Archives for the month of: August, 2011

(I use the word “content” here as meaning “satisfaction”, that is the opposite of “discontent) (See what I did there?) (Clever, I know…)

In at 9am and holy! Something was not quite right in the kitchen! No worries, between some fast thinking by one of my colleagues it got sorted. Note to self: you know who to ask, so ask them!

Good day at work, everyone seemed satisfied, although rather silent, probs with the stereo, lent the place a quieter air.

Walked home from the train station today, good to get a walk in and haven’t done that specific one in while.

On the sidewalk there is a sign “Pedestrians: Please use other sidewalk.”, the sidewalk is all blocked off, they look to be tearing it up in two places to create two new streets, more homes are being built, progress.

Happily, I would have used the other sidewalk.

Only.

Well, there is no “other sidewalk”.

I tried my best to reason with the sign, explaining the situation, but, well, yet again, I am reminded why it is best not to try to reason with inanimate objects.

Huh.

Then I came to the second sign – obviously my arguments were just as poor against it.

Tried to get caught up on the blogs that I follow and wha? for some reason only two blogs are showing up and one of the posts is from like a month ago!

I assure you, I follow and read more than 2 blogs.

So what is up with that?

Huh.

Very nice dinner tonight, someone made some yummy tomato salad and rice with black beans, perfect food for the end of the day, thanks dad!

Kind of Tuesday that I like best – sunny, filled with smiles and some surprising twists and turns along the way.

Hey, you know, I’ve been kind of watching “Pillars of the Earth” ‘cuz I read the “sequel” (term loosely used here, it isn’t a sequel, it takes place in the same town with descendents of the original characters, but like 300 years later, interesting premise) and I can tell you, I have no idea what is going on. I jumped in a few episodes in and I can’t even keep track of the characters!

Too bad I’m a sucker for historical dramas on our public broadcasters…

Hey, did I tell you that WordPress has given a lot of encouragement lately? I don’t know what is going on, but everything I post, it tells me what number of post it is, how many words it is and says something like “Awesome” or “Brilliant” or some other kind of warm fuzzy (yeah, I read that “TA for Tots” book waaaay too much when I was a kid.) (On the upside, I was the only person besides my prof in “Personality Theory” and “Abnormal Psychology” who knew what “Transactional Analysis” was…ok, yeah, same prof, so not nearly as impressive as perhaps it sounds…sorry!)

So, not sure exactly why WordPress has decided to do this, but hey, I will take the warm fuzzies where I can get them…I mean…

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“The Help” is directed by Tate Taylor, based on the book, “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.

Ok, so maybe I still need to state my biases up front, just so you aren’t going to accuse me of not revealing biases up front, you know?

Yes, I am drawn to works that are concerned with social justice, particularly ones that are historic and set in USA. Why? I don’t know, I’m fascinate with the Civil Rights movements and how things changes and social justice is just one of those things that fascinate me to no end. I think social justice is important.

I’m also interested in films about women and the relationships between women. Why? Well, that is an easy one, being a woman, it is interesting to see what depictions there are of experiences and relationships about women and between women – sort of like a reflection of one’s experience, ok?

The movie is set in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi and is concerned primarily with the relationships between white women and their black maids, who raise their children, keep their houses and are privy to the family secrets. The crux of the film and story is with the return of “Skeeter”, an unmarried, university grad and her attempts to find a job to become a professional writer and the two maids that she convinces to share their stories with her.

This is a film that I should love, it has all the themes ready to go, it should be a touching film with surprising moments of humour that tell about the Civil Rights Movement on a quieter, more introspective way.

This is not that film.

At first I found this film wildly uneven in tone, the laughs were questionable, the more touching moments hurried by and it was hard to get a handle on the story that was trying to be told.

Then I realized that in fact someone was trying to make a comedy, set against this time and with these issues framing it.

Hmmm. Didn’t quite work here.

