Monday, July 30, 2007
Days like this I just want to curl up and sleep all day and listen to music and let it sooth my soul. My neck has been causing troubles again and I'm terrified at the thought I might get another migraine. I'll take some IB before bed tonight to see if I can relax it a bit.
Put the finishing touches on another short story for submission. over at Clarity of Night I probably wasn't in the best frame of mind to write it so the subject matter ended up being quite dark. I'll post my submission once the contest has closed.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
So now I find myself another Saturday curled up on the couch, sitting in a sunbeam with a coffee by my side and thinking about me and my life. Here are some updates.
I've now posted 2 entries on some blog writing contests. I posted a link the the first but I've been asked to actually post the stories here as I guess some people don't like to search for things. So what I will do is have 2 separate posts with those stories (see below this post). I've read about a 3rd contest that I'm thinking about taking a stab at, but this one has a 250 word limit and I find cutting things down to 500 words incredibly hard. I can't image containing it to 250. But I'll give it a try and will post my attempt after the fact.
I've still been trolling YouTube to find videos to share of stuff that I like that is a bit on the obscure side. Like the writing, I'll dedicate a specific post for that (again see below). I also purchased a couple of CD's that have been on my list for a while: Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, Interpol and U2. Now I just need some time to listen to them.
My trip to Chichester was one of the most stressful situations I've ever been in. I was there to 'represent' my office/team from Glasgow at a client meeting. I was given good feedback after the fact which helped. But as result of my calm cool exterior and stuffing all that nervous anxiety on the inside I have broken out in a huge patch of eczema on my chin (too much information I know). Now that I'm home it's slowly getting under control and healing thanks to some hydro cortisone cream but looking in the mirror, I'm not sure I want to go out in public just yet.
I haven't taken many pictures lately as I've not been in an overly creative mood and the weather has just been terrible. Too much cloud cover and the lighting conditions are terrible. Somehow I need to kick start that passion again, just not quite sure how. I need to look for something to inspire me I guess. Here's today's attempt.
My parents bought me an iPod nano for my birthday and it just arrived. Now I've got to figure out how the darn thing works. It's so wee.
The Birthday Part 2
My flat mate was off gallivanting around Italy during my birthday. Tonight she's making up for it, should be fun.
She planted the weeping willow to remind her of the time needed to heal. For a few minutes today she actually forgot about it. The physicality of digging the hole, getting down on her knees to add the fertilizer. Mixing the peat with her bare hands. Taking the cutting of his hair out of her apron pocket and dropping it in the hole. She stood there for a few minutes, looking down before finally placing the seedling on top. This ritual had to mean something, the book said it would.
The book was something she found shortly after it happened. It was almost as if it had been waiting for her. She doesn't remember buying it, but those first couple of days were all a fog. Again she thought about therapy. The stack of pamphlets were still on the counter by the fridge, Dealing With Grief, How To Move On. She just couldn't bring herself to pick up the phone. If she were to seek professional help , then she'd be expected to talk about it. And right now denial was easier.
She went over it again in her head. It wasn't her fault, how could it be? She loved him with all her heart and soul. It was an accident. The hot, stinging tears she cried every night were real. She wouldn't cry if it was her fault would she? Maybe it was the brutality of the investigation that still had her shaken. The way the detective looked at her when he questioned what happened that night. Those questions needed to be asked, it was just routine, the other officer had said as he gently rested his hand on her shoulder.
The tears started again. It seemed so long ago now, that night. That horrible night. She'd get through this with her own strength and she would heal. All she needed was time to forget.
Wiping the tears from her face she walked outside into the back yard to look at the seeding that she'd just planted. Yes time will heal these wounds, she was doing the right thing. She felt the evening sun warm her skin and breathed in the fresh air and she smiled. Next door her neighbour was on the back deck and gave a wave. She waved back and thought - they don't know about the last time. I won't let it happen again.
That's all you got for me?
It's a good line.
You've had 6 months!
I been busy
And you've plagiarised the line, it's Tom Petty right?
Well ya, but I'm using it in a different context, it's my interpretation.
You aren't interpreting anything, you've just copied one line!!
Semantics, it's all up here (he said tapping his right temple)
Manny throws up his hands in frustration and looks out the window.
