euphoriafish: Avar photo I took in Japan of the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura. (Default)
2015-11-30 09:51 pm
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My Pocket Maple Story profile is so awesome it should be my profile everywhere

I keep trying to let go of my video gaming self to make more room for my social and filmmaker and researcher and artist selves. My rule for me currently is to play real games only after 7pm but then I go too long so scratch that, I only play games after 6PM and I had to do something first. I do allow myself feeding digital fish in Splash and potentially checking irradiated people in Fallout Shelter before then since they can be kept to less than 20 minutes, but I think forum checking is really the better break time and I should do that more.

The following list sounds like a lot of games but most are over the past two or three years and it really feels like I'm down to two or three mobile games and only play one of them per day really.

I only ever game on my phone anymore, it seems and I kinda my my console games of Ghostbusters, Bioshock, Red Dead Redemption, The Secret World, Lord of the Rings Online, and Brutal Legend. Got to game socially at a Rock Band party at the top of the month and I play some wicked drum set but I have no idea when that's going to happen again!

I love Pocket Maple Story because it is the first game with chat on mobile that I've seen and I love watching children think aloud and repeat the same words over and over. I also love Splash a lot and that's my calming down game right now because it seldom takes more than 20 minutes to feed the fish. I just got jellies and puffers are next! I also have a friend playing Flutter where you raise butterflies but I chose the fish game because Euphoriafish. Maybe I could uninstall Final Fantasy Record Keeper now that I built my dream team of all Final Fantasy IV and VI characters including Terra, Mog, Lydia and both versions of Cecil?

Anyway, I made this profile for the Pocket Maple Story forum and want to leave it up on this blog as a general first pointer to getting to know me.

Hi~~~! I'm euphoriafish!

Just read: The Bedwetter -- I love comedian biographies, and this one makes some serious sunshine out of fear and anxiety and depression.

Just saw: Sleepy Hollow again! The art direction is so amazing. Forgot how much I love it.

Favorite books: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Mystery Science Theater Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, Understanding Comics, Smoke and Mirrors, Sock, Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse

Favorite Movies: Brazil, The Zero Theorem, Afterlife, The Face of Another, Weekend, Amélie, I <3 Huckabees

Anime: Tsuritama is the best!
Jdorama: Mischievous Kiss Tokyo on Crunchy Roll

Fandoms: Bring back MST3K! See mst3k.com for details. See Mystery Science Theater 3000, Cinematic Titanic on Hulu or Amazon, and Rifftrax for great comedy!
Also I am a Whovian.

Sports: I love soccer and want to understand the rules better. Why is the little row of jumping men in my FIFA 2015, and why doesn't it happen very often?

Listening to: random Kpop and Jamaican dancehall

Favorite tea: Aztec chai loose leaf, or caramel apple rooibos and matcha bubble tea when I can get it.

Hobbies: I write scripts. I draw and color in Illustrator or Photoshop and want to learn Flash. I take pictures. I play ukulele and flute and mallets and drums and some self taught piano that is melodies only.

We have four cats and a clownfish and a bird randomly flew in my room and pooped on my pillow! (The cat is inviting birds to dinner when she can't get a mouse free from the walls.)

You can practice Japanese with me if you speak it. I lived there one year and am good at studying. I know some French from high school too but it's terrible and sometimes Japanese words are rembered first, turning it into Frenchanese Euro-Asian tagolog type language.

Nice to meet you!
euphoriafish: Avar photo I took in Japan of the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura. (Default)
2015-03-09 11:20 pm
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Male feminists

I believe the term "male feminist" is necessary because if male feminists just call themselves feminists in an anonymous environment online, they will be presumed female and that actually hurts the feminist movement because if feminists are thought only female that opens the door for the "angry woman" stereotype to continue. Male feminists are sometimes annoying to me if they are trying to be THE BEST feminist or win the internet by being a male feminist without just checking their privilege and pushing for equality like you do if you are truly a feminist. But they do deserve a small badge of honor for standing up for social progression and bringing attention to the fact that they are not the same as archaically minded dudes they may look like. I attend to assume it less necessary for younger people and more necessary for baby boomers and greatest generationers. But most of all on the internet where if you don't say exactly what you believe people will assume everyone thinks like they do in small groups that don't know they're not up to date.
euphoriafish: Avar photo I took in Japan of the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura. (Default)
2015-02-23 07:09 pm
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In Which We Provide One Sweet Home For Kitties

For the past few months, our neighborhood has been invaded by two kittens. One tabby-n-white and one grey soft tabby, both female, would sit out on my car every day and go into our across the street neighbors' garage at night. As the weather got colder and colder, it wasn't enough to be on the car anymore (they wanted inside it...when I was going somewhere) and it wasn't enough to say hello in the driveway (they wanted to wind round my legs and crutches all the way to the front door which they would enter as I was trying to manage my bag or Mom brought groceries in).

So we were enjoying them as sometimes cats but thinking they belong to someone we would always kick them out after they had come in and eaten some of our cats' food. They were an adorable nuisance and I called them the Wyrd sisters like I'm not a cat whisperer at all and they're just magically attracted to our perfect garden with a frog pond in the back yard. I also named them Winner Winner Kitten Dinner and The Mousing Most because it amused me and I didn't want to get too attached to Not My Cat. But it kept getting colder and aside from that there was a tom cat singing to them outside. They weren't old enough to get pregnant but it was only a matter of time.

