Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
- "I'm tired of the fundamentalism from the left AND from the right."
- "I like the (dark) parts of my writing as well as those with heart."
One of the best parts was when he lampooned what he called "public-face" (I think) Indians, those who get up and speak with great seriousness, but with nothing to say. He also railed against Tom's of Maine deodorant, which I appreciate.
Alexie can be found here on good ole KPFA. Amusing as hell.
Hmmm, like we haven't heard this before? Let me work independently, in my own time and space, and you can keep your Calvinball.
Speaking of freelancing, I've been thinking about potential employers who require free work. In the last few weeks, I've been asked several times to work for free, with an uncertain outcome. The most egregious example: A guy who not only asked for free work, but then put me on his ad-spam mailing list ... complete with a return receipt to ensure I read his spam. Jerk.
In happier thoughts, graduation was EXCELLENT. It was great seeing Sophie, Evan, Ben, Emily, and Angel walk that line.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
She walks in with her husband
She has a wife too, another husband at home
It’s polyamory, it’s the joy of multiples.
They touch, kiss, love.
My stomach clenches.
Take it home, I want to say.
Take it home.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
I'm not about to give up The Farm any time soon, so Adam and I have been talking about subletting and hanging out elsewhere for a few months. We've discussed NYC and Boston, but Portland seems to have a stronger hold on us at the moment.
Freelancing means I can go anywhere I want, and Adam figures he could land some sort of temp QA situation just about anywhere. Let's hope!
Of course, this is all pending our landlord's approval of subletting. If he says no, forget it. But Mike's a really chill guy, and he rented to us NOT because we had great credit or references (he never checked any of those) but because he liked us. He went on his gut. So I hope that, so long as we get a great subletter in, he'd be cool with it. Also, his son and daughter-in-law live in Portland ... so maybe that'll sway him?
"An Oakland City Councilwoman today proposed that the city employ at-risk youth as safety escorts in and around BART stations.
"Following a spate of robberies in her North Oakland district, Councilwoman Jane Brunner said she came up with the idea of the Oakland Ambassadors program as a way of improving public safety in a city where criminals are taking advantage of an officer shortage.
"'We need it for two reasons,' Brunner said. 'It will help people getting off BART in our city feel welcome to Oakland. We're having serious issues at eight in the morning, but particularly at night ... All people using BART ... need to feel safe.'"So you're putting would-be robbers to work walking old ladies to their homes? Seriously, I think I've lived in the Bay Area too long. I'm about to go Republican at this point.
I emailed Brunner about her plans. Below is our exchange. Start from the bottom and read up.
Thank you for your email about the Oakland ambassadors program. This program is employing 18-24 year olds to be ambassadors in downtown and neighborhood Bart stations. The young people will give direction to visitors and escort residents when requested.
I am writing to respond to a few concerns some people have had regarding the Oakland Ambassadors Program. I appreciate both the willingness of many to look at this approach to dealing with public safety, as well as the concerns others have with the safety of people using the program and even the Ambassadors themselves.
I want to clarify how I envision the Ambassadors program will work, how the participants will be trained, and what we could realistically expect them to do:
§ First, the Ambassadors will be in teams of two and have a supervisor. They will be wearing uniforms and highly visible. Second no one needs to use them. It is a voluntary program. The ambassadors will be in radio contact at all times with their supervisor.
§ The Ambassadors will be adolescents and young adults who have been actively involved in programs that are committed to training them for employment or preparing them for college. For example, I see the Ambassador job, as a perfect part time evening job for a young person entering community college.
§ No young person will act as an Ambassador without extensive training and orientation. Ambassadors would receive customer service training and we will work with neighborhood merchants to familiarize them with the Ambassadors and to make sure the Ambassadors know enough to be truly helpful to visitors.
§ An Ambassador will never be expected to serve in a law enforcement role or be a substitute for the police. Ambassadors would receive training from the OPD in the best ways that they can work with the police and be effective eyes and ears for them.
