Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Yes, I changed my picture. I just felt like a change, so I put this one up. Maybe I'll change it again later, maybe not.

I've just found myself so sad over the catastrophe in New Orleans, Mississippi and the surrounding areas. The images are just so tragic. Tonight, they moved my stepfather to tears when he recognized where he had just been in Bay St. Louis, completely flattened. We were at the dinner table, watching the reports, and he just lost it. It made me so sad. Watching those poor people on television breaks my heart and makes me feel so helpless.

And speaking of sadness, I had to make a pit stop in a very bad neighborhood to get gas, as did a lot of people. I was running on fumes and there are very few gas stations downtown, so I didn't have a choice. I was already hot under the collar because the roads had been at a standstill and weren't moving. As I pulled up, I saw that the pumps were surrounded by kids who wanted to pump my gas for me for change. I didn't have change, and said so. And, I really didn't have any change, having to coin dive at the coffee shop that morning because I hadn't gone to the bank. A man in a wheelchair approached me for change right after and I said the same thing. I had trouble getting the pump to work and had to go back and forth to the attendant to get the gas going. As I did so, the kid, who looked to be about twelve or so kept asking me to let him pump my gas. I told him, "I don't even carry cash anymore." He looked at me and asked with genuine sincerity and concern, "Did you get robbed?" It melted my heart. My anger at the situation and the people around me went away. I said that I had, and he looked to the ground. Before my eyes, an irritating consequence of stopping in a bad neighborhood morphed into a sweet kid. A sweet, poor black kid who lived in the projects that surrounded the area, looking not just for change, but for human contact with an adult. And maybe with an adult who didn't look like him or by the grace of God have to ask people for change. The kind of adult who usually blows through his neighborhood with windows rolled up and doors locked. As I looked at this boy who by bad luck was in a really shitty situation, but had retained a sweetness and somehow still childlike, the hardness on my face softened. I smiled and said, "It sucks." I wasn't just talking about having been robbed.

He nodded, having been let in. So little on my part, but it was enough.

As I pulled out, I rolled down my window and said goodbye to him, and he waved, then said, "Maybe you can get me next time."

And just maybe I will.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wow, what a storm. Complete devastation in Mississippi. New Orleans is still being flooded as I type this. A 200 foot break in a levy pours water into the city. It's going to take months for people to get back into their homes. As I typed my last entry, I couldn't help thinking, as I sat in my dry and comfortable apartment, that someone was going to die that night. Sure, every night, minute, second, someone dies, but the people I was thinking about were going to be killed by a storm. And as alive as I was typing on my blog, so were they. But, because of nature, they wouldn't be within 24 hours.

One of our producers here lives in New Orleans and doesn't know the status of his home. His daughter is here in the office, as the family had to evacuate. They also have a place in New York City, since he is an executive producer for Law & Order and works out of there part of the year. I'm guessing the daughter is about ten, very confident and articulate with a happy energy. Immediately likeable. It's nice to have people's kids come into the office as it adds a nice energy, and I get to see the people I work with in a different light as parent, adding more depth to them. So far, the kids that have come into the office have been great. I can see why, because the people here are very good people. Proof that you don't have to be an asshole to be successful in entertainment, nor do you have to spawn brats.

We're supposed to get strong thunderstorms today, and the remnants of Katrina are headed our way. That will probably come Wednesday or Thursday in the form of rain or gloom.

I got a deep tissue massage on Sunday, opting for an hour and a half since I was way overdue for one. I'm going to have another one this weekend to work out more kinks, but this time just for an hour. It's part of the investment I've decided to put into my body to become more healthy. When it comes down to it, our health is all us humans have, and I'm going to try to do a little better with mine. I may try to do yoga, and I'm going to check out the gyms in town. I'm very picky with gyms, and have a low tolerance for bullshit. I get very leery if I see too many people in thongs prancing around or some short beeftard who gives me an impersonal spiel that is as canned as the liquid protein he drinks daily. When it comes to gyms, I can spot BS a mile away since I got into the best shape of my life in a bare bones no frills gym without all the dressing. The one difference, the owner was there and taught you how to work out properly and effectively. I also worked a stint at that gym. There is such a gym here, and I've been meaning to check it out. I don't think they help you work out, but it's no frills, no thongs, and I already know how to work out thanks to Charles. It's a pay as you go gym, or you can buy weekly or monthly. That's what I'm talking about.

