Tree

May. 10th, 2017 09:52 am
pen_grunt: (Bourdain Monster)
 I get oddly attached to things. Some of this might be a trickle-down trait from my family of hoarders (the tendency diluted with each progressive generation*). 

We cut down a tree in our backyard this morning and I am unexpectedly sad about it. It had to be done, it was a birch (not long-lived anyway) that was half-dead (it was only a quarter-dead last year!). There is no way to save it. It won't get better. It will just keep dying and huge birch branches will keep falling into the yard as they rot out (last year the dead part had been over open-space yard...but the new dead part is over the neighbor's house and our gutters). 

It has to come out. I know this. The sooner the better--because the ground needs time to re-absorb the roots and rot a bit and then a new tree needs time to grow up. Doing it now means that I can still get a vegetable garden in at its base, as I have so many years in the past. 

But it is still sad. I don't like yards without trees. They feel harsh and bare and empty. We still have one tree (that got hugely trimmed last year) but it's not a great one and it will have to come down in a few years too. 



*My particular brand of hoardery-ness comes in the form of my vintage toys, craft supplies, wanting to save Nadia's stuff for "the next baby" (not a thing right now), and trees. Apparently. I'm fine tossing a ton of other stuff.

Absurdity

Apr. 29th, 2017 01:53 am
pen_grunt: (Default)
 I find myself profoundly and absurdly grateful for guys who go to bat for women in the name of feminism, equal rights, sexual assault, etc. 

It's such an uphill battle when 1000 women can say a thing and it falls on deaf ears, but when a guy jumps into the fray it's suddenly significant. So kudos to those guys. 

I shouldn't have to be as grateful as I am. It's absurd. It's absurd that it's notable. But I am. 
pen_grunt: (Modern Times)
 Once in a while I still have "showed up the day of the test without having been to any of the classes" anxiety dreams. The setting is college, but it always reflects on how I'm feeling about work at the time. 

Last night's messaging wasn't so subtle. I woke up in a cold-panic sweat because they had scheduled rehearsal right before we were about to go live and I couldn't print the edited scripts. Everyone was mad at me. One printer was broken. The hotel business center was closed. I couldn't find the character station (that has my lovely, fast laser printer). Seconds ticked down with the audience filling up the room. 

There is no missing a deadline on a live event. It goes on and you have what you have. Once it starts it starts. And I couldn't print my damned scripts. 


Of course, I've had many variations of this dream: Showing up with nothing written and trying to write a whole script minutes before the show, etc. 
It is reflective of my general mental state around this event. Which is... uh. . . frayed. It sounds arrogant to say, but it's a good thing for all involved that I'm really, really good at my job. :/

4 a.m.

Apr. 21st, 2017 11:53 am
pen_grunt: (Default)
 Script work lyfe goes like so: 

I'm limiting myself to staying up until 4:00 a.m. (which ends up being closer to 4:30 a.m.) to work on scripts because I still have to get up with the toddler, etc. I can't just sleep in and go to work a bit late like in the past. It actually does take self-control, because once I'm on a roll I can go all night. I love going all night. I revel in those wee, small hours. 

Monday: Work until 4:30 a.m.
Tuesday: Night off. This was a mistake. 
Wednesday: Work until 4:30 a.m.
Thursday: Try to work and fall asleep at 1 a.m. I am full of regrets and way behind. 

Now I have to focus. I have a zillion things to do. A ton of pieces to coordinate. The production company isn't tracking changes in their script book. I'm so tired of being right about them because there is no satisfaction in it--only continued extra work for me. I want to be wrong and have it be easy.

Whelp. Lean Cuisine cardboard lunch consumed. Better get back to it. 

Wine tonight. Fucking hell.

Beginnings

Apr. 18th, 2017 12:21 am
pen_grunt: (Default)
Every single time I stare down this barrel of a blank page and I think: Not this time. This time nothing will come. How do I possibly make a script out of what I have? How can I possibly have original ideas left? (This time, the seventh year of a show...)

Through some miraculous conjuring of mindset and momentum it all comes together. There is always some tap in my mind that once turned flows freely.  And yet it always starts out this way. The trick is in the turning. 

I don't think of myself as having a particularly artistic temperament. At least not in the traditional sense. In the constant need to create, maybe, for I'm always doodling or scribbling or piecing something together and without that I feel lost and stagnant. 