What should I tell them?
You really are in a different world aren't you.
Ya, I like it there. Lots of hot chicks.
Listen, I'm not kidding. You need to get this done. No let me rephrase, you need to get started.
I want more money.
My expenses, I need to be kept in the lifestyle to which I've become accustomed (he says flashing a gold tooth smile)
Is that what you did with your advance? Dental work? You are a complete idiot, I should just dump you and get out while I can.
No, I like you as my agent. I'll up your percentage.
30% of nothing is still nothing.
Ya, but when the book is done, the money will be ROLLIN' in.
Who do you think I should get to play me when they option this for Hollywood?
I think you're getting ahead of yourself here, first you need to write the damn thing.
Manny looks out the window and wonders how on earth he got himself into this mess.
Turning around, he walks over and stands facing the kid's chair, bends down and says,
Listen, there is no more money, you got a huge advance, something that most first timers don't get. But until you submit something of substance, I don't know, like a couple of chapters or something, the publisher is NOT got to continue to finance your dental plan! So stop putzing around and WRITE SOMETHING!
Manny was about an inch from his face when he said that. Then he steps back, walks to the window and gazes out. Watching the sun set behind the cityscape, he says quietly,
You've got one week, you better get started.
NO! No more extensions, no more money, write the thing. Just do it. If you don't, I can't help you anymore. I'll rip up our contract. You'll be on your own.
Are you disrespecting me?
Disrespecting you? In order to DIS-respect you, would imply I originally had an ounce of respect for you to begin with. You are nothing but a spoilt brat, who never had to do an honest day's work in your life. Now get outta here and write that damn book.... NOW!
The kid stood up startled. He started to say something but thought best not to and walked out.
Manny buzzed his secretary to advise her he was going to be unavailable for the rest of the afternoon.
Artist: Gillian Welch
Album: Time (The Revelator)
Track: Time (The Revelator)
Artist: The Bad Plus
Album: These Are The Vistas
Track: Smells Like Teen Spirit
Album: Tuesday Wonderland
(sorry can't embed this one)
Artist: Joe Jackson
Album: Body and Soul
Track: You Can't Get What You Want
Track: Hell Yes
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Here are the "Rules":
1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged (I'll do like Mad and just put it out there that if you want to do it go ahead, but I don't do the tag thing as I'm a slow runner)
OK, as stated in my blog bio I'm a dull person really, but here is my attempt at 8 random facts. Mind you it does say random, nothing about interestingisness or fascinating. And in thinking it seems kind of timely to do this type of reflection the day after my birthday.
1 - I have never had any typical communicable diseases, aka mumps, measles, chicken pox.
I did once have Roseola which is kind of like the measles but generally only happens in infants. I was in grade 2 or 3 at the time but the infant of my babysitter had them and I picked them up from the kid. You get spots like the measles and a bit of a fever but nothing horrible. I did get to miss some school though. I am still very wary of getting any of the above mentioned illnesses as they say they are much worse as an adult.
2 - I was 12 before I learned how to light a match and 41 before I flicked my first Bic Lighter.
What can I say, I was afraid of fire. That's a healthy fear I think. The way I learned how to light a match was my mother (bless her heart) locked me out on the deck with a pack of matches and wasn't going to let me back into the house until I lit one. I was a Girl Guide at the time and apparently one of the skills you need is to learn how to build a proper camp fire. She was horrified that I had managed to get as far as I did without being the one to physically strike the match.
3 - I have skinny dipped in a fresh water lake in the Okanagan Valley.
Again this was a Girl Guide thing from my youth. Camping in the wilderness without access to showers for a week can be a bit rank so there we were. All standing on the beach wrapped in our towels clutching our bottles of shampoo and bars of soap. 1..... 2..... 3.... and we all dropped the towels and ran screaming (as teenage girls will do) into the lake trying to avert our eyes at each others nakedness. For some reason getting out wasn't a big deal, but the getting in was. Sadly I do seem to recall there was one girl that didn't run with the pack and then was left standing on her own crying as she didn't want to do it. I'm sure in this day that would be a large no-no.
4 - I have never had a boy (that wasn't a relative or an infant) tell me he loves me.
I will accept your sympathy now.