I think exercising will help my motivation in other aspects as well. I felt like a million bucks when I was doing it regularly, and my body responds quickly and well to it. Hopefully this means I'm on a trek to start treating my body well again. After all, it's not like I'm going to get another one.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Please say a prayer for the people in New Orleans and the surrounding areas who are facing a monster category 5 hurricane tonight.

New Orleans is below sea level, so this will be particularly devastating if it continues on its current path and sustains its strength. I was in Baltimore for hurricane Isabel, which was a category 1 or 2, and posted photos on my blog some the damage that it caused in my neighborhood. A category 5, for those who aren't in the know, is catastrophic.

Please keep the people in the area in your thoughts.

Here are some New Orleans based blogs of those who have evacuated:

Blogging Katrina from Downtown New Orleans

Blood Orchid

Velvet Rut

S Turtle

Looka

Some that are not on blogspot or live journal may go down as the storm hits. Many of the New Orleans based blogs were already down.

I'm really worried about those in rural areas who have no electricity, no phone or way of even knowing this thing is coming. It's not uncommon for that area where there are a lot of people living way below the poverty level in hard to reach areas.

I don't know, but this one has me scared for these people.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I went to New York to get my hair done. Yes, and I have a post about it but I'm at work and got tired last night. It's a lot of work to keep up this blog. There have been times I've thought of quitting, just to give myself a break. I don't spend hours on it, but it's a lot of emotional energy. I started it as a catharsis, and I want it to stay that way. The moment it becomes work, I just don't know. I keep thinking, that it's too bad I didn't keep one during my fun years in Los Angeles. I feel this blog is me toned down, meaning that I have less adventures, or, that my adventures have become not as adventurous to me as the years pass and things aren't as novel anymore. My journals from those years detail those times, friends, growth experiences, outings, for which I am glad.

I started this blog in the middle of a downfall, projecting a much different person than the one who drove to Los Angeles with $1000 in her pocket and no clue how she was going to survive when she got there. I made my way, house-sitting, making contacts, then friends and working in Hollywood. While in the internet industry, it was all part of entertainment, so Hollywood was always there. Great parties, great fun. Everyone was so excited and positive, myself included. It was infectious. We were building worlds, masters of our universes. The friends I made during that time are the ones that I still have today. I became used to mingling with the faces in the movies and on television at parties and events, and even at my coffee shop and at the bookstore when I took that big first step back into the human race way back when. LA was fun that way, but, I know that mingling with these folks was a good veil for my own dissatisfaction. I guess today is just one of those days that while I know it's good for me not to have it, I'm missing that veil.

This started on Sunday, which is a day that has always been my designated, "I'm gonna kick my own ass," day, I came to a sort of realization that has been forming for a little over a year. I thought about it a lot yesterday as I sat in the coffee shop and more as I got home and stepped around the clutter in my house. That is, that I'm not the type of person to form contacts to do what I need to do. I have a lot of great ideas, ones that in the hands of a more "go getter" type of person would get accomplished. In teams, I'm great. Like I've mentioned before, BMW liked one of my product/car feature ideas well enough to patent it when I was on a team working on a 7-series concept car prototype. That is yet another example of a time that we were masters of our universe.

However, for my own projects and product ideas, I put together a nice presentation, get excited about them, and then let them sit. If I'm feeling really ballsy, I show them to a few people whom I trust to give me an honest opinion, get great feedback, but then get stuck on my next steps. I feel like a brain wasted, a voice silenced, even impotent, overshadowed by the flaws I have as a human being. Not human flaws, but my flaws. Procrastination, easily discouraged, not being able to see clearly how to get from step A to B when it comes to my own projects, lack of confidence, but being able to shine in it to help others because there is no personal risk. I wonder how many other people in the world feel the same way. The ones who have solutions, but lack the extra whatever it takes to see them through. It's a flaw of many artists and writers who don't have a killer instinct. I also leave things unfinished, because when they are unfinished, they are still a work in progress with the potential to be great. Finished, they are subject to success or failure, both of which I fear equally.

