Thursday, July 29, 2004

I'm starting to believe that I have a sixth sense.

No, I don't see dead people, as far as I know. But I can sense things at times before they happen. That just not right feeling in the air that had me getting out of bed last night at 2:00am, turning off my airconditioner and fan, then cracking the window open so I could hear the outside. The hair on my arms stood up on end and for the first time, I was afraid in my apartment. I got back into bed, pulled the covers up to my chin in the dark, and relaxed my body a bit slightly having convinced myself that my jitters were the result of an overactive imagination.

And that's when the sound of a huge explosion ripped through the night.

I jumped, my cats, who were already as alert as I was, jumped. I got out of bed, kicked over the bowl of change on the floor but didn't slow my pace. The cats followed me into the bathroom where I turned on the light. The dog in the apartment above me was going nuts, running back and forth. I walked out, back to the bedroom and heard the helicopter buzzing above, then peeked out the window and saw the bright light casing the buildings across from me and the alley. I walked to the kitchen, which looks out to the street, and saw the reflections of blue and white lights on the windows across from me.

I got dressed, pulling on a white T-shirt and jeans. I was scared, so I didn't care that I didn't have on a bra. I searched for my keys, then walked outside.

One patrol car was blocking the intersection, and two guys who had been roused from their beds like I was were questioning him. I walked over, and the cop said there was a bomb threat at the armory, which is a mammoth building a few blocks from me. He had not heard the explosion, so didn't have an answer. "It's not even my district," he said, "I was just told to block off traffic."

I went back upstairs, then was restless for an answer. I left my apartment again, walking aimlessly around my neighborhood and stopped to talk to people who were outside because of the noise. No one had any answers, no clues at what the explosion was were visible, and I realized that being outside at this time of night was silly. I walked back to my apartment and went to bed. I dreamt I was shoveling cocaine out of the ground and encasing it in cement molds so that when the mafia came back, they couldn't sell any of it.

This morning, I learned that someone had planted two pipe bombs outside the armory, and the explosion I heard was the police safely detonating the bombs.

Monday, July 26, 2004

I've once again gone longer than desired between postings. It isn't because my job has interfered with my blog, but rather that my life has become infinitely void of the chance encounters, or fun and absurd happenings since I've moved to Baltimore, and it leaves me with not much to report. Though I have a neat job, my personal life is in limbo. On many fronts. And, because of the confidentiality of my job, there isn't much that I can write about on the blog.

It's strange to be somewhere in your own country where you feel like a foreigner. And, where you look at others as if they are foreigners. I was thumbing through old photographs and marveled at the amount of people that I was surrounded by when in Los Angeles. Nights out, dinners, clubbing, and days at coffee shops. Girl's days out at the salon or spa, girls and boys days out at the beach, and even sailing. Sitting on my Beverly Hills corner with my hunks whom I'd met there and giggling with them as they talked about their escapades. I made friends with ease in that town. And I'm still in touch and care about many of them. In a way, I never left them. When I came back this year, many of them came up and greeted me on the street when I visited my coffee shop. Even my coffee shop acquaintances remembered me and noticed I'd been gone, and walked up and gave me hugs. That felt really good.

As I type, the creator of the show is sitting across from me putting the final touches on episode seven of the show. As he types on his laptop, he seems oblivious to the world around him, and I wonder if the hole has formed in the computer screen for him as it does for me when I'm writing. The hole that leads to the world that you have ceased to create, but are now watching and recording. After he is finished, we will proof the script. Sometimes I think about the responsibility of that, that this script, and very high profile, public thing has been put into the hands of four kids, almost, to proof and make sure that it is ready to go to HBO. I mean, who are we to have this kind of responsibility? But we do it. Every week and a half, we do it.

The creator of the show (COS) asked me to do script coverage, meaning I'm the first person to read work submitted by writers who want a chance at writing for the show. I read it, grade it, and recommend if it passes or fails to go to the next level of consideration. It's funny sometimes when I think that I'm getting paid to read at work, and that the (COS)has enough confidence in my abilities that he asked me to do this. One of the submissions was an independently published book that Barnes and Noble doesn't carry, but I recognized the title off the bat. Several African-American women asked for it, and were surprised when I knew about the book. I guess I really am that lily-white. I'm reading that one first, and the others are scripts.