Not sure exactly what the point of playing this film for laughs was – the serious moments didn’t quite balance out the cheap laughs and the use of potty humour seemed out of place.

The cast is filled with talent but most of them are reduced to playing board comedic characters rather than 3 dimensional characters.

I think that this time in American history, these issues have been treated with far more care and seriousness in other movies.

Disappointing.

Woo – climbing Saturday rocked, if you excuse the pun, 5 climbs = 1 x 5.8 + 3 x 5.10- + 2 x 5.10+.

Fav new climb of the week was the new one that goes through the doorway, a couple of the moves are extremely acrobatic – to complete coming through the doorway, you double-hand a large hold, bring your right foot up to a hold by your right foot and straddle your left foot across and then turn your hips towards the wall and straighten your body out…it looks completely impressive.

Cool thing of the day – some beginner climbers watched my climbing partner do this climb, stopped what they were doing and just watched her climb, it was a great climb and they were all very impressed, a couple of them noted how much fun it looked and they resolved to try the climb next time…very cool.

After climbing, it was time for brunch, we headed up to Fresh, ‘cuz I really wanted to try the gluten-free pancakes that they added to the brunch menu. Oh, whoa. The ones I had were blueberry almond and yum-yum!

Actually along with the tempeh bacon and the smoothie, I was totally stuffed and feeling completely rung out. I was also covered in chalk – I think more and more climbers are using it in the gym and aren’t doing a good job of cleaning off the holds…hmmm.

Currently the Ex is on in TO which means the trains on Saturday were superbusy, so busy that the train going down to climb ended up being almost 15minutes late, whoa.

Hey, cool thing that happened on Friday at work – I met the daughter of Marshall McLuhan and she showed me the site that she runs. It was completely wild to chat with her and it totally made my week. Funny the interesting people who you can meet in unlikely sorts of places, isn’t it?

Today was a lazy Sunday, I managed to do all the laundry after climbing yesterday, so it was only mending and ironing today. And just, you know taking it easy. Very nice “day of rest” indeed.

So, yeah, all set for the week ahead.

“The People vs. George Lucas” is a documentary directed by Alexandre O. Phillipe.

My attention was brought to this movie by one of the new friends that I’ve made from my recent movie-going, he and his wife love movies and often attend some of the TIFF shows and this was one that was at TIFF last year that they didn’t get to see. Oh, TIFF, sorry about that.

So, this film is a collection of interviews, parts of fan creations (flicks, re-edits), interviews with George Lucas, clips of talk shows etc interwoven with a very loose narrative thread that repeatedly show a court-room-like setting to make the case against George Lucas.

This film was riveting.

One of the things I liked most about this film was how the film was neatly set out into chapters to take you through the argument – the first chapter lays out the adoration and adulation that people (fans) have for the original “Star Wars” films, how they were received, how George Lucas was shaped as a film maker.

The film proceeds to show reaction to the re-leases in the 90s and then the first three chapters of the saga.

For anyone who grew up with the original “Start Wars” films you will find yourself nodding and saying “Yes, yes!” out loud with much of what the interviewees are saying. Also, keep your eye out for some pretty interesting interviews – Francis Ford Coppola and Neil Gaiman are two of the most notable interviewees, I mean, for me.

Of great interest is what George Lucas himself has to say about his works, the re-edits and the new films, about his stand that the original version of the first three films not be available in new media format.

Although this film is about George Lucas and the relationship “Star Wars” fans have with him – love-hate – the relationship he seems to have with them – love-hate – at the core of this movie is a bigger picture and wider topics for debate: when an artist creates something and presents it to the commons, at what point is the artist required to relinquish artistic control of the piece to the commons? Given that work is by the artist, is there a responsibility by the artist to let the work stand as is or is the artist permitted to go back and change the piece even after it the piece is consider finished and released to the commons? Is art ever finished? If the art is a collaborative work (as films are) is there a responsibility to other artists to keep the original work in tact? Does the commons have a right to its own cultural artifacts? If so, how far do those rights extend? Does the commons have a right to liberate a work from the artist if the artist persists in changing the work after it has been released to the commons and become a cultural artifact?

