Saturday, May 31, 2008

Shannon sent this to me.

I think it's safe to say that this guy has nerves of steel, not to mention is confident in his balance, footing and fine with stepping on decaying concrete a thousand feet or more up. This is wonderfully shot, giving a first person perspective of what it's like to walk El Camino del Rey, (English: The King's pathway). Built in 1901, it's a walkway, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in Málaga, Spain. Make sure your sound is on, then sit back, enjoy, and while watching it remember to breathe.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I had a catastrophic hard drive failure Thursday on my main computer. I have no idea if the data is gone or not, but I managed to get the machine running again. Not from that hard drive, which was the master, (I was able to diagnose that by unplugging the slave drive to see if it was causing the problem) but from the slave drive. Last year I'd installed the extra drive.

I knew something was off when I woke up to the sound of a grandfather clock. Since I don't have a grandfather clock, someone had either put one in my apartment overnight or I'd entered the Twilight Zone. I was banking on the latter. Truth is, I was creeped out, and it was a long walk from my bed to diagnose that the noise was coming from my computer tower, accompanied by a black monitor that read, "Hard Drive Failure. Press F1 to Retry, F2 for Options." In technical terms, it was telling me that F1 and F2 stand for "Face it. You're Fucked."

I turned off the computer, went back to bed.

Once I got back up, I looked at my options. Not the one that the computer offered me, but my own. And that's where I opened up the tower and went to work on rearranging the hardware. I re-installed XP on that drive and went through the millions of updates, installs, activatons and reboots to get back up and running. Office was already installed since that drive came from an old computer. At half past midnight, I called Shannon and told him I needed a drink. He told me my martini glass was chilling in his freezer and I was out the door.

I didn't spend the whole day getting that machine back up. I took a break at the coffee shop and whined via IM to Albert, a friend of mine in NYC. He made me feel better about things. The hard drive failure manifested in a dose of insecurity about its timing during my job search, which became frustration with that process. Bert, thanks for getting me back on track. I've come along way to erase whining from my personality traits, but even the best of us have relapses.

And guess what, I have a possible two interviews next week, plus when I came home to a phone call from a company nearby who had seen my resume on a job site. Funny how that works out.

Luckily, I have a laptop which has all my writing and stories on it. I write on my laptop since I can take it anywhere. I'd also just updated my online portfolio. So, that's all good. I have my most recent work from Disney on a flash drive and my newest photos are still on my new camera. Older ones are on photo disks, backed up or on Flickr. I'll be installing that and downloading the images back onto the hard drive. Music was spared, as was Photoshop. It could have been much worse.

We've had some strange weather for May, including thunder and storms. I was in the coffee shop when a huge thunder cracked and startled everyone. It was gloomy, and there were tornadoes in Riverside County. I listened to rain overnight on Friday. The soft rain sang to me like nature's lullaby, soothing me in my bed.

Saturday we had thick voluminous grey clouds overcast, a perfect day to see a movie, so my friend Jan and I went to see Indiana Jones. The Cinerama Dome at the Arclight was packed to capacity and it was a great time. I thought the movie was great fun, with a different twist on the usual Indy story lines. The audience seemed to enjoy it as well.

Interestingly, they previewed Dark Knight, and when Heath Ledger appeared on screen as The Joker, a very audible, sad "ooh" emanated from the crowd in the theater. I was included in voicing those sentiments. It was a touching, spontaneous tribute to how sad people still are over his death. The movie looked like it was going to be incredible, and Ledger, breathtaking in his final role.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

There are ups and downs to being between jobs. I'll start with the down first and keep it short because I've mentioned it before. I get my days and nights mixed up. Why, I have no idea. I'm sure my rhythms are off, but it can be isolating if I let it. Luckily, I'm not letting it. However, if anyone has any ideas on why some people's body clocks tell them to sleep late and stay up late, let me know. I take melatonin, but I'm probably taking it too late in the evening. It does work, it's just making myself get up before noon. And, to not look at that scrumptious couch of mine and lay down for a long nap.

