Did you miss me?

Map of Phoenix
Where was the show with the ballroom with the greenish floral carpet?(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you notice I was gone?

A week ago yesterday, I flew to Phoenix for a Show. (as we call it in the ‘industry’)  Starting Thursday morning until Tuesday night, I spent just about 100 hours sitting at a computer in a cold, dark ballroom, cleaning up PowerPoint slides, making what we call ‘Happy Face’ picture loops for the conference attendees to stare at while they are eating and creating custom animated content in After Effects for lighting and video projection.   I flew home yesterday, went directly to bed and stayed there for 14 hours.

They tell me that it was unseasonably cold in Phoenix this past weekend.  I wouldn’t know.  I never went outside.  And that is totally normal for my job.  I’ve been all over the US and a few cities around the globe and all of it looks like the inside of a hotel ballroom to me.  How was the weather?  68 degrees and fluorescent.

But I shouldn’t complain, it’s better than a cubicle!  And I did get to see an onion-domed church in St. Petersburg, Russia once, and I’d never have done so without this job.  I saw the canals in Venice – even if it was only for a few moments as I walked from my hotel to the off-site awards dinner location.  I rode a horse on a beach in Aruba on one of the rare trips when I had an extra day to myself.

There are times when I love my job, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world.  And then there are times like now, when I am just exhausted and nothing that I did over the past week seems to have any significance despite the amount of time I spent working on it.  I’m just so glad to be back home.  Back to my boyfriend, and my books, and my games, and of course, WordPress!  🙂  This little slice of the internet where strangers read and respond to my comments and stories is so much more significant than even the most amazing animated effect I’ve done for a corporate convention audience.

Speaking of which, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of WordPress reading to catch up on, but perhaps I’ll be a post-everyday’er this week to make up for my absence.

Is it just me, or is WordPress such a significant part of your life that you actually miss it when ‘real life’ takes up too much your time?

 

It’s My Opinion

The Argument
The Argument (Photo credit: roeyahram)

Leave me alone with my opinion, please.  Do not question its validity, its very worthiness because it does not correspond with your own.  You are older than I am, and more experienced, it is true, but that does not mean you know what is better for me.

This is not 1952, we are not your parents. A husband can not dictate a wife’s likes and dislikes.

If I can not explain to you how I reached my conclusion, the step by step process by which I determined why I like something, that does not mean I did not try hard enough.

And you know that if my opinion matched yours, you would never look for an explanation at all. If I agreed with you on this, you would think I had done all that deep thinking you believe is required for every-single-stupid-little decision.

Can we, for once, not fight about why I like what I like?  Can we please just agree to disagree? Please, just this once?

Can I please just enjoy my chocolate ice cream before it melts?

*

For the Daily Prompt, 32 Flavors – Vanilla, chocolate, or something else entirely?

One Word Test

Fans of Doctor Who should recognize this quote from the latest episode, The Snowmen:

Promotional poster for The Snowmen. Source: Wikipedia. Copyright: BBC.

“Truth is singular; lies are words, words, words.”

For the rest of you, it is the rational given for the “one word test,” where a character must answer every question put to her with only one word.

For example,

Question: Why is Steven Moffat the best writer in TV history?

Answer: Clever

I’m going to adapt this test to help me with a top ten list: Who are my ten most favorite authors and why do I love them?

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait b...
Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait by her sister Cassandra, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I realize that some of my one word answers would need clarification.  In the Doctor Who episode, the test works because it is all within the context of the show. The audience and the test giver all understand the full meaning behind each single word answer.

I highly recommend you try this.  It took me less time than I expected, not even five minutes, but it clarified for me why I love these writer’s words.  Pick something and tell us why you love it. In one word.

Perspective

They say money makes the world go round, which makes it sound like a natural phenomenon,  like wind or clouds.  Trees are the epitome of nature, but they also say money doesn’t grow on trees.  I think they are a little confused.

I’ve had some money troubles lately.  A first for me.  I don’t like it.  I’m the type of person who always thinks ahead, always saves before making the purchase. I live within  my means.  But due to a wee bit of bad planning on my part, I over spent and now I am paying for my mistakes. Did you see what I did there? =)

I hate feeling poor. Though I’ve never been rich.  Always just right.  Even. Balanced.  Now I am unbalanced.   Teetering on the edge of a precipice of debt and I can’t quite see the bottom.