Then it got really really cold and finally Kentucky's typical mud winter of discontent gave way to actual snow and near zero temperatures. My mother couldn't stand seeing little kittens wandering around in snow up to their shoulders, so she collected them and brought them inside. This is the sort of madness my family subscribes to regularly-- we feed raccoons in the spring and then stop when they get big and ugly until next year, we feed opossums, we have three bird feeders, two hummingbird feeders, a suet block and sometimes a squirrel feeder. Mom gardens and dug her own pond in the back yard and planted bamboo around it. We routinely attract and care for local wildlife and suburban critters.

If these kittens belonged to anyone, it certainly didn't look like anyone was taking care of them, and even though they have fur coats, their toes and noses are exposed to the cold and they could lose their sense of smell which would endanger their lives, we thought.

Winner Winner Kitten Dinner has the annoying habit of sucking on my hand any time she gets the chance. She was probably taken from her mother too soon, and she has an anxious, hyper personality anyway. She also comes across as super smart and clingy like Shadow, my molly cat [citation needed, as Wikipedia tells me molly means spayed female but needs citation also though it just sounds right!] who looks like she could be her mom. She is braver than Shadow though, and I'm afraid she had a run in with that tom cat already because she growls and attacks both Odin and Kishou, our gibs. Shadow, unfortunately, is not friendly and has been frightened by the kittens and hides upstairs until they invade her room and she has to chase them out again.

The Mousing Most is a sweet little cat with bunny furwho is not as adventurous as her sister. She doesn't attack our cats but is aloof around the gibs and avoids Shadow entirely while Winner Winner Kitten Dinner is curious about Shadow and has growl-offs with her under my bed when she follows me up there late at night.



All this cuteness aside, were we doing something wrong? They seemed well fed so surely they belonged to someone. Our across the street neighbors let them in every night, so we were worried we had stolen their daughters' kitties and they might be worried. We're shy though, and I had a project deadline, and there's a lot of snow and ice on the ground so we let them out in the day time when they wanted to but also let them back in at sundown before it got too cold. Eventually it got too cold in the daytime too, and they mostly just wanted to eat or sleep in a chair during the day and wrestle or knock stuff over at night.

Worse were the stories we were making up in our heads about the way people treat animals in this community. It has seemed to my parents over the years that people on farms think of cats as rats and give them free run of a barn but don't treat them as pets like we do. We don't expect them to cater to them with clingy attachment like we do and feed them canned food twice a day with dry kibble in between for snacking. But it breaks our hearts when they're not vaccinated for rabies at minimum and worse when they're not spayed or neutered and have kittens that are subsequently dumped on the highway. If they ARE dumped on the highway near our neighborhood they always find our yard because our yard is cat heaven with all the birds and frogs they can eat and some suburban shelter from the coyotes out in the farm fields and neighbor dogs across the highway. What kind of people lived in our neighborhood? Did they kick cats or hit them with brooms or just never ever let them in the house or kick them out as soon as they grew and had kittens?

Finally, Mom went over there and spoke with our across the street neighbors who are not monsters at all and in fact have three chihuahua dogs and an elderly tabby gib upstairs. We found out they had been watching these kittens for another neighbor down the street who didn't want them, and our across the street neighbors couldn't take them because of all their dogs and their tabby didn't like the kittens either.

So hooray! The kittens are ours, much to our own cats' chagrin. There haven't been any huge fights though. Lots of growling, and the little grey one swats and hisses at Odin and Kishou. The worst fight was caused by the grey kitten swatting Odin, who didn't retaliate against the baby but went straight upstairs to take his frustration out on Shadow. My poor little old kitten cat lost two or three tufts of fur in that fight and seemed a bit sore the next day. And she's chased the babies out of her room a few times. I'm hoping they will reconcile eventually and Shadow will take naps with a bitty kitty that looks plausible as her own daughter, but they're not related so that scenario is rather improbable. Kishou mostly avoids them and they mostly avoid him.

Since they are going to stay here, they get kinder names and I get to be as attached to them as they've been to me. Winner Winner Kitten Dinner is now called Gina, and Chi is named for the title character of Chi's Sweet Home for reasons that are obvious if you've ever seen that anime. They like wrestling each other, tossing fur mice around, and checking in with me periodically with a nap, an obnoxious suckle off my knuckles from Gina, or wrestling my hand from Chi.

The cuteness is palpable as so much bunny fluff.


Gina and Chi
euphoriafish: Avar photo I took in Japan of the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura. (Default)
2014-05-27 10:08 pm
Entry tags:

Waiting on the Sexism to Change While Paying My Dues

Reading Hollywood Reporter, I came across reaction punditry on the recent UCSB shooting and defense of a movie that had nothing to do with the shooting. Ugh at this in all directions. Please hear me out because I'm going to play both sides and search for my own opinion.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/seth-rogen-slams-film-critic-707117

I really like Seth Rogen, first of all. He's right in so far as it was a really poor example to use in an article. Judd Apatow comedies have nothing whatsoever to do with shootings and the sort of characters Rogen plays are actually a good example of what personality to adopt to be well-liked and win friends. Sometimes he's a jerk but mostly he's a brother figure who's a good man to have in a tight corner and wins over the ladies with his humility, worldly wisdom, and good sense of humor. Why don't would-be shooters go watch Undeclared and find themselves through collegiate friendship?

