Friday, June 27, 2003

Wait, do we collect Free Parking or not? 

Such a weekend I have in front of me!

Tonight is my writing group's second Game Night, an event that is promising to become recurring. Basically it's just a bunch of people, most of them strangers, getting together at a bakery and playing board games for three hours. Sounds a bit strange and geeky and, well, it is, but it is also tons of fun. Last time I was a bit nervous because the majority of the participants came from LAPC, most of whom I'd never met before, and as a brand spanking new LAPC Event Coordinator I was plenty nervous. Luckily most of the LAPC folks showed up and later told me they had a blast, asking to be informed of the next game night. I even had people who wanted to come but had previous conflicts express a desire for us to have another game night, so I considered it to be a great success. All told there were approximately 35 people that rolled dice or played checkers or chess or just basically kibitzed at May's event, a nice mixture of LAPC folks and friends/family of the organizers.

Tonight 32 people have signed up through LAPC, plus maybe another ten or so friends/family members. I'm just hoping that 1) there will be enough room for everyone and 2) people will have as much fun tonight as they did before. I've already promised one man a rousing round of Milles Bornes, so I've got to keep that promise. Luckily the bakery also serves sandwiches and drinks, so for those who haven't had time to eat before they arrive, well, they have that to look forward to.

Then tomorrow I'm going to San Diego to play make-up person to a friend who has a bathing suit photo shoot on a yacht and the rest of the weekend will be spent cleaning so that I'm not embarassed when, on Sunday evening, I will be going out for dinner and the DGA screening of The Hulk with a friend with whom I've recently reconnected (he of the Jill Sobule lyrics). Since he's going to pick me up, the chances are pretty good that he'll see my apartment for a short time and no one should be subjected to my apartment before it's cleaned. That's just cruel and inhuman punishment. It may even be against the Geneva Convention.

I can't wait for the weekend to start!

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

One more momentous event... 

... happened last summer and I can't believe I forgot to mention it - meeting, in real life, my friend Linda for the first time.

She received frequent mention in the old journal, but here's a brief bio thingie on her for the new folks:

Linda is the webmistress of a very cool website about a very cool actor. She and I met online through her site in the winter of '98/'99 and struck up a terrific friendship which remained web- and phone-based due to the distance (she lives in Holland).

Finally, last summer, she visited the U.S. for the first time. She was fortunate enough to stay with her friend/idol and his lovely wife and as a result, I was fortunate enough to visit several times, even running into the actor once in his backyard when meeting Linda to go to the movies. She and I spent a lot of time together in her three weeks here, spending a day in Santa Barbara, another day in San Marino with my mother, going to movies and dinners and just generally having fun. She's as warm, silly, intelligent and personable in person as she had been via internet and phone and we had a grand time before she had to pack up and head home.

Wonderful thing is, she's visiting again this year! I don't know how she managed to do it, but she's spending another three weeks in sunny Southern California in August and I can't wait! Lots more fun is sure to happen, what with plans to go to Big Bear and maybe spend a day in San Diego, not to mention convincing her to attend an LAPC event so she can meet even more terrific people. I'm even hoping to throw a party when she's here so that she can meet my friends that she didn't meet last year (which is most of them). And since this may be her last visit to the U.S. for a few years (while she finishes her schooling), we'll definitely going to have to make the most of it.

August is going to be a blast!

Monday, June 23, 2003

So, Carol, what'cha been doin'... 

... in the last year and a half?

Good question. Not quite sure.

Actually it's been a rollicking not-so-great time over at Chez Carol. Since the last time I graced the pages of online journaling, I had to go to the emergency room for chest pains (which turned out to be stress-induced costochondritis), watched as family members feuded and went through a rather serious depression due to family and work issues, which friends busted through after asking if they had pissed me off, since I hadn't spoken to many of them in months. Soon after the depression started to lift my family found out that my father wasn't the man we thought he was, some of the details being unsavory enough to cut him out of the family permanently, causing my mom to leave him and file for divorce, whereupon there was much familial strife over the course of the holidays.

I got hired on permanently at the company where I was temping, but am discovering that it doesn't quite pay enough for me to be able to live off. And the politics are, in many ways, worse than Disney ever was, in part, I believe, due to the smaller size of the company. So I'm looking for another job. Again.

In addition, through a combination of my own embarrassing irresponsibility and a lowish salary, I lost my beloved Saturn and am currently finding myself carless. So I've been re-discovering the joys of public transportation. Pluses: I don't have to fight the traffic. I can catch up on my reading as I commute. I'm not contributing to the massive traffic snarls. And the people watching is fascinating. Minuses: it takes me approximately two hours (one way) to get to and from work. Many Los Angeles buses are notoriously late, which causes me to miss the buses that are actually on time. It's difficult for me to go somewhere on a whim and many times I rely on friends to drive me home from social engagements (though, to be fair, most of them offer to drive me before I can even ask). And some of those people that I get to people-watch? Are more than a little on the scary side.

However, life hasn't been all Sturm und Drang. Though my job is leaving me less than thrilled, though it I've met some wonderful, generous people that I love dearly, including my immediate boss (who is ten years younger than me and cooler than cool). One of my oldest friends married a pretty good guy and my baby sister is engaged to another pretty good guy. My friends have, once again, proven to be the most kick-ass friends in the history of the universe, being supportive beyond belief.

As I've mentioned before, I've joined a writing group, consisting of five other women who listen to the pieces being read, most of which are deeply personal, with nary a judgment about the writer and the gentlest, but most salient of criticisms being offered. And support a plenty to be found. Heck, one of them, a USC sociology professor, has a book being published in September of this year, in which all the members of the writing group appear in the acknowledgements.