But in this sense--in that major crisis of confidence that doesn't trust a wealth of past experience--it seems very mercurial. 
It will flow. It always does. It will be beautiful and funny and men will sing my praises from the rooftops (well, um. not that, maybe). But it's always so damned hard to start. 
pen_grunt: (Fred and Ginger Dance)
I've been watching Star Trek Enterprise lately. I've also been listening to The Greatest Generation podcast to and from work (it is Star Trek The Next Generation focused).

I made my way through many Star Trek properties, and I have opinions.

My ranking for Star Treks, influenced somewhat by nostalgia:

1. The Next Generation
2. The Original Series
3. Voyager
4. Deep Space 9
5. Enterprise

To be fair, I've only seen 3 episodes of Enterprise so far.

Allow me to do a lengthy trekkie rundown:

1. Next Generation.

I will admit that a great portion of my fondness for TNG comes from nostalgia. Even the "bad" first season episodes I find mostly not so bad.

POSITIVES:
  • The characters are, mostly, truly interesting and it's a joy to see them all interact as a cohesive unit that you can believe is friendly when the camera is "off". More than any other ST, they seem like they "go on" after the episode ends. It's fun to see the crew hang out.
  • Jean Luc Picard is a great captain and has great foils in Riker and the rest of the bridge crew. And his foils aren't extreme reactions to his personality, as in some other series.
  • Characters who are "different" have differences, but we aren't beaten over the head with them on a day-to-day basis when doing their job. Worf doesn't feel the need to point out "I AM A KLINGON" in every episode or at every moment.
  • It's a very Star Trekky kind of show. A lot of the episodes are character-building and world-building without any grave danger. They manage to do this without being boring OR without prolesthetizing too much. A lot of their focus is on solving philosophical issues or exploring a facet of humanity.
  • Guinan, Picard, Wesley (shut up, love him still), Riker, Q...all great characters. There are a ton of great, nuanced characters.
  • Lots of humor mixed in.

NEGATIVES:
  • Most of the first season. Let's be honest.
  • Deanna Troi. She is useless most of the time. The caricature of her is quite sexist (oh, a woman loves chocolate and EMOTIONS). When she might actually be able to help with an issue she's mysteriously not in an episode. Also they use her as a rape-object far too much. Mostly it's mental, but sometimes not! Jesus.
  • The holodeck is interesting but problematic in so many ways.
  • Ferengi

2. The Original Series.

This, probably more than anything, is getting an artificially inflated ranking based on my nostalgia.

POSITIVES:
  • The original power of some of the ideas (equality, justice, etc.) are still strong and cannot be brushed aside--especially for its time.
  • Kirk/Spock/Bones trifecta is awesome.
  • Plays for a lot of humor. More than one might think.
  • Interesting philosophical questions/issues explored.
  • Shatner was hot.
  •  
NEGATIVES:
  • The schmaltz factor is high.
  • It gets super hit-over-the-head preachy.
  • Slow moving.
  • Shatner's acting is...difficult to revisit as an adult, sometimes.
  • Lots of convenient plot action.
  • Sexism isn't supposed to be a "thing" but oh-ho, it still is.

3. Voyager

After watching DS9, I discovered that I really like a ship to be moving in space.

POSITIVES:
  • Janeway, about half the time.
  • Chakotay and Seven of Nine are really interesting, nuanced characters. Actually, I really really liked the addition of Seven of Nine.
  • No contact with traditional starfleet makes for some very interesting situations.
  • Interesting take with the holographic doctor.

NEGATIVES:
  • Every alien species is just a human with some junk slapped on their forehead.
  • Tom Paris is annoying AF. Also, all his relationships.
  • Janeway, the other half of the time.
  • Inexplicable Barclay episodes. Holy crap, did I never miss him.

4. Deep Space 9

POSITIVES:
  • Sisko is awesome (even if he does speak every line as though it had a secret meaning that only he understands).
  • Really good toward the end of the show.
  • I like Bashir.
  • Manages to make Ferengis interesting.
  • Super interesting Cardassian subplots.

NEGATIVES:
  • I do not give a fuck about the O'Briens. Not one solitary fuck--and they had tons of relationship episodes.
  • I do not give a fuck about the Bajoran religion.
  • This includes the emissary. DNGAF.
  • Ferengis are still pretty annoying.
  • I do not give a fuck about Odo/shapeshifters.
  • Dax is played with an awful wink-nod that the actress doesn't earn and can't pull off (but the Trill are kind of interesting).