Anne Hornaday chose the wrong example. She already had a good example by connecting American Psycho, a movie which has a message about how jaded we are about violence and how hypercapitalism has both made and ruined American society. Why else is it important to not be rejected by a house of sorority girls or frat boys? She could have done better by going into exact details about that and also connecting Natural Born Killers which would actually have been the perfect example of the media looking at how the media is breeding violent masculine fantasies and a devaluation of human life in return for a brief ploy for attention.

By choosing a recent movie and a comedy that promotes good feelings more than negative ones, she just got in her own way. It's somewhat fair for Apatow to say she's being self promotional just because she chose a trendy new movie rather than finding the best example. "Neighbors" centers around a young couple of parents, not an alienated macho soldier. It's no "Taxi Driver." It is, however, about revenge against frat boy hazing and exclusion, which is relevant to Ann Hornaday's argument if she had focused on alienation and elitist exclusion instead of the reckless violence. The Eliot Rodgers video made before the shooting seems to place him in both camps, the excluded outcast and the entitled elitist son of an industry professional. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder about popularity and sexual conquest he feels entitled to but hasn't achieved. So it's relevant to discuss Hollywood entitlement, but bad form to connect it to a current movie that has good intentions to send a message overall about the need to come of age and accept adult responsibilities while developing mature coping mechanisms for emotional disappointment.

HOWEVER.

It doesn't look good for two men to attack a female Pulitzer-nominated journalist who is making valid points about the underrepresentation of women in film.

Also, I think "Neighbors" is still going to make a lot of money. Rogen and Apatow are not at their first rodeo and have already tasted success. And outside of her poor example, Ann Hornaday had a good point to make about the still overwhelmingly male fantasy dominated tastes of studio executives or whatever factors lead them to greenlight overwhelmingly sexist stories.

Hornaday's quote that particularly spoke to me is:

" If our cinematic grammar is one of violence, sexual conquest and macho swagger — thanks to male studio executives
who green-light projects according to their own pathetic predilections — no one should be surprised when those impulses
take luridly literal form in the culture at large."

It reminded me of an article on Aaron Sorkin that one of the entertainment industry professionals linked to a month or so ago,

http://observer.com/2014/04/aaron-sorkin-says-hollywood-lacks-female-heroes-because-lady-scripts-arent-good-enough/#ixzz2zmGsHhUb

wherein he said basically that he doesn't know why there aren't more films with strong female characters being made. My friend got angry with me for my comments where I was trying to understand why Sorkin answered the way he did, and for commenting in a way that could be taken as defending The Man who has the power of the patriarchy and is still keeping women down. I was also speaking intuitively and citing generalities from a place of inexperience, and for that I deserved to be shouted down. I myself was ignoring the important points made because I was distracted by the confrontational biased language the reporter was using in her article. Ann Hornaday makes similar points in her article but used a really bad example of movie that is just as distracting and confrontational.

But it's not just one man's success keeping empowered female characters off the screen. He doesn't write any of the popular super hero movies or police procedurals on television[maybe one of those?], and I thought maybe if we could understand where he was coming from, that understanding would lead to asking the right questions and exposing men whose perspective doesn't encourage thoughts of equality to think harder about diversity in film and helping create a supportive atmosphere and tell stories that appeal to a wider and more diverse audience. What about the hypercapitalist nature of the Hollywood system that leads people to make these decisions based on what has made money before rather than based upon what we haven't seen yet and what is good art?

There ARE female executives greenlighting films. Sorkin named a handful and pointed out that that doesn't explain why there aren't more empowered female characters. And that didn't really answer the question that was asked of him about why HE doesn't write more important female characters in his movies. I only have The Social Network to go on from personal viewing experience, and women weren't important in that film at all. Sheryl Sandburg may not have been a player in the part of the story he adapted, but what about Mark Zuckerberg's wife?

Most of Anne Hornaday's article was about the repetition of a single note of power and conquest through violence in entertainment. I don't see any fair comparison between the gunman's video and Hollywood movies except that he had a decent camera in his car, perfect lighting, and he was using a sort of rhetoric like movie villains. Mostly what I heard was self absorbed apathy toward other people that probably alienated him from most of his peers. He needed mental healthcare and for someone to give him the sort of attention he wanted while trying to change his mind about how he related to other people.

So why AREN't there more films passing the Bechdel test, and didn't we used to say something else to identify a good movie portrayal of women before the Bechdel test became a Facebook and blog meme?

I am annoyed at the way these arguments are being presented but don't hate any of the people presenting them. Not even Aaron Sorkin, who is at a point in his life where he has power to make a difference and is being lazy on an issue I care about. I just think there are better ways to make people aware of their own privilege than by tasking them with an agenda outside their perspective which they have been lazy in taking on. Convincing them that it is in their best interest to is harder, but gets a result that is not trolling of feminist reporters or apathy toward the issue from someone who can make a difference from their platform.