5 - I am listed on IMDB.com for two movies.
In another life I worked as a Foley Assistant for Sharpe Sound Studios in North Vancouver BC. What does the Foley Assistant do you might ask?
Well you get a video tape (at least back in the 90's it was video tape) with the SMPTE time code on it. You need to watch the tape and decide what Foley (or live sound effects) needs to be recorded and then mark down on the track sheet the time code, for it to start and what direction the sound is coming from (i.e. left, centre, or right) and then the time code when it ends and then assign it to a specific track.
It would take me a whole day to do a 42 minute TV show or 2 days to do a movie. You need to watch it multiple times and follow a character through. When you identify the sound you scroll back and forth frame by frame to get the times etc. This track sheet is then given to the Foley Artists and the Recording Engineer as a map/guide for the recording process.
When I started out I sat in on a number of the sessions. I remember one in particular where there was the big 'sex scene'. Watching the Foley artists and what they did and used to get the sounds for various 'activities' on screen was hilarious and extremely entertaining. In prep for that night's session the engineer had Barry White playing in the studio. Another interesting Foley sound is for vomit. Good Times.
Oh, in case you were wondering it was only feature film that I would actually get a screen credit for. Most of what I worked on was for TV, then it would just be the artists and engineer that would get the credit. I worked on the TV shows Poltergeist, The Outer Limits and Beast Wars and a whole whack of made for TV movies.
6 - I have very tiny feet and hands.
In UK sizes I'm about a 2 1/2 for shoes (and narrow) and a 4 1/2 North American sizes. I find it incredibly hard to find adult dress shoes and have yet to find a shop in Glasgow that carries shoes that small. My hands I guess are in proportion to my feet and my overall body (I'm a little person, only 5' 2 3/4" tall).
Most kids get a kick out of the fact that they have bigger feet than me. Most people I meet, my hands fit in the palm of theirs. Still imagine how strange I'd look if I had big feet and hands.
7 - I've just now realized that my BC drivers license expired as of yesterday.
I think that means I'm out of luck to get a UK one now without having to take a drivers test (something I really don't want to have to do). I am slightly miffed at myself about this as I had re-taken my road test before I left Vancouver (at a cost of $55) so that I could get a UK drivers license.
What does this really mean? I'm not sure as I honestly have no desire to drive here, but now it's officially not an option. Well I think it's not an option as I haven't done the proper research for it. Perhaps they will accept the expired license as the test itself was only taken in October of last year.
8 - I have only ever walked out of a movie theatre twice, and neither occasion was my choice.
The first time it was a documentary called "It Came From Hollywood". In retrospect I think this is when I started to realize that not everyone appreciates film. The friends I was with thought it was boring and wanted to leave. I found it very interesting and wanted to stay, but they were cool, I wasn't and peer pressure got the best of me and I followed. I'm happy to say years later I came across the movie on TV and was finally able to watch it from start to finish.
The other time it wasn't a movie but a festival called 'Spike and Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation' (please do NOT click on that link if you are easily offended). I mean the title gives it away what you are in for, and even before the first animation began the host (can't remember if it was Spike or Mike) got up and gave a warning that if you want to leave now you can and your ticket cost would be fully refunded. So when the animation fun began, I can't believe the group I was with was surprised at what they were seeing. What exactly did they think sick and twisted meant?
Again this was a peer pressure thing as I was with a group of people and when they got up at intermission and walked out I sheepishly followed. I find it funny that now, years later my now flat mate who was also there that night was feeling as I had, and would have been willing to stay for the rest but didn't know I was like minded.
This festival was my introduction to the characters Beavis and Butt-Head, the short Bambi Meets Godzilla and many other now classics. True it is not for the faint of heart and if you are at all easily offended I do NOT recommend checking out the website. But still, people, if you are of the naive sort please fully check out what you are about to go and see beforehand.
Friday, July 20, 2007
It's going to be a bit of a weird day as my flat-mate is currently in Italy traveling with her brother & sister-in-law (tough gig I know) and at work there are a number of people off, any other friends I've made have either moved away or already have plans. Soooo, I may just end up treating myself to a CD or two if the shop is still open after work, then perhaps a French flick with plans to meet up after with a friend for a drink.