But not to worry.  I’ve made plans.  I’ve done a lot of math.  I’ve got a new credit card with 0% APR for 18 months, I’ll get it all straightened out soon.  I hope.  I am, after all, an optimist.

But if you see me in worn shoes, or in a frayed winter coat with missing buttons and a tear in one sleeve, please don’t tell me to “just go buy a new one.”  Not now.

Point of View - IMG_7561
Point of View (Photo credit: Nicola since 1972)

Have you seen the movie Notting Hill?  You should, it is much more than a silly romantic comedy.  One of the themes of the movie is the idea of comparing your own troubles with the troubles of other people, and how completely unfair that is.

Perspective: the comparison of objects from a single point of view.    (my own simplified definition)

From the point of view of a stranger, my trifling money problems are embarrassingly insignificant compared to those of say,  a single mother of four who is trying to feed her family on food stamps, or that of a stock broker who’s just lost a lot of other people’s money.   But from my point of view, next months rent is the largest object in my sight.

It is unfair to say to me, “well, you have it better than most, you know.”  Yes, I know that. Of course, I know that. However, in my life, (the only life I will ever live,) the rent payment is more significant than any thing else.

My perspective is my only reality.  I can imagine other points of view, depending on the level of empathy I have with another person, but it is only imagination.

We are all just individuals with a single perspective.  By definition, those perspectives can never be the same, yet every one of them, including mine, is valid.

(Blogger note:  I’ve noticed one of the things that I love about other bloggers is the way they engage their readers by asking significant questions.  I’m not very good at that – but I want to try, so here it goes:)

What looms in your vision that other people might think insignificant?

The Original Hipster

Once upon a time, I was in the seventh grade. (Yes, it was long enough ago that I can say ‘once upon a time.’) Anyway, I was about 13 or so and had just discovered that I would never be cool. This discovery happened at the first boy/girl party I went to. (The kid’s mother said he couldn’t have the party if he didn’t invite the whole class, poor kid.)

Jack & Diane
Jack & Diane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a moment where we were all standing in the living room, awkwardly holding our plastic cups of Coke, (or in my case, 7-Up,) and wondering what you did at a party when there wasn’t a clown making balloon animals or a birthday cake involved, when the song “Jack and Diane” came on the radio. All the girls squealed, “this is my favorite!” and started singing along.

I’d never heard of it.

When I was home, I played Legos or Atari with my brothers. I didn’t sit around listening to the radio or talking on the phone with the people I had just spent eight hours with at school.

My reaction to this self-realization was:
1) to do everything as opposite to cool as I could manage, AND
2) to not talk to anyone.

Can you see the problem with the combination of those two ideas? I did not realize that by not speaking to anyone, no one would actually notice how ironically un-cool I was being. I invented ‘hipster’ back in the 1980s, but no one noticed.

I have many regrets about decisions I’ve made in my life, but the decision to disassociate myself from my classmates was a doozy. Because, after that moment at the party, I knew what ‘cool’ looked like, and I started seeing it everywhere. And I liked a lot of it. Pop music for instance. I was a little late to the world of 80s pop, but I quickly caught up, and I loved it. In secret. (still do.)

I was so convinced of my ‘uncoolness,’ and afraid to expose myself to the derision of my classmates, that I refused to participate.

With my hypersensitivity to ‘cool’ vs. ‘uncool,’ I also did not allow myself to talk to the two boys in the class who played D&D. (Dungeons and Dragons, the original roll playing game that spawned my favorite game, World of Warcraft.) I just want to go back in time and slap myself in the face over that one. I would have LOVED to play that game with them. (They were also the smartest kids in the class and my grades might have benefited from the association as well.)

But no, I wouldn’t talk to them, afraid to make myself even more uncool than I already was.

Jump ahead twenty-five years to my Grammar School reunion. It wasn’t just a reunion for my class, the school was small, and catholic, so everyone had siblings. You can’t have a reunion for one year without everyone’s brothers and sisters wanting to tag along.

I didn’t get an invite. My two sisters did. I went anyway.

No one remembered me.

Ok. That’s an exaggeration. Eventually they remembered. But all they could say about me was how I never talked.