Maybe I should stay on this for a while and cross post it to the research blog I'm starting so I'll remember to come back to my own questions.

I'm left with the following:
* How much control does the studio executive have when greenlighting a film?
* How much of the decision is based on corporate sponsorship presumably by elderly white male conservative CEOs?
* How many stories being turned down as unprofitable contain empowered female characters?
* How many submitted stories are by female screenwriters?
* How many female executives who greenlight scripts are there at each major studio? Sorkin named three, one per studio mentioned.
* Considering Aaron Sorkin has achieved a high level of success, how much of a gatekeeper is he and how can he be helping female professionals out?
* What is in it for studio executives and companies to choose against instead of for violent male fantasies?

I hate having questions but not answers, and I also hate seeing male bias and confrontational language in web articles.

Sigh.

...

I lack a platform other than this blog/Twitter/fledgling research project to influence people on, so it's back to my own scriptwriting and comedy. I'm thinking about the above stories while co-writing a web serial about super heroes titled River City Heroes. I was brought onto the project because the creator loves plotting action but doesn't enjoy writing dialogue and said he would like someone to flesh out the characters through dialogue. Matt Hibbs and I complement each other writing-wise perfectly, and I get to do what I enjoy most-- creating character details-- while he and Trevor Adler are planning fight choreography and special effects.

I haven't worked with anyone on a script before and I want to make friends with the team, so I've been trying to not alter the plot and just do dialogue passes mostly, but I'm sort of a producer on the project too and facilitating communication by asking questions and writing reports on what was decided as a group so we all stay on the same page.

I was initially turned off by some secondary female characters in the first episode. The women in the draft I was handed didn't have very many lines and were only there to be victims. So, I gave them more lines and verbal self defense. Well, for the girl in the garage anyway. I left the girl in the dream sequence alone because she is part of a male fantasy and a young male character's perspective would not necessarily be concerned with feminism. I had fun with it. I exaggerated the action movie dialogue cliches and made it funny. I think I ended up with something sort of like Ace Rimmer in Red Dwarf.

But in the reality sequences I am trying to make the women behave realistically and not be silent, and not have things said that would make me turn the show off. I'm also trying to call attention to the inherently male tropes of action movies and police procedurals, and then address them. I intend for there to be more than one female character before the story is through. It will pass the Bechdel test.

Yet, I'm worried about a joke I made in the pilot. I wrote something that is rather offensive toward sex workers and states a faulty assumption about women hanging out on the streets at night, yet I find myself defending it. It's also a dick line assigned to a hero I want the audience to like. And yet, I am defending it.

My thinking is, there are several factors in the plot that are cliches in entertainment and viewers aren't thinking about where they come from when they watch them. So I am stating and then countering assumptions through dialogue. I've decided both the hero and the victim he is slamming/saving/hitting on have arcs and his dick joke comes of speaking too quickly as a shortcut to confidence. His lines will show some evolution of thought in the scene, and he will be called out both by his partner and by the female victim. And Matt has said he thinks hero and victim should date in future episodes, so the hero will be called out further then. I think there will be more development for the woman as well. And there's our Bechdel test certification. Gold star.

But the offensive joke remains. I'm not sure how original it is but I'm hanging onto it.
I hope I won't be judged just on the episode it's in, but I probably will be. I hope nobody attacks Matt about it either, because it was my idea to put that joke in. I just want to add context and make absolutely clear what the writer perspective is on victims, female or otherwise, and feminism. This is no grand criminal plot in the first episode, just regular old street crime.
euphoriafish: Avar photo I took in Japan of the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura. (Default)
2014-05-14 12:43 pm

Clearing Some Head Noise About Race and Disability

It seems a Herculean task to write about civil rights issues properly when you've just started writing, even if you've been thinking about the issues and whether or not you have something to contribute to the conversation for quite some time. I published this blog publicly here in hopes that it would start a discussion first with people who are my friends, particularly my friends who are black but really everyone because I'm shyly not phoning you all equally these days. I get up and drag myself to breakfast and to writing, and then at the end of the day I should be socializing but there was something I didn't do and then I drag myself to bed. I'm going to keep editing these thoughts and re-posting them until my friends start calling me out and then when I settle it with my friends and reach a plateau on educating myself, I'll publish it on my Blogger blog and then try to get it published professionally so I can get called out by total strangers for leaving something out.

It started with the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag started by Mikki Kendall on Twitter in response to white feminist writer Jill Filipovic defending something "defrocked feminist" Hugo Schwyzer said about his mental health and a long pattern of online behavior influenced by his mental health and a substance abuse problem to a woman named @Blackamazon and someone else on Twitter. If you read this Vice article, you'll be caught up to my understanding.



A friend of mine blogged about the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag recently, about her reactions to lurking it and how she realized she has white privilege she has to check and how there are now Disney Princesses of all colors, which is the fun reward for looking at this important issue that gives us the squirmies while we are looking at it.