I've gotten to do a wide variety of things during this job, and that's been great. I've gotten to talk with Dennis Lehane, (Mystic River), Tony Kushner, (Angels in America), Anthony Walton, (Mississippi). I work alongside best selling authors and exist in a top-tier writer's world. Somehow, in this town where I am a foreigner, I was still able to find my way to this job through the "you can't...who do you think you are," mentality that exists here. Why? Because when the "I can't" dragon raises its scaly head, I stand ready to slay it with one swipe of the sword. Upon seeing my ferocity, it backs down and retreats to hunt for a more fallible victim. And there are so many of those here. Easy pick'ins.

On the contrary, my coworkers all have their personal projects and dreams they want to accomplish, and constantly amaze me at their diligence and dedication. All of us but one are not from here. And the one that is from here, an exceptionally mature, organized, and driven girl whom I have no doubt will realize her goals, had to wade through the same bullshit of "you can'ts," from friends and family that occurred even when she dared to go away to college. "Away," to her peers, was a college across town. Well dear detractors, she has, and not only that, she will. My other coworker just gave me a screenplay that he wrote that has gotten the attention of an agent, and I can't wait to read it. Another manages musicians, two of whom will be heard on the show. My goals aren't as obvious at work, but if I have a question about them, the right people are here to ask and I've certainly made connections to help them get realized. And, all are very nice and seemingly generous people who would take the time to answer. Not only that, make sure that we get the credit for what we do. The COS made sure that myself and the girl I just mentioned received acknowledgments in a forthcoming book where we wrote the glossary and meticulously fact checked, corrected and proofread the contents.

This job ends at the end of October, and I have no idea what I'm going to do next. However, I'm okay with that. It is the non-permanence that makes it a better experience as if it is a preparation for what I'm going to do next in the process of trying to return to Los Angeles. I'm taking things as they come, and know I'll end up somewhere. Maybe not where I want to right away, but I am richer for having had this experience.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

I just read an article that illustrated the times we live in. Apparently, on June 29th, 2004, a woman witnessed 14 men execute what appeared to be a dry run of a terrorist plot during her flight from Detroit to Los Angeles. The flight attendants were aware, as were the sky marshalls who were on board. Upon landing, the plane was met by all the authorities you can imagine, and she was questioned for four hours by the FBI.

Read her story.

Monday, July 12, 2004

I saw Spiderman 2 with my mom and nephew today. Excellent movie. Well done, well acted, good dialogue, and an actual story line. The effects were great, and there were some very funny moments. I highly, highly recommend it.

I hadn't seen the first Spiderman, so I had a friend send it to me on DVD. Before I went to this one, I was able to watch the first hour, which I also thought was very good, again for the same reasons. And, it introduced me to the story and how Spiderman became Spiderman. No, I didn't know.

Shut up.

Alec, my nephew is here from Atlanta, and has a non-stop mouth. He talks from morning until night, but didn't during the movie thankfully. I asked my mom if I was that much of a chatterer, and she said that I wasn't. I was grateful to hear so as I would have felt guilty for putting her through that. Other than the chatter box, he's a great little guy. Seven years old, funny, and very social. He'll talk to anyone, make friends immediately and doesn't shy away from adults or kids. I remember one time when my sister and Alec came to visit me in Los Angeles. I think he was around three years old, still young enough to be in a stroller for long walks. We were walking down Santa Monica Blvd., looking for somewhere to eat, and there was a bedraggled homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. The man looked in his mid thirties, but the streets and alcohol had aged him to look much older. He had long, dirty blonde hair, a scraggly beard, sun baked skin and wore clothes that were that "homeless" color, a dark grey brown, due to dirt and wear. As we passed, Alec leaned forward in his stroller and said, "Hi," to the man, who was sitting hunched over. At my nephew's greeting, he sat up straight, looked him in the eye and said very properly back, "Well hello, sir." It was priceless. And that's Alec. He's here until Thursday or Friday, I think, staying at my mom and Jack's house.

Yesterday, I rearranged my apartment a bit and it has a much better feel to it. I just love what I did. I hadn't planned on pushing around furniture, but the inspiration came over me. I've also painted and realize that I've learned a bit since attempting my last one. I'm either getting better, or it was a lucky shot. Either way, I feel like I've learned a lot and loosened my grip. Drawing or painting in color is a much different exercise. Instead of using darker shades to create form, you use shades of color. And that leaves an endless array of choices. Mostly, it's just observation, when looking at the subject and remembering to just paint what you see. It's easy to try to overcompensate though, and I've fallen into that trap many times. So, it feels good to think that I've actually learned something in these attempts.