§ The Ambassadors program is not an intervention program, but a prevention program. They will simply accompany those who request it, the simple idea being that groups of people walking down the street are generally safer than people walking alone. The Ambassadors will work in pairs, so that no Ambassador will return to a BART station alone after accompanying someone.
§ Every Ambassador will receive a background check to ensure that they have no history of drugs or violent activity. We do not want to undermine the credibility of the program, and we want our Ambassadors to have the skills and personality to be helpful, courteous and even potentially to be able to de-escalate tense situations. It’s in everyone’s interest to make sure our Ambassadors have solid reputations.
I hope the above gives you some more detail as to how we envision this program. I want this to work and to be a positive contribution to our community. I think offering more eyes on the street to keep us safe, while employing young people who are committed to having a productive life are both great things for Oakland.
From: Allison Landa [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 9:54 AM
To: Brunner, Jane
Subject: Oakland Ambassadors program
I read with interest your idea of putting at-risk youth to work as ambassadors around local BART stations.
According to the Chronicle article I read: "The ambassadors would work in five-member teams at each Oakland BART station from dusk until 8 p.m., helping commuters to their cars, accompanying people to restaurants or guiding elderly residents making their way home."
I trust you've taken into account the necessity of background checks, as well as the high potential of lawsuits should one of these at-risk youth take advantage of this job opportunity to engage in a little lucrative crime. Pardon my cynicism, but these things happen.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I love Rosie. She's a loudmouth and not stereotypically pretty. Oh, how much can I relate to that? Every time she opens her loud yap, it's like a blow for people like me.
Need writer for amazing, true love story
Reply to: gigs-XXXXXX
Date: 2007-05-24, 12:41PM PDT
Hello, I am a tremendous, engaging love story to tell and need a writer to help me. I am a working professional and have little to no time to tell my story on my own. I can not advance money to you for the time spent creating this masterpiece. The revenue generated would need to come from sales of my story. Please let me know if interested.
- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
- Compensation: no pay
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
"'We think of ourselves as very pro-woman,' said Wanda Franz, president of the National Right to Life Committee. 'We believe that when you help the woman, you help the baby.'"
Now there's a load of political double-speak crap if ever I heard it. Wanda, hear me and hear me good: By forcing me to have a child who may be unwanted and unplanned-for, you help no one. Not even your own pitiful cause.
Monday, May 21, 2007
You be the judge.
Literary sports and adventure writing intern (west marin)
Reply to: email@example.com
Date: 2007-05-17, 11:05AM PDT
The Pulitzer Prize Winning Point Reyes Light newspaper in Marin, CA is looking for a summer sports writing intern. We are looking for a writer who can tell more than scores, but can tell the stories behind the scores. I find most sports coverage boring, but enjoy the writing of Frank Deford, NPR correspondent and Sports Illustrated writer. He is lyrical and literary and is able to transcend the genre of sports writing. The position is unpaid, full-time for four months. You will join an elite crew this summer; six graduates from Columbia Journalism School are coming out as reporters. I want emersion journalism, where you travel on baseball team busses, ride horses, kyak the ocean, and surf local breaks. Please email a cover letter resume, 20 photographs as jpegs, and five clips.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
"Students welcome but must have some past experience." We have no budget.
"This is a non-paying gig at this time." See above.
Come on, guys. Try. At least ... try.
Screenwriter / Sci-Fi Film (belmont)
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 2007-05-17, 9:39AM PDT
Looking for screenwriter to write a script for Sci-Fi action film. We are looking for a local writer in the bay area to help us build the story. Students welcome but must have some past experience, this is a non paying gig at this time but we can provide credit + copy of finished film. You will need to sign an NDA before seeing the treatment. Great project to build resume and have alot of input on the films direction. Please email me at email@example.com or call 650-508-9411.