I've had a lot of noise in my head of late about white privilege, because I live in the Gateway to the South and we subconsciously segregate ourselves in my community. Sometimes the state song comes up and its lyrical mention of the history of slavery and how families were happy before being separated and sold down the river to suffering and death farther south. We don't fight in my personal experience, but I've heard the state song brought up with anger by black coworker friends and everyone in the room feels uncomfortable and there's suddenly this invisible barrier and the white people feel guilty and like there's nothing they can say and the black people feel angry about what happened and that they still have to be reminded at say, the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby. This is a state that clings to a history that wasn't kind to everyone. [I've read a good article that is entirely about Kentucky's state song that explained what Stephen Foster meant in a similar way to how my mother believes he meant it-- as just the first step toward social progression during a racist time-- but it comes across as very Not All White People in the same way Not All Man tries to protect men from feminists.]

I am underexposed to black culture, so I've sought it out a little bit through comedy and jazz appreciation -- have you heard any Terry Pollard or Mary Lou Williams? WOW--, and thoughts on the comedy of Trevor Noah are almost a whole separate blog post. I admire him greatly for using foreign language in jokes that teach understanding, and you don't have to speak the language to get the joke.



But that's still only passive exploration and sometimes I don't know how to be or what to say to my black friends who I want to know better. Some of my black friends still feel the need to call attention to the elephant in the room every time we hang out, and I wonder, what are our remaining inhibitions? Is there anyone in our group who doesn't love this person, what am I going to say, are they going to feel like I'm making embarrassing assumptions or am blind to my own historical privilege?

So there's been some noise and mental discontent for me. I thought first, I'll answer it by saying I have two counts against me also, I am female and have a disability. But I have never been denied entry to a place socially based on my disability, nor do I have any problems getting a loan. There is exclusion toward me and I suspect feelings that I am inferior, but never hatred. I read an autobiography by pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams wherein a brick was thrown through her window when her family moved to a neighborhood in Pittsburgh because most of the families on the street were white, and it reminded me to check my own privilege.

I'm reminded of Episode 3 of My Gimpy Life by actress Teal Sherer. It references two theatrical productions that call out the elephants in the room about being female, disabled, and/or being black. This web video has a new media portrayal of disability in the tone that I want to see more of, and it also shows the socially frightening situations that disabled people and black people sometimes discover. This story sums up perfectly what I think both groups are working against:



It's different situations at different times but on average race generates more hate than exclusion and disability generates more exclusion than hate. The end result is the same with people feeling less than safe and not ok to be themselves. We can only conclude that hatred and exclusion are wrong and if you don't experience thoughts about them on a too-often basis, you are lucky.

My mother grew up in an air force family and has told me she was around black and hispanic families on the air bases she lived on. She also experienced a bit of Apartheid when she went to South Africa during a study abroad trip and says Apartheid was oppressive for white people also and unfair to everyone, whichever door you were supposed to use to enter a shop. She told me that it was wonderful that in the United States we could totally relate normally to people who look different from us, yet just relating normally to people with more melanin in their skin that mine still seemed like an unreached ideal for half of my childhood in a small town that has diversity but does not embrace it outside of official events and human resources experiences at work.

There were no African American* children at my elementary school and I didn't have any black friends until college. My church is officially welcoming to everyone of all colors and lifestyles, but there is not diversity in the congregation because it's assumed that everyone has their own church or we don't know how to invite new members or we're not having the interactions in daily life that lead to those invitations happening. During middle school for a while I thought it was a class problem of people acting poor, and I still don't know what to do with that thought. I have taken classes with people both black and white who are well-educated, quiet academics; and I have worked with people both white and black who are less quiet and have less time to talk about academic subjects. I think I'm onto something but it's a faulty argument that still leads to self inhibitions and voluntary segregation. I don't know how to present it without bringing negative feelings into the room. I feel like newspaper columnist Leonard Pitts can present that argument but I should tread even more lightly and may be misremembering him saying anything to that effect. [Is there a specific essay I want to cite?]

I know there is still inequality in the world, and I've been particularly afraid to look at the judicial system. I blocked it out after watching Dead Man Walking, Shawshank Redemption, Orange is the New Black, Inherit the Wind, 12 Angry Men, To Kill a Mockingbird in both book and film form. I want to concentrate on myself and my peers and strengthening friendships. I am aware that the judicial system is unfair. I'm not in favor of the death penalty for anyone ever largely because race relations have factored into it being applied unequally. I want to believe that poverty leading to desperation and poor parenting are what causes crime, and those factors happen to poor white people as well as poor black people and the historical disadvantage is going away with affirmative action laws, such that race related assumptions do not really reflect the reality and biased juries are what creates the statistics. Biased juries surely will go away if everyone who has never committed a crime expects the best of each other and speaks openly and warmly about topics from which to build rapport.

I'm left thinking that my generation should step up to the next level of thinking on civil rights issues. We didn't grow up with direct exposure to political segregation and race riots, but our parents had memories of them and told us it's this amazing new thing that everyone is getting along now. (Which leads to worried thoughts of "Huh? Why weren't we?" and horror at the discovery of the history and then guilt and uneasiness that allows the fear stories to endure.) We grew up with Reading Rainbow and Mister Rogers, two shows led by adults with the mission to listen to and teach children about kindness and exploration. So what's left is for the newness to wear off and for us to know we are with our friends and can talk about differences in a way that never turns violent or exclusionary. We should assume the best and practice Buddhist loving kindness toward everyone we meet. I'm probably not excessively inspirational and my friends are definitely not excessively black to be in entertainment productions as the main hero or composer. (Understatement much?)

