I am a person who loves to do a million things at once. There are so few hours in a day, that I feel the only way to get through it all is to get through it all at once. Unfortunately, this can lead to a mistakes that, depending on the situation, can be costly. Sometimes, though, they can just make you happy.

Today, while working at The Company That Must Not Be Named, I was chatting with a friend on gchat. No big, we’re both working, so it’s just a message here and there. Suddenly, he signs off as I was talking to him, no goodbye, nothing. Not a problem, like I said, we’re both working, but I thought it’d be funny to send him an affronted otter to show my displeasure at his abrupt departure. Yes, I know, weird, but it IS the internet, you know.

When I decided to go back to copying and pasting code in my spreadsheet (yeah, I know, riveting), I forgot that I still had the picture in my clipboard. The result, you can see below:

    lolsheet
    Click for LOL-tastic Excel

Of course, I backtracked immediately, but for a second I just couldn’t help but laugh…and wish I could have kept it there. Spreadsheets would be JUST SO MUCH FUN if they had affronted animals staring back at you.

Yes, I am aware this job is getting to me, I don’t need to be reminded.

When I started working at the Company-that-Must-Not-Be-Named, I went through a lot of changes, physically and mentally. This is to be expected, considering this was my first job in the Real World, away from academia and without all of my friends and comforts surrounding me. When a year later I was looking in the mirror and seeing someone completely new, I wasn’t all that surprised. Some of these changes were rather subtle, like my mood when it went from relatively happy-go-lucky to extremely-short-fuse. Or my change in weight, when I just kept losing more and more. This would be a good thing if it were due to diet and exercise rather than lack of sleep, stress, and not eating. Even my memory, once able to hold on to thousands of mundane, daily facts, now barely able to remember what happened yesterday. But these changes, while vast in scope, were slow in speed. I didn’t know I was embittered by insomnia and hellish morning commutes until I was already snapping at people for ridiculous things. And I didn’t know about the physical changes until I realized I really needed a belt for my regular pants. Nor did I realize just how much I was forgetting until my boss started asking me questions about work I’ve done that I could never recall actually doing.

What I did notice quite immediately, however, was a certain listlessness towards all things creative. I used to write. A lot. Most of my stories never got to see an ending, but I was able to crank out pages upon pages of prose and dialogue, all leading to something vastly important, if only I could figure out what that could be. I never considered myself to be particularly good. Ok, when I did get to present my work, it was to a group of writers who always had something good to say, even as they gave me constructive criticism. But while that was all well and nice, I never thought of my writing to be any better than any others, except for one or two students who still had a lot to learn yet. The act of storytelling for me was never borne out of some misplaced sense of my own importance, but almost out of a physical need for release. The pressure of words and characters and conflict building up inside me until one night, usually in the wee hours of the morning, when I would sit at my computer and type them all out until all that was left was a feeling of satiation. It was a rush that I always found somewhat erotic, only without the sexual component. I loved that feeling, craved it, wanted more and there was never enough for me.

Becoming a sales assistant at the Company-that-Must-Not-Be-Named earmarked for me an extended period of creative frigidity, or impotence. I couldn’t get it up, so to speak, to finish even a short, 1000-word story. And yes, I’m done with the sex metaphor. I wasn’t doing anything at all, just coming into work, staring at an Excel spreadsheet (I know, the horror of it all), and then fighting the rush-hour commuters until I got home long enough to shower and pass out by 10pm. Occasionally, I would throw on a television show I had already watched, or some music, so I could have the sound to keep me awake during the day. I was not a good person to be around, snappish at one moment, sluggish the next. It had gotten to the point that my best friend Heather sat me down and told me, with no less tact than is her usual way, that I am stagnating where I am and it’s making my brain dribble out of my ears. I think I already knew that, hell I’ve been seeing a stress counselor once a week for almost a year, but hearing those words really brought it home. And the worst part was: knowing didn’t make it better. I couldn’t find a solution to the problem.