Thanks for your time!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Let's tote up the benefits:
- Less overheard for you, the employer. Remember that desk you were going to buy? The chair, the phone, not to mention the computer equipment? Work it out with an employee and they'll be using their own stuff. That's savings right there.
- Reliable, loyal workers. Employers can be resistant to telecommuting because of, let's face it, the trust factor. How do you know your employee's not screwing off when he or she should be working? Well, by giving your workers the respect of trusting them, you gain their loyalty. Or you wind up firing them. It's a risk worth taking. Besides, how do you know your on-site people aren't screwing around?
- A more down-to-earth, businesslike workplace. Face it: A lot of office time is wasted -- a bunch of water-cooler conversation over brownies brought in by the receptionist. Telecommuting brings business back to business -- you communicate with your employees on an as-needed basis. Cuts out a lot of those awkward "How 'bout them A's?" conversations.
- It's environmentally friendly. Employees can work from home, coffee shops, wherever. It'll likely cut down on driving -- always a good thing.
- Promotes work-life balance. This pays for itself.
How convenient that the bicyclists had cameras at the ready. How sad to watch them pushing around this older couple. I'm not sure what happened, but their own self-made bit of propaganda makes them look like the bullies.
Sometimes Berkeley feels like such a joke.
In elementary-school English, I learned that run-on sentences were distracting and unreadable. Guess Mark Morford wasn't in that class.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
You can go to Robin's Sandwiches in the middle of the day and not be run over by the Berkeley High School brats/good kids/middle-of-the-roaders.
You can park near Telegraph to get your Yogurt Park fix. RELIABLY park!
There are seats in the cafes.
There are flowers in the gardens.
Summer is just about here!
I never received the email requesting longer samples.
One of my main priorities as a freelancer is quick response. Email doesn't often get lost, but it does piss me off when technology not only screws me out of potential work, but makes me look like a flake. Damn.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Free work in exchange for -- what? Give me a break. Give me a SERIOUS break.
I usually love what I do, but I hate running into jerks like this who think they can get something for nothing. Really pisses me off.
I won't embarrass the company by naming them publicly -- though they deserve it -- but if anyone reading this is interested, shoot me an email.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
I have an alternative approach: I try the outrage card. When Adam and I were in New York, we met up with a few of his acquaintances. I was fresh off what was probably my weakest performance (it was a late show, it had been snowing all day, I was tired and felt locked into my script, which I busted up very successfully the next night) and we went to a bar. I thought, I'm in a lousy mood and I could potentially ruin it for everyone, which would be completely lame.
Turns out these guys were Miata drivers. So I looked at them and said: "Okay, guys, when you're sodomized, do you prefer it gentle or rough?" Fun ensued.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
These small papers have lots of talent who work their asses off and usually leave quickly. The crappy pay and constant deadline crunch, I'm sure, have a lot to do with it.
Did I learn from working at a small paper? Sure, but I learn way more from what I do these days. And like it a hell of a lot better.
"But that was the sum total of practical economic advice or assistance we received from the institution as a whole. Trivial, sordid subjects like marketing, career management, portfolio presentation, accounting, taxes, contracts, negotiation, and intellectual property law were never mentioned; still less did we make any of those useful, much ballyhoo'd "career contacts" that are indispensible in the 24-7 schmooze-a-thon that is the 'art world.' On the contrary--should a professor or another student happen to have a close personal friend who was opening up a new gallery, or know a dealer who'd be interested in a certain person's style of work, that person kept mighty quiet about it."
Now this does ring a bell. If I'd wanted a degree in business tactics, I'd have gotten an MBA. But one class in practical applications of the MFA, including an overview of ways to make money, would've been nice.
Monday, May 7, 2007
Let's leave aside the relationship questions that that column raises. That controlling husband reminds me of my parents' marriage. Let's not even go there.
But the meat of the question: Is an art degree worth it? Granted, I've only read a page and a half of the huge comment thread, but (as usual) I have my own opinion on the subject.