There are sometimes still awkward feelings among my friends and coworkers, and we need to look at them calmly and in the safety of friendship whenever some elderly jerk says something unacceptable in the news. I want there to be only love with everyone I know and not have it marred by history or fear of saying the wrong thing taken to the point that we don't say anything at all.

I hope we can talk calmly if I said anything misguided or offensive in this post. I am opening myself up to criticism here but would like to find a way to diffuse segregating situations, addressing whoever is upset, ignorant, or self-inhibited without making it all about me and my feelings.

---------

* = I first wrote "black children" and thought it was a loaded phrase with historical emotional baggage, also that no social group wants to be thought of as children as an overgeneralization. This is a problem for both black people and disabled people, whether through cartoons and minstrelsy or martyring portrayals at telethon time. I have also heard some negative comments on the phrase African American as being unnecessarily long, and mixed levels of African pride/identification. And "black friends" just rolls out of my thoughts and feels friendly and normal. I would like to be closer to my four or so black friends.

My mom says there were black students who went to Africa with her and she had at least one conversation with them about how they thought they were black until they got to Africa and discovered they were not as dark as the native Africans. This was back in the 70s. But anyway, I decided to use African American for children and black otherwise. I am open to discussing this further if anyone wants to educate me.
euphoriafish: Avar photo I took in Japan of the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura. (Default)
2014-05-01 06:35 pm

On Stress and My Coping Mechanisms

A friend was stressed out and crowdsourcing ideas to deal with it today and I remembered all these strategies I enjoy explaining to people. I have found myself offering this advice before, so I decided to blog it here under a "ProTips" tag where it's easy to pass on to others when the message bears repeating. I am not the pro who originated this advice and it's probably not my system either-- it's from friend advice and many articles/books I read. Your milage may vary, I've never heard back on how well these tips work for other people, but that I've aggregated them into a process that works for me mostly says some of them probably work sometimes for some people. Here's what I do:

1. The physical component



How I handle stress is to first take a slow deep breath in through my nose and out through my mouth and think about each of the parts of my body that are tight, releasing them one at a time until the physical stress goes away. I should probably exercise more but I'm working on that. Yoga helps too with breathing and relaxing. I also clear my mind and think NOTHING or close to it for a minute till the tension relaxes.

2. Get rid of the irrational fear and anxiety



Next, I look at where the anxiety is coming from, separate out what I have control over from what I don't, and let go of anything I can't change. Relevant questions for this step are:

big scary list of questions that make scary problems less scary )
If I have answers for all these questions and there are many unknown factors, I blog the problem. Maybe even start an Evernote notebook for it to collect info or a Wiki page to move the parts around, though I suck at wiki editing.

3. Strategize and Plan Action



If it's settled and I'm just unhappy about things I can't change I write a story to change my expectations. If I have options to take action I review those and decide when I have time to do something about it. I schedule when I'm going to act and act ASAP on the stuff I have control over.

At this point I have my plans and am just left to setting and scheduling specific goals to act and make changes. If I don't have a specific goal and deadline it doesn't happen, and sometimes my deadline isn't to finish so much as to just look and see if I still care about the goal. I still feel like I have too many goals and I don't get enough done. But the irrational fear is gone and I have a clear perspective on which things to focus on.

And I'm left with learning which problems to investigate in what order and how to manage my time. I have some lofty goals but am still working on a system to achieve them in a timely fashion. Any advice on prioritizing the list of too many ideas and letting go of some of them before deciding which ones to focus on would make me over the top happy and wanting to move on to build a system for showing friends and family how much I appreciate them with skill and time over money.

Ignore this part unless you're a programmer )

Do you feel better? I do except for all the procrastinating. No fear left, just too many options.
euphoriafish: Avar photo I took in Japan of the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura. (Default)
2014-04-20 05:13 pm

Happy Easter!

Spring Bouquet

Happy Easter! I'm excited because we have a perfect Easter candy mix this year! Dove and Ferrero Roche chocolate eggs, Swedish fish, and Jelly Belly jelly beans with almost all my favorite flavors. I used to get what I call an autumn sunset mix at the mall candy stores where you bag your own pound of jelly beans: Pear, banana, peach, grapefruit, red AND green apple, margarita, canteloupe, cappuccino, toasted marshmallow, chocolate pudding, root beer, vanilla bean, popcorn, and coconut. You know, the fruit flavors that aren't too sugary and the junk food flavors that my mixed up brain calls the savoury ones but which are really just the more bitter ones.