That year, which I believe was 2009, the holidays approached faster than I was expecting. Without any ideas on what to get those I love most in the world, I turned to something new: crafts. I sewed (badly), and made jewelry (not as badly) and people enjoyed their gifts. I found I had a knack for figuring out designs for necklaces and the more I learned the more I wanted to try. In a way, I got my mojo back, though it was displaced to a different medium. Later the next year I signed up for grad school and began life again as a full time worker/student in the Media Studies program at The New School. This past semester I actually did a little writing in the form of half-assed scripts for class projects as well as this blog, and the weight in my chest grew lighter. I got into horribly girly things like fashion and while it was more superficial, it became yet another way to express myself. One romantic relationship ended and I began another one a few months thereafter with someone who tries to cultivate my creativity. I was becoming a person again, not just a flat shadow in front of a computer screen.

Things aren’t perfect, no. I still slip back into my old, two-dimensional ways, and things haven’t gotten 100% better. But it’s a start and the best part? I’m starting to feel that build up again, of characters and places. Scenes are beginning to form with a clarity that mimics reality for me. There are so many stories I could tell and so very little time to tell them. I just hope I can bring myself back to that place of perfect release. Which, I suppose, is why I’m writing this post. To prove that I could actually finish something for once and that I can push those words through like I used to. It looks like I can. Hopefully that’s a good sign.

Though I’m holding off on the afterglow. I am at work, after all, and there is a time and place for such things.

I <3 New York?

May 10, 2011

So, I am a born and raised New Yorker, a hardcore (though I don’t seem it) Bronxbaby. I’ve seen a lot of things in my life and will probably see a lot more. I love my city and anyone who has anything really bad to say about it will probably have to deal with a chewing out from me. Yes, yes, I know the very thought is frightening.

There are days, though, when I wonder if I’ve become too much of a city girl. When my boyfriend derides the attitude of drivers (and let’s face it: pedestrians) and their sense of entitlement and while I do sympathize, part of me thinks the only way to survive sometimes is to assimilate. Become tough, give back as good as you get. This is not really the answer, though, but it does help with the strain sometimes. And being able to yell at someone who cuts you off, and I’m talking about walking through the subway tunnels, is great for stress relief.

Then stuff like what happened to me this morning occurs and I wonder: am I too far gone? Ok, so, here’s the thing: it was nearly 8:30 this morning and I was walking to work at the Company-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. On nice days like today, I like to take the local train to Canal Street and walk the last couple of blocks. When you’re locked in a windowless office for most of the day, you take as much sun as you can, when you can. I had the walk sign, so I was crossing the street, bopping along to Lady Gaga, enjoying the energy that the high intensity beat and my super-strong, chocolate-laced coffee affords me. That’s when I turn my head to keep an eye on the cars. Hey, it may be a red light, but you never know during rush hour. Waiting at the crosswalk was this man wearing a baseball cap in a dark green car. The moment our eyes locked he mouthed the word “whore” at me, an ugly expression on his face. Like a mixture of disgust and hatred. It was definitely the strangest thing that has happened to me, and most especially the strangest thing that’s happened in the early hours of the morning. I said nothing, my eyes slid away, and I kept walking, nothing in my posture or stride conveying that I was bothered, upset, or scared by this man. And this is the way you need to handle people like that. Do not engage, do not escalate. Otherwise, who knows what might have happened? He could have been some nutjob out to run the first person who said something to him over with his car. But that’s not really what makes this such a strange situation.

What’s strange is that I wasn’t pretending I wasn’t bothered. I actually wasn’t bothered.

And this is so incredibly odd to me. Maybe I’m over-thinking this. In fact, I probably am. But you’d think I would have at least gotten a little flustered after I had crossed the street, right? But, no nothing. And two hours later, I still don’t feel anything more than just mild curiosity and befuddlement at my own lack of reaction. By rights, I should at least be a little angry. Not all out upset, because people are idiots, this is an established fact. But some sort of feminist annoyance at the whole thing. So what if my skirt is a little short today? Or if I’m dressed a little less conservatively than normal? That gives no one the right to call me a “whore.” I get upset if my friends call me those kinds of names as a joke. I find nothing funny about it. And yet when this total stranger passes judgment on me and spews hate in my direction, I shrug it off like it was nothing. And it was nothing, but it was still shocking. So why am I not shocked? Why am I not at least surprised by this type of vile behavior?