Thinking about this it seems to me that art can be transitory or liquid, changeable, some art is like that as a matter of course – live music is never the same way twice, live theatre, stand up, free-form jazz – but other art has an unchangeable element to it – recorded music, paintings, photographs, sculpture, film – and these aren’t mutually exclusive. But, I also think that we have a right to our own cultural artifacts – once an artist releases a piece into the commons, it becomes a cultural artifact and although the artist may change it, the artist does not have the right to change history, the artifact should still be available in the original form.

I’m, of course, biased. I hated the re-releases in the 90s. I hated the first film of the three new films so much that not only did I not bother seeing it again, I avoided the second two. Give me the 3 original films, in their original form, ‘cuz they are my cultural artifacts, they are what my memories and parts of my life are based on.

I respect an artist’s right to be creative and do what they want to their cultural creation, but Western Culture has changed, we are an interactive culture now and those of us who consume art, now we talk back to the creations and the creators, art becomes and is interactive and now, a good artist understands this and is willing to engage us in conversation – we live here and we have input into our culture.

Please note that I say “Western Culture” here ‘cuz I strongly believe that “Eastern Culture” is far, far ahead of us in this regard, if you were to look at very old paintings you would notice seals and calligraphy, perhaps poetry, also presented on the work that is not a part of the original – these are reactions from people who had a response to the work and wanted to engage the artist and the piece in conversation, this is only recently acceptable in the West – can you imagine is someone wrote “I like this!” on the Mona Lisa? Anyway…

This is a great film for those of you who love “Star Wars” and for those of you who wonder about this larger concerns about culture and the relationship between the work, the commons and the artist.

Interestingly, it also lays out some interesting history about George Lucas himself and what he has said in the part about cultural artifacts and the rights of the commons, very surprising stuff.

I strongly suggest that you check it out and give it a look-see, this was a very interesting documentary.

As a point of interest – the film purports to set up a debate in a court room style of debate, but honestly it wasn’t really need, the chapter layout was strong enough to set the debate out and provided a good, solid framework that reminded me of philosophical writings, I like the film could have lost the “court room scenes” without any harm to either the debate or the film. Decide for yourself and let me know what you think.

Find information about this film:  www.peoplevsgeorge.com

 

Perhaps it was the good night’s sleep that inspired me to spring out of bed and spend some time doing my hair this morning – that is right, a good hair day today, curls big and bouncy and somehow the world just seems like a good place to be today.

No yoga this morning, still working on the sleep deficit and skipped out on the morning walk as well – plans this evening so a longish sort of day.

At work early, which gave me a chance to get some of the words and thoughts out by putting pen to paper and had a moment to sit and chat with my boss about some of the ideas.

She loves them.

She loves so much that she looked at me and decided to re-do my hair – straight!

She quickly washed my hair and grabbed another stylist and they both worked on my to straighten all my curls. I felt like a star – seriously who ever gets the chance to have two people blow-dry their hair at once? Today that was me.

So, yeah, busy day, but good, very, very, very, good.

Got some file folders, paper and I’m feeling like yes, things will get put in their proper place and we are on the way to sorting things out.

After work – off to see “The People vs. George Lucas”, so ok, I owe you a movie review…

Another poor night’s sleep.

This time worry kept me up.

Have you ever learned something, been completely happy and satisfied and then, suddenly, later, it hits you – no, something about that was wrong…but what?

What is wrong?

And you know how, sometimes, it takes a little bit to figure out what exactly the wrong thing is?

Well, yeah, that happened to me last night.

Something was wrong about something I learned yesterday and man, it hit me when I got into bed and then, you know it was maybe 4am when I figured it out.

And you know what happened next?

