Well, I still haven't decided on a visual format for this journal - I'm torn between something sort of soothing in shades of blue, or my usual light-on-dark routine - but that doesn't mean I can't start writing. I'll figure out the formatting later. I've got a month.
Ticking Parcels - or whatever I end up calling it - is this year's experiment in journal-keeping. I've tried anonymous journalism (not good) and direct day-to-day journals. I kept my sort-of-daily journal for three years, and you can still read the archive, if you're of a mind to. But after I discovered LiveJournal, the Ramblings languished. The ease of LiveJournal's interface and the community-centric construction of the thing made me far more inclined to post there, then on my website. So I did some thinking, and this is the result of it.
I've always tinkered with the idea of a time-delayed journal, because it grants a bit more freedom than an immediate venue would. Like most journal-keepers, I've had to deal with the fallout of getting very angry at a situation - or a somebody - and ranting about it on my journal. Oddly enough, not everyone agrees with me, 100% of the time and - more often than not - the object of my ire is still chafing as it is when they read my own thoughts on the subject. What an aggravation.
So why put
it online at all? Because journals should be honest, and cover the
whole range of my feelings and opinions, not just the upbeat or socially
acceptable ones. I tried keeping an 'anonymous' journal for a few
months, but that wasn't satisfying. I'm an egomaniacal black duck, and I
want my words attributed to me. It also struck me as strangely dishonest
to be dividing my thoughts like that. But I digress.
going to be honest in this forum. This means that she is
going to wallow - just a bit - in the pigheaded, self-centered and
stubborn aspects of her personality. You might not enjoy this side of
her personality. It's certainly not the side I'm proudest of, but it's a
part of me, and I'm tired of stifling.
That said, time for me to get to some content. I can twitter on about design issues and such in another place.
Springtime's renewal has hit my circle of friends - some later in the season than others - and, as usual, left me wondering what the hell I'm doing with my life. My okay-ish job at WTM (great job, but not enough hours) is, as I say, okay, but I'm looking for something full-time. I really don't want to leave this position unless it's for another media-production place. I'm not going back to pushing papers for a company that produces a product I don't understand or don't care about, dammit.
I just feel like I'm flailing, and have been since I finished college. It's one of my most common laments, I know, but it's true. If I could afford it, I would go back to school for a year, cram down some tech-writing classes and try to start on that career path. But there's no way that can be managed unless Alex and I sold everything we owned, gave away the pets and moved in with one of our parents. Honestly, I'm already considering bringing that up to Alex, anyways. Well, not the 'giving away the pets' part, but talking to him about maybe moving in with his Dad at the beginning of the year for a few months. We could afford to pay him not-so-token rent (say, $800/month) and be able to save the rest towards getting out of the Bay Area. Maybe even moving to Europe - although I doubt that's going to happen until the "Pet Passport" program launches in the U.S.
Sometimes I really resent the animals for holding us back. I understand how Alex feels about them - I hate the idea of giving away my not-so-little foundling, Max - but it's a bit rankling to discover that career and future are apparently less important than two cats and a dog. I'm sure it hurt my parents to find new homes for their cats when they left the UK, but they did it. Then again, I've a rumbling lifelong suspicion that my parents are far stronger than I am.
Then again, there is no assurance that Alex and I would find England - or Canada, or New Zealand - suitable for us. It's just an overblown form of running away from problems. If I had some viable skills - something more in demand than an ability to use a computer - then emigration might be more realistic. My father was a DBA with ten years' experience when he was recruited for a job in the States, in 1984. At that time, that was a hard-to-find skillset, worth bringing a guy 6,000 miles for. I don't have skills that are worth the moving costs for 60 miles, let alone 6,000. Assistant anythings are a dime a dozen. To make a go of the UK, Alex and I would have to save up a shitload of money, move over their cold, and pray we could find a job before going bankrupt. That's a little closer to the knife's edge than I want to be.
