Category Archives: food for thought

Post-Oscars Decompression

Awards season is over. Long live the Academy.

It was the morning after the Oscars. 8:00 am. I was supposed to have been up an hour ago. Were any of last night’s attendees up yet? Had anyone even gone to bed? Who among the nominees was jumping in to their next project? Who among the winners was sleeping in? Why was I so dehydrated?

These thoughts accompanied me, the non-Oscar participant, whose next project was to get out of bed and ready for work.

The morning sun was positioned just enough beneath the horizon to avoid major disturbance in my bedroom. I laid in bed, deflated after a lowkey weekend despite living a stone’s throw from Sir Elton’s annual viewing party. Spine pressed heavily into the mattress, my toes, then fingers, twitchef to life underneath the duvet. Turning my face towards the ceiling, my eyes tugged in their sockets, like pebbles in a slingshot. God, I don’t want tooooooo.

My phone blinked to life on the nightstand. Perhaps San Vicente was still closed to thru traffic and I’d get to work from home, a nptipn retracted the moment it was thought. San Vicente isn’t the 405 freeway, idiot. There’s life outside of Weho, remember?

My brain had a point. I grabbed my phone and swiped at the lock screen.

Happy new year, Lindzz! DID YOU SEE? Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay last night… will you be next? Only one way to find out — it’s go time!

My teeth clenched as a fire cut through knots in my long intestine. Gary was on to me in the most encouraging of tones. It had been four years since I agreed to work on the script, and I admired him for trusting me. I wondered how much longer it would last. Putting the phone down, I rolled onto my side and stared off into nowhere for another five minutes.

I’ve got 26 days, I thought. I can do this. I’d yet to type the first page of the draft. The farthest I’d gotten was a Google search on how to write a byline, falling down a rabbit hole with vegan, royalty-free YouTube at the end of it. I’d spent too much time there rather than on the script and building a high-definition dream life of my own. I knew better. Vegan YouTube didn’t promise me a rose garden. But neither did Gary. He just showed up, every time.

“I can’t stand awards shows. Such a bombastic parade with the intent to sell more shit that people don’t need,” Gary remarked, running a thumb along his scruffy jawline. We were at a coffee shop near my apartment that had a deal on vanilla lattes during the 3pm slump. Saturdays we used to flee there with Evernotes in tow, trying to get something done. But mostly we just talked smack about the industry. “I mean, come on, Nicholas Cage has an award. How’s that for politics? I’ve always felt that if you’re doing it for awards, for the fame, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.”

I uncrossed my arms and dipped my gaze into my coffee cup. I loved him, my little brother, and his subtle, impassioned exhibition, ripe with hard truth. But it all sounded like something a loser would say.

Gary was no loser — if anything, he was a realist, young, a storyteller and visual craftsman. Sometimes I envied his arrogance, which both drove and grounded him, and how he moved with instinct, leading with his manhood. Save from the silver hammer of time, nothing was going to stop him and his dream of being a director. But even he knew that faith and a great idea wasn’t enough, not here. Not in next-generation Los Angeles.

Me, well, I was just tired, and getting old. Tired, and living in the matrix. Comparison was killing my dreams. I needed to learn how to lead with my tits.

“All the politics, Hollywood royalty, the uber-elite. Once you make it about awards, or money, all credibility goes out the window. All of it.” He shifted positions slightly, getting a little fired up on the subject. I let him go on, noticing the indentations his shoulders had left in the booth’s upholstery. “If that’s what you really want, though, then why not?” Pausing between breaths, he continued, “Just remember that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. That statue will not be the heaviest thing you carry in this lifetime.”

Would it ever get old, living someone else’s dream come true? My thoughts, soggy and falling to pieces, floated to the bottom of my cup.

That was it. I turned over and reached for my phone, a piece of ceiling fan dust narrowly missing my eye. Blind with resolve, I wondered how long it would last.

Heeeyyy, Gary. I’m on it. It’s go time.