It took me four years to get into grad school. Just about a year ago, I got my MFA in creative writing from St. Mary's.
I was damn lucky to have had a career in place when starting school. I won't speak for anyone else, but I can't see where having an MFA makes you marketable enough to justify the expense. Okay, if you're teaching at the academic level, sure. But an MFA won't make or break your success in any other profession. It may help, but it's a studio degree, not a practical one in the eyes of employers.
Will getting an MFA make you a better writer? It certainly helped my writing. I'm a more self-aware writer, more careful and self-critical. That's good for the most part ... occasionally I feel constrained by my own higher standards, but it serves the writing well.
The MFA certainly made me a better critic. I look at everything for craft. I can pick out the craft at work, and apply it to my own writing. Definitely a plus of the degree.
Does an MFA offer you a writing community? Not too sure about this. St. Mary's did a great job of pulling together an awesomely diverse group -- a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and styles. We were all amicable. But was it a community? Not really. We were a group of people who came together to talk about writing. I met a few good friends through the program, but that's not the same as a writing community. I don't blame St. Mary's, though -- these things are organic, can't be forced.
Many of my professors bent over backwards to help us. They were generous with their time and talents. You can't have a 100 percent winning team, but I met some real talents through the program. What they taught me will show in my writing for years to come.
Then there's the lit crit, the workshopping, the politicking, the sad state of affairs when it comes to financial aid. Enough said.
As I was telling Sophie the other day, you wade through 85 percent of Whatever to get to the good stuff. A year out of school, I'm trying to focus on that.
Or can they?
To quote Chuck Palahniuk, who was an excellent read at UC Berkeley the other night: I'm not a nihilist. I'm a romantic. I believe strongly in what a wedding represents, the significance, the commitment. I also know my parents had a huge-ass wedding. And look where that ended up.
Is it that weddings are precursors to marriage in the sense that they're bigger than the relationships themselves? That they involve the whims and wills of the families, the wedding planners, the florists?
Maybe I'm just beating my own dead horse. I'm pretty sure I am.
I look inside myself to see if there's any desire to be that bride. You know, that one, the one in the unexpectedly beautiful dress, in front of the mirror, blushing and preening. That one feeding cake to her beloved.
I'm not seeing any indication that she's there.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
I'm doing a bit of work for a newer client, and so far they fall squarely in the coveted Breed No. 5: The Appreciative Client. They're a bunch of smart guys who have been more than responsive and fair to me, and I like the work I do for them. I basically landed them in a 20-minute phone conversation -- they decided they liked me and moved quickly. They've been totally above board and appreciative of my work. That's what a freelancer looks for!
Friday, May 4, 2007
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
What amazes me is all the jockeying for one-upmanship, women who spend a year or more bossing around EVERYONE, only to play blushing bride on the Big Day.
What do I want?
Something incredibly simple. City Hall would suffice for me, or a ceremony in the backyard. If it takes more than fairly minimal effort to plan, I don't want it. If it causes anger or inconvenience to anyone, if it costs anyone (us or guests) a significant amount of money, if it involves interpersonal politics, I don't want it.
I never thought about my wedding day. I never dreamt of it or plotted it. I just hoped I would find someone who would love me as I am.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
- "International Incident" published in Pindeldyboz, September 2006
- "Maternal Instincts" published in CherryBleeds, April 2007
- "Milk Carton Poster Child" published in CherryBleeds, February 2007
- Performed at Inside StoryTime (Summer 2006), Porchlight, A Storytelling
Series (Fall 2006), and Tell It On Tuesday (Winter 2007)
- Julia and David White Artists' Colony, Ciudad Colon: Resident, December
2006. Scheduled to teach "Writing From the Gut" in December 2007 as part of
Intercultural Odysseys, Costa Rica.
- Performed "Andrea" at FRIGID New York theater festival, March 2007
- Got engaged in NYC. On stage!