And I'm back to thinking if I could just attend school for a couple of semesters, I could pick up some skills that would be more bankable. Tech-writing, advanced web-site building, broadcast production. I've always said that if I could do university all over again, I would major in broadcast and communications, rather than film. Film left me with almost nothing but the ability to appreciate movies and know what I'm twittering about when I go on photo-safaris.
I just don't see any way out of the current
situation. Living expenses take up almost all of our money. Alex and I
can't put anything into savings, and that bothers me. Hell, we can't
even afford health insurance right now, and that really bothers
me. Come 2003 - when we've hit 3 years in our current house and are thus
no longer liable for the state of the carpets - I believe that Alex and
I should move to a cheaper place, Antioch, probably. But that means
we'll have to find the scratch to buy a 'new' car, as our current one
wouldn't be able to deal with the run to BART/work every day. And, of
course, we don't have the money for that. Sigh. Not having credit
can be an awful bitch at times... Still, at least I'm not saddled with
I've told myself that if I do lose another ten pounds - and it has to be ten, not five - by the end of the year, I'm going to look into acting classes and getting some headshots done. Yeah, crazy dreamer, I know. I enjoyed acting in college, and my beloved teacher kept nagging at me to keep up with it, but I was firmly determined to be behind the camera/stage. Now I'm starting to wonder otherwise. If nothing else, it'll make for an interesting conversational topic and help me stretch my brain a bit.
But, having gone through approximately 800 old headshots at the casting agency next door to my office (my boss inherited some old filing cabinets from next door, guess who had to clean them out?) I realize that I have to weigh 115 or even less to get anywhere. Poor bloody actors - I always have a bit of sympathy for those whose bodies are so important to their career. As far as my milieu is concerned, I'm in pretty good shape. A bit pneumatic, yes, but stacked where it matters. But actors and models have to be so thin, all the time, and if they're not, oh, the howls of derision that will be aired... Gods, how awful.
(Granted, I would have to plunk down $2K to fix my nose and a few hundred bucks for contacts, too, but I'll burn that bridge if I ever get to it. C'mon, I'm dreaming, here)
I'm getting a little tired of tearing friends down. But it's so much fun, sometimes, in a vicious way. Particularly if I'm cheesed off with whoever I'm gossiping about. On the one hand, one should feel at least a little ashamed of gossiping and rubbishing. On the other hand, when did I get volunteered to be the token Nice Person? It's a constant bloody balancing act, isn't it? Between the urge for smug self-satisfaction and not so smug humility.
By the way, smug humility is the pits, and best avoided.
But there are
moments when the city can be enjoyable, or made enjoyable. Tourist
season is in full swing, a fact that was evident as I squeaked down
Market Street last weekend. I say squeaked because I happened to
be wearing a pair of shiny black PVC pants as part of my
going-to-concert duds. But more of that in a moment.
I'm tired of doing busywork for a job I'm not entirely sure I'm going to keep.
I'm tired of worrying about money, my weight, my family.
I'm just tired.
Let's rant, shall we? Yes, let's.
We're all hypocrites, every single one of us. It's just a matter of degree and context. Hell, everything in the world hinges on context, doesn't it?
Side note: outside my window, a little frog is making painstaking, drawn-out croaky noises as he seeks a mate. I want to run out there with a draught of throat-medicine, so extended and dry is his voice.
But anyways, hypocrisy. It's not even that what's getting me down right now, it's inconsistency. Sure, sure, that's only human nature, but there are days when human nature aggravates me more than others.
I've been guilty of most of those crimes. Mea fuckin' culpa. At
least I feel an inkling of guilt - most of the time. Eventually. Those
three examples cited above have, however, been particularly vexing
lately. Ah well, time will pass, I will feel better and the Earth will
continue it's diurnal course.
I'm listening to the Alison Moyet song Falling. I like it a lot.
Although maybe you have to listen to it to understand why I like it.