Yes, I'm a tad down today. It's not depression, just the blues. The result of feeling blocked. It's not that I can't create, as I know what my creations are, but a blockage keeps them from getting out. As a result, I'm creatively constipated.

When I went to New York, getting on the train early morning and maneuvering around that city by myself, fully confident, autonomous, and organized, I realized how capable I am. I became frustrated all over again because of it. Like effortlessly landing a back flip when no one is watching, but when even one person is in the room, having to put my hand down mid-flight.

Story of my life on many occasions. I'm wondering if this blog has become the same thing. Putting my hand down mid-flight. Sure, it's a risk, but have I really unleashed myself on it? And, is it necessary to do so? Or, have I put too much energy into it that my other endeavors are suffering? Has it made me become tired of my own voice, so nothing that I create seems fresh? I don't know.

I don't think so, but today it's hard to tell. Perhaps I shouldn't blog under the blues.

Too late now.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Since when did Baltimore become a tropical climate? It has been so hot, so humid here, that it's beyond ridiculous. Last night, it was so hot after dark I could barely walk a few feet without breaking a sweat. Today, same thing. I'm sitting here typing with the AC on, two fans, and a dehumidifier, and I'm still hot. Before I go to bed, I'm going to take a lukewarm shower to cool off my hot skin. Last night, I had to get up and sponge myself off with a wet washcloth. I have a 10,000 BTU window AC, and it barely penetrates my bedroom. Granted, I have almost twelve foot ceilings in a huge room, but I should be able to feel frigid in there when I have it set at 64 degrees and on high fan. Not the case. As I type, the power is mildly fluctuating. Let's just say, it better not even think of going there.

Once again, I have some of the most well traveled books. One of the actors on our show is currently serving in Iraq, and we sent him a care package full of goodies to share with his fellow soldiers. One of the things that I contributed were my paperback books that I’d already set aside for round two of giveaway in the hallway. The last time that I did that, a delighted man from Uganda happened upon them and took several back with him to his country. Now, the books are destined for Iraq, where hopefully they will become dog-eared and worn as they are passed from soldier to soldier.

Ironically, a few days after the package was sent, I got an email from a reader in Iraq who was on a military base just outside of Baghdad. It is so strange to think of the souls across the world who read this blog, and my face appearing on a computer screen in Baghdad. It made me happy to think that I’m offering a bit of the day to day back in the states for someone who is so far from home. The two events were totally unrelated, and I have no idea how he found my blog. Perhaps it was synchronicity at work.

Last night, my mom left a message to tell me that the Metallica documentary was on television. I was in the middle of cleaning my fireplace, with rubber gloves and all, so I didn't answer the phone. I did however, grab the remote with a soapy, sooty gloved hand and switch the channel. My mom called me not because we are a couple of head banging Metallica fans, but because the father of a childhood friend of mine who is now a life coach to the stars, is in the documentary. We'd heard of this when the movie came out and laughed out loud. Though we'd had plans to see the movie in the theater, we never got around to it. It was showing on VH1 and I got a glimpse of Phil Towle helping, and sometimes pissing off the band in his efforts. Phil Towle, it was so perfect and completely plausible. The guy was a social worker, very intense and sort of out there when we were kids. The word groovy comes to mind. He relinquished his social work license in Kansas, and became a life coach. He now lives in Northern California and charges $40,000 per month for his services. A far cry from the free coaching I got from Phil when he coaxed me into holding his son Adam's pet boa constrictor.