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It’s Time to Get My Shit Together 

There’s so much that I want to accomplish this year. I’ve actually been throwing around a #NewYearNewMeDamnIt hashtag on social media, mostly to make me laugh when feeling helpless. But I’ll tell you, I’m feeling anything but helpless these days, which is a huge improvement from where my head was last year.

I think the reason I feel this way is because not only do I know what I need to do, but that I absolutely need to do. Eventually all this “doing” will lead to some kinda awesome “being”, even if it’s not the Pinterest-perfect dream board on which a fair part of my right brain resides. 

Long story short: in order to “do” effectively, I have to get my shit together. More than passion planning, more than mantras, this is the only way going everything’s going to come up Linds.

This has meant making some costly repairs to two giant cracks in the foundation of my well-being, which I will talk about in future posts. In the interest of brevity I will note that in both areas, there’s no substitute to getting down into the dirt and digging up and clearing out the dead roots. 

For the duration of this overhaul, I am doing my best to approach insecurities with an inquisitive mind, to listen, research, and learn, so that I  can more effectively contribute passion and skill, even if I don’t feel that my efforts are nearly as important.

And in getting a hold on setting boundaries so my time suits my efforts, I’ve learned the importance of holding myself back whenever someone says “jump”, as it’s not in my best interest to do so blindly and with good faith.

Proficiency. Optimization. Activity. Results. Here we go. 

Until next time — thanks for reading,

Linds

Small Steps Lead to Great Destinations (Part 1)

Only four days into 2018 and I’m already looking forward to the weekend.

But I’ve already accomplished some things, however small. One of my big hang-ups last year was knowing where to separate my professional life from my personal life, to truly make clear mental distinctions, for my self and loved ones’ sake.

No matter how challenging or rewarding, most people’s lives and jobs are a source of stress. However, while some seem to inherently know how to leave their work at the office each night and return to it in the morning, others, such as myself, carry it into off-hours like an old suitcase with one handle. So one goal I am actively pursuing and encouraging this year is leaving projects at the door, and setting appropriate boundaries so that all tasks can be given equal opportunity to be focused on and completed.

Prior to, well, Tuesday, I used a sole task management system to streamline all processes, projects, and communications — professional and personal. In doing so, little did I realize that I was not optimizing performance as intended. Instead, I was muddling various stresses and responding with misdirected energies. Without the distinction, I soon grew numb and unresponsive to a tool designed to make me more productive.

With that, I’ve decided to separate my tasks between two systems: Microsoft Outlook for professional tasks, and Google Keep for personal tasks. Considering I have used both Office and G Suites in such a capacity over the years, it makes sense. I already feel lifted by the change, which has proven to be more psyche-oriented than purely administrative.

To recap: You wouldn’t run a half-marathon in a pair of six-inch stilettos, nor would you expect to sail across the ocean in a bus. Yes, shoes are shoes, and vehicles are vehicles, but knowing how to use them effectively and for their intended use only increases the benefits, inclusive of health and well-being. 

In the case of task management, seeing “practice restorative yoga” next to “update spreadsheet” was more burden then help. Making a clearer distinction of my personal and professional goals has already benefited me greatly, positioning me a few steps closer to my destination.

New Year, New Me?

My apartment is small, but I love the location. I’ve lived in it for six years and still have yet to find the perfect place for anything. As such, my mental state has been wavering somewhere in between the desire to stock up and the desire to burn everything to the ground.

I’ve been on a big decluttering kick for the past few weeks, this notion of minimalism being the undercurrent on which my efforts valiantly ride. I don’t think I have it down quite yet, but I find that self-interrogation is helping. “How much does one person really need?” “Am I ever going to wear that pair of shoes again?” “Can I just pay someone to do this for me?” Honest examination of the sum of my possessions against the limits of my abode has resulted in a lot of letting go. I have never seen so many garbage bags lined up for the dumpster and donation center.

On Friday, I took three hours to clear out my cosmetics drawers and linen closet, found something I hadn’t had in quite some time — clarity? Freedom? Sense. Sense could finally be made out of that particular corner of my apartment. And it felt great, amazing, even — until I realized I had another 600 square feet to go.