5. Enterprise.

I haven't gotten that far in yet, so mostly I'll reserve judgement as it's clearly still finding its feet. However, the theme is atrocious and the acting so far is not strong. T'Pol bugs the shit out of me and Bakula isn't doing his best work here.


I was surprised how, in retrospect, I get really mad thinking about a lot of the DS9 subplots. Voyager certainly isn't great, but every time I think about the O'Briens fighting Voyager gets better and better. 

There's more to say, but I'll leave it there for now. Discuss!

Testyposty

Apr. 12th, 2017 10:36 am
pen_grunt: (Default)
I suppose I should start posting in dreamwidth so I don't have to re-import any LJ entries?

Ohgod, I hate change.
pen_grunt: (Default)
My boss, gushing about South Florida: You can get things here that you can't get anywhere else! Cuban cigars! Fresh mangos!

Me: Never-before-seen strains of herpes!

Oh Florida.
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
I'm working at a coffee shop today because my car is broken and my child is at home. It's impossible to work with her around, right now ("Mommy! Moooooommmy!").

Sitting beside me are 4 elderly adults engaging in political conversation. They are so gentle and kind about their displeasure with Trump and their defense of Obama. It's heartening to hear.

ETA: One of them just referred to Paul Ryan as "That creepy little Eddie Munster." I couldn't help laughing. I apologized for eavesdropping.
pen_grunt: (Wild Thing)
My boss randomly gave me a $50 Amazon gift card today for writing a script that the client gushed over.

And then my car broke down on the way home and my toddler was -such- a toddler tonight.

I have no vehicle (Derrick is fixing out right now. A belt broke), but I can buy a book or something.
pen_grunt: (Default)
Nadia, stroking the side of my face: "Oh mommy. So cute my mommy."

Just when you're about to sell them to the gypsies...

Fail

Jan. 17th, 2017 11:08 am
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
With all the crafting, some of it is bound to turn out kind of...not how I'd want it to.

I did a Frida Kahlo and it turned out like this:
20170117_034858
Now, part of the issue is that there's a shadow under her brow from the way it's lit.
But...there's something not right about it. And it's in the face. I think the jaw is too rounded, maybe, too.

I'm disappointed in it. It's especially disappointing because the flower embroidery took for-ev-er. It sucks to work a long time on something and have it not turn out as you'd hoped.

(It's based on this picture.)

Fin

Jan. 15th, 2017 10:38 pm
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
Show over. So tired.

We had big plans to go out to a nice dinner and get a drink or two. Because BOY HOWDY has this been a hell of a show.
But we got done at 2:30ish and after a little lunch:

Me, at 4:12: (Emoticons of drinks) tonight?
Boss, at 4:58: YES!
Me, at 6:22: I fell asleep.
Boss, at 7:26: Me too.
Me, at 8:30: I think we missed our shot.

We're across the street from a great steakhouse, but since it's Sunday night, everything closes at 9. It's deeply unfair after such a long, arduous week.

Room service again if I'm hungry, I guess.

The room service here is good, but I was getting tired of paying $70 per meal. (That's...without any alcoholic beverage.)

Flakes

Jan. 8th, 2017 12:50 pm
pen_grunt: (Default)
Because my clients are complete flakes, they neglected to tell us that--despite what was contracted--they were unavailable for rehearsals on Wednesday, the day before the show.

So we have to rehearse Tuesday.
We were scheduled to get in Tuesday evening.

This has been, as one might predict, problematic.

So I leave tomorrow morning instead. Time to do all the things tonight.

This show. Um. Man. Let's hope I get out of it sane.

Hobby-heavy

Jan. 4th, 2017 01:25 pm
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
I get consumed by things.

I get ideas and I actually do them and then I REALLY do them. It doesn't matter if they're insignificant or big or somewhere in between. Scanning pictures, making things, cleaning...re-organizing...whatever. I generally follow through.

So I started an Etsy Shop with the patterns for some of the felt crafts I've been making. And I've added to it.

I've designed more patterns--stuff that I want to see or think is cool.

Then I started a blog to detail some of the patterns/techniques/etc.

Because I have SO MUCH TIME, right? (I do not. I don't know where I'm getting the time save for never sleeping. When I get on a tear about something...I really just want to do it. Sleep is for those without projects, and I love having a project.)

And even though it's all very slapped together and quick and dirty...I did a thing. Boy-howdy. It's a good thing I never got into drugs, man. When I do a thing, I DO it.