Have I become so used to random misogyny that it doesn’t even register anymore? I mean, it’s New York, women have been harassed in some way or another. I’ve been hit on, I’ve been ogled, I’ve even been touched inappropriately, none of this is entirely new to me. But that doesn’t mean I should be so used to it that I don’t even care anymore. When it gets to that point, I think it’s time to reevaluate the way I think. And it makes me wonder if there are other women out there who have been so exposed to casual cruelty that it doesn’t even register anymore. It makes me wonder: what will need to happen to make being called a whore an insult again?

Well, boys and girls…or at least the crazy hobo who sometimes reads my blog, it’s been a helluva week. Full of chills, spills, AND thrills…and I have absolutely no energy to explain any of it to anyone. So, let’s just put it at, “I was very busy” and move on.

So, last week my illustrious classmates and I had to watch an interesting French sci-fi film titled “La Jetée,” which is considered the first movie to handle the concept of Time Travel (so important it deserves capitals). At the time of its release, 1964 I believe, most people who saw it just didn’t get it. Well, of course it makes sense as this is a fairly new trope in fiction. H.G. Wells touched on it in his amazing book The Time Machine, though that had an actual, material thing that acted as a vehicle, pardon the pun, for the idea of Time Travel to be understood.

Chris Marker is a genius because he start the concept of Time Travel Through the Mind. That one can use their memories to physically reach the past and their imagination to reach the future was something no one had even thought of.

Because this film is so short (28 minutes), it’s a bit difficult to figure out when one act ends and another in. But here is what I think:

Act I begins with what I see as the first inciting incident. A little boy, our hero, sees a man die on a pier at the same time he sees a woman he finds very beautiful. This memory haunts him for his entire life and he doesn’t forget it even through a third world war that destroys almost everything. The Man (as he is named) finds himself an adult in ravaged France and in a concentration camp. The men who had everyone penned in would run experiments that would drive inhabitants mad. No one knew what these men were trying to do. Finally, it was The Man’s turn. He was surprised to find out that the human race was in danger of dying out and that they needed to figure out a way to get more supplies to keep everyone alive. They came up with the idea of getting them from the past, but all the people who tried were driven mad by the intensity of waking up in a place out of time. But The Man had something the others didn’t, a vivid memory that would act as an anchor and keep him focused as he traveled. So he was chosen for the experiments in the hopes that he would be strong enough to reach the past.

Act II begins immediately after when they set The Man up for the experiments and have him think on the memory that has stayed with him since he was a little boy. He focuses on the beautiful woman and finds him in the past, in a market where she was buying groceries. But he was so intrigued by the market (as he probably hasn’t seen one in decades) that he loses sight of her and is brought back. He focuses again and thus begins the strange love affair between The Man from the future and The Woman who doesn’t ask questions. Each time he goes back, he gets stronger and the world seems to solidify for him until that fateful moment when he sees her blink awake. That’s when he knew that he was able to do this as easily as breathing. To try something different, they send him into the dark future to see what awaited them. He finds a group of people who have not known war or hardship and pleads with them, saying that if they don’t help him their world wouldn’t exist. Understanding the urgency of the situation, they give him a machine that would give his people a neverending supply of energy. He comes back a hero…and a condemned man, for his captors won’t let him live. In desperation, he speaks once more to the people in the future, who give him the option to stay with them. Instead, he asks them to send him to the past so he can be reunited with his love.

Act III ends explosively with The Man showing up on the pier to meet his lady love, but before he gets to her, an agent from the camp appears. He shoots The Man dead, completing his duty as the Woman looks on, and, he realizes, himself as boy. That is when we know that the vivid memory of a man being killed, was actually his own death.

INSANE movie and absolutely wonderful. Sets the stage for the next 50 years of science fiction. One thing that really gets me is the fact that, like all good stories, no special effects were really needed. I can feel the desolation and the despair, despite the lack of actual acting and movement. The film itself is nearly hypnotic with the voiceover and it makes me want to watch it again. Which I think I will as soon as possible!

My Give-a-Damn is Busted.

January 13, 2011

Yeah so, I would love to make a blog venting my frustrations on work, but rather than court the possibility of getting fired, I’m going to post some pictures I took on my walk during lunch. Look at the pretty, don’t look at the rage.

bridge1

bridge2

bridge3

beau

I love SoHo, it almost feels like a different world when I go past Leonard St.