Like life, I would complain that the tasks are never ending — and I have, and will likely continue to do so. It’s exasperating work. So it is said this time of year, out with the old, and in with the new.

Except I don’t plan on adding a lot of new, not to my apartment, and not to my life. There’s still quite a lot of paring down to do, and a lot of good here to be utilized. Best believe that I’m taking that perspective with me into 2018. But I’m taking this one as well:

I physically cleared my space of five large bags of unused items. Good thing, right? Well, not exactly. Sure, I’ve freed up space in my environment, but I’ve also burdened the one that surrounds me. Someone has to empty the dumpster, go through recycling, figure out what’s worth reselling, etc. Out of my sight, out of my mind, but not necessarily for anyone else.

In an attempt to carve out a functional retreat, it’s been drilled home that I make use of what I have, and actually make it work, because it does. No more wasteful spending, of time, money, or energy. All it creates is unused potential. Heaps of it.

So, new year, new me? No, not really. I know what needs to be done. I’ll go with same me, but better.

From me to you — happy new year.

Pure Imagination

After a long week, my boyfriend and I thought about cooking dinner for all of a minute before heading to the corner ramen place. While waiting for our order, the topic of conversation eventually landed on family. “He’s just so smart, so intelligent,” I gushed about my nephew in particular, “obsessed with science and facts; he’s just so knowledgeable about it all—“.

“Geez, when will people learn that all of that just comes down to curiosity,” my boyfriend countered.

“But…” I started, then paused, careful to choose my words, letting my brain chew on the idea instead. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Oh, I don’t mean it personally,” he stressed. “It’s just that nearly everyone says that about their kid. Don’t you remember being that age? How easy it was to be obsessed with something? I swear I knew the name of every dinosaur at that age,” he laughed.

He made an interesting point. I did remember being that age. Childhood was an actual thing growing up, not just TV ideology. It was a time of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, and playing in the rain with galoshes and oversized umbrellas. From the crossing-guard to the principal, our school community was one of the best there was, contributing to a warmth carried in my heart to this day. Bicycle rodeos and festivals were held during the fall, holiday pageants during the winter, reading achievement awards each month, and student-vs.-teacher kickball games each summer. It was the ideal if not perfect environment for imagination and creativity.

Our waitress set two mugs of Sapporo on the table. My shoulders dropped. I did remember being that age.

“But that doesn’t mean he’s not intelligent,” I said, my gaze meeting his, a suppression of mild annoyance.

“You’re totally right. Time will tell,” he remarked, and I perked up a bit. “But look,” he continued, “unless a kid is an actual prodigy — like, dabbling in quantam physics, speaking several languages, or writing symphonies — by hand — chances are they are just like any other kid.”

His brain had digested the notion long ago. My brain, after about twenty good chews, was only beginning to absorb it.

Sinking back into the booth, I could almost hear my mom saying: “You attended Spanish classes after lunch, completely fluent; even sang in the Spanish-language pageant in first grade. What happened?” I was considered gifted in school, earned money towards a scholarship in second grade, and and worked on the school newspaper after school. What did happen?

My boyfriend checked his email, disappearing from peripheral view, as my brain started to swallow the notion. I should be happy, in particular that my nephew exists within an environment that allows for his interests and fixations to run wild, especially before puberty takes hold. My niece as well; I wonder if she stares up at the sky, watching the birds from the middle of the playground at recess, aching to be on the other side of the chain link fence, like I used to.

I wondered if there’s anything to be done to keep such fancy afloat through the years. Having been on this side of the fence for longer than I’d care to admit, the wonderment surely hasn’t vanished, but it has been more difficult to come by. It makes sense that now, in my thirties, there’s no measurable difference in feeling concerning my ability, or lack thereof.

So was I about to admit that my boyfriend was right? Everyone knows that there are only so many opportunities to do so while saving face. But this wasn’t one of those typical Mars-and-Venus situations.