I've also discovered the wonders of therapy and was lucky enough to land an excellent therapist the first time out, someone who keeps reminding me not to beat myself up so hard about things I feel I haven't accomplished, but to look at the real reasons why I'm not doing what I want to be doing in life, but to also be practical about my life. My self-esteem, low in my youth, but high for most of my twenties, has been rather blown to bits of late and she has helped me in the rebuilding of it. There's still a bit to go, but I do feel much better than I did this time last year.

Sometimes I find myself ruminating on recent events, feeling the darkness pull me down. Then I remind myself that all of this is temporary and that I'm a very lucky person, when all is said and done. Over the last couple of weeks I renewed contact with a friend that I had lost touch with for several years. He sent to me the following Jill Sobule lyrics:

I don't want to get bitter
I don't want to turn cruel
I don't want to get old before I have to.

He said that he tries to hold on to that sentiment.

So shall I.

Friday, June 20, 2003

One Word - Paper 

Here's a prime example of the types of pieces I put together for my writing group, inspired by one word:

The paper was gaily festooned with hand-drawn balloons and streamers and wrapped packages, which also depicted gaily festooned hand-drawn wrapping paper with balloon and streamers and wrapped packages. The paper took on an Escher quality in its colorful simplicity. No, not Escher. More like one of those infinity mirrors that seemed so cool back in the Eighties. Now many folks considered those mirrors outdated, but I still found them kind of cool. Maybe I was stuck in the Eighties. Maybe I was just easily fascinated. Who knows?

I looked at the wrapping paper, so carefully drawn by my friend, and tried to follow the little drawings on the little packages as far as I could. I think I counted four distinct patterns until the drawings ran together enough to look like solid colors. So very pretty. I was touched that my friend would take the time to fashion the festive pattern on the fragile pearlescent tissue paper that wrapped the small box.

“Open it!” she demanded, amused at my fascination with her handiwork. I did as she commanded, gently prying the taped ends so as not to disturb the artistic paper. She blew a sigh through her teeth, impatient with my ministrations, but she knew better than to urge me to hurry up. I was a careful un-wrapper even with commercial paper. There was no way I was going to destroy something she had taken so much care to create.

Finally the last of the tape was lifted and the paper fell away from the plain brown box. I removed the top carefully and pulled aside the translucent tissue to reveal a delicate wire picture frame. Glass beads in blue and green and purple adorned the wire frame, which turned this way and that in a maze of copper, looping back to its point of beginning before taking off in a new direction. It was both simple and complicated, like the wrapping paper, like my friend, and I loved it.

Surrounded by the copper wire was a picture of my friend and me from happier times, before her marriage problems and my family problems, when we were both much younger and life seemed so much simpler. As I looked at the younger us, our smiles as big as our futures, tears formed in the corners of my eyes. I knew what she was trying to say with this gift. That life was both as simple and as complicated as the wire frame, but that, no matter what happened, we would still, at heart, be those same girls that looked at the future with such optimism and that we would always be those girls together.

I looked up at her. “Thank you,” I said, nearly breathless. Her knowing eyes smiled back at me.

I should clarify, the above story is completely fictional. My writing group paid me the compliment of thinking it was a true story. Such sweet women!


And the content is... 

You may ask, as well you should, just what I intend on publishing here. I don't think it'll be the same as Fleeting Imprints, wherein I tried my hand at "essays" about the minutae of my life, the stock in trade of online journaling, as many of you know. That isn't to say that such essays won't appear, because I'm just egocentric enough to think such minutae, told in a hopefully entertaining manner, will be of interest to someone out there.

I'm thinking of also publishing the odd short story here and there. Due to the fact I'm a very lazy writer and the pieces written for my writing group are usually thrown together at the last minute (thank you, one word, for your inspirations!), I've developed a tendency to write tiny little short stories which should fit into this format fairly easily.

Short movie reviews may pop up (Danny Deckchair is a cute movie - nothing earth shattering but definitely fun to watch). Or waxing poetic about the talents of certain actors and musicians. Or promoting local bands that I think need to be known outside the Los Angeles area (your humble chronicler’s town of residence).

Yeah, yeah, don't go getting all excited about it. No need to pass out from sheer expectation.

(Is this where I develop a pithy end line? Seems rude to just sign off. Oh well.)

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Let start at the very beginning... 

So. Here I am. Creating a 'blog. Well, if that ain't nifty I don't know what is.

See, I used to be one of them online journaling types back in the day, but it's been over a year since I updated Fleeting Imprints (which never really took off, though I had a few readers and did have fun with it), and I find I'm kind of missing it. It's not like I've stopped writing, since I belong to a great writing group, wherein I feel pressure to write something new each week, even if it's just a quick one page story.

But I'm in the mood to write publicly again and really wanted something different and, well, 'blogs seem to be the rage now. I mean, even Chuck and John have gotten into the 'blogging thing. So here I am, seeing if I can sit at the cool kids' table again, when I've never even been at the cool kids' table (yeah, that's me with the theatre geeks in the corner) and I'm still not entirely sure what a 'blog is, except that it tends to be shorter and easier to update than a standard online journal.

Ugh. I'm getting all meta here and who really enjoys meta talk except those in on the meta? Not exactly engrossing reading, ya know.

Hopefully, in the future, this reedy lil' blog will, indeed, be all the fun of the fair, but without the nauseating food and overpriced carney booths. Though we might be able to scrounge up some cotton candy, if you want.

Stay tuned!

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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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United States, California, Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, English, Carol, Female, 36-40.

WWW all the fun of the fair...