Coconut jelly beans are especially dear to me. I can remember being three or four, six at the oldest the first time I had one while visiting my uncle in Washington D.C. (This may be memories of two trips-- one with just my immediate family at three and another with my cousins at age six.) Jelly Bellies were still hard to find in stores at the time, though I usually saw them in mail order catalogs and had a burning curiosity about what a "gourmet jelly bean" was. We bought a bag at the mall and ate them on the subway. I couldn't believe there were coconut, vanilla, and toasted marshmallow jelly beans that actually tasted like those other foods. The coconut one stood out, I think because we had fewer jelly beans in the bag that trip when I was three and it had been a long day and when you hardly ever get candy, a really good jelly bean is the most incredible thing you can taste. Not sugar, just flavor oil and wax. I had only had the overly sugary Brachs ones up to that point and after the revelation that some jelly bean mixes had spearmint beans and others had lime, this coconut jelly bean opened up a whole new world to me of sugar candy that tasted like something other than sugar or ascorbic acid. Am I trying to sell you jelly beans? No. I am just waxing nostalgic and remembering a time long ago when flavor oils in candy were a new and wonderful thing. And EATING CANDY ON THE SUBWAY. We were going somewhere and snacking and my parents were wondering if we should be eating candy on the subway and my brain thought I was very adult because the jelly beans were GOURMET PUDDING AND MARSHMALLOW AND POPCORN AND COCONUT FLAVORED! I hadn't even had a real coconut yet but this perfect white jelly bean prepared me for the experience.

Of course, what today was really about was family and Jesus rising from the dead, and I think it was a success on those fronts too. Mom and I were so happy to see my cousins' family, their aunt, and their grandmother at church. My cousin's son Graham was happily excited and ran after the girls who were lighting the candle, so Nathan had to run after him and catch him. Erin took down a match for him later and threw it in the fireplace for him to watch burning away so he got at least a little more pyromania in later in the afternoon. He was also really enthusiastic about shouting Allelujah during the children's sermon, and wanted to do it again when our pastor repeated the call and response for the whole congregation. He wanted to run down to the front again but wasn't allowed to and burst into tears at the end. He recovers really fast though and is one of the best behaved kids I've ever seen. His sister Sara Jane was more quiet in church but seemed mostly happy-sleepy. And there were dogs! And a goat! And after my uncle took care of his grape fields we had wine and cheese and crackers and salami on the deck while my aunt took a nature hike on the farm with Mom. All in all a happy Sunday.

Hope you had a happy Easter too!
euphoriafish: Avar photo I took in Japan of the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura. (Default)
2014-03-24 12:49 pm
Entry tags:

The Heart-Shaped Void That is Too Many Goals in Too Little Time With No Accounting For Success

I subscribe to Kristine Oller's mailing list because I bought her Networking Bootcamp recordings a few years back. Her networking advice really changed my approach to networking and learning from others, and I still listen to her positive, encouraging vocal inflection once a week or so in the short videos from her mailing list. This lady has a voice like dew drops on cotton candy that is so soothing because she BELIEVES. IN YOU, even.

Here's a video that really spoke to me:

http://kristineoller.com/decisions-vs-commitments/

It's about the difference between one time decisions which don't have to be revisited vs. commitments, which are more than just habit changes but potentially also shifts in your approach to life. Change in methodology takes time and you have to revisit your new habits until you don't have to think about them consciously anymore. But she used the word "commitment" and that word choice made such a strikingly positive serendipitous change in my inner monologue.

I'm always working on my habits because I'm pretty sure I have an undiagnosed minor case of ADHD which will be a neverending balancing act to manage capably, and it's a problem when too many goals are too important.

(Please click the arrow to expand or contract one list, as opposed to clicking the link to open all of them at once.)

Currently I'm drawn and quartered by the pursuit of )

Pulled in so many directions, I default to inaction and it takes me a long time to settle down to work on a project. Once I'm into the project it works the other way and I forget to eat until the project is done. I'm a perfectionist, but it's not a fear of failure that stops me from finishing things anymore; there are just a neverending list of what's fixable and I'm probably supposed to move on to a new activity but I want a finished one and this thing I'm writing just won't attract praises until I fix infinity.

I might benefit from some outside consultation on time management, but I'm not sure my health insurance covers it and I definitely do not have the money out of pocket. For now, I've been trying various smartphone and teacher curriculum planning solutions, but I need to take into consideration how commitment works for me. I just hit a milestone, but there are so many changes I want to make. What stands in the way of the other ones?

The big milestone was when I finished my fist spec script last month by the Nickelodeon Writers Fellowship deadline. It took me about half a year, and by the end of that time I found it easy to show up everyday to draft, edit, and polish jokes. I need to work on my loglining and brainstorming habits to be ready with more scripts for the next fellowship, the next round of this one, or just to build my portfolio. But I keep wanting to go back to the script I just mailed (a month ago) because there were missed opportunities to get more jokes in. I mailed it. It should be done and I should write another one. BUT IT'S NOT DONE.

The plot is about as exciting and novel as I could manage and I need some professional feedback to improve my narrative storytelling, but I know I could put more time in on the jokes on my own and keep tweaking it that way before using it as a writing sample to apply for graduate school. However, I can't use it for grad school without also writing an original one, not another spec. So my first fellowship attempt is at odds with my application to grad school.

The gravitational pull of this ghost-of-done project is so great I have had a lot of trouble moving on to the next one this month.

What I did accomplish was: )

I have one solid longterm goal of being a comedy screenwriter, and which steps lead to that are pretty clear, but the intermediate goals are in all directions and seem to need to happen at once--
Stuff Wot Needs To Happen )

So where is my commitment? Why do I commit?