“Yo, knock, knock. You alive in there?” he asked, smirking slightly.

Our food arrived, and I nodded. My brain was full, and my boyfriend was right. I didn’t fully admit it, but he got a punch in the card anyway. The thirteenth one’s for free.

The Problem with Needing to Be the First to Report the News

“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” — the new and now longstanding credo du époque. 

What happened to actually reporting the news?  Pressure from conglomerates happened. Ratings, sensationalism, virality happened. The internet and social media happened, and I’d argue that we’re all to blame in some way, simply by demand and consumption. 

With the internet being the world’s main and largest source of information, and social media making it available and accessible by the literal second, it is a bit tough to escape the matrix — but tough doesn’t have to be impossible. 

On Monday, October 2nd, reports flooded in early in the day that legendary singer, songwriter, and musician Tom Petty was taken to the hospital in a state of unconsciousness following cardiac arrest. His condition was updated to having been taken off of life support, to dying. This was reported by hundreds of verified online publications, until it was acknowledged that confirmation had, in fact, not been obtained. 

Following a statement from the LAPD denying their prior confirmation, reports were quickly retracted to Petty clinging to life until his spokesperson released a statement hours later that he had passed away at 8:40 pm PST.

This need to be the first to report breaking news is now regularly causing once-reputable news outlets to shoot themselves in the foot while it’s still their mouth, while other websites — essentially RSS or reblog feeds — pick up the story and further spread the contamination. 

Was this the LAPD’s fault, or was it the fault of the new school of journalism? Was it our fault as the public for how easily we’ve adapted to wildfire? 

I would answer: all of the above.

As a result, Petty’s final hours were tinged by the unfair and unwarranted stress of infringed upon privacy, personally experienced by his family, friends, and bandmates. Fans around the world were either propped up by false hope, or thrust into a position of waiting for him to die. There was no good publicity to be garnered from it — just a media circus. Just vultures circling around, waiting to strike. 

It begs reminding that it is the job of journalism to report and document the news through an unbiased lens, with integrity to the profession. It a position worthy of dignity and respect, one with huge responsibility. It is far more than cents-per-word or exposure-only employment. And, it is not at all about the journalist. Journalism is our history in motion.

In forgetting this, devastating events surrounding the first two days of October 2017 have fallen under the pay-per-click umbrella, where “everyone is a journalist”, at an ultimate cost to the subject. 

We should all be ashamed.

Transformation Tuesday (Or, How I Stopped Bitching and Learned to Love the Hashtag)

There’s this holiday-themed Fruity Pebbles commercial from the mid-80s l that I would drop everything to watch when I was a kid. As we were more of a Grape Nuts, Cream of Wheat, and Quaker Oats family, the draw was less about the product and more about the strong sense of family and the magic of the Christmas season (and, of course, Fred finally letting Barney have the cereal).

No lie, that commercial is still fun to watch as an adult. But being an active, sometimes unwilling participant in consumerism, I have developed a little bit of a Grinch complex, particularly towards the over use of hashtags in social media and digital marketing. Considering their overall purpose and that they’ve only been clickable links within the past decade, I can’t really be too critical of them. Within the social media framework, they only serve to further connect people and ideas, whether for good, bad, or worse. And when you think about it, SEO and hashtags are merely yester-era’s catchphrases and slogans. The only difference between :more traditional” forms of media (i.e. print, radio, and television) is that this still relatively new media is available on demand, 24/7.

Anyway, with this realization, I’ve decided to shut up about the whole hashtag thing and learn to love the monster for linking the world together. Marketing means consumerism, which means a potential boost in both local and global economies. Even further, the fact that notable messages, ideas, causes and projects have the potential of receiving substantial exposure outside of an echo chamber is huge.

Finally, because this type of media is still so new in comparison to others means that there are still plenty of uncharted avenues in which to employ it outside of the standard, excessive, and sometimes annoying. Independent creativity, meet wave of reinvention?

I can feel my growing heart three sizes already.