me to write at you. I could go into all the details of what has been killing my inspiration, but I'm in a great mood today so I refuse to be the Bringer of Misery and Woe.

I've been doing a bunch of writing.  All of it fiction, all of it for fun.  Mostly to entertain friends.  It's been helping.  Helping what? Well... everything really.  I'm happier when I'm telling a story. I'm reminded why every single author you'll ever talk to says that if you want to write, you have to do it EVERY DAY.  It doesn't matter what.  It doesn't have to make sense.  It doesn't have to be read ever again if you don't want it to.  Just write.

And it's totally true. I've written something every day for the last... two weeks, and I can feel my brain revving up.  I am quicker on the uptake. My witty comebacks are back (and wittier, at least, I think they are).  I feel like I can have real conversations again.  And I've been plotting non-stop.  All for fiction, mind you. But as any of my writer buddies will tell you, I LOVE to plot.  I love glorious, tasty drama.*

It makes me feel like I should have a go at writing something worth publishing, whether self-published or picked up by a publisher.  Though, I'm leaning more towards writing up some ideas for maybe a web series or a TV pilot. I like to tell a story in 'scenes' anyway.

So, there you go, I'm still alive.  Short and sweet.  Though you'd think since I was just talking about being a writing fool that this post would be a hell of a lot longer.  Ah well. Own worst critic and blah, blah, blah...

*Fictional drama only. Real life drama just makes me want to resign from the interwebs. Yes. Interwebs. Live with it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lending... aka "I'm never going to see that thing again".

Today I find myself making a list of items I have lent out to people that it would appear I am never going to see again.  For years I had a strict policy of not lending anything I owned to anyone ever.  And it would seem that I was right to do so.

What is it about people that makes them not return stuff?  Is it forgetfulness? Spite?  A subconscious need to take other people's toys that stems from childhood?  I couldn't tell you.  And don't think that I'm not guilty.  I totally am.  As I type this, I have a set of books that are not mine that are just gathering dust while I don't read them.  But turn about is fair play I suppose.  The people I borrowed them from have a set of my books that are no doubt doing the very same thing (Maybe, they are likely very much using those books at the moment).  It's a mutual thieving at this point and we both know where the other lives.  Hell,  they have a key to my house. They could come get their stuff any time, just as I could do the same.  But in that particular situation,  I trust that they are taking care of my stuff and would give it back to me should I simply ask.

However, there are others.  Others who begged me for the thing they borrowed and have had said thing for two years, maybe more.  These same others also no longer have a day to day relationship with me. I haven't seen them in months.   I've asked for my stuff back and haven't gotten it.  It is extremely frustrating.

But what can I do?  It is not as though I'm going to get a lawyer to make someone return a book.  I suppose I could start naming names and inventory and defaming them on Facebook,  but even this post feels a bit juvenile to me so I doubt I would go to that extreme.

So I suppose my only recourse would be to replace the items with new ones and tell myself that the things those people borrowed were not borrowed at all,  but gifts given in a sort of aggressive style on the part of the giftee.

I assume that everyone else on the planet has this issue.  Unless they are quite wise and a bit stingy and refuse to lend out their stuff.  Ever.  Which I think I will return to doing.

Some people would say "It's just stuff, it's not important",  but really it is more than that.  The act of ignoring a request to return someone's belongings denotes that you have no respect for that person and intend to just keep whatever it is you've borrowed.  Which, for all intents and purposes is theft.

So yeah,  that's my rant.

Gimmie back my stuff.

Except you people that I've mutually thieved with, you know who you are, you're cool.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Art of the Playlist.

I am somewhat of an audiophile.  I have a very large stash of music that moves me.  Now, that does not mean that I have all the hits of today.  Frankly, I'm a little disappointed in the vast majority of popular music these days.  I like complicated, intricate composition that makes goosebumps appear on my skin or tears to well up in my eyes the music is that good.  I feel like music should invoke an emotion when you hear it.  If Bieber does that for you, more power to you, but then this post is probably not something you'll understand.

Witty lyrics are a big thing for me.  Their lyrics made me an instant fan of Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco.

But what I really love is instrumental music.  About half of the music I own is either classical or movie scores.  It is the music in a movie or show that has a major hand in setting the tone.  I would love to have a feature where I could turn off the music in the background of any move so I could demonstrate this point.   I like that when I hear certain parts of music, my imagination just runs wild. It helps me tell stories. I am a storyteller after all, all be it, not a very successful one monetarily speaking.

The storyteller thing brings me to my quirks about playlists.  I am NOT a fan of the shuffle. Especially when it comes to movie scores.  They're in an order for a reason. Leave them that way.  When I find myself making a list that goes with a story in my head or a tabletop RPG I'm playing in or, on the rare occasion, running, you will find me sitting at Titan (my desktop), pouring through music I know will fit the genre.  Husband the Great gets it, but at the same time, does not understand how I can remember hundreds or pieces of music to know which ones will work and which ones won't.  It's as simple as: Truly wonderful music sticks with you. Stuff that gets my attention always gets filed away in the back of my brain.  I imagine this would be the mark of a good movie trailer producer.

Anyhow, here's how it works for me:

1. What genre are you going for?

There are some obvious ones like Star Wars where you already know there are plenty of songs for it.  But it all depends on the mood you're going for.  Something supposed to be scary?  Look for haunting music that would make you sorry to venture into a dark room alone.  Running a Superhero game? Go for the epic music full of horn section that makes you want to pose like superman.  Try and think of movies or tv shows that make you think of the genre and see if you can't hunt down the music from it. I do a lot of hunting. I've even gotten into finding the music from trailer production companies.