As most of you know, silence doesn't come easy to me. There's something going on in my family right now and, while I can write about it privately, I can't share that writing in an open forum. So if you see me ranting/whining about "Family Issues", that's what it is. No, Alex and I are not teetering on the verge of divorce, nor is anyone in my family. I'll tell you that much.
I'm getting tired of the CAST game. Correction, I'm getting tired of the CAST players. Not all of them, but just enough of them to give thought - once again, as usual - to quitting the troupe. I've really had enough of players who don't understand why the STs won't give them whatever they want - ever hear of game balance? I've also had enough of incommunicative slackers who can't be bothered to make a ten second phone call to warn us that they are going to be late, then whine when they arrive and discover that we've packed up their character for the night - as per our well-publicized house rules. I've also had my fill of players who seem to forget that some of have lives outside of game and, in fact, that The Game might not rank that high on our list of priorities. It's an obligation, yes, sometimes it's fun enough to counteract the weight of it occasionally being a bit of a chore. But the central fact of my existence? Nope, sorry. I went through that stage when I ran Diablo's Children for two years. I'm done.
So I don't know for how much longer I'm going to be CAST. I'm playing one of my darling characters - Patricia - but that can amuse one for only so long. It's been over a year. Maybe it's time to move on.
I want more time for other things. For writing and sewing, mostly. The solo aspect of both those hobbies holds a great appeal at this point. If I get lonely, that's what sewing circles and writers' groups are for.
I'm also undergoing my perennial urge to learn more about kemetic orthodoxy, and that could take up a lot of time. I spoke to Alex about that - the kemet, I mean - last night. He didn't quite roll his eyes, but I didn't sense a wave of support from him, either. Then again, he likes to keep his spirituality intensely private, so maybe he just doesn't want to hear me prattle on about my floundering searches.
Maybe I'm selfish, but there are times when I really want my husband's support and I don't feel like I'm getting it. Like The Diet. Okay, he wove a few pom-poms and said I looked better, but he also says things like "Good for you!" when my nerve breaks and I order bacon, eggs and extra grease for breakfast on a Saturday. That is not supportive.
Then again, I'm carrying a lot of resentment over from a different issue, that of his refusal to diet. I love my husband. Specifically, I would love it if he didn't have a heart attack before his 50th birthday. Judging by his current shape, though, that's not a prospect I'm willing to gamble on right now. Of course, with that Guy Vision that all Guys have, he doesn't see anything wrong with his shape. The fact that his waist measurement is only two inches smaller than my hips has failed to move him - ditto for the mysteriously shrinking pants in his closet. I want the skinny sexy guy I met six years ago, or at least a reasonable approximation thereof. But, it seems that is too much to ask for. God help me when I ask him for a real sacrifice, like those that are involved with child-rearing. It's not a prospect that fills me with optimism.
Back to gaming for a moment - because if I continue as above, things are only going to get bitter (well, more bitter) and that ain't good. So, I'm dealing with my monthly-urge to leave CAST. I've got one other regular tabletop game going on - Howard's SW game - which I'm really enjoying, and it only occurs every six weeks or so, so it's not a huge time-sink. But then there's Alex's 7th Sea game coming up...
I'm thinking of skipping that game for a couple of reasons. Firstly, my character for that game hasn't really taken off for me. Secondly, there's B. She's a good pal, and a smart-as-a-whip gamer. But if we have too many tabletop games together, sooner or later, our characters end up in conflict, and the energy between us gets ugly. I think it's the Alpha-Female thing, or maybe that we're both fairly sensitive people, and hyper-alert to nuance. We've got a nice balance going on in the one game we currently share and I'm glad for that. I think two games might push it, particularly one which my husband is running. Since I'm not 100% sold on the game in the first place, maybe I'll just dodge it entirely.
Then again, B is currently in the process of rearranging her life, so maybe she won't join Alex's game, either. Regardless, I am inclined to believe that I'm going to pass it up, whether or not B is a part of the troupe.