You know, I know, we all know what happened next – I found a solution and started designing a spreadsheet to correct it.

Yeah, that is me, solving the world’s problems one spreadsheet at a time.

I’m the last one in and things in the place are humming along nicely and everyone seems happy that I came back, I’m half and hour early and let everyone know I’m upstairs for a bit working on something, I sketch it out and at the end of the day take it for a sign – corrections are needed! No worries, it is a start…and you know it is going to work out just fine and make things make sense.

Yeah, sometimes I like it when things make sense.

Loads of great feedback – one of my colleagues let me know that all of his clients commented on “the new girl” and how lovely I was. So, yeah, things are going well.

Day ended early, so we all sat for a bit and had some food = yum yum. I mean once I got past the “I don’t eat beef thing.”. Another of my new colleagues commented after that she didn’t know that I didn’t eat beef, which made me pause for a moment.

It isn’t something that I bring up as soon as I meet someone: hey, I’m bex! I don’t eat beef!

No, usually it only comes up if I’m going to dinner or planning a meal or like, you know, talking about food and what we don’t eat.

I had to smile to myself and said “Well, this is only my second day, so there you go.”

She doesn’t eat beef either.

Which, no, I didn’t know either.

Another storm rolling in tonight, loads of summer electricity.

Plans for the weekly movie and one of my friends can’t make it – oh noes! But, no worries, I guess once you hang with mutual friends a couple of times it is ok to hang without the mutual friend, right?

Looking forward to a good night’s sleep tonight, more yoga in the am before getting ready for work!

Ha.

So, my day yesterday ended with a phone call to my new boss, to remind her to pick a few things up before coming into work this morning and make a few calls she was supposed to take care yesterday. Know what she told me? Those keys she gave me? Yeah? They are the only keys to open the place! And the place is scheduled to open in the morning an hour before I get there.

Ok.

Totally embarrassing.

Every other place I’ve worked, when they give you the keys for the first time, they GIVE you the keys, they are your keys and you better take care of them, ‘cuz no one is giving you more keys. “Here, use these keys wisely and go forth and open and close as directed.” I’ve never been given a said of keys asked to use them and asked to give them back. I have never been given keys with the proviso “Hey, open/close that and give those keys back.”

Right?

So, me, I immediately go stupid: “No worries, I can come in earlier in the morning and open the place and give you the keys back.” Which I thought was a pretty sensible and generous thing of me to do, I mean it isn’t like I got paid for yesterday, you know?

You know the answer.

No.

Nope, don’t worry about it. We will manage just fine. Come in as scheduled and we will open the place up an hour before you get in.

Oh.

Well.

Not sure how that works exactly…but if my boss is saying this, I figure out of everyone right now I have the least amount of seniority and knowledge right?

Right.

So, ok, I’m sticking to the agreed start time ‘cuz that is what I’ve been told.

Ok!

Had an awful night’s sleep, I still suffer from the “night before the first day of school” syndrome. which probably isn’t a real syndrome, but whatever, it works for me, so just work with me here people, work with me!

Woke up, got up and out exactly on time.

Did the am walk with a brief stop to pick up the final 2 things that I need – proper message pads! Yes, a proper business that uses a telephone, needs proper message pads, scraps of paper are all good, until you want to take a look at whether calls are being returned…see, it is sometimes all about auditing.

I end up, from the train, to walking pace, to how fast I am buying business supplies,being exactly 45min early for my start time.

I show up and the staff is…sitting outside, enjoying the sun and wondering when they can get in and start their day.

The front door = locked, the inside door = locked.

Know why?

I have the keys and there is only one set of keys. (Just making sure you are paying attention.)

So, I plaster on my award-winning* *smile* (*my smile has actually not won any awards) (but it does get a pile of compliments) (and even more people smiling back and you know I think that we can consider a smile an award in and of itself) (seriously, work with me on this) and say in a very cheery voice “Good Tuesday morning everyone! It is a beautiful day, so let’s get going!” Introduce myself to a couple of people, shake their hands and we are ready to go!