I will accept all wishes of sympathy for my sad situation in being alone and mourning once again my fleeting youth.
Money & expensive gifts would help though.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
It's almost 11 and I'm slightly wired. But I need to get up early to shower and get ready for my day full of supervisory training in our Croydon office. Sitting cooped up in a meeting room all day with a bunch of people I've never met, that just sounds like soooo much fun.
I admit I do need this training (the 1st of 2 out of office sessions) as I'm flying by the seat of my pants on this whole people management thing as I've never been in this position before. But it just couldn't have come at a worse time. Things are so busy at work I feel guilty being here and now I will return to more chaos.
While flying down to Gatwick today in between the clouds I couldn't help but notice how flat and treeless England is. It puts into perspective how huge and untouched most of Canada is.
Note to self, I need to get into the Scottish countryside and explore. I want to find the cost, I want to walk a hill (but I don't want to do a death march), I want to find a Highland Cooooo. I want to sit on a rolling hill in the fog overlooking a loch with a ruin off in the distance.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
I woke up at a leisurly 8'ish. Had a cuppa tea and my museli, while catching up on emails and reading the few blogs I follow. At 10:30 I met a friend for coffee and some yummy porriage with sliced bananas and honey driseled on top. Then I went home and sat on the couch in a sunbeam and worked on compiling some play lists of my music that I have stored on my lap top. Had an MSN messanger chat with my Aunt in Ontario and then later had a Skype call with the folks. In the evening I moved to the other couch and watched a Flim 4 show on the top 50 documentaries.
My Sunday Morning so far
I woke up at a leisurely 8:30'ish. Made some coffee to go with my museli, while catching up on my emails, only 1 this morning :>( and reading the few blogs I follow. The above friend and I tentatively made plans to sort out our busy schedule and get together one day in August to catch a flick together. So I started reviewing the 'to be released' schedules for the local cinemas. The GFT is participating in the Summer of British Film and had a link to the BBC site. This is where the fun begins. The BBC has set up a YouTube group for people to post mini movies inspired by British Film. Here are two of my favorites:
2007: A Really Short Space Odyssey
Saturday, July 14, 2007
The trip home, not so good. Once again fighting with Flybe at the Southampton airport to try and convince them that it would make no sense for the company travel agent to only book a checked bag for my flight there, and not to allow me to check that same bag home. So again I had to pay (argh!! - I'll be contacting the person that books our company travel when I'm back to the office).
Then I got to be lucky contestant number 3 and get the complimentary 'pat down' at security. I mean come on. I'm in a fitted skirt, light weight fitted shirt, no pockets, I'm in stockings as they've scanned my shoes. Where on earth am I going to hide anything. And the pat downs are getting a little on the close side. If I was a smoker I'd be asking for a cigarette afterwards. It's getting a bit ridiculous really.
My flight was delayed, but they never tell you that anymore, it's just assumed. So when I got to GLA and the company hired car that was to pick me up was 45 minutes late. It was pouring rain and the driver didn't even attempt to help me with my bags. He wouldn't even get out of the car to open the trunk, just told me to put them in the back seat, so I had to sit on a wet seat after pushing my soggy bag to the other side. Same thing when I got to the flat, not a 'have a nice evening' or 'let me help you' . I was a drowned rat by the time I got to the door and found my keys.
Now compare that to the car service that drove my from Chichester to the Southampton airport. Traffic was a bit heavy it being a Friday and 6:00 PM so I was asked if I wanted the scenic route, or the really scenic route. I picked the really scenic route, and the whole way the driver was playing tour guide and pointing out farms, castle ruins, secret military installations that aren't 'officially' there. He even tried really hard to find a Highland Cow but no luck.
I'm soggy, tired and my head hurts. Must be Friday the 13th.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Oh, and that alarm is still going off. I walked around the area when I got home and I've narrowed it down to it's not a car alarm but either a burglar alarm or an extremely loud alarm clock. It's just in my block, on my side of the street (so Graham, feel free to wander around to take a listen). I just can't figure out which flat it is so don't feel right calling the police to say...
"Um there's this noise, but I don't know what, and I don't know where, but can you make it stop?"