I changed focus last year from art to writing and found that I was passionate enough to finish a writing project in a way that I've never been sufficiently passionate about my art projects. (Bucket List goal: I hope one day to exhibit my self portait in oil at MOBA, the Museum of Bad Art. Bonus points will be achieved if I get to revisit the gallery world as an interactive storyteller to also exhibit video stills or intermedia pieces at MOMA New York or LA. But I've backburnered the pursuit of Gallery World for now because I do not want to be an art professor and don't have a meaningful body of work for going to art school for an MFA. I didn't feel like I fit in but I feel like I enjoy the work of improving writing more.)

Belief in the habits I'm committing to may be the ultimate obstacle that is preventing me from changing on time or at all. I certainly believe in the logical argument for the change, but if I'm not accountable to anyone else and there's no external positive reinforcement, I have major trouble with achieving consistency. On a subconscious level, I don't believe the change I'm trying to make is going to add up to greater achievement because I've made it repeatedly and still slid back into old behavior. Even the script-- you can read it if you want to, but I can't really show it as a finished product if it remains unproduced. EVEN MY FINISHED PROJECT FEELS UNFINISHED. HOLY SISYPHEAN BOULDERS, BATMAN.

Some changes have stuck, mostly with hygiene and cosmetic choices. And I'm taking a 20 minute walk every day that I don't go out on errands. And I show up every day to write for between four and six hours that may amount to a draft or may just amount to brainstorming. I want my writing to improve faster than it does, and my motivation is sapped by how long everything takes, an interval during which I can't show anyone what I'm working on.

Aha. That's it. Showing up doesn't always amount to achievement, and I don't believe in showing up late but I DO show up late and roll my personal deadlines all the time because at the critical moment, I don't convince myself that the bar of quality I want to hit will be reached. If it isn't important to anyone but me, it happens slowly if at all. I'm not sure I can prove my research capabilities, get paid for writing, AND get into grad school with a produced short film, iRiff, or comedy sketch, let alone try standup or Moth readings.

How do I convince myself my efforts are going to add up to success?
euphoriafish: Avar photo I took in Japan of the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura. (Default)
2014-03-21 01:30 pm
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A Side Note on Why Dreamwidth Instead of LiveJournal

Why I think my friends left LiveJournal )

Why Dreamwidth is better than LiveJournal )

I remember an old concern some people had on LJ about other friends seeing comments on a sensitive post, like when you're wanting to support a friend with a shared problem but don't want to attract attention to less popular norms and lifestyle choices. To this concern I only know that I would only let non-judgmental people on my access list to see those posts and I think access filters can be used to deal with specific social issues. And then include in the post that commenters can private message me instead of commenting if they don't want the rest of the access list to see their comments.

And to those who think LiveJournal bloggers are too negative and whiny, I say it all depends on how you use the site. I set a different avatar for my sad posts so people realize how rarely they occur, and another one for angry posts. I used to use a closeup of my face tinted green and some red letters against a black background for anger posts, and I sometimes use a cute-sad cartoon character for sad posts to remind myself that I'm being precious and it probably isn't as bad as I think really. I noticed some friends on Twitter do this too and it makes their cynical or off-color jokes less jarring emotionally. But true sadness and personal weakness is probably best for just-me or access list posts. So people who complain about that sort of thing or want to caution me that I'm hurting my chances at employment don't get to see those thoughts.

What I want for this blog is to connect it to my Facebook and phone habits to start real conversations there. Also, my creative writing brainstorming habit used to be solid but took a hit at the end of college when I abandoned LiveJournal and writing to focus on visual art ideas.

I think the two sites can be used together. I'll really be impressed if I find myself making and receiving more phonecalls but just feeling like I know my friends better and am no longer holding myself back from working out my negative feelings and stockpiling successes is a great start.
euphoriafish: Avar photo I took in Japan of the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura. (Default)
2014-03-20 12:59 am
Entry tags:

Ten Things to Kick Off the New Blog

I couldn't stand not having a diary anymore and the sting of "It's not the saaaaame!" has officially worn off of Dreamwidth for me. This is a beautiful blogging community and I want to like it.

1. My mission in life is to teach positive and progressive thinking about different normals through comedy.

2. My side mission is to fully grok the comedy of Japanese comedians. Starting with Ungirls and up to even Downtown and Beat Takeshi Kitano in the heyday before they started doing movies and were known as a manzai duo.

3. I've lived a year in Japan and know that Tokyo Disney is the best way to spend Halloween.

4. The best movies are the ones with quirky art direction, in my opinion, if not with top notch comedy writing. Burton remakes of Alice in Wonderland and Willy Wonka are exceptions that prove the Labyrinth / Brazil / Tannin no Kao rule.

5. My favorite comedy directors are Elaine May, Harold Ramis (;_;), Paul Feig, Carl Reiner, and Amy Heckerling.

6. I am a cat whisperer. I snap my fingers and they come. I stand between them or put a hand on their backs or out to cover their eyes and they stop fighting.

7. I am pretty sure I have ADHD but it's never been professionally diagnosed.

8. I am a Photoshopping superstar who needs to get her Zazzle shop up and running.

9. I am @euphoriafish on Twitter. I do hope you will sample my jokes and web logs.

10. Ninja Turtles Forever. As my first spec script and forever shall be fandom without end. TMNT may actually be eclipsing MST3K and Doctor Who for me these days now that there are two great female characters in the show and potential for two more that I'm aware of.