Unlock the first door, grab a pile of shopping bags, walk up the 2 flights and unlock the 2nd door and hold it for one of my new colleagues. We all scramble and we are open and business is in full swing in a matter of minutes.

Know the best thing?

The appointments are exactly on track right away. Not one person is late and everyone leaves with smiles on their faces.

I’ll skip to the end of the day, in interest of telling the story.

I’m leaving and my boss double checks that she has the keys for the am, she reminds me “I only have the one set and we were late opening this morning ‘cuz you took my keys.”

I pull out the keys from where I was asked to put them, look at her and say “Here they are. You know that I offered to come in an hour early and open up and you said not to.” I turned to one of my new colleagues and said “What time did I get here this morning?”

My colleague says “9:15am. She got here 15minutes after opening and saved your a$$ this morning. None of our appointments were late. I was right beside you when you told her not to come in until 10am.”

Plaster on another smile and my boss admits, yes, I pretty much saved the day with my habits of being early and walking fast. And smiling a lot ‘cuz that is probably a super power in itself.

So there.

Rest of the day.

Good. Busy, but not in a stressful kind of way, just busy. Learning loads, trying to get things organized and working for my new colleagues, I think we managed to have some gains as a team today, so happy about that.

Got a hang of the scheduling system, mostly, clients are mostly easy, phone calls are getting returned quickly.

But let me tell you this, there is so much that needs organizing and attention, the filing system is currently a purple expandable folder and I have no idea where to find anything in it. Invoices to be paid are in the drawer, underneath everything else…piles of paper.

So, yes, lots of work to be do.

Funny news – when I went in for my interview last week, one of my new colleagues said that I looked familiar and I blew him off:  “I have that kind of face, no way do you know me!”

He knows me.

We went to the same high school. Wow, it was so good to talk to him, we weren’t friends, but you know how there were some people who you always wished you had talked to? Well, he and his friends were the people who I wished I talked to and made friends with all back then, we would have been great friends. I was very happy to say, that neither of us were jerks to each other either, so we spent a very fun conversation explaining our lives and detailing some of our adventures. And hearing about the successes of people who I wanted to friends with? Amazing.

And I hear you, I hear you ask “bex, why weren’t you guys friends?” Well, who can say, really? You go somewhere, like a party or a school or whatever and you are the kind of person who likes to stay in the corner or look at someone’s book collection or maybe read a book and then there is other person who is like the life of the party and talking about stuff that really interests you but maybe you just think a cool person like that would never want to have a conversation and isn’t this party or this school or whatever awkward enough without saying to someone “lets be friends” ‘cuz it isn’t like you are 6 years old, regardless of how much you feel like you are 6 years old. You know what I mean here.

So, happily, we can be friends now.

In other news, there was an earthquake today in TO! I didn’t feel a thing, but everyone is talking about it, so I figured I better mention it, in the interest of credibility, you know with me claiming to live in TO and all.  I really do live here, I just don’t always pay attention.

Anyone else planning on seeing “The People vs. George Lucas“? I’m very excited about it.

Plan was to get up do some yoga, head out, meet at 2pm, learn the computer program and get my hair fixed.

What actually happened was this: slept in after a troubled night’s sleep. No rhyme, no reason.

Took an early train so I could time how long the walk from the train station to work is. Verdict = 45 minutes. Which is a good amount of time for a walk. I’m thinking if I did the walk at least one way every day, then I’ll have met the 30min daily goal.

Yes, when it is nice or not too dark or cold, I will walk both ways. Word of honour.

Half an hour early so took a spin around the neighbourhood – nice neighbourhood. It is full of galleries, high-end stores, spas and salons. Niiiice.

Waited around and did some scribblings the moleskin and on time, checked the door.
The door is locked. Deadbolt.

Huh.

Called, left a message and waited.