Bah, enough gaming-talk. I promised myself that I would minimize that sort of thing in this journal. But it's on my mind right now, and I can talk about it openly.
Sigh... Maybe I just need a break from people.
That's not true. If I spend too much time alone, inside my own skull, I get all introverted and strange. I need to spend more time outside of my skull. I need to see people and witness events that will stretch my brain muscles - or at least stop them from freezing solid. I need to change routines, shake up the status quo and lay off the brooding. The best way to cure brooding is to get busy - writing and sewing help that, even though they are solo activities. Believe me, when you're struggling with a character motive or a tricky princess seam, there's no room on your mind for anything else. But the walls start to close in, eventually.
I need a better job, too, but that's another issue entirely. One thing at a time, my girl.
"If were just a bit closer to that idiot," I said to my husband as we sat slightly downwind of some yahoo in a Beemer with a celphone, "I would lean into that open window of his, and point out that no girl would want to go out with a celphone-toting wanker who converses in tones so bloody loud that he can be heard over traffic, so he may as well quit bemoaning his love life - at least while his windows are down..." I paused. "Although that wouldn't be terribly polite, would it? Causes road rage and all that."
Today's English Moment brought to you by...
Tomorrow is my mother's birthday. Because of Un-nameable Family Issues, I'm feeling a tad trepidatious. But I can't talk about it, so I had better change the subject, sharpish.
I should tackle my life like a novel. Not like a well-crafted, painstakingly-written project. No, what I mean is that I should tackle my life in such a manner so that, when I look back upon it a few years hence, the summary of events will be somewhat plausible, interesting, and satisfying. Having grown sick of her precarious job, Johanna threw caution to the wind and took on an ill-paying but enheartening position with a small production house in Oakland. She wiled away her dull commute by studying marketing and tech-writing, two things that she had been meaning to get around to for some time. Cheered on by her new-found self-esteem, she joined a gym to get into shape, and then went back to college to obtain another degree. Of course, her second college career was somewhat interrupted by the birth of her daughter, Helen, but Alex's career as a graphic artist allowed him enough at-home time for them to share obligations...
Call it insipid if you like. We each have our own dreams. Mine have grown distressingly normal, as time continues to pass.
Today marks eighteen years in the United States. In case you were wondering, I spent slightly less than twelve in the United Kingdom, of which I am still a citizen, and not yet a citizen of the U.S. Sometimes I notice the anniversary, occasionally I don't. I would do something to commemorate the day, but my mind is on other things.
I've been reading The Hero With A Thousand Faces. It's fascinating, particularly to someone who takes occasional interest in writing and storytelling. These universal elements of the myth that Campbell mentions makes me think about how those elements apply to other, more mundane, tales - rather than the culturally-epic myths the Campbell cites to support his perspective. It's pretty neat, in it's way. Logan is going to loan me a copy of that Moyers series on Campbell, and I think that will help me a get a handle on him. This book is interesting, but also very dense. I'm told that the PBS series is informative and accessible.
I'm trying very hard not to wallow in a bad mood, or bitch about something today, so it's likely to be a short entry. Hmm. Non-bitchy subjects... I was going to bleach my hair tonight, preparatory to dyeing it purple but, for lack of a comb in the house, the plan has been put off until next week.
I'm giving some thought to recording my dreams again, although only particularly noteworthy ones, rather than every night. Trying to keep a journal every night was what killed Juggling Mercury. I have vivid dreams, and recording them all proved too much. But if I kept it down to once or twice a month, that would be manageable.
Although I think I will return to my habit of keeping a notebook by the bed, and jotting down keywords when I wake up in the dark. Just last night, I awoke from a dream that was not only interesting, but I think it had a germ of a good gaming idea in it, too. I lay awake for a few moments, memorizing the important elements before falling asleep again. Usually, that works, but it my efforts were obliterated by the nightmare that followed.
