Note to self: Grab accordion from next door

13 04 2009

Saw a movie tonight with Travis called “What About Me?” featuring all sorts of self-help & motivational speakers on the topic of “be here now” kinda stuff. It chided Americans for being focused on things that don’t matter–the maya of the world–rather than helping one another & fostering pure experience.

While for the most part it came across as preaching to the choir, a theatre full of boho types in the Gallery Row district of downtown, exhorting them to let go of material attachments & stop thinking what the world though of them–HI, you’re saying this to a room full of artists–it also had some fantastic music and some good sentiments sprinkled in.

more than anything, though, it did leave me inspired to try to pick up a musical instrument again, or my paintbrush, or even my poetry. Because honestly I’ve become so into work & my relationship that I never play or do anything purely creative anymore. That should probably change.

Happy Easter

12 04 2009

Today is the day when Peeps go from 99cents to 25 cents, and as such it is a day for rejoicing.

not dead yet.

30 03 2009

Left a birthday party Saturday night because I was fucking sick of being the only one swilling glass after glass of sparkling water.

I wonder if it will ever get any easier, or if I will always feel like a fucking loser.

le sigh

20 03 2009

It is a light-saturated day in los angeles. the air is tangible, thick with a honey color. I am at work on the third floor of a building overlooking the freeway in Burbank. Barack Obama is next door at NBC taping The Tonight Show.

I don’t feel bad, but I don’t feel okay either. I’ve been feeling this way for a while now, maybe a few months. Neutral, bland.

I have no fucking idea where my life is going. I’m 32 and everything seems up in the air. Everything I used to value no longer seems possible, or important. And nothing has moved in to replace those now-absent values and dreams. I don’t know what I want, and I don’t know what I want my life to be like.

I think I need a vacation. I think I need a long, long drive to somewhere vast and empty.

My friend Ben will occasionally leave the country and escape to a place where everyone speaks another language. He goes to be alone in the midst of others. It gives him peace and perspective. As for me, I tend to feel most at home on this planet when I’m dwarfed by the sky, or by the landscape. It’s a reminder I am small, but for some reason, that makes me feel so much more free. Maybe remembering we’re not the center of the universe–only of our own thoughts–is essential to a sense of peace.

Less pressure that way, or something.

Choosing gratitude

20 01 2009

I’m really pissed.

I started here at this job over a year ago.

I taught everyone here what social media was all about. They put me in charge of social media.

Now they’re reeling me back in ‘cuz they’re a big fat corporation that doesn’t like transparent marketing. They want all these social networks to be one constant boring stream of PR. I’ve told them this isn’t how social media works, and their response has basically been, “Fuck you, we’re in charge.”

So, fine. Deep breath.

I was here frothing at the mouth with rage over the whole thing and I realized the problem is with me. I had an expectation that I would be taken seriously, respected and listened to. But it’s important to realize that to most of the people here I’m nothing but an ignorant, annoying upstart that came out of nowhere.

Right now, sans the social networking, my job is simply to be a calendar editor. Which is what I told my boss I did NOT want to do if I came on here.

I thought about going to him & complaining. I thought about looking for another job.

Then I saw the news story that this company will be laying off 1,500 people nationwide tomorrow. It likely won’t be me, but people in middle management.

I realized I really have to be grateful I even have work. With 10% unemployment projected for LA in 2009, I’m lucky to have a high-profile well-paying job.

Am I as important around here as I think I should be? As I thought I was? No. I’m a copy-and-paster.

But I have a really well-paying job for a copy-and-paster.

So I’m going to choose gratitude, and look at the lessons I can take from this. I need to find fulfillment in all avenues of my life, not expect my work to fill it all. I need to keep my eyes open for a position more in line with the kind of stimulation I require and what sounds fun. And I need to be happy I have a job to be annoyed about.

A Blogger’s Burden

15 01 2009

Aren't they cute?A recent post on Metblogs sparked this epic firefight over what’s a journalist, what’s a blogger, and what a blogger’s responsibilities are: are they the same as a journalist?

Considering how my fellow freelance-writer colleagues over at the UPOD are discussing similar things right now, I found it fascinating. Is it an old saw? Yes, for those of us in the business. For the mainstream media, it’s still shaky ground. Here’s the comment I added on to the comment thread, which at posting was 46, I believe.

I recently read–or heard–a media commentator make an interesting point. I’m really irritated now that I can’t remember where I noticed it–I’ll have to do some digging. Now, this is paraphrasing, but basically this individual, who had been a journalist, said

“Newspapers worked very well for a very long time. They fit our needs perfectly for so long, in fact, we began to think of that newspaper, hitting our porches every Sunday morning, in the coffee shop every day, as a constant–as an immovable element of American culture. But it isn’t. It is a form of communication that no longer is the silver bullet it once was. And those who always considered a newspaper as a pillar of Western culture–even, of civilization itself, the inviolable sanctity of the journalist’s role in a community–are now crying and wringing their hands. We’re going through a sea change. New forms of media have been birthed. Our culture is moving on, to new things that never existed before. Newspapers will never regain the role they once had in America.”

I really think of this, and replace the word “newspapers” with “journalists.” Bloggers are not–unfortunately, for those who find analogies helpful in simplifying a complex world–analogous to journalists. They are, for better or worse, a new breed of information-disseminator. It is for history to sort out what sort of stripes and fur bloggers have, and how that’s different from a Field Guide To Journalists.

Different species. Occasionally co-habiting in the same field.

What are blogger’s responsibilities in terms of accuracy/precision? In terms of fact-checking, attributions, quotes, sourcing? Balance? Fairness? What are their responsibilities to the community? To their readers?

As of now, we are still in the wilds of the Interwebs, and no hard and fast rules apply. At this point, it seems as though bloggers choose their own set of standards. For better or worse.

not with the motivation thingy

8 01 2009

Staff meeting. Boss has assistant throw thingies (ok, dollars) all over the room. Staff looks about, nonplussed.

Boss instructs us to pick them up. The staff scrambles.

“Now, you see how some of you went all out? And some of you just sat around looking at one another? This represents how you feel about this place. This represents how you feel about your job here, working to grow our income.”

What does it say then about me when my thought, upon being prompted to run & scrounge for cash, was “I’m not doing this. This is lame.”