20 minutes later did it all again.

At almost 45 minutes of waiting, my new boss shows up and tells me I need a cell phone.
Well, I have one, I just don’t really use it, I consider it “for emergency purposes only”.

Why?

Well, I figure I spend so much time on the phone and on the computer that sometimes it does me good to unplug a bit, you know, just to re-gain a bit of control over my life and time and how and when and why and where I want to be connected to people. So far, it has actually worked quite well for me.

Looks like that may be changing.

So took a look-see at the computer scheduling program and started to learn only –

Well, real world demands, right?

Didn’t get very into the system at all and suddenly I’m taking clients, checking messages and managing the schedule.

Oh.

Oh well.

And you know me about learning new computer programs, I want to go and go deep. I want to know how it should work, if it works and how I can correct it. And you know, they have had some issues that are making everyone very uncomfortable and I can’t, now, tell if it the program’s fault or if it is the users’ fault or if there is an issue with the set-up. ‘cuz there is a difference.

Quickie correction of the hair – colour is better and all that garbage that was at the end of my hair is gone. “Very quickie cut” is how it was put. And yes, it looks way, way better now.

So happy about that.

Checked voice mail messages and returned all calls and did bookings where and when I was able, left voice mails where I was unable. Saved the one message that I was unable to figure out. Leave your number clearly and slowly please!

Called all the appointments for Tuesday and found an incorrect phone number and got a cancellation. Yikes! No matter, took care of both.
People where happy to hear from me, which is always A-ok. A-OK. You know what I mean here.

Swept the floor – isn’t this a closing duty? Did the dishes – umm, ditto? And left a list of things that my new boss must do before I’m in the morning along with a list of things I’m bringing in the morning. Put the towels in the bin where they should be and closed the bin ‘cuz gesh!

There is work to be done.

Weather-wise it was my kind of perfect day – sunny and warm, but not hot and not humid. And yes, we had a major thunderstorm yesterday – power out, trees blocking roads, just not where I live. And yes, not to far from here there was a tornado, go figure.

So, yes, a good kind of Monday. Very good.

Before heading out and off to the impromptu and very last-minute training session today I did some catching-up on FB and heard the news that Jack Layton passed away this morning at his home, with his family.

For those who don’t know who Jack Layton is, was, quite simply he was the one responsible for the recent renewed interest in the political Left in Canada, which is represented by a party known as the NDP (New Democratic Party).

The NDP for years has been considered “the third party” in Canada, a party with official status (meaning $$) but not a party that Canadians considered seriously for either government or as the Official Opposition. Our last Federal election that changed and the NDP, under Jack’s leadership became the Official Opposition with Jack as the leader. It was, for many who lean like myself, an election whose results left us with mixed emotions – our Government was Right, but the NDP had its best showing ever.

Jack will be missed, he brought me and those who roll along similar thoughts and views, hope.

Rest in peace, Jack and thank you.

Spent Friday doing the usual – job hunting!

No climbing on Saturday, my climbing was away for work, so took a road trip up to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen in far too many years.

Wow.

Something about being back in Peterborough will always feel like coming home to me, I loved living there and had some wonderful Adventures.

To see this friend of mine was incredible – she is as beautiful as ever and looks so, so happy and you know, we haven’t seen each in a long time and if was like we just went out on Friday night together. She has an awesome job, and awesome place and sounds like she has some pretty amazing people in her life. It was a wonderful way to spend time.

All this talking, emailing, FB-ing is helping with all the emotions that rush around in my heart. Things are settling and I’m more settled for it all. Coping. Calming. Accepting.

In other news – I got an offer and accepted a job! I have a job!

And, yes, it is the job that I interviewed for on Wednesday, so looks like I’m on my way to being in charge of social media for a company along with doing calendar management and general management. So happy, so very excited.

Training Monday and getting my hair colour done, if I’m lucky a cut will be along with that.

So, yes, things are brighter.