Speaking of television, I finally upgraded mine. I've been surviving on a little 13 inch color Sony Trinitron that I've had for at least a decade. It has an awesome picture, it's just small. During my flush years, I bought a huge Sony Wega flat screen that was awesome, and moved the little tiny screen to the kitchen. When I was paring down, I sold it. For my birthday and celebration of starting work again, I bought another set, this one is a 30 inch Samsung SlimFit HDTV flat screen. Awesome, awesome, and awesome. I liked it because is really is a lot slimmer than the Wega, and has excellent picture quality. I got the thumbs up on my choice from Felix, who is the know all of electronics. Samsung is not what it used to be and has great products. Felix sent me a brand new Samsung HD-DVD player for my birthday that I have connected to my HDMI input in the television. Just a beautiful picture. I also subscribed to digital cable, and got HBO and Showtime. I figured since I work on a show that airs on HBO, I might as well have the channel. Last year, I walked to my mom's house to watch it.

Speaking of work, it's still going really well and I'm enjoying it as much as I was my first week. As I said, my mindset is different. I'm absorbing more and am more "present" when I'm there. The script supervisor told me that he felt really good about this year, and I said the same thing. We were nominated for an Emmy this year, but we were talking about the cohesiveness in the office. I worked with him last year, so we all know what to expect from each other. We have a new writer's assistant, whom I already like a lot and has proven to be really on the ball. It's also nice to have another female in there to further balance the testosterone in the office. One of the P.A.s came into the writer's office and commented that "it smells like girls in here."

We had mild incense burning, and have brought plants, a yoga mat and yoga ball into the office. What can we say? We're girls. I guess we'll know our influence went too far if this season of The Wire becomes a romantic comedy.

Now, if you'll excuse me while I go powder my nose.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I had a dream the other night that I reconnected with my junior high school crush. It was one of those dreams that I hoped would never end. In the dream, I discovered that he was angry and guarded. Alone, disconnected from his past and the people within it. When I first approached him, he was distrustful of me and my intentions. He vented about the betrayal in his life from those that he thought were friends, and that he never wanted to be a part of the popular crowd in the first place.

I sat and listened, and finally he had vented so much that he had physically tired himself. All through it, I refused to leave his side, and after he realized I wasn't frightened of him no longer being the smiling confident jock, he spoke calmly to me. We connected immediately, and I wasn't afraid either. I felt like I could share anything about myself with this man, (though I wasn't sure of our ages in the dream) and that it would be accepted by him. I was okay with him putting his arm around me and claiming me as his. Okay for once, with being a one of two. I understood what all the fuss was about with finding "the one" and how fast I could be willing to change my life for him.

Change, in becoming part of a pair instead of a singular force. And also, in starting my own life that way in nesting with someone else. And...I liked it. I could relax, felt more protected and that I didn't have to take care of every single thing lest it not be finished. I wasn't giving up anything, which has been my big fear in my fiercely protected world, but instead I was gaining so much more. Most importantly, I felt that someone in the world looked at me like he looked at no other, and finally I had someone who eclipsed the world around me.

I woke up with a sense of peace and comfort. I couldn't wait to tell family and friends and see the shock on their faces. As the hazy area between sleep and wake cleared, those feelings turned into one of regret that it was only a dream. I don't know why this person in the dream manifested in my junior high school crush. After I awoke, I Googled him and wasn't able to find anything.

This has been a question for a long time, why I've been so protective of myself and so distrustful of others. Why elation at meeting a potential mate is immediately shut out by fear. Aside from being a natural "quirkyalone," I think it's because I haven't been able to trust myself and what I would be feeling from one day to the next. Back in 1998 is when I started having anxiety attacks. I became a different person as "freedoms" were stripped from me one by one. Normal outings, in fact enjoyable outings became hostile environments. Movies, restaurants, parties, plays, and oh my God, car rides were absolutely terror inducing. If I wasn't driving, or if someone was in the car with me it was a source for anxiety. On my own, I was ok. I had only me to worry about and if an attack struck then I didn't have to explain it to anyone.

So, I got used to the "on my own" part. It will be hard to undo. But, if this dream is any indication, once I decide to make the jump, the rewards will be invaluable.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

One minute into my birthday. And since it's my birthday, I thought of a passage that I wrote a few years ago appropriate for the occasion. I was driving, and pulled over to write it so the thought wouldn't fade.