Monday, July 09, 2007
I was supposed to be meeting up with a friend at the pub later but I got a text asking to reschedule to the weekend.
So here I sit, listening to a very annoying car alarm that has been going on and on since I got home. I sincerely hope it is turned off by the time I need to go to bed.
I've got the TV turned to BBC4 on in the background. There's a series on about The Women's' Institutes Denman College. The episode is comprised of women that are attending the College (it's more of a retreat centre really) giving their stories.
Currently there is the sweetest little old gray haired lady and her story is so sad. Her first husband had an affair and divorced her, then her second marriage to a persistent suitor (or stalker as they call it now) resulted in mental & physical abuse and then her spending time in an asylum where under Dr's orders she was not returned to her marital home but to her parents.
Here is a sweet woman, 2 failed marriages, has been through hell and back and still smiling and trying to building up her self esteem.
The last quote I caught while typing this is her saying "You go through life and think it's the end of the world and it's not. It's not. It's just Nearly the end" and she burst into joyous laughter.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
I'm not very good at things like that as I listen to such a broad range of stuff how could I only pick 5? It's like asking a Mother which child is her favorite. I love all my music. What I will listen to depends on my mood, what kind of day I've had, if it will be in the background while performing a task or if it is to be for the sole pleasure of just sitting and listening (my preferred method).
Not to mention, I don't have an actual i-pod, just an RCA MP3 jukebox of which the hard drive promptly decided to breakdown as I was on a flight back to Canada. 9 hours is a long time to sit without some good music to listen to.
Which leaves me with my laptop. I started scrolling down my list of CD's I was able to rip onto it before moving, but I only got as far as the M's.
I'm not doing very well here at all am I.
As mentioned above I flew back to Canada last week to attend my Grandmother's funeral. was strange how I ended up being back in Canada for Canada Day (July 1st). So that got me to thinking about Canadian music, of which I own quite a bit. So then I started trolling YouTube searching for Canadian bands.
In no particular order...
Band: The Tragically Hip
Album: Phantom Power
From: Kingston, Ontario
This is the quintessential Canadian Band in that they are huge at home but have never been able to crack the US market. And you know what, that makes them even MORE Canadian.
Band: Big Sugar
Album: Big Sugar
Track: Sleep in Late
From: Toronto, Ontario
I remember seeing this video for the first time on Much Music a loooooong time ago. Loved it! but never made note of who it was and it wasn't really a top 40 tune so not on high rotation. As a result I never saw it again. Fast forward a number of years and I see this band live at Plaza of Nations during Foxfest. I quite liked them so the next day I went to A&B Sound and picked up their first 3 CD's. Back home, I popped in their first album and track one was this tune. Sweet.
Band: Pilot Speed
Album: Caught By The Window
Track: Melt Into The Walls
From: Toronto, Ontario
This is another band I discovered through watching The Wedge on Much Music It's a non-top 40 show that focuses on the more avaunt guard or intelligent videos. I've discovered quite a few interesting bands on that show. Anyway, I digress, I saw this video a few times before finally having a pen and paper handy to make note of who the band was and then going out to buy the CD. I love every track.
Album: Pretty Together
Track: The Other Man
From: Halifax, Nova Scotia
This was one of those albums where you hear a couple of tracks on the radio and you think, hey that's kinda catchy. Then you get the CD home and pop it into the player and you are blown away by what you didn't hear on the radio. I think that's one of the pleasures joe shmoe misses out on when only listening to music on an i-pod, or computer. So often the musical subtleties are lost when music is compressed within an inch of it's life. This tune has an amazing bass line through-out, the band itself has incredibly intelligent lyrics and use intricate harmonies. A great band and a great album.
Band: Matthew Good
Album: White Light Rock and Roll Review
Track: Alert Status Red
From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Matt is all that is good about Canadian Music. Intelligent,artistic, political & outspoken.
So there you have it, a small snippet of the Canadian Music scene. In all cases the whole CD is fabulous. Not a throw away track at all. That's another thing I don't really like about the i-pod generation. If you're just downloading one tune you're missing out. For me, once I get the CD home I find the tune that got airplay is not necessarily the best track. But I'll save that rant for another day.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Back to regular scheduled chaos with a smattering of jet lag tomorrow.