Update: The East Coast is well into rush hour while I still have yet to sleep. 4:54 AM.

The good thing about a break is having more time and energy to do personal projects or creative experiments. I've been wanting to experiment with self-portraiture for a while. One, because I've always got a subject and two because I'm looking at other forms of expression besides writing. Love it that I do, I have a lot more that I want to "get off my chest" creatively for lack of a better word. A few nights ago I decided to give it a try. After a few frustrating attempts with a tripod, I decided to shoot freestyle holding the camera, setting it on continuous and moving my arm around to snap photos from different angles. Meaning, the camera took continuous shots if my finger was depressed on the button. The reason I did this is that I found that I posed with the tripod and they looked stilted and wholly boring. First, because I was waiting for the timer to take the damn picture and second, the expressions weren't natural or spontaneous. The difference in shooting freestyle was astounding and I accomplished what I was after, which was to learn something new. The bonus was getting these results.

More camera play. Self portrait

And, this one which I altered by taking the color out. I like both. You can click on them to see bigger pictures.

Self Portrait - Black and White Self Portrait - Color

It was fun because I got to play "dress up" first. Well, dressing up my face. I put on a ton of makeup for the shots, mostly around the eyes. There were many more shots that turned out well but I haven't posted them on Flickr. Now I'll have to think of another theme, if it can be called that. With these, I had no theme or images in mind. I just shot to see what I would get. I'm glad, because I think I would have become frustrated with trying to do too much for my first real experiment.

I showed them to Shannon and he approved. A major compliment, because his photography is incredible. And yes, he'd tell me if they sucked. I'm just happy I decided to risk feeling silly and go for it. I can't state enough, the importance of getting over that hurdle when it comes to creating anything.

Friday, May 02, 2008

THEM!This was me today. Thousands, and yes I say thousands of ants decided to launch a full scale home invasion into my apartment today. Their goal? The cat food dishes.

I was just about to go out for coffee when I saw Atticus watching his cat dish. I'd been through this and much worse before, and knew what that meant. At first, it didn't look too bad. The bowl had been invaded and there was an ant orgy by a stray piece of cat food on the kitchen floor. I squirted the orgy with Lysol cleaner, a sure fire ant killer, then dumped the food into the sink. After grinding it way down the garbage disposal, I set out to napalm the trail. It was then that I realized how many ants had invaded my place.

I followed a four lane highway to my air-conditioner, spraying as I went. The little suckers were hard to see since I have a dark carpet and I had to get a flashlight out to track them. Instead of going outside, like I thought they would, they made a sharp turn toward my couch where a sickening amount snaked around one of the legs in what can only be described as ant grid lock. I folded back my area rug and saw that they were following it in a perfect line to the other foot of my couch where yes, another ant SIG alert was in full swing. Good to know it's not just humans who can't handle turns in heavy traffic.

I couldn't figure out where in the hell they were going until I saw another writhing mound under my side table. One of the cats had coughed up a hairball and it was covered, covered with them. Nasty. I squirted the mound and watched as it stopped moving, then went back over the trail a couple times to make sure there were no survivors.

I do not look forward to this repeating in the summer days to come. It's a fact of life in California and a couple of my neighbors have already had invasions.

On less disgusting note, my first week of unemployment resulted in one interview for tomorrow. I'd like to say that I'd done something to facilitate it, but I hadn't. Okay, that's not entirely true. I applied to the job a month or so ago and the timing just happened to work out. In the meantime, I've been crafting a new cover letter and wondering why I'm spending so much time on it. Perhaps because I don't want it to look like every other stupid cover letter that either I've written or everyone else has written. The truth is it doesn't make a damn difference because most people don't read them. Even so, I wrote a decent one at the coffee shop today and managed to send off my resume to another creative talent agency where I have an "in."

Lastly, David over at StoryLog picked up one of my posts from this blog. He's also got a bunch of other great stories from blogs, including Chuck, whom I link to over on the right. Take a few minutes to check him out.