Here it is:

On my drive to work the other day, a song by U2 came on the radio called, Where the Streets Have No Name. I don't know why, whether it was the emotional guitar chords whirling to a crescendo or the fact that the song had given me chills as an eighteen-year-old when I first heard it, but all of a sudden I had a profound thought about what it meant to be adopted. It meant that a woman had spent nine months of her life with me as a part of it. Just as I was sitting behind the wheel fully conscious of my life, the music and the warm sun on my hands, she had done the same thing with me inside of her.

For some reason, all this time I had only imagined the birth, but never imagined her pregnant. I had played the scene over and over in my mind of me being born and the doctors and nurses whisking me away as my mother held out her arms and cried for just one look. But she had spent almost a year with me, feeling me, carrying me around and doing the daily things that people do. Buying bigger clothes as I expanded inside of her and eating things she normally wouldn't eat. She had slept, drank, watched television, gone on walks and sometimes let her mind drift on the way to work and I was right along with her. People in her town had seen her in public with her stomach protruding in her maternity clothes and had probably smiled at what they saw as a proud mother to be. They couldn't have had any idea that they were seeing the only time that she and I would spend together. They also had no idea that they were witnessing the answer to a question I have had all my life. As soon as she left their sight, they probably forgot about her. For my entire life, I still have not.

I sometimes wonder at what time when I was still with her that she realized she'd never know me. Or, if sometimes she misses having me be a part of her. Perhaps she sometimes walks around the house certain that she's forgotten something but can't figure out what it is. Maybe her keys, an appointment or a letter to mail but what it is never surfaces and she's left to wonder what she's missed. Then it occurred to me that maybe when I feel I've lost something that I can't seem to put a finger on, that I'm doing the exact same thing.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I was feeling agitated tonight so I took a walk.

I wasn't agitated at anyone, but because of well, impending feminine reasons. I could feel myself start to stew, and pace, so I took my mace and keys and went out. It was later than my usual walks, or in this case stroll. But, I was restless and needed space.

I looked inside many rowhouses as I passed, one with built in bookshelves from floor to 12-foot high ceiling on each side of the richly decorated living room, completely filled with books. The sound of a man's voice directed my eyes toward the warm glow of their open windows and I saw a couple in their later years, sitting in wing-backed chairs reading and sometimes conversing. It was a vignette into their long lived lives together, one of complete comfort and cohesiveness in each other's presence. They weren't aware of their observer passing by in the dark, just outside their window at a little more than arm's reach.

I passed people with dogs, walked by parks, under over hanging branches and stepped clumsily over brick sidewalks that had lost their mortar. Finally, my ankles at too much risk, I took to the middle of the street and walked under the amber glow of the street lights. Sounds filtered out from windows, reaching at me and dancing visually in my head. Voices, televisions, music, air conditioners, doors closing and opening, laughter, and even silence.

I walked on.

On the back end of the walk I stopped by a rowhouse that has a yard and back stoop. I've made friends with an old cat who lives there and as I approached he was waiting almost expectantly for me. My agitation had turned into a hollowness, and filled just a bit when the bony old guy meowed at me. I stopped by the stoop, and he stood, head-butted my thigh and cozied up for some good old head scratching from the friendly stranger. He meowed in contentment, his voice sounding like a creaky door. I sat on the curb and he hopped off the stoop, pushed under my arm, meow, scratch, head butt. Repeat as desired. After a bit I left my old furry friend, and he followed me like he always does, until he gets to the second door past his house then turns back around.

I stopped by another house with cats, these two sit high on a brick wall and lower their heads for scratching. I passed the bird house with colorful birds in cages chirping by the open windows, then the church with the Tiffany windows, then rounded the corner and pet Joe, a handsome Boston Terrier. I was surprised at the amount of life going on. Pleasantly surprised.

By the time I stuck my key in the door and walked into my apartment, I noticed that my agitation and hollowness had drifted into the night.