2. Get a nice large selection

If you only have about 10 songs on your playlist,  you will tire of it quickly.

3. Check for a good transition.

Once I've pulled all the music I think I'm going to use for the playlist,  I put them in an order I think will go well, will tell its own story, and then I hit play.  BUT,  I only listen to the first 15 seconds of the start song before I fast forward to the last 20 seconds or so and listen as it rolls on into the next song on the list.  If the transition is to jarring,  I do some rearranging.  This is the most time consuming part for me, and perhaps seems the most crazy to the outsider looking in.  I started doing this because more than once I would be listing to just a pile of songs I knew I liked and I would be working along on whatever I was writing or talking about and then BAM, the next song was so off from the last one that I would lose concentration.

4. Stay away from shuffle or random.

Again, this is a little bit of the jarring transition thing in number three, but it also speaks to the idea that no computer or mp3 player has figured out that random does not mean play the same ten songs out of the entire play list over and over again in a random order. Once I find the device that will actually shuffle the songs and not play the same song over until every other song on the list has been play, then I will finally use the shuffle button.*

That's really all I have to say on it.  And, this is all just my way of doing it.  You're not wrong for doing it your way, this is just my insight for having done it quite a bit.

Though, if you're just getting into movie/tv scores,  here are some of my favorite composers right now.

Bear McCreary - He composed everything for the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, Human Target, The Walking Dead, The Cape, several video games, and I'm sure plenty of other stuff I can't think of.

Two Steps From Hell - They are a commercial music production company, they do a lot of the epic music you hear in movie trailers (fun little fact, most of the music you hear in the trailers for movies aren't actually in the movies at all). They only started selling to the public a few years ago, but they are amazing. You can find their stuff on

Hans Zimmer - Inception, the Nolan run of Batman movies, some of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Danny Elfman - Excellent for anything haunting.  Batman and Batman Returns.  Just about anything Tim Burton puts his hands on.

John Williams - Star Wars, Indiana Jones, the first two Harry Potter films.  He's a master, however, he can be quite repetitive.

Alexandre Desplat - The final two Harry Potter films.

And there are many, many more. As I said, half my collection is instrumental.  Go forth and enjoy!

*I do use shuffle for my jukebox mixes. Like all 40's or 50's standards.  That's about the only time I find it useful and I generally only listen to those lists when I'm cleaning house.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Isolation and Frustration

So, roughly three months ago, I was laid off from my job.  This has lead to many interesting and not so interesting things.  In the interesting column: I've started college.  In the not-so-interesting: I don't go anywhere in an effort to spend less money.  I'm receiving unemployment,  but it is roughly $100 less a week than I was making.  Which means we can't afford the gas to two cars driving about all week doing things. And since Joe has the job that makes the money,  he gets to go places (mostly just work).

All this not going anywhere business is making me a little batty.  And cranky.  And a bit resentful of a great many things.  I know this means that I'm still fairly wound up about being laid off even though my reviews had  always been spectacular.  I mean, come on, if you're gonna pretend to lay people off by way of eliminating their position, they least you could do is let go the people who didn't do their job well.  Not to mention, you could wait a few months (not a few days) before listing my position on all the hiring sites.  If you were eliminating it, why would you be hiring for it?  A part of me thinks that I would have a solid case for wrongful termination.

And then, there's the valiant attempt at starting a business. Everyone who sees our stuff sure does like to look at it.  But that's about it.  I know none of this happens over night, and I keep telling myself just to keep at it. It's frustrating.  And other influences outside of the business aren't helping.  Like seeing work the equivalent of art projects I did in elementary school selling like hotcakes on Etsy.  Or a lack of support.  Or being talked down to by people who have no idea how to do what me and my partners are doing; as if they were experts.

I see slights where there are none.  And I'm sort of turning into a hermit.  Luckily, before I was laid off,  we paid for a Disney trip.  So, that will be nice.  I'm very much looking forward to it.  In the mean time,  I know I just need to keep breathing, and everything will be just fine.

Friday, June 8, 2012

No Wrong Choices?

So, a bit over a month ago,  I got laid off.  To which I posted a somewhat cynical view of the corporate world. In all honesty, that view has not at all changed.  It is a game I am playing to provide a good life for Husband the Great and myself.  But, as is true with any situation in your life; there are steps you can take to make it better.  There are good corporate situations.  There are ways to improve your life.  

After applying to handful of jobs,  I quickly came to the conclusion that no one's going to consider me for a decent job without a college degree. (Irony on this comes later).  So,  I do some research and decide to enroll at Western Governor's University for HR Management.  It's a work at my own pace sort of deal, which means,  if I'm jobless for six months, I'm confident that I can have my bachelor's degree by the end of those six months. I know that sounds a bit impossible, or that perhaps this school isn't on the up and up, but anyone who knows me knows that it is very possible and I made sure this place was accredited.  

As a result of this six month plan,  I had resigned myself to living on unemployment for the next six months and busting my ass to get this degree so I could get a better paying, more fulfilling job.  Queue the company that had just laid me off.  A friend of mine in a different division of said company handed my resume to her boss and  it resulted in an interview earlier this week.  The job sounds engaging, the money sounds like it's going to be right.  And I would have nothing to do with the boss that laid me off.  So,  while some might consider me insane for going back to this company a third time,  I feel like it would be wholly irresponsible of me NOT to take it if I get the offer.  But if I take the offer,  that's going to slow down my plan for school considerably.  

I don't want to bail on school again. But this job is the job I've been trying to maneuver into since day one at this company.  I'm going to have no life for the forseeable future,  but I'm oddly okay with that.  I guess I'm just a little terrified that while it seems like there's no way for me to make a wrong choice,  that I will somehow manage to do just that.