As nightmares go, it was quite tame, really. Simply lying in bed, hearing an intruder creep around the house and speak of awful deeds in an awful voice that sounded like rusty hinges. As long as I kept absolutely still and didn't react at all, I knew I was safe. But, oh, that voice was frightening. That's all - but it managed to scramble my memory of everything that preceded it. Hence the decision to reinstate my notebook at my bedside.
I finished reading Alexei Sayle's book o'short fiction, Barcelona Plates, two days ago. The stories are very good, but also very dark, as well as humorous. I wasn't expecting the entire volume to be dark - and it was - so it threw me off a bit. But it's still a good book. One day, I'll share my story of how I met Sayle backstage at some London theater when I was about five years old... My brush with fame and all that.
One day, I'll have children. Which books
will I leave within reach of them? Which ones will I put on the higher
shelves? Which ones will I just give away completely - or at least put
into storage until the little dears are, oh, fifteen or so? By the time
I have kids, will there be any taboos left to shield them from? I
suppose every generation felt (or feels) that way...
I have decided to give Alex's 7th Sea
game a go. He didn't look too happy when I told him I was thinking of
avoiding it entirely. But it's going to be a big group - five in all.
The other four are more than enough to keep Alex's plots bubbling, so if
I go, I won't feel too guilty.
I like most of the players in CAST. Their attitude has nothing to do with my thoughts of departure - which is a change from previous games I've dropped. But I'm getting increasingly querulous and defensive about the handling of the game, particularly when doing 'spin control' with the playership. This means I've had enough of the behind-the-scenes stuff and it's only a matter of time before I go snap! To those who have heard about my 'diplomatic' e-mail to ChrisB, you have an inkling of what my snapping is like. But only an inkling.
The only way to get away from that is to withdraw from the game entirely. Given that Alex is so involved with the plotting - and I sometimes come in on the peripheral too - the only way for me to truly relax from that troupe is to step out completely, not just retire my established character for a new one.
There are many other things I could/should be doing with my time. My ongoing devotion to silly games is no doubt some expression of a not-so-stifled urge to grow up. My thoroughly messy house and shambolic finances would be similar expressions of that urge. It seems that the entire country is suffering from a similar syndrome.
Does that mean I'm going to give up LARPing? Hell no. I've tried that before, and failed miserably. But over the past couple of years I have been very picky about the company I keep, and I intend to continue to do so. So I doubt I'll be joining any new groups any time soon...
Incredibly tired, and my husband wants the machine. "And so, to bed..."
Didn't I read somewhere that Samuel
Pepys was a pedophile?
Alex is looking for graphics work. And high time, too, I think. In all likelihood, we will have to at least contemplate moving to Los Angeles. Ordinarily I would say "Let's go!". Sure, I have a lingering dislike for the place, but hell, that was nearly 20 years ago and Alex's career is more important to me than some stale grudge. But, damn, moving is expensive. I've never handled a major move myself, and Alex has always had the assistance of Uncle Sam when moving from post to post. The only way I can foresee us saving up enough money to get out of town is for me to grit my teeth and take some well-paid-but-in-a-vile-environment office job, and rake in some money, whilst we do our best to save every dime. Even then...Let's just say I don't see us going anywhere before mid-2003.
There's also The Family Issues that would impact my decision to go anywhere. And that's very much up in the air right now.
To my as-yet un-conceived child, on their sixteenth birthday:
yeah, your mom is doing one of those cheezy "write a letter to the future" things. Humor her, will you?
I've spent too much time looking backwards, realizing mistakes I have made, and counting regrets. I don't want you to do this. Some people will tell you that this is the best time in your life. They're wrong. That time is just a few years hence, but you do now will determine that future.
There's a lot more I could say but the words aren't too easy to find as I sit here in a stuffy computer room in California. It's tough to write to someone who doesn't even exist, yet. Still, there'll be time in the future for all the things I want to say and should say. I hope you'll be willing to listen, just a little bit...