I might be insane.

Oh, and I have two big shows this month.

Definitely insane.

Lfl

Dec. 15th, 2016 04:47 pm
pen_grunt: (Default)
I really want to put up a little free library. It would be a great thing in my neighborhood.

I was driving by some earlier this week. There are often progressive, inclusive yard signs in LFL house yards too.

Come to think of it...I've never seen a LFL in the same yard as a Trump sign.

Funny, that.
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
I've been making a lot of felt ornaments/finger puppets/etc., lately.

This is because:
• It's something concrete I can focus on. I like stuff that I actually physically make with my own hands.
• It's zen, for me. And a total indulgence in time. Sure, I go to bed at 3 a.m., but I'm ALONE in the quiet house watching whatever tv I want (or nothing at all).
• I enjoy the challenge of creating the patterns and then executing them; deciding how to layer everything for effect, etc.
• I'm actually pretty good at it. That increases the satisfaction level.
• People are impressed by it, generally (even if they think I'm a little off my rocker) and I enjoy people being impressed by me. Narcissistic, maybe, but true.
• The damned supplies are already all over. (As long as they're out I think that I might as well keep going. Because if I clean them up nicely and put them away...it's going to be a long time before I revisit them again.)

Some, I've given away as gifts. Some I'm going to keep. But every time I post them I get mentions of selling them. (Which are honestly the best intentioned and very flattering--so I'm not complaining in the least.)

The thing is...it's really a labor of love.

I made this ornament most recently:

15541643_10108751765269180_6726879839467292222_n

(It's Ruth Bader Ginsburg.)

It took...oh...just under 3 hours to make? Probably a little less if I hadn't been interrupted occasionally by friend chats or whatnot. It was 3 episodes of Doctor Who.

So what would I sell this for? The materials are fairly cheap (~30-50 cents a page for felt, 30 cents for embroidery floss, etc.), but designing the pattern, cutting out the pattern pieces, cutting out the felt, doing stitching detail (that collar tho!), etc. is time consuming.

A felt ornament, in a store, would go for $2-5, maybe. Something fancy might be up to $10.
That's a totally fair price for a felt ornament. I don't know that people would pay more. But it's not worth the time for me for $10.

Hence the crafter's quandary. People are used to paying $50 for a really nice blanket and would balk at paying $250 for a handmade quilt--even though that would (maybe!) be only cost-recovery on materials and time.

Why pay $500+ for an original painting when you can get a nice looking print for $15 (framed and ready to go for under $50)?

Handmade things cost more, but a lot of people don't have the luxury of paying more when cheap, readily-available goods are everywhere. And, for the most part, these aren't items one *needs*.

Plus, well, we're not talking perfection here. My stitches could be improved (I made some mistakes on the collar that wouldn't happen in a second iteration), I would change hair color, I would fix the lip-technique and eyes. If I had an embroidery machine it would go much more quickly (but I also don't like the machine-embroidered look as much).

So I'd feel bad charging more. I'm not sure what the "worth it" price would be to me, honestly. Or what the market would bear (I wouldn't want to over-charge, either).

So I think I'm just going to create pattern instructions to go with the patterns and sell them for $1-2 a pop. Something that you'd feel okay impulse-buying and you'd even feel okay knowing that your ambition might outstrip your execution and you'd have an unused pattern lying around forever (the TNG busy book pattern I bought was $10...I figured if I never actually got around to it it was no huge loss).

Psa

Dec. 1st, 2016 08:24 am
pen_grunt: (Wild Thing)
"They're real and they're spectacular" *still* gets a huge laugh at corporate events. Thanks Seinfeld (which I haven't actually seen, but I know the line).

Believe me. No one is as shocked as me.

The reason is because it's just a teensy bit naughty while also being completely clean. (The original line referred to breasts.) That goes over big with executives.

It's also why 50 Shades of Grey is the gift that keeps on giving. It's so mainstream that it's totally safe...yet everyone knows it's a naughty reference.

I wonder what the next everlasting naughty-safe bit will be.

Cannot

Nov. 15th, 2016 02:08 pm
pen_grunt: (Gay sex for god.)
I just cannot fucking believe that this country elected Donald fucking Trump to be the president.

It's a week later. I still can't believe it.

And then he was like: Haaay, how about I start fillin' up my staff positions with white supremacists!

Me: . . . Fuck.

I've been saying that a lot lately.

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