After the reunion, I friended a few of them on facebook, and they seem like interesting, fun people. They occasionally reminisce with each other on facebook about things that happened back when, and I wonder, where was I?

I know, I was hiding behind a book, thinking, no one likes me, but that’s fine because I don’t like them either. It never occurred to me that the reason they ignored me was because I’d made myself invisible.

My Weird Job

I want to write a little about my weird job.  My title is Graphic Operator, which means, technically, that I operate a graphic producing machine (i.e. a laptop with PowerPoint).  But that doesn’t explain anything really.  For those who work in corporate america, you’ve probably been to a big meeting, usually held in a hotel ballroom, and some corporate mucky-muck stands up on a stage and talks about how great the company is doing, or not, as the case may be.

me at work
Me at work – I’m all the way to the left – we wear black so that no one can see us. 🙂

If the presenter on stage is using PowerPoint slides, and there is no laptop visible, then there is a Graphics Op somewhere, usually behind the curtain, running the PowerPoint slides for the presenter

If you don’t work in corporate america, then go watch a TED video.  It is basically the same set up:  A stage, video and audio equipment, stage crew with headsets on talking to each other about what a pain in the butt the presenter is, and lastly, a presenter.

If you haven’t ever seen a TED video, then go watch one, they’re amazing.  (Start with this one, http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_on_believing_strange_things.html)

My job is to make the presenters look like they know how to use PowerPoint.  They can’t.  It is the easiest software in the world to use, and these people make a thousand times the money I make, but they don’t know how to draw a box or do the most basic animation.  And forget making the text legible.

Here is some free advice – if you are ever going to give a presentation, don’t use any text. Just use pictures.  The second the audience starts reading something on the screen, they’ve stopped listening to you.

I found this funny video on youtube that describes my job perfectly:

(NSFW – be careful, there is a lot of cursing in it)

I’ve done this job for more than ten years now.  I’m starting to get tired of it, but I don’t know what else I should do to make money. Anyone got any ideas?

My qualifications: I’m a hard worker, if the work is interesting and relevant.   I get along with other people, as long as I can respect them.  I’m smart, but I have a bad memory.  I’m really fast, but not particularly accurate.   I’m task oriented which means I have no patience for vague corporate speak.

Tried to do a search with all those qualifiers on Monster.com – No Results.

Oh well,  I guess I should stick with what I have.

 

Year of Exploration

2012 was the Year of Exploration.

After mostly ignoring all forms of social media, (besides Facebook) this year I dove in with the idea of putting myself and my writing out there instead of having it languish amid the piles of rejection slips from magazine editors and literary agencies.

My Social Media Findings:

  • Twitter – too short
  • Tumblr – too young
  • YouTube – too exposed
  • WordPress – just right

On WordPress I found a comfortable home with people I like. Random strangers actually read my words here and tell me that they like what they’ve seen. I won’t delete myself from those other places, as I have become a fan of many social media stars. And my time exploring there was not wasted, as I have learned much about the social media world and my place in it.

Luck vs. Hard Work
Luck vs. Hard Work

The biggest lesson I’ve learned: while luck still holds a huge chunk in the pie chart of social media success, the most important piece is, as it has always been, HARD WORK.

If it were easy, everyone would do it.

What Success Means to Me:

  • Get something published (in the old fashioned way)
  • Get a thousand followers on WordPress (reach for the stars, baby)
  • Feel like I deserve the appellation, Writer (I’ll know it when I feel it)

If I want to succeed, I must do the work.
But I don’t want to do the work.
I’d rather curl up with a good book, or watch a good movie, or click around the web until my clicking finger hurts.

I don’t make resolutions, I think they are nasty things to do to yourself. You have no idea what will happen to you next week, much less over the course of the whole year, how can you promise yourself to do this or that thing and expect to succeed?

However, next year I want to say, 2013 was the Year of Hard Work
Hard Work means sticking to a writing routine instead of just writing when inspiration, or a good prompt hits. It means being disciplined and focused. It means practice, practice, practice. It means consistently submitting and posting. It means going from this level of writing to the next.

I know I am a good writer. If I just work a bit harder at it, maybe 2013 will be the year I become great.

Yesterday’s Googling (or – what I did instead of working)

“Galaxy Samsung III”

In February my birthday present to myself will be a new phone. I usually have more money in February because I work a lot in January. The battery in my two-year old phone is dead again, it has been a great phone, but it keeps dying unexpectedly – like during conversations with my client. At least that’s what I told him.