I'm also working on my bedroom walls, as the landlord finally got me a ladder tall enough to reach my 12-foot-high ceilings. I find it interesting that I'm scraping away this highest layer, at a time where there has been a lot of change in my life. Reaching the top, if you will. I started the project a year ago, but couldn't continue due to lack of a ladder. I find that very metaphorical to what I've been going through lately. The asking for a leg up, but only when I'm asking so that I can continue to do the work myself, not in the hope that someone will finish what I started after it got too big, or too tall for me in this case. And, that I can continue because I've prepared. Because I rent, I refused to buy a ladder, as the building with its high ceilings should have one anyway. Not to mention, the free work they are getting from me. The personal satisfaction though, and process as I described, is why I'm doing it. And that, the landlord doesn't have to be privy to. As I work, I listen to the audio version of The Da Vinci Code. I'm not impressed with the narrator, but am glad that I am listening to this book instead of reading it.

I'm trying not to feel like I have to do too much during break, or concentrating on how many days of it that I have left. I'm just being, taking it little by little.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Our one week hiatus is next week, meaning nine whole days without work. It snuck up on me, so I haven't thought about how I'm going to spend it. Perhaps updating some things on this blog, definitely throwing more stuff away, and certainly painting, writing, or drawing.

It's official, I've begun looking for work in Los Angeles. It's going to take a while, perhaps a very long time, so this hiatus will also be spent sending my resume to potential employers to see the feedback that I get. Sort of like fishing in a stream to see if the lure I'm using is effective. I'm going to be very careful on selecting a job when that happens, and not just pick up and leave. I have so many things to consider. And because I'm a "sensitive," I will once again say that I must be very very careful.

One of the ways that I'm doing that is by tailoring my resume to reflect me, and not some cold fish. I did that with the resume that got the attention of the creator and executive producer of the show that I'm on now, and this job has worked out. In fact, my first week, a bunch of people from production came up and introduced themselves to me, saying, "we wanted to meet the person who had the guts to send a resume like that out," also mentioning that it was well done and made them laugh. Apparently, it had been passed around and enjoyed by many people.

I used to worry so much about my resume and if it said the right things. There are books written on the subject, many that I sold to customers when I worked at Barnes and Noble. I used to work as an editorial producer at CareerPath.com, now Careerbuilder.com, so I know my shit when it comes to resumes and job searching. Also, if it isn't obvious by now to those who read this blog, I have a passion for path finding.

So, when I looked at my resume and realized that it said nothing about me, I changed it to best represent me in my absence. I make light of my experience, showing that I did my job effectively, but also had a good time. The humor is not overpowering, but subtle. And, not "all over" the resume. It peeks out in places, keeping the reader interested and looking for more. Some people will appreciate the unconventional resume, others will not. I don't want to work for those who don't, and therefore it will save me the time and stress of a job interview. There is nothing worse than going on a job interview knowing from your first step inside the door that the place isn't for you. Usually, when the place is too freezing, drably decorated with employees crated in cubicles, who are all too happy that their fabric-coated half walls separate them from having to look at another human being, that's a good sign that I don't belong there.

When I walk through a workplace, I look at so many things. Being a sensitive, you can't help it. I look at clothes, desk decorations, lighting, listen to what radio stations are playing, decor, and the receptionist. Are they hip, or someone who has fallen victim to secretary spread so much that their ample ass is permanently embossed with the Herman Miller Aeron logo? Do I walk through a cloud of cheap cologne or perfume with every desk that I pass? Does the person who is interviewing me measure up or remind me of the snarky school librarian? Does the place have life, and flow? At this point in my life, when I go to a job interview, I'm interviewing them. And that's what my resume does. If they don't have a sense of humor, it weeds them out.

The job that I have now was the first time that I'd sent out the resume, and it was successful. While I'd like to think that my genius was so apparent that the first person who saw it grabbed me up to work for them for fear of losing me, I know it isn't. The timing was right, and that won't be the case in all openings. It's going to be a long trek, but one that I'm willing to make.