“Audrey Hepburn / Promenada Country Club, ul Romatyczna 3, Warsaw / Cricket in Poland”

Ok this is a bit hard to explain – when I am looking for story ideas, I go into Wikipedia and just click on ‘random article’ and these are the three things that I found that seemed the most interesting. No story came out of it though. I just didn’t have that ‘story’ vibe yesterday. Writing is the only thing that can make me feel like the day had any value. It is addictive, and so much more satisfying than work.

“Homework phobia”

Arg – an email from my client – bold and unread in the inbox. Like a bug in my ear that I can’t get out, and everything around me is tainted by the sound of its buzzing. Maybe there is something seriously wrong with me. I feel like telling my client some horrible lie about my grandmother getting really sick. Sorry, yeah – it’s awful, she’s all alone in San Antonio and I’m the only one who can go out and help her. But those sorts of lies have that horrible way of coming back to haunt you.

Ergophobia - revisited.
Ergophobia – revisited. (Photo credit: practicalowl)

Ergophobia

Wow – maybe I have this? Ergophobia, (derived from the Greek “ergon” (work) and “phobos” (fear); also called ergasiophobia), is an abnormal and persistent fear (or phobia) of work (manual labor, non-manual labour, etc) or finding employment.

No – I’ve had the same job for ten years, it isn’t the work – it’s the black cloud of unwanted responsibility hanging over my head.

“Responsibility Phobia”

Hypengyophobia derives from the Greek hypengyos, meaning responsible and phobos meaning fear.
The signs of Hypengyophobia are individual and can vary from person to person. Some people, when confronted with their worry of responsibility, may begin to perspire, feel barely uncomfortable or develop into nauseated. At the opposite end of the spectrum, other persons are so severely compromised by this phobia, that they might experience crippling nervousness and/or panic attacks. 

Oh boy – this sounds really, really to close to home… ok – distract, distract…

“The Hobbit movie showtimes”

Ok – I’ll just tell my client I’m not available tomorrow – driving up north to see ‘family’ because seriously, Peter Jackson feels like family to me.

Got Time to Talk?

*cell phone rings*

Me: Hi!

Caller: “Hi, Jill. Are you busy?”

Old Fashioned Phone, before processing
(Photo credit: locket479)

Me: Well now, let me see… I have twenty-five people coming over for dinner in about an hour. I’m half way through cooking them a three course meal and the oven just caught fire. I have to clean the bathroom and fold three loads of laundry before they get here and I haven’t had a shower yet today. My mother just called and told me she’s bringing two dogs that she’s pet sitting for the weekend and that they need a special brand of dog food so I’ll pick that up at the store while I’m out buying a new front door to replace the one the burglar knocked down last night when he broke in and stole my purse. And lastly, my car is parallel parked outside my apartment and the parking authority lady is just now pulling out her ticket book.

***

ARG!  I just ANSWERED YOUR CALL, why are you asking me that question?!?

A Day Like Any Other Day

blue sky
(Photo credit: maaco)

This Saturday morning is like every morning: Coffee, Computer, Repeat. The word ‘weekend’ lost it’s meaning a long time ago. Today is a ‘non-work’ day as opposed to a ‘work’ day which could happen any day, regardless of its weekend or weekday status. But today the sun is out, and it wont be out for long. I want to go out there to feel it on my face. That would make today different. To feel the sun. I would call it Sunday.

But I won’t go out there alone. Can’t or won’t? Maybe can’t today. (That reminds me of my teacher in seventh grade saying, “Yes, you are capable of going to the bathroom. If, however, you are seeking permission, perhaps you would like to rephrase the question?”)

When my boyfriend runs out of cigarettes, we will go out there. And once I get him out there, away from his computer, I can talk him into taking a turn around the park. His unhealthy addiction often encourages healthy walking. I hope he runs out before the sun sets.

This is rambling and sounds a little crazy. But I am feeling a little crazy today, so that is appropriate I suppose. It is a crazy sort of day, isn’t it? A day that is sad, but filled with a sense of life and love because it reminds us to look around and see how lucky we are to be here. now. today.
On a Saturday morning when the sun is shining.